Second Statement of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy on the Obligation of Vaccination against Poliovirus

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 International Islamic Fiqh Academy, emanating from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, relying on its Islamic position, which is a jurisprudential reference for the Ummah, and feeling the duty of scientific advisors after receiving reports on the success of vaccination campaigns in Muslim countries and stopping the spread of polio, with the exception of some countries like Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan, and with the coincidence of the new campaigns launched by the governments of these countries, it renews its call to the parents and guardians of children all over the world to respond to these campaigns and initiate the vaccination of their sons and daughters with anti-polio vaccines, as the importance of this vaccination has been proven to spare them -by the grace and mercy of Allah- from the misdeeds of this incurable disease which has no cure. This disease even causes permanent disabilities and handicaps that accompany the patient throughout his life and deprive him of his joy. It is a legitimate duty and responsibility for the parents who will have to bear the burden in case of negligence.

The concerned authorities have proved it in Muslim countries that these vaccines are free from pork products, and those who have trusted them have reported that they do not contain what causes sterility in girls in their future lives. Countries all over the world, including Muslim countries, have agreed to give these vaccines to newborns and children without any evidence of harm.

This duty to parents and guardians begins on the first day of the child’s birth and continues until the age of six, with full compliance with the dates set out in the vaccination schedules with precision to ensure that the desired benefit of vaccination is achieved. This is in addition to other vaccinations such as vaccination against tuberculosis and the triple bacterium “diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough”, vaccination against hepatitis, vaccination against measles and infectious diseases from which humans used to suffer, such as plague and smallpox.

The International Islamic Fiqh Academy has authorized the guardian, represented in the state and the government -as his orders depend on the interest- to oblige people to preventive vaccinations because of what they contain to repel epidemics and prevent their spread. It has been mentioned in paragraph B, clause three of the resolution of the Council of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy No: 67 (5/7) of the year 1412 AH, corresponding to 1992, regarding medical treatment, as stated, “It is permissible for the guardian to impose medicines in some cases, such as infectious diseases and preventive vaccinations.”

All the scholars and jurists of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, representing their Muslim countries, all aspire to see the generations of the Ummah and its youth enjoy what Allah Almighty has bestowed upon them with the best assessment, and with permanent and complete health, to go towards a promising future and a happy life, the healthier the children -boys and girls- the better the future of the Ummah was.

The International Islamic Fiqh Academy recommends all countries of the world to consider this issue as a humanitarian issue of the first degree, and recommends Muslim countries in particular and its other organizations to consider this issue as the issue of a nation which should be the first of its priorities and that they should remove all the obstacles in front of it and should also overcome all the difficulties.

In this regard, the Secretariat of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy denounces the fatwas issued by some who err in prohibiting vaccination, based on false information and ideas, without measuring the consequences of their fatwas that could expose children to this Allah’s disease, simply because their parents believed in their fatwas.

The Academy recommends that the imams of mosques, preachers who call on Allah Almighty, guides and teachers, invite people in their sermons to respond to vaccination campaigns in successive periods, especially when there are vaccination campaigns, and to fight against those abnormal fatwas that prohibit these vaccinations or raise doubts and confusion about them without any solid argument or proof.

The International Islamic Fiqh Academy strongly condemns the criminal acts that killed several workers of polio vaccination teams and other health fields who were not guilty, and the kidnapping of some of them who were used as hostages and exploited as a bargaining chip for private or public demands, which is forbidden by the Islamic Shari’a and other international charters and laws.

At the same time, the Academy denounces the exploitation of vaccination campaigns for any interest, whether declared or spying, which has no connection with medicine, by the supporters of certain vaccination campaigns, as this contradicts the charters, constitutions and medical deontology.

