Special En Banc Session on the Issuance of Fatwa on DOH Community Vaccination

DAVAO CITY (September 22-23, 2018) – A fatwā is an Islamic legal pronouncement, issued by an expert in religious law (mufti), pertaining to a specific issue, usually at the request of an individual or judge to resolve an issue where Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), is unclear. Typically, such uncertainty arises as Muslim society works to address new issues – issues that develop as technology and society advance.

Regional Darul-Ifta’s mandate of promulgating and issuance of fatawa (legal opinions) pertaining to the whole breath of Islamic jurisprudence, from the ibadat to mu’ammalat (Ifta’) and establishing a system of unifying, standardizing, supporting and improving fatawa (legal opinions) and compiling khutabah, fatawa, and Islamic laws (Tadween). In formulating legal opinions, the Regional Darul Ifta’ shall consider the universally accepted methodology and the reality that the autonomous region is part of a larger secular republic.

The increase in Muslim parents’ refusal and hesitancy to accept childhood vaccination identified as one of the contributing factors in the increase of vaccine-preventable diseases. The negative effect of the Dengvaxia vaccine controversies may inflict more harm than good on Muslim communities. To curb this issue, DOH-ARMM have resorted to involve the help of the Ulama.  Information addressing religious concerns such as the halal issue must be made priority and communicated well to the general public, encouraging not only the acceptance of vaccinations but motivating communities to play an active role in promoting vaccination. DOH-ARMM and RDI-ARMM need to work towards creating awareness among Muslim parents that vaccinations are a preventative public health strategy that has been practiced and acknowledged by many doctors of all faiths

The output of this project is to issue rulings that are useful in the promotion of health thru community vaccination.  If children are not vaccinated they can spread disease to other children who are too young to be vaccinated or to people with weakened immune systems, such as transplant recipients and people with cancer. This could result in long-term complications and even death for these vulnerable people.

Parents want to do everything possible to make sure their children are healthy and protected from preventable diseases. Vaccination is the best way to do that. Vaccination protects children from serious illness and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases, which can include amputation of an arm or leg, paralysis of limbs, hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage, and death. Outbreaks of preventable diseases occur when many parents decide not to vaccinate their children.

A fatwa on vaccination was developed and written to help DOH-ARMM in the implementation of the vaccination program at the community.  The fatwa will simply allow the constituents to believe and abide by the judicial judgment for Allah has given the judge an authority that has not been given to the jurist it is the authority to change reality.”

At the end of the session, the En Banc was able to write and finalize the fatwa on Vaccination.

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