Azizi Khalid

July 27, 2021

Should a Thinking Muslim Vaccinate Against Covid-19?

One of the many strengths of Islam is its scientific approach to religion. And this can clearly be seen in the science of hadith. The science of hadith forms the foundation of the peer review system in today's academic journals. Other scholars will review each transmitter of hadith's background, and each one will have a score from very trustworthy to a known liar, from having a solid memory to being forgetful. 

Hadith will be ranked based on the strength of its transmitter.  When a hadith transmitted by a weaker transmitter contradicts one coming from a stronger transmitter, the hadith from the stronger transmitter will be accepted. And when all the credible transmitter of hadith agrees upon a hadith, its authenticity is beyond questioning.

One of the many reasons a hadith can be classified as weak is because it is narrated by an unknown transmitter. An unknown transmitter is someone whose name is recorded, but nothing is known about his background. Transmission from an unknown source cannot contradict a credible transmitter, especially if the narration goes against an agreed-upon hadith.

I am not an expert in hadith, nor do I plan to write about the science hadith through this post. The science of hadith is too complex to be explained without attending a proper class and studying the textbooks. But I wanted to illustrate the level of logical thinking and systematic methods used to preserve our religion.

What does all this have anything to do with vaccination? Today, some people call the Islamic scholars supporting vaccination as sellouts, having been bought by the corrupt governments of the world (New World Order), or worst, agents of Dajjal. Is that true? 

A scholar is recognised by their training — someone who has systematically spent a certain number of years studying Islam from a recognised institution. A scholar is also recognised by their peers as a scholar. Today, most scholars belong to a particular school of thought, such as Azhari, Salafi, Deobandi, and others, or at least leans towards one. 

These schools of thought agree upon most of the fundamentals of Islam but have differences in interpreting the minutiae. Very rarely do they agree on the details of contemporary issues. But somehow, all major Islamic institutions in the world agree upon vaccinating against Covid-19. We do hear dissenting voices from some corners of the planet — but like hadith, the opinions of the Unknowns are ignored when they contradict with more credible sources. It doesn't make sense that one man knows the Deen better than all the institutions and their scholars.

Is there a possibility that all these institutions have been bought? Prophet Muhammad said, "My ummah will not collectively agree upon a wrong." My ummah in this hadith refers to the scholars. It is impossible that all the scholars of our time have been bought or all of them have been mistaken. Individual scholars are not infallible, but their collective consensus (I know 'consensus' is collective, but I added the word for emphatic reasons) is protected. 

In another hadith, Prophet Muhammad told us that when confusion is rife in the ummah, stick with the Sawad al-A'zam or the overwhelming majority. The largest group of scholars support vaccination, so vaccination is halal in the case of Covid-19.

"But that Imam said that it is haram..." Yes, you will find some dissenting voices. But most of them come from untrained individuals or, even if trained, are going against stronger opinions. Logic and religion tell us to ignore them and stick to the overwhelming majority.

Azizi Khalid
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