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.
The Secretariat General of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy read the decrees of the conferences held by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for leaders and heads of states and ministers of health in the states of the OIC. The topic was the fight against polio and its eradication, raising awareness of this disease, the benefits of polio vaccination, as well as awareness of its dangers as it continues to make thousands of children sick, exposing them to various physical handicaps.
Based on the information from the Secretariat General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the International Islamic Fiqh Academy under the heading: OIC/ST-16(19)/2009/004060; dated July 11, 2009, confirming the charitable efforts made to overcome polio by the Ministries of Health in Muslim states and through collaboration with the concerned agencies,
After reviewing the reports from the competent medical services, the Academy would like to confirm that vaccination against polio has proven to be effective in preventing its widespread among children worldwide. Moreover, these reports have confirmed that vaccination campaigns have, by the grace of Allah, reduced the spread of polio among children worldwide by more than 25%, even though the lack of vaccination in some countries results in the infection of hundreds of children, as well as the spread of the virus to various neighboring Muslim countries by travelers. Similarly, these reports state that intensive vaccination campaigns can achieve favorable results in remote areas. However, these same reports point out that it is challenging for these campaigns to convince certain authorities because of the rumors surrounding vaccination against this disease, particularly the belief that it can lead to sterility in girls.
The Academy took this decision in favor of vaccination, also after trusted medical experts proved the unfoundedness of these rumors, and the ministries of health in Muslim countries were convinced of the non-existence of harmful effects of these vaccines.
In addition, it is important to keep in mind the dangers of this disease on children and the fact that it is contagious in different ways, to the point that when a child is struck by it, it will follow him all his life, disabling him and making him dependent, requiring special and permanent attention, sometimes even becoming a burden for others, in addition to what this child may feel as personal and social discomfort.
For all these reasons, The Secretariat General of the Academy calls on the concerned authorities of the Ministries of Health in the Muslim countries to continue the vaccination campaigns against polio, and encourages parents to resolve to vaccinate their children for the following reasons quickly.
Allah has favored the human being by creating him in the best way, the Almighty says:
« We have certainly created man in the best of stature » At-Tin -4. Moreover, He praised His Prophet Zakariah, peace be upon him, when he asked Him for good offspring, for invoking for such offspring implies that they should also be healthy. The Almighty says: « At that, Zechariah called upon his Lord, saying, “My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.” » Aal-i-Imran -38
Allah the Almighty has commanded man to take care of his body, preserve his health, and keep away as much as possible from anything that may cause him harm. The Almighty exhorts:
« and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good. »
Moreover, Allah has forbidden man to kill his children in any way whatsoever, so neglecting what is harmful to them is part of this prohibition. The Almighty threatens: « And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin. » Al-Isra -31
Preserving and protecting life from anything that may harm it is among the greatest obligations of Islamic law, as stated by the Almighty: « Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. » Al-Ma’ida -32
This is confirmed by the general rulings of Islamic law concerning the prohibition of doing harm voluntarily or involuntarily in any way, according to the hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah, peace and praise be upon him, said, “All harm is unlawful, whether it is involuntary or voluntary. (Reported by Imam Ahmed in his Mousnad and El-Hakim in El Moustadrak, among others).
One of the things that Islam encourages is to be strong and to use all that is useful to us. Indeed, according to Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, the Messenger of Allah, PBUH, tells us: “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive for that which will benefit you ” (Reported by Muslim)
Islam has entrusted fathers and mothers with great responsibility for their sons and daughters, especially those who have not yet reached puberty, and many hadiths have been quoted in this regard, including
- Abdullah bin Umrah, may Allah be pleased with them, said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and praise be upon him, say, “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you will be asked about his flock. The ruler is a shepherd, the man is a shepherd for the people of his house, the woman is a shepherdess for her husband’s house and for her children.” (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim).
- Abdullah bin Omar, may Allah be pleased with them, relates, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, say, “It is sufficient for man as a sin to neglect those whom he has under his care.” (El Mustadrak on the basis of the two Sahihs).
Regarding the exhortation to take care of oneself and provide the means for healing, hadiths have been reported, among which is what Abu Hurairah mentions, RA, the Messenger of Allah, PBUH, teaches us, “Allah has not sent down any disease without sending down healing.” (Bukhari). In another hadith by Usama bin Sharik, may Allah be pleased with him, he says: “I went to see the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his companions looked as if they had birds on their heads, so I sat down. Then some Bedouins came from all sides and asked, A bedouin said, “O Messenger of Allah, shall we not seek treatment?” The Prophet said, “Yes, O servants of Allah, seek treatment. Verily, Allah did not place a disease but that he also placed its treatment or cure, except for one ailment.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is it?” The Prophet said, “Old age.” (Reported by Abu Daoud, al-Tirmidhi, and Ahmed).
Vaccinating children against polio is a remedy to anticipate a disease that we fear contracting, which we call preventive medicine, an approach approved by Islam. Indeed, it was mentioned of the Prophet, praise and blessings of Allah upon him: “Whoever eats lunch with seven dates from Medina, nothing can harm him that day, neither poison nor sorcery.” (Bukhari). Similarly, Islam has approved of what has been quoted regarding the quarantine to be observed following the plague. The Prophet, PBUH, said in this regard, -“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.” (Bukhari).
Therefore, Islam calls for benefiting from any study or research that would make life easier for people and help them on this earth, for this religion has come to bring them good and happiness in this world and in the hereafter. The Almighty says « so ask the people of the message if you do not know. » An-Nahl-43
He also says: « And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds. » Al-Anbiya -107
Based on the above, The Secretariat General of the Academy expects the ministries of health in Muslim states to redouble their efforts to eradicate polio, just as it expects parents to respond favorably to vaccination campaigns to protect their children from all harm. Similarly, the Academy expects scholars of Sharia, as well as imams in mosques, to encourage people to endorse these vaccination campaigns and thus combat this disease.
Prof. Abdulsalam al-Abbadi
SG of IIFA