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Cambridge imam says Covid-19 vaccine myths have nothing to do with Islam


Imam Muhammad Amir Karim, of the Abu Bakr Mosque on Mawson Road in Cambridge, seeks to clarify myths about the vaccines that have nothing to do with religion, and he urges people not to believe sensationalist stories.

Imam Muhammad Amir Karim, of the Abu Bakr Mosque in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell (44274424)
Imam Muhammad Amir Karim, of the Abu Bakr Mosque in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell (44274424)

I am writing these words with great agony and pain. On one side, we observe a growing number of deaths as a result of Covid-19, which is heartbreaking. On the other side, ever-growing myths and conspiracy theories on social media are causing not only restlessness in our society but also putting peoples’ life at great risk, which is also harrowing.

A few people are constantly spreading baseless, concocted, senseless and absurd stories regarding Covid-19 and are misleading a large number of people, especially the BAME community. People belonging to the Muslim community are approaching me time and again to clear their doubts regarding different myths in regard to Covid-19 and get guidance according to the Islamic viewpoint. Being an imam and community leader, I feel it is high time to clarify myths and social taboos that have nothing to do with Islam.

There are verses of Quran and sayings of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that clearly guide us by advising us to not believe unauthenticated information and to refrain from spreading such information in society. In the Quran, chapter No 49, verse No 6, Allah commands the Muslims: “O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become regretful over what you have done.”

It is a noticeably clear command of God that one should not believe any information without verifying the authenticity of such information. Otherwise, you may harm a group of people out of ignorance and later repent on your loss.

I would like to ask our social media lovers - is social media a credible source? Is it not true that any X or Y can introduce his or her conspiracy theory without having a basic knowledge in that field? We were bombarded by so-called expert opinions, conspiracy theories and socio-political analysis on social media by self-proclaimed ‘experts’ at the very beginning of this pandemic in 2019. Some pseudo experts denied the existence of any virus even after many deaths. Some tried to link the pandemic with 5G technology, and some unearthed this secret that biological war had started. Later these experts introduced very illogical solutions to obtain a cure for this disease which led to a total disaster.

A researcher working on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Picture: John Cairns/University of Oxford/PA (44373956)
A researcher working on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Picture: John Cairns/University of Oxford/PA (44373956)

It was a great sigh of relief and ray of hope when the UK started rolling out Covid-19 vaccines on an emergency basis. But unfortunately, these self-proclaimed social media experts are still spreading rumours and baseless information, even more vigorously to confuse people regarding the vaccine. What is their goal or aim? To educate people? To save humanity? Not at all. They are playing with the lives of people by spreading this baseless information on an extremely sensitive matter just to earn more followers and clicks. Many people of the Muslim community have shown their confusion and concern due to this false information and have asked whether they should be vaccinated or not.

I am requesting all of you to reflect upon the above-mentioned verse of the Quran and to not believe groundless information and not to act with panic. Just like how their previous ‘mind-boggling’ theories regarding this pandemic were proved to be widespread lies, any sensible person can imagine the accuracy of their theories regarding the Covid-19 vaccine.

There are credible bodies like the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA), British Medical Association (BMA) and Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) that provide authentic information and guidelines, especially for Muslims. According to their information, Covid-19 vaccines cause no irreversible side effects, do not contain any Haram ingredients, nor aborted foetal cells, or any chip or tracker. It is safe to use.

It is recommended in Islam to use medicine to be cured or to keep yourself safe from the disease. Using medication is a Sunnah, a noble tradition of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) so every Muslim scholar will advise you to vaccinate yourself and to to turn your ears away from misleading information.

This difficult time demands us to act wisely and prudently. To not believe all the unauthenticated social media information we come across and not to share such foolish information to others. Abu Huraira (RA), a companion of the Prophet (PBUH), reported: “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: ‘It is enough falsehood for someone to speak of everything he hears.’”

Therefore, it is especially important not to share or relay such information. Sometimes we become a part of a rumour-spreading group by sharing baseless information. This not only creates chaos in society but sometimes leads to loss of life especially regarding such a sensitive matter like Covid-19.

Muslim scholars and medical associations have already given their recommendations to get vaccinated. But if you have any doubts or queries, please contact the authorities or credible organisations so you may feel satisfied - and please stay away from the sensationalist social media stories.

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