Almustafa Welfare Trust International: Forefront to spread awareness about the benefits of vaccines in Muslim community

Mushtaq Mashriqi

Last year when reports of new type of flu emerged from Chinese city of Wuhaan nobody imagined this virus would turn into pandemic. Within few months Coronavirus engulfed more than one hundred countries killing over two and half Million and infecting over 110 Million people. Chinese leaders are used to lying and hiding things from their own people and from the world at large. Chinese authorities at first tried to down play the gravity of this dangerous flu which turned out to be SARS 2 Coronavirus or Covid 19. China had experienced similar type of flu SARS 1 in 2003 which killed more than 800 people and brought the wheels of Chinese economy to stop. Right from the start misinformation was deliberately spread about this virus due to its potential adverse effects on Chinese economy. Former US president Trump blamed China for not telling the world this killer virus can spread by people to people contact. Most of the Western leaders suspected that deadly virus which might have escaped from Wuhaan Institute or Virology by accident. It was common knowledge that Chinese virologists were doing research to prepare vaccines to counter any new breakouts of SARS viruses. If China had informed WHO of the seriousness of this virus other countries could have taken precautionary steps to enforce lockdowns. By March 2021 British government announced its first lockdown due to alarming deaths. Last year fake news about Coronavirus were circulating among Muslim communities. Some of the surveys showed in January 2021 South Asian communities were reluctant to get vaccine jabs. Conspiracy theorists falsely claimed that pig-based gelatine in vaccines has invisible chip in them which could be injected into bodies of Muslims to keep track of their movements. There were many fantastical stories and one was that Bill Gates has plans to produce and sell Covid 19 vaccines and make Billions.
It is very encouraging to see that British Muslims have rejected those fake stories and shown their enthusiasm for Covid 19 vaccines. We have to appreciate how many Imams and community leaders have allowed their mosques and Islamic centres to be used as vaccination centres. Many Muslim charity organisations have also joined the NHS drive to get ethnic minorities vaccinated. like other charities Almustafa Welfare Trust International has been at the forefront to spread awareness about the benefits of vaccines in Muslim community.

However, there are certain places in UK where Muslims have anti-vaccine sentiments but they are tiny minority. We have to remember many areas in Pakistan people are still resisting vaccine programme to eradicate Polio Virus.
Historically Islamic scholars have invoked the concept of Istihala to allow use of Haram animals’ gelatine in preparation of medicines. Gelatine is derived from collagen which is natural protein in the animal’s skin and tissues from pigs and cows. International Fiqh Academy of Saudi Arabia issued a directive to Muslims to co-operate with health authorities in their countries to administer Covid 19 vaccines.
Saudi Arabia later announced that all Muslims who want to perform Hajj and Ummrah must show a certificate that they have had Covid 19 vaccine. Fiqah Academy of India has declared that the use of gelatine is lawful or halal under the principle of Istihala for greater benefits to human lives. According to views of Imam Muhammad Bin Alshibani in Raddul Mukhtar Alla Darrul Mukhtar, use of Istihala means through rigorous process of purification gelatine transforms into new product which is permissible for use in medicines.
Many European countries had halted their vaccination roll out programmes for few weeks after reports of blood clotting events in people who had received Oxford AZ vaccines. On 18th March Europe’s Medicines Regulator European Medicines Agency ( EMA ) declared Oxford-Astra-Zeneca vaccine was safe and effective to use.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) reviewed the jab after 13 European countries suspended use of the vaccine over fears of a link to blood clots.
Mushtaq Mashriqi
It found the jab was “not associated” with a higher risk of clots.
Germany, France, Italy and Spain said they would resume using the jab.
It is up to individual EU states to decide whether and when to re-start vaccinations using the AstraZeneca vaccine. Sweden said it needed a “few days” to decide.
The main objection about Oxford vaccine had been that how can they make a vaccine which usually takes ten years to make after of trials and tests.
One of the researcher, who developed the vaccine, Professor Sarah Gilbert has explained that work on Oxford vaccine did not start when Covid 19 broke out but it had started years ago to tackle any potential deadly virus which emerged in the world. She said our team had been very disappointed at the response of the world community to control Ebola outbreak in 2014 in Africa which killed 11000 people.
Professor Sarah Gilbert further said conventional vaccines use a killed or weakened form of the original infection, or inject fragments of it into the body. But these are slow to develop.
Instead the Oxford researchers constructed ChAdOx1 – or Chimpanzee Adenovirus Oxford One.
Scientists took a common cold virus that infected chimpanzees and engineered it to become the building block of a vaccine against almost anything.
Before Covid 19 broke 330 people had already been been given ChAdOx1 based-vaccines for diseases ranging from flu to Zika virus, and prostate cancer to the tropical disease chikungunya.
The virus from chimps is genetically modified so it cannot cause an infection in people. It can then be modified again to contain the genetic blueprints for whatever you want to train the immune system to attack. This target is known is an antigen.
ChAdOx1 is in essence a sophisticated, microscopic postman. All the scientists have to do is change the package.

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