ISLAMABAD: Vaccination against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been declared "legal" and "permissible" under the Islamic Shariah, or jurisprudence, according to a fatwa, or religious decree, issued by the Dar-ul-Ifta Pakistan.
The announcement came during a joint press conference at the Muttahida Ulema Board's office on Monday where Prime Minister Imran Khan's aide on religious harmony, Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, addressed the participants.
Under the fatwa, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is needed to prevent the ongoing pandemic. The edict was issued with the consent and consultation of ulema, muftis, and leading religious scholars of the Dar-ul-Ifta Pakistan.
The fatwa asks the country's philanthropists to use zakat, or alms, to help provide the COVID-19 vaccine to the needy.
According to the fatwa, it is every individual's responsibility to administer vaccination against COVID-19 since Islamic law orders people to protect themselves and others from harm but refrains them from spreading rumours.
Leading religious institutions in the Islamic world — including Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah and Saudi Arabia's Majma al-Fiqh al-Islami (Muslim World League) — have declared administering the COVID-19 vaccine as an obligation under the Shariah so that people could ensure their safety, as well as of others.
Maulana Ashrafi said the fatwa was issued after a series of meetings chaired by the Imam-e-Kaaba, Sheikh Salih bin Abdullah al Humaid, at the International Islamic Fiqh Council in Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, which operates under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The Muslim world's leading scholars and leaders — including Saudi Arabia's Mufti-e-Azam Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — have been vaccinated, he said.
Dar-ul-Ifta Pakistan, he added, also endorsed and supported Sheikh Al-Sudais' fatwa regarding vaccination during fasting and that according to the Islamic law, it does not break the fast.
Maulana Ashrafi said precautionary measures to prevent oneself against COVID-19 should be fully observed and that precautionary measures, as well as standard operating procedures for mosques, should be heeded.
The distance between worshippers in mosques while offering prayers as described by medical experts fell under the realm of compulsion and necessity, he explained. Therefore, there should be no doubt or confusion over the matter.
In response to a question, the prime minister's aide said there was no proposal under consideration to close mosques during or before the holy month of Ramadan.
Pakistan's mosques were open even when others around the world were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, cautioning the public, scholars, and elders against believing in baseless rumours.
In response to another question, he said the supply of vaccines for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims would be ensured as per the instructions of the Saudi Arabian government.
The premier, he added, has instructed that all precautionary measures mentioned by Saudi Arabia for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims should be fully implemented. If arrangements were made for Hajj in the ongoing year, vaccines should be provided to the pilgrims.
Ashrafi also said COVID-19 had caused a global pandemic and anyone could contract it; therefore, it was not okay to make fun of the disease.
"Imran Khan is in good health and prayers are being made all over the Islamic world for the speedy recovery and health of PM Imran Khan," he added.
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