Vaccine is a lifeline, Bangsamoro religious authority reminds Muslims

FIGHT COVID Bangsamoro officials are considering areas near mosques as vaccination sites to increase vaccination coverage in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, Muslim Mindanao.
—Divina M. Suson

ILIGAN CITY—The Bangsamoro Darul-Ifta, the Islamic Advisory Council of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), has issued another religious guideline to help increase immunization coverage in the region.

The national government has expressed concern about a possible mini-spike in COVID-19 cases in the region, as its vaccination coverage is only less than 30% of the target population.

President Duterte asked BARMM leaders, led by Acting Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim, during Monday’s taped briefing, to “give a little push so that the people over there get vaccinate”.

“Let me appeal to everyone: get vaccinated, otherwise we cannot solve the problem because there is a real possibility that those who have already been vaccinated will become infected again,” Mr. Duterte.

“The problem is the variations. There is no way to really tell in advance if we will be hit hard or if it will be an ordinary disease,” he added.

Coverage decline

The Darul-Ifta promulgates opinions related to issues that will impact the practice of Islam.

On Tuesday, Bangsamoro Mufti (legal scholar) Abuhuraira Udasan issued Religious Guidelines No. 32 “in view of the drop in anti-COVID-19 vaccination” to BARMM.

Udasan reminded Muslims that taking preventative and preventative measures against a disease, such as COVID-19, is sanctioned by the Quran, and vaccination is one of those measures.

He said that to save a life, taking “illegal foods” like pork “may be lawful”.

“Vaccination is a kind of lifesaver. Consequently, he [is] there is no doubt that the vaccine ingredient is legal,” Udasan said in the guidelines.

He also assured Muslims that vaccination would not invalidate their fast during Ramadan.

BARMM health authorities had said vaