In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

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Fluenz® nasal flu vaccine : Halāl or Harām

Fluenz® nasal flu vaccine : Halāl or Harām


Fluenz® nasal flu vaccine is intended to provide prophylaxis against influenza in children and adolescents from 24 months to less than 18 years of age. It is offered free of cost to eligible children by the National Health Service in the U.K. as a nasal spray on an annual basis either at the general practice or at school. The nasal spray flu vaccine will not only help protect the child against flu, the infection will also be less able to spread from them to their family, carers and the wider population.

The question of whether the Fluenz® nasal flu vaccine is halāl (lawful according to Islāmic law) or harām (forbidden according to Islāmic law) has arisen amongst the U.K. Mulsim community in the last few years and, hence, whether or not it is permissble for Muslim children to be administered with this vaccine from a religious perspective. There are scholarly rulings to support each of the religious standings on this issue and are sumarised below for information and understnding purposes.


General principles

1. Every Muslim is under obligation to abide by the rulings of lslāmic Sharīʿa, especially in the areas of food and medicine, which is conducive to a healthy life style in diet and therapy. Allāh Almighty, out of His infinite Mercy and Providence to facilitate the pursuit and observance of His law, granted us concessions in cases of dire and ordinary needs which are recognised by the Sharīʿa. These include: "Necessities overrule prohibitions", "The elevation of ordinary need to the status of dire need when indicated", and "The basic rule is that all things are lawful unless specifically prohibited.  Similarly, all things are juridically clean except those specified not to be.

2. There is scholarly consensus (ijmā'),  that the pig is judicially unclean, najis al-ayn. Foodstuff and medicines containing judicially unclean (najis) substances are prohibited by Sharīʿa unless warranted by an exception due to necessity (darurah).

3. The scholars are agreed that judicially unclean (najis) products can undergo a process of istiḥāla (legal transformation) which makes them judicially pure (tāhir) and therefore, turns prohibited things into things permissible by the Sharīʿa. Some Muslim jurists (mainly Shafii fiqh jurists) do not accept that the principle of istiḥāla (legal transformation) is applicable to porcine products.

4. The original porcine gelatine is degraded by hydrolysis to peptide molecules to the extent that the Fluenz® flu vaccine does not contain any detectable DNA from pigs. The process of istiḥāla (legal transformation) has not been clearly defined by the classical jurists so the Muslim jurists who accept that istiḥāla (transformation) is applicable to porcine products disagree amongst themselves as to whether istiḥāla (legal transformation) has taken place or not in the manufacture of Fluenz® nasal flu vaccine using porcine gelatine. Those jurists who opine that istiḥāla (legal transformation) has taken place consider the Fluenz® vaccine to be halāl, those jurists who opine that istiḥāla (legal transformation) has not taken place consider the Fluenz® vaccine to be harām.

More details of fatāwa on the issue can be found here.

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