Covid-19 vaccine is permissible for Muslims, says Islamic affairs minister

Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri delivers a speech at the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque in Putrajaya December 3, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri delivers a speech at the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque in Putrajaya December 3, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 ― The Covid-19 vaccine is permissible for Muslims, Minister Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said today amid much anticipation ― and trepidation ― in Malaysia after the government signed several deals to procure millions of doses for the population.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs said the national fatwa council had met on December 3 and ruled that the Covid-19 vaccine “is harus and wajib to be taken by those designated so by the government”.

The term “harus” in Islam means permissible, while “wajib” means obligatory. However, the minister did not elaborate if anyone has been designated as obliged to take the vaccine.

Zulkifli said the matter also has been presented to the Conference of Rulers.

“With regards to that, I urge all Malaysians, especially Muslims, to adhere to these rules and give your full trust to the government in handling this pandemic through the use of vaccines,” he said in a statement.

The former Federal Territories mufti pointed out six instances when the council ruled on vaccines for Muslims covering a range of diseases like rubella, Hepatitis B, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, tuberculosis, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, meningococcal meningitis vaccine, the human papilloma virus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer in women, and meningitis menveo.

Many Malaysians have raised concerns about the use of the Covid-19 vaccine while Muslims here have asked if it is Shariah-compliant, among them PAS vic-president Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah.

This is not the first time Zulkifli has had to assure Muslims about the Covid-19 vaccine.

On November 23, while winding his speech on the Supply Bill 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat, Zulkifli said the Covid-19 vaccine would be permissible in line with the principle of Maqasid Syariah as it concerned the protection of life.

The government has announced that it has secured Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca and is in the midst of negotiating with other manufacturers to vaccinate over 80 per cent of Malaysia’s population at an estimated cost of RM2.05 billion.

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