Anti-COVID vaccines: Islam's struggle with what is ‘permissible’ and what is 'forbidden'
by Kamel Abderrahmani

Algeria gave the green light for the vaccine, declared “halal”. Radical clerics are a kind of thought police who seek to protect customs and dogmas. By their silence, doctors and scientists are accessories. The measles and rubella vaccines were declared “haram” in Indonesia. What matters most: Saving lives or pleasing pseudo scholars versed in (Islamic) sciences?

Paris (AsiaNews) – Some worlds evolve by bringing progress to humanity while others sink further into the ridiculous by accelerating the degeneration of humanity. If ridicule does not kill, it actively participates in keeping Muslim nations at the back of the queue of underdeveloped countries. Muslim societies are stifled by imams, religious institutions and daily clerical rule. The Islamic clergy meddles in everyone’s business, and are not shy about it, allowing themselves everything, sticking their noses in the lives of couples, as well as scientific, health, identity, cultural issues, etc. In other words, clerics set themselves up above all as a thought police and the guardian of behaviour and dogma.

After Indonesia declared the coronavirus vaccine halal, Algeria's turn has arrived to confirm this decision with unprecedented religious firmness. Finally! Time was running out, as we impatiently waited for the meeting of Sages of the Republic, the Enlighted Ones who make up Algeria’s Fatwas Committee with the power to decide the fate of an entire people in the face of a virus that is deadly for the weak. On Thursday, a ministerial committee composed of imams without any ties to medicine, science and viruses – unless the so-called prophetic medicine is still considered relevant – announced, by way of a press release, that the COVID-19 vaccine does not contain ingredients prohibited by Sharia (Islamic Law). Hallelujah!

According to Islamic precepts, any product, including medical drugs, containing ingredients prohibited by Islam such as pork should not be consumed, except in cases of proven necessity. According to the National Drug Safety Agency, most vital emergency medicines contain animal-based ingredients such as collagen which is extracted from the skins and bones of pigs, cattle, fish, and poultry. Although these raw materials come from animals butchered in slaughterhouses and are deemed fit for human consumption, their use is “religiously” questioned in all Muslim countries. Yet, Algeria alone imported US$ 1,13 billion in medical drugs in 2019, this according to Algerian customs data. Algeria is France's 10th largest drug buyer.

In the absence of a healthy pharmaceutical industry, it is wiser to import drugs that contain non-halal ingredients because human life is sacred, it deserves to have prohibitions transgressed in order to save lives. In this regard, certain currents in Islam – such as the Ḥanafītes and the Shafiʽites – allow believers to opt out of this rule if there is no alternative. They do so by invoking the Prophet according to whom the well-being and the health of the individual takes precedence over impurities. This is the case in all Muslim countries, none of whom have succeeded in manufacturing a halal COVID vaccine. In fact, none are able to manufacture either a halal (legal) or a haram (prohibited) vaccine.

After a year of pandemic and global health crisis, the West has come up with a vaccine that can save mankind from this virus and help people find their back to the life they had before. However, this issue is apparently not so urgent for the guardians of the temple of Islam! No one is trying to find the necessary means or appropriate methods to vaccinate as quickly as possible, nor raise awareness among citizens! It would be incumbent upon us to know whether Allah will be angry or not over vaccine ingredients developed by “unbelievers”.

Are Muslim clerics uninterested in the survival of Allah's creatures, or are they more worried about what goes into vaccines against the novel coronavirus? Will Allah, if there is one, care about a little gelatine injected into the bodies of His servants? Why do we want to ’satisfy’ Allah in spite of public health? Rather than focus only on building mosques everywhere. it is alright to ask for a halal vaccine and be useful to humanity by opening “halal” research and science centres. With their traditionalist ideas, mosques are part of the problems that afflict the mindset of Muslims.

Sadly, public health is relegated to charlatans, to clerics – with ideas on subjects that are often ludicrous, laughable and ridiculous, supporters of grotesque, absurd and idiotic fatwas – while doctors, specialists, virologists choose to say nothing amid a deafening silence. Do they realise that their silence is often synonymous with complicity; in this case however, it is cowardice! How can anyone leave the field up for grabs to people who know nothing about medicine and only care about what Sharia says about the ingredients of vaccines? Have people already forgotten that these con artists of Allah, the same who have taken Islam and Muslims hostage, did not hesitate to view COVID-19 as Allah's punishment against the “infidels”? This is the same crowd who, when the pandemic arrived in Algeria, decided to hand out copies of the Qurʼān to everyone to protect the population! Do we have such a short memory? Is the collective conscience so lenient with the spokesmen of Allah?

What if this vaccine had been deemed unclean or illicit by these Enlightened Ones – like in the case of the measles and rubella vaccines, declared unclean or haram, which compromised Indonesia’s 2018 children vaccination – would Muslims have preferred to die or be vaccinated? This is a rhetorical question because the answer is already known: People’s minds have been put to sleep by Islamic dogma! Ordinary Muslims are lost and no longer know whom to trust! The Sages of Islamic sciences – a pseudoscience that serves to pollute minds – or scientists under the thumbs of imams and their fatwas?