This article is a series of notes made from a lecture given by Sh Abu Eesa Niamatullah in the above video. It is not intended to replace watching the video; merely to provide an aid.
Sheikh Abu Eesa Niamatullah is a qualified clinical pharmacist who has worked in biotech and understands the science behind vaccines and the industry, including its dark side. He is neither explicitly pro-vaxx nor explicitly anti-vaxx.
The views in the notes are of Sh. Abu Eesa and not necessarily those of this website, though we do find much merit in his opinions and encourage careful analysis and reflection on his advice.
We hope and pray that this article is beneficial and helps reduce some of the arguments and toxic atmosphere amongst Muslims discussing this topic.
Key points covered in the video above:
Islam’s honour is based on its love and respect for checking sources of information before accepting it. Islamic fiqh insists on authenticity of evidence and interpretation of evidence by expert and qualified individuals in those fields.
Whilst many commentators on vaccines are sincere and well-meaning, they are rarely well-informed on epidemiology or biotech matters and have based their own opinions on other ill-informed opinions from social media rather than real sources. We Muslims do not accept amateur fatwas in other fields of our deen or our lives, so rulings on vaccines and medicines should be no different.
Islamic scholars have never said taking medicine is obligatory – it is always optional and a choice. And medicine should not be taken if the side effects are worse than the illness. However, creating medicines and seeking to cure and protect people is a noble aim and admired in Islam.
For Muslims, seeking protections and cure from illness is not just about taking medicine – islamic protection also includes dua, ruqyah, adhkaar etc. Nowadays we go straight for medicine without even thinking of Allah or seeking cure through Him alone first. Vaccines need to be understood in that context – i.e. COVID is a test from Allah and only curable through His permission, whether we do or do not take a vaccine.
Claim: vaccines contain pork
This is true in many cases. We don’t yet know if any of the three new vaccines contain pork (update: it appears as though both the Pfizer and Astra Zenica ingredients are halal).
Sh. Abu Eesa has personally engaged with regulators and pharma companies in his personal business dealings and familiar with their motivations and incentives – it is not in regulators’ or pharmaceutical companies’ interests to lie about ingredients. Maintaining public trust is paramount for them.
And there is a difference of opinion on whether pork is changed enough by the chemical process to create gelatine. Sh. Abu Easa’s personal opinion is that it does NOT change enough to become halal and should be avoided in medicines – unless there is a necessity and no alternative.
Claim: vaccines contain aborted baby DNA
Stem-cells themselves are not haram – they are just pure, unassigned cells – and the purest stem cell of all is the one from a foetus. Thus, it is true that stem cells were first created from an aborted foetus back in the 1960s. And Islam is unanimous that abortion is haram.
But modern stem cells are reproduced repeatedly in labs from this original 60 year old stem cell – not from a new aborted foetus each time. Also, the original foetus DNA is completely removed before it is used as a stem cell. And the stem cell is just the carrier for the vaccine – not the vaccine itself – so is not the thing that is actually treating the illness.
Note that only the Astra-Zenica vaccine uses stem-cells in its formula; the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines don’t appear to, so this claim shouldn’t apply to them in any case.
Plus it is interesting to note that the term ‘aborted foetus’ is based on the Catholic view that the child is alive from Day One in the womb. Thus, the Catholic Church has been a bigger adversary of stem cell research than anyone else since the 1960’s, which has stopped pharma companies from using new abortions for stem cell generation – and they should be praised for this.
Also, it is Sh Abu Eesa’s opinion that it is technically possible to create halal stem cells from a foetus in the cases of early miscarriages and shariah-acceptable abortions (e.g. life of mother was at risk).
Claim: vaccines cause autism
Not proven. The MMR vaccine has been around for many years and there is lots of data to study but still no strong evidence it causes autism. There are dissenters but the majority medical opinion is that it is safe. Again, Muslims follow evidence not conjecture.
Though that is not to say there are no side effects from taking vaccines – but every medicine in the world has side effects and all medicine has risk. But Islam accepts the taking of risks where the benefits are shown to be greater.
Moreover, in Sharia we have the legal maxim that “harm to individuals is acceptable where it prevents harm to the masses”. Therefore, even if we were to find verified cases of extreme vaccine side effects in isolated or a minority of cases yet still find it leads to benefits for millions of others without side effect, it would still be Islamically acceptable to promote the vaccine’s use.
Claim: vaccines are genetically mutated
This is true but so is an element of everything we eat nowadays. It is impossible to buy any milk, bread, egg, cheese or meat in the UK without guaranteeing it hasn’t been produced by animals fed on genetically modified feed.
Thus, the risk of vaccines being genetically modified is no greater risk to us today than going to the supermarket.
Claim: vaccines contain microchips / are used for mind control
Whilst the technology for implanting chips under the skin for monitoring blood sugar levels etc exists – they have far easier ways of controlling us.
They already know our location at all times through our mobile phone signals, we share all our thoughts and secrets on social media and whatsapp, we let microphones listen to us in the home with Alexa, we let them see who is in our homes with smart doorbells and cameras.
But Muslims do not live our lives based on paranoia and conspiracy theories. We are the noblest creation of Allah and live our lives based on facts and evidences.
Claim: vaccines companies are legally protected from being sued for any vaccine side effects
This is true. In the UK a law was passed in 1998 to achieve this, with the intent it will encourage vaccine innovation and build trust with the public. However, the $4.5 Billion penalties paid by the US government for legal claims against pharma companies in the last 32 years shows there are definitely big problems and issues to be aware of.
But taking a strictly shariah point of view on the matter, there is nothing wrong or haraam in a government choosing to take responsibility for a company’s actions if they want to and see it as a greater good.
Other points covered:
For those who only trust the opinion of senior scholars (which is a safe thing to do): in 1992, the worldwide fiqh council (in only its third session ever) gave the fatwa that it is permissible for a ruling authority (Muslim or non-Muslim) to obligate vaccinations where it deems it necessary for the public good and then it becomes obligatory upon muslims to follow that ruling of the authorities (Muslim or non-Muslim). But it is unlikely the UK government will make the vaccine obligatory.
And muslims already accept vaccines in their lives where it suits them – we take meningitis vaccines before going on hajj or umrah. We take vaccines before going on holidays. So, we have already accepted vaccine tradeoffs where it is beneficial for us and makes our lives more enjoyable. It is not a new thing for muslims.
Yes, big pharma are involved in criminal conspiracies – this has been proven many times – but this does not automatically extend to global control and secret societies. All the allegations of lying, deceit, shortcuts etc against pharmaceutical companies are very valid. But it is pure greed that drives it, not a grand conspiracy.
And even if it is true that pharma companies lie and cover up the truth, it does not automatically mean the vaccine is haram or we should not take it. The two can be separated, just as the Prophet ﷺ would borrow money from the Jews of Madina even when he knew the money they gave him was created through haram interest.
Furthermore, there is an Islamic and civic duty to protect the elderly and those who are vulnerable from harm, even if it means accepting some unsavoury ingredients in vaccines, possible side effects and working with corrupt and deceptive big pharma companies.
Sh. Abu Eesa’s conclusion is that it is not fardh to take the vaccine but it is permissible and recommended to take it – as long as the side effects do not outweigh the benefits and the ingredients meet Muslims’ minimum requirements (e.g. no pork gelatine).
And he confirms he WILL be taking the vaccine himself and, more importantly, happy for his six year old daughter to take the vaccine too.
End of notes.
JZK for your time and effort in reading this. Please also watch the full video.
[This article was first published in the Luton Muslim Journal]