The International Islamic Fiqh Academy issued a detailed statement in the year 1430 A.H., corresponding to 2009, to encourage vaccination against polio, which included provisions and legal evidence indicating the obligation of vaccination. The latter re-emphasizes the content of the statement which is summarized as follows:

  • A person should protect his body and the bodies of his dependents, preserve their safety and avoid as much as possible anything that harms them, for the Almighty says: (And do not throw yourselves by your own hands into destruction. And do good. For Allah loves the doers of good) [Verse 195 Surat AL-BAQARAH]. Preserving the integrity of bodies from anything that exposes them to harm is one of the most affirmative duties of Islamic law, and this is established by the rule of prevention of harm and evil, which is the text of a prophetic hadith. Ibn Abbas said: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “No harm, no harm” [Reported by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad, Al-Hakem in Al-Mustadrak, and others].
  • Islam has endorsed to fathers and mothers a great responsibility in preserving their sons and daughters, taking care of them in all their affairs, including their health, especially those of them who have not reached puberty, and there are hadiths in this regard, the Prophet, peace be upon him said: “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for what he is in charge of; the Imam is a shepherd and is responsible for what he is in charge of; the man in his family is a shepherd and is responsible for what he is in charge of and the woman in her husband’s house is a shepherdess and she is responsible for what she is in charge of.” [Bukhari and Muslim] And the Prophet, may Allah’s praise and peace be upon him and his family, said, “It is sin enough for a person to lose his dependents” [Al Mustadrak on the Two Sahihs].
  • Allah Almighty is grateful to man for his creation in the most perfect form. The Almighty said: (Surely We have created man in the most perfect form) [Verse 4, Surah Al-Tin]. And the Almighty praised His Prophet Zakariah, peace be upon him, when he asked him for good offspring, and the supplication for good offspring includes well-being and security in the body. Allah Almighty said: (Then Zechariah prayed to his Lord, and said, “O my Lord! Give me, from Thee, excellent offspring. For You are the One who hears prayer well) [Verse 38, Surah AL ‘IMRÂN]. Islam instills in man the desire to seek the means of strength and that which benefits him. According to Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, he said: The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s praise and peace be upon him, said: “The strong believer is better and more beloved by Allah than the weak believer in every benefit, so look out for that which is beneficial to you…” [Reported by Muslim in his Sahih, chapter on commanding strength, abandoning helplessness and seeking help]
  • It has been mentioned in the encouragement to take medicine and adopt the means of healing and treatment, from the Hadiths of the Prophet, may Allah’s praise and peace be upon him, “Heal yourselves, for Allah Almighty has not created any disease without Him creating a cure, except for one disease: aging.” [Abu Daoud, al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad].
  • Vaccination of children against polio is considered as a preventive treatment against the dreaded disease before it occurs; this is called in our time preventive medicine, and Islam has approved this principle, as it has been reported from the Prophet PBUH saying: (Whoever eats seven dates from Medina upon waking up will not be affected by magic or poison) [Al-Bukhari, chapter on medication with Al Ajwa (dates)]. He also approved it with the rules of quarantine in the plague epidemic. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “If you hear of plague in a country, do not enter it, and if it occurs in a country while you are there, do not leave it.” [Al-Bukhari, Chapter on Plague].
  • Islam calls for taking advantage of any scientific research or achievement that facilitates human life on this earth. He has come to achieve the good and happiness of people in this world and the hereafter. The Almighty said: (So ask the people of remembrance if you do not know.) [Verse 43, Surah An-Nahl]. And the Almighty has also said (And We have sent you only as a mercy for the Universe) [Verse 107, Surah AL-ANBIYÂ’].
  • Repelling diseases by vaccination does not contradict At-tawakkul (trust in Allah); nor does it contradict the remedies of hunger, thirst, heat and cold with their opposites. On the contrary, the reality of Tawakkul (trust) only takes place by directing the apparent causes that Allah Almighty has established as requirements for their causes, by predestination and sharia, and not vaccinating, if it causes harm, can be considered a sin.

And may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions.

Secretary of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy

Prof. Dr. Ahmed Khaled Babekr

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