Swine Flu and Health Ministers’ Decision

Praise is due to Allāh, Lord of the worlds, may the blessings and peace be upon our master Muḥammad, the last of prophets, on his family, and all his companions.

Several questions were addressed to the Academy regarding the decision of the Ministers of Health to ban the sick, the elderly and children from performing pilgrimage (Hajj and Umrah) because of the swine flu, which were announced via newspapers, magazines, radios and televisions, the Secretary General of the Academy; H.E. Prof. Abdulsalam Daoud Al-Abbadi answered some of them, notably:

Islam has based its handling of the many affairs of life on a clear approach that ensures people’s interests, welfare, and happiness in a simple and moderate manner and is far from abuse or excess. Allah said, « And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds. » Al-Anbiya -107. He also said: « And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims. » An-Nahl -89

Scholars have shown that one of the purposes of Islamic law is to preserve the five necessities: religion, life, reason, offspring, properties. Anything related to the preservation of a public benefit is a legally required benefit, and anything lacking is legally rejected.

This is defined in the rules of Sharia by the knowledgeable and competent in all areas or aspects of life. Therefore, scholars have warned that the ruling on this subject is a subdivision of its perception. The scholars who examine the reality and the course of life are required to imagine correctly what is necessary to reflect the opinion of the Sharia in this regard. There is no question of life, except that the Sharia has a provision for the general and comprehensive examination of the Islamic Sharia, and in accordance with the established rules for the pursuit of emerging cases and problems, as evidenced by the Fiqh and Islamic sciences. Allah said, “So ask the people of remembrance if you do not know”. And the call to take care and precautions, The Prophet (SAW) said (reported by Ahmed, Tirmidhi, Abu Daoud and others): Servants of Allah! Make use of medical treatment, for Allah has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, with the exception of one disease, namely old age.

The legitimate seeker should not search too much in this field, but should rely only on the rulings of competent doctors and experts; hence, on the legitimate consideration of the decisions of the Ministers of Health as a competent body, provided that their decisions are based on an authentic scientific knowledge.

They made it clear in their decisions that the exclusion of the elderly, children and the sick, determined by their pilgrimage modalities (Umra), is more at risk than others and that it is a matter of caution and vigilance and apparent causes, but they do not say that they will be in danger alone, nor that others may not be in danger. The decision was preponderant, and the cause of death at the holy place, as is legally known, is the end of the spell and diseases are a cause, as evidenced by extrapolation and reality, showing that the legitimate world must respect the right medical decision in this regard.

That answers the questions. Prevention is a priority, otherwise, treatment can achieve its goal, even in the elderly. This is an Islamic approach to epidemic disease.

As mentioned in the Hadith, -“If you get wind of the outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; and if it breaks out in a land in which you are, do not leave it.” This modern model establishes quarantine rules in Islam based on precautions and prevention of prevalence.

The debate in this regard should be based on medical knowledge and knowledge of the dimensions of the subject. It should be addressed only to those with the knowledge, skills and responsibilities. These are the doctors and health officials in the given Muslim country. They must do their best to ensure that Muslims perform their rites, worship, and preserve their lives and legitimate benefits.

International Islamic Fiqh Academy

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