Vaccinations Complied With Islamic Shariah: Scholars
Eminent religious scholars from Pakistan and Afghanistan have reiterated that polio vaccines are not only safe and in compliance with Islamic principles, but also a religious and moral duty of all parents
It was stated in a press release issued by EOC KP religious scholars in a joint declaration at the Afghanistan-Pakistan Eminent Ulama Conference held in Doha (Qatar).
The conference is an innovative step in the global effort to stop polio virus, under the aegis of the Islamic Advisory Group for polio eradication (IAG).
For the first time, the IAG convened religious scholars from both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in a bid to appreciate their value as community leaders and to secure bilateral support for polio eradication efforts across the joint corridors through which the virus is being transmitted.
This came as one of the prominent recommendations of the Fifth Annual Islamic Advisory Group Meeting in 2018 to bring together around 30 Islamic scholars from the two countries together with representatives of IAG partner organizations from Al Azhar Al Sharif, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
As the last remaining bastions of wild polio virus are in the bordering areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two countries are tackling challenges ranging from poor health systems to community mistrust. As global polio eradication efforts address the former, advocates including religious scholars are essential to addressing the latter and persuading parents for the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
The Conference was inaugurated by Dr Darwish bin Saif Al Maharbi, undersecretary for administrative and Financial Affairs, Ministry of Health, Oman and Sheikh Dr Kahlan bin Nabhan Al Kharusi, assistant Grand Mufti of Oman who welcomed the participants and prayed for their success.
"Children are precious in the eyes of Islam, which requires us to call for their protection," said Dr Al Kharusi while referring to the importance of responsibility in issuing fatwas and the role of scholars in clarifying Islamic rulings to the general public.
In his address during the opening session of the conference, Deputy of Al Azhar Al Sharif, Dr Saleh Abbas Goma Saleh, called upon parents to vaccinate their children to protect them from harm.
"The family bears the responsibility of the proper upbringing and caring for children and maintaining their health," he said.
"It is disturbing to see parents neglecting their responsibilities and leave their children at risk of illness and disability.
He also assured the participating scholars from Afghanistan and Pakistan that the fatwa-issuing partners of the IAG support the use of vaccination.
The Secretariat of the Academy denounced those fatwas prohibiting vaccinations and called upon preachers and imams to invite people to welcome vaccination campaigns." "The sole purpose of all vaccination teams is to serve humanity, and to completely eradicate numerous communicable diseases, which represent an onerous burden, and could turn into global epidemics." "Let us unite in exerting efforts and come to an equitable common word for the good of humankind." The World Health Organization Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO), Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, spoke at length about the polio vaccine and the journey towards eradicating polio in the EMRO region and the world.
"In the past, around 1000 children in the world were infected by the disease every day," he said. "But with the development of a safe vaccine that was used to vaccinate every child worldwide, we have succeeded in bringing polio to the brink of eradication.
A 99.9% decline in polio cases has already been achieved since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched in 1988, with more than 10 million people walking today who would otherwise have been paralyzed by polio."He also thanked the participating scholars for their role as community leaders and urged them to reject misinformation about the vaccines that deprive children of their protection.