There are many rumors and myths circulating about COVID 19 vaccine. Some of them relate to medical issues and others to religious ones. The Fiqh Council of North America likes to lend its voice to clarifying the situation. We recognize and affirm the following:
1: Vaccines of different types and mechanisms have helped to save millions of lives over the recent decades and have successfully reduced disease transmission at times with a success rate of over 90%. They help preserve life, reduce severity of infection and curtail its spread; these are medical facts.
2: The process of vaccine approval is methodical involving reputable and trusted scientific oversight bodies, and reporting mechanisms are in place even after vaccines are introduced into the public in order to assure continued safety. The Qur’an commands us to inquire the specialized in the field (Qur’an 16:43), and to trust in Allah (SWT)’s control and dominion over all things whether we perceive them as beneficial or harmful (Qur’an 10:107) We do not give into conspiracy theories of such global magnitude.
3: There are two COVID 19 vaccines which are currently authorized for emergency use in the US manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna respectively. Both are made of proteins, salts and sugars. These materials, according to the pharmaceutical companies, are not taken from any Haram or Islamically-controversial source such as porcine, aborted fetuses or stem cells.
4: Both FDA and CDC have approved these two vaccines based upon an unbiased review of the data on effectiveness, and in light of the urgency needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic which has been a cause of death of millions. The reported cases of allergic reactions to these vaccines are rare and minimal but are being studied and tracked. Such reactions are expected as therapeutics almost always have side effects and can produce allergic reactions. Nonetheless, Islamic law is clear that if the benefits outweigh harms then therapeutics are permitted for use.
5: The pandemic is real; lives have been lost, families have been rent asunder, and individual livelihoods jeopardized. Herd immunization induced by vaccination programs is touted to be a viable solution by health research leaders and policymakers. Islam’s concern for oneself and one’s neighbors suggests that participation in immunization process is laudable act. With the proper intention the action could accord with the notion of ‘saving one life is equal to saving the whole humanity’ (cf. the Qur’an 5:32).
6: The Prophet (SAW) was asked about treatment of various ills and he emphatically encouraged it by saying “Make use of medical treatment, for Allah has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, except the old age” (Ibn Majah, Abu Da’ud, Nasa’i, al-Tirmidhi, etc.) and also “There is a remedy for every malady, and when the remedy is applied to the disease it is cured with the permission of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious.”(Muslim) Seeking treatment and preventive measures are part of an Islamic moral response while acknowledging the results are assigned to Allah SWT.
7: Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use a novel mRNA approach to create vaccines. In this approach no virus is inserted into the body, yet the body cells are taught to produce a protein that triggers an immune response so that antibodies which fight the disease are created. This technology is relatively new, but current data suggests it is effective and safe. We understand that some would be concerned about long-term side effects, but we trust that no harm can come save for leave from Allah [SWT], and that due diligence is occurring.
In short, after due consultation with our medical experts at Initiative on Islam and Medicine, we at the Fiqh Council consider the above mentioned two vaccines permissible (Halal), and advise the community to receive COVID vaccines with due consultation with and advice of their physicians. We also ask Muslims to play their role in debunking baseless rumors and myths about the vaccine. Let us perform our duty of enjoining good and stopping evil and facilitate human transition from this global pandemic to global normalcy. May Allah SWT take this pandemic away from us. Ameen.
[December 31, 2020]