@Halal | MARCH-APRIL. 2020
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to seek treatment
A matter of concern during this pandemic
is the ability to perform obligatory rituals
N MARCH 11, 2020 the World
Health Organisation declared
Covid-19 a pandemic, sweeping
across the globe, disrupting
the social and economic life of
humankind, regardless of their
age, gender, religion, race or social hierarchy.
In the absence of a vaccine and direct
cures to combat this virus, social distanc-
ing measures were encouraged to slow the
transmissions and to ease the burden on
With regards to understanding the
pandemic and the treatments available,
Dr NorsidahKu Zaifah, Associate Professor
of Pharmacology from the International
Islamic University Malaysia, shed some light
on the proper reaction in the perspective of
Islamic teaching and healthcare.
“The Islamic view towards medical treat-
ment generally falls into fi ve categories,”
Dr Norsidah shared.
• Permissible if there is no certainty that it is
of benefi t, such as the treatment of cancer,
primarily if it has spread.
• Recommended, if the use of medicine is
most likely to be benefi cial, whether to
reduce the symptoms or heal the disease.
• Obligatory to use the medicine if the treat-
ment is curative.
• It is makruh to use doubtful medical
treatments when the permissible ones are
• The last is haram to use medical treatment
when there is no need to do so.
In the medical context, the principle of
halal generally means the same — things
or practices that are permitted, allowed or
lawful as opposed to haram.
“As for seeking treatment for Covid-19, it
may fall within the second and third category,
as for some categories of patients, the disease
can be fatal without appropriate manage-
ment and treatment,” Dr Norsidah explained.
has a right
OFFICE OF THE
A trial, to face
and refl ection
as outlined in the
Dr NorsidahKu Zaifah,
of Pharmacology from
the International Islamic
Muslims must seek treatment when
afflicted with illness, and so in the case
with Covid-19. The management of Covid-19
involves the screening, collection of sample
and treatment of patients based on the sever-
ity of the disease.
Please explain what halal means in medical terms?
Halal in medical terms means that the medicine or treat-
ment (expanding beyond the classical defi nition of halal
in fi qh):
• “Does not contain substances from animals that are not
halal or not slaughtered according to Islamic law.
• Does not contain substances which are considered najis
by Islamic law.
• Safe to be used, non-toxic, would not cause damage or
intoxication and not harmful to health.
• Not prepared, processed or manufactured using equip-
ment contaminated with najis according to Islamic law.
• Does not contain human body parts or products which
are not allowed by Islamic law.”
What is the Muslim view of the Covid-19 pandemic and
The coronavirus disease 19 (Covid-19) is a highly transmit-
table and pathogenic viral infection. It is caused by a novel/
newly-discovered severe acute respiratory syndrome coro-
navirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and detected fi rst in Wuhan, China,
According to DrNorsidah, there is no
proven eff ective medication for Covid-19 at
the moment. However, the drug Avigan or
Favipiravir, has been proposed as a potential
treatment for Covid-19 infl icted patients. The
antiviral infl uenza drug, approved for clinical
use in Japan in 2014, has shown good clinical
effi cacy against Covid-19.
“It is a pyrazine analogue that is shown to
exert potent antiviral activity against a broad
spectrum of viruses in multiple in vivodis-
ease models. The chemical used is not from an
animal; thus, there is no restriction in term
of its usage for Muslims,” said Dr Norsidah.
There is no restriction concerning the
medical equipment used for the manage-
ment of patients, as it is the same equipment
used for patients of other illness as well.
As vaccines are being researched for
Covid-19, Dr Norsidah asserts that while halal
certifi cation is essential, it is not urgent in
this current situation.
“The general guideline is as the Maqasid
Syariah outlines, whereby any lawful health
practices that help preserve life are allowed,
thus would include successfully developed
vaccines,” she added.
Non-halal medications are allowed if there
is a need for it and no permissible alterna-
tive that can treat the illness is available.
Nonetheless, it is legally obligated (fardki-
fayah) for Muslims to do research that can
in late December 2019.
The intermediate source of origin and transfer to
humans is not precisely known. However, it was established
that there is a fast rate of human to human transmission.
The virus later spread across China from and eventually to
other countries and continents in a short time, infecting
the human species rapidly. To date, there is no clinically
approved antiviral drug or vaccine available to be used
The Muslim worldview
In mid-March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO)
declared the outbreak of Covid-19 a pandemic. Before
that, the situation has forced certain countries to take
pre-emptive measures to curb the spread of the deadly
virus. Malaysia in particular, having 61% of its population
Muslims, began to suspend mass gatherings following the
detection of the virus spreading among individuals attend-
ing an international convention late March this year.
Subsequently, mosques and other houses of worship were
instructed to close. Congregational prayers including Friday
prayer were suspended until further notice.
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