Leaders and scholars from Britain’s Muslim community have told their congregations that there is no conflict between fasting during Ramadan and receiving coronavirus vaccinations. The month of Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims worldwide, and sees worshippers abstaining from food and drink, between sunrise and sunset.
While religious teachings compel Muslims to refuse “anything entering the body” while fasting, scholars from the UK have said that this rule does not apply to coronavirus vaccines. Imam Mustafa Hussein, from Birmingham’s Green Lane Masjid mosque, has reportedly said that: “The vaccine doesn’t have nutritional value, and when we look at injections, we look at what they will provide the body. If the vaccine doesn’t provide the body with any nourishment or nutritional value, then you’re allowed to take it, even if you are fasting. “It does not break your fast at all. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with taking the vaccine during Ramadan.”
Qari Asim, an imam in Leeds and chair of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, echoed Hussein’s ruling, and said it was an opinion shared by the majority of British imams. “The majority of Islamic scholars are of the view that taking the vaccine during Ramadan will not invalidate the fast,” Asim told the BBC.
Ramadan is expected to begin early next week when the moon is sighted over Makkah in Saudi Arabia. The month’s timing coincides with a major drive to provide adults with vaccinations across the UK. There has been concern that inoculations for the UK’s 2.5 million Muslims might slow down during the holiday.
British citizens from Pakistan and Bangladesh were already among the groups worst affected by the pandemic, while misinformation campaigns and myths surrounding vaccines also made them more likely to refuse a jab when offered.
To counter this, British mosques and their imams have played a major role in encouraging congregations to take the vaccine, highlighting its religious permissibility. Some mosques have even opened their doors to the UK’s National Health Service for use as vaccination centers.
New data suggests that these efforts have caused major improvements in vaccine confidence.
Figures from polling company Ipsos MORI suggest a significant increase in ethnic minority Britons who say they have had, or are likely to have, the vaccine — up from 77 percent in January to 92 percent in March.