Amid claims by some Muslim scholars that the Covid vaccine cannot be administered to members of the Muslim community as it contains ingredients considered “haraam (unlawful)” for consumption in Islam, the Jamaat-e-Islami (Hind) on Saturday tried to clarify the theological position, saying a vaccine with unlawful substances will be permissible in emergency situations to protect human lives in case of unavailability of any other vaccine containing lawful substances.
Dr Razi-ul-Islam Nadwi, Secretary of the JIH Shariah Council, said, “If an impermissible substance is transformed into something completely different in terms of properties and characteristics, then it may be considered as clean and permissible. On this basis, the use of gelatin derived from the body part of a haram (unlawful) animal has been considered permissible by Islamic jurists,” he said. “Even those jurists who disagree with the above transformation rule sanction a vaccine which contains prohibited substances in case of unavailability of halal vaccines, in dire and emergency situations.”
However, he added that “the source of ingredients of the popular vaccines, which have been made public, is not yet known with certainty. After becoming fully aware of it, further guidelines regarding its use or non-use will be issued”.
A section of Muslim scholars in India and Islamic organisations in countries like UAE and Indonesia have declared that the vaccines cannot be administered to Muslims as they contain pork gelatin. In India, the All India Sunni Jamiat-ul-Ulema Council and Raza Academy in Mumbai have declared them as “haram” and appealed to Muslims not to use the vaccine with pork gelatin.
The Oxford vaccine uses Chimpanzee adenoviral vector while Bharat Biotech uses the inactivated SARS-CoV-2. The Oxford vaccine ChAdOx1nCoV-19 is made from a weakened version of a common cold adenovirus that causes infection in chimpanzees, and researchers have genetically changed the adenovirus by adding the genetic material of the spike glycoproteins that are found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Spokespersons of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have clarified that pork products are not part of their Covid-19 vaccines. But pork-derived gelatin has been widely used as a stabilizer to ensure vaccines remain safe and effective during storage and transport.
At the press conference, the outfit also slammed the “dictatorial approach” of various BJP-governed states over passage of ordinances in the name of “unlawful religious conversion” and “deliberate efforts to polarise society” by blaming the Tablighi Jamaat for the spread of the coronavirus, “planned” communal violence in Northeast Delhi, and the “police attack” on students of Jamia Millia Islamia University and AMU. “Jamaat feels that these laws are one of the many ways to keep the flames of ‘anti-minorityism’ or Islamophobia alive. They are being promulgated for strengthening the agenda of hate and polarization,”the organisation said.
The outfit said that every issue is being looked through the “communal prism” for political gains. It extended its support to the protesting farmers saying it agreed with their “point-of-view that the new laws will end the MSP support unless there is a legal guarantee of procurement at MSP”.