Ramadan is here and there is no end to the COVID19 concerns. One of the bigger queries right now is if the vaccine shot invalidates the fast.
Also, are there possible side effects and whether one has to break the fast. We Muslims should come forward in these trying times to take proper action and reduce vaccine hesitancy.
Is vaccine acceptable during fasting?
To answer our first question, no, vaccine shot does not invalidate our fast. Majority of Muslim scholars and Fiqh council members all around the world including members from Mecca attested to that statement. As the vaccines do not contain nutritious vitamin or food substance, injecting such a thing into the body doesn't break the fast.
The Islamic Foundation of Bangladesh states that, 'Muslims can receive Covid-19 vaccine shots while fasting during Ramadan' on a press release on March 15th. The Ministry of Religious Affairs issued a handout in this regard after a views-exchange meeting at the Islamic Foundation on Sunday.
Duty to safeguard against illness
The renowned Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi stated that using vaccines to boost immunity against disease is lawful, for it is a means of warding off something evil before it afflicts people. It is a duty of Muslims to do their best to ward off harm of all kinds, either before or after it comes. There is a juristic rule in this regard: Harm is to be warded off as much as possible.
When is it permissible to break the fast?
Concerns about vaccine-related side effects and requiring breaking the fast should be addressed and weighed against the serious morbidity related to COVID-19. The side effects of COVID vaccines are relatively mild. But if anyone has developed headache, high fever or pain that cannot be tolerated, or if he feels to about to vomit, then it's permissible to break the fast, and then he can make up for that fast after Ramadan.
How to help dispel myths
Our religious leaders can play a good role in promoting acceptability and education towards vaccination during Ramadan. Religious leaders should use Friday prayer sermons to promote the acceptance of vaccines, dispelling myths with worshippers.
How vaccination is about about protecting others
Our Prophet Muhammad SAW said, "If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place." Prophet also said, "Get treated; because Allah has also created a cure for every sickness". In light of the Prophet's words we can see that Islam places a particular emphasis on the measures that prevent contagious diseases and the vaccines created for Covid-19 should be seen in the context of the Hadiths. So, it's our duty as Muslim to take necessary steps to create awareness regarding the COVID 19 and the vaccination program among general people.
Dr. Nawsabah Noor, MBBS (DMC), FCPS (Medicine), MRCP (UK), ECFMG Certified (USA), Medicine Consultant.