There’s a scholarly consensus around the world that vaccination during fasting does not compromise your fast in the month of Ramadan.
As the holy month of Ramadan starts on April 13, many Muslims are beginning to wonder whether they can have the Covid-19 vaccine while observing the fast.
A large number of countries have kicked off vaccination campaigns globally in order to combat the pandemic, and they will continue to inoculate their citizens despite Ramadan. But the question does remain among those who observe it, as to whether the shot violates a fast.
Here's what Islamic scholars say.
"There is no nutritious vitamin or food substance in any vaccine, including the Covid-19 vaccine. Injecting such a thing into the body does not break the fast," Idris Bozkurt, a top official of the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), told Anadolu Agency.
During Ramadan, Muslims cannot eat, drink or have sexual intercourse from the outbreak of dawn to dusk.
Prof. Dr. Ahmet Yaman, who teaches at the Faculty of Theology at Necmettin Erbakan University, explained the Islamic perspective on fasting and vaccination.
Yaman quoted one of Prophet Muhammad’s sayings, which reads: “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place."
In light of the Prophet's words, Yaman said that Islam places a particular emphasis on the take up of measures that prevent contagious diseases.
Yaman invoked another of Prophet Muhammad’s sayings, “Get treated; because Allah has also created a cure for every sickness".
Yaman said that the vaccines created for Covid-19 should be seen in the context of the Hadiths (the Prophet’s sayings).
Those who decide not to have it, he said, are violating the rights of the entire society and humanity, too.
“Vaccines and other injections do not break the fast,” Yaman said. “Fasting can only be broken by eating and drinking and sexual intercourse. Covid-19 vaccine does not break the fast because it does not mean food or vitamin intake from outside”.
The previous vaccine debates
Huseyin Ari, a scholar at the High Council of Religious Affairs of Turkey, told TRT World that Islamic scholars have evaluated whether any kind of inoculation does indeed break a fast.
Based on different circumstances and the nature of inoculation, they argue that vitamin injections and intravenous serum and blood donation are considered as violations.
“On the other hand, they stated that injections such as pain relievers and insulin jabs used by those with diabetes do not break the fast since they aren't taken as food supplements,” Ari said.
“In this respect, the use of vaccines, which are stated to be protective against the pandemic by specialist physicians, are religiously appropriate”.
The grand mufti of Tunisia, Othman Battikh, had requested the country’s Ministry of Health
to be vaccinated on “the first day of Ramadan”.
"I am still waiting for an answer, and I do not think the ministry will deny me the vaccine," said Battikh.
Battikh's office of Al-Iftaa, the highest religious authority of Tunisia, published a statement urging all Tunisians to keep participating in the national vaccination campaign during Ramadan.
Religious leaders and officials from the Middle East and North Africa commonly share the idea that receiving the Covid-19 jab is compatible with the soul of Ramadan fasting.
The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Bahrain ruled that the vaccination poses no problem for the month-long holy month due to there being no dietary intake.
In Jordan, the General Iftaa Department for the Hashemite Kingdom said the vaccine is acceptable during Ramadan as it is applied to the recipient’s muscle.
Members of an Islamic society in the United States have said that the rollout must continue for Muslims, irrespective of Ramadan.
In the UK, a group administered over a hundred vaccines outside a South Manchester Mosque after Friday prayers ahead of Ramadan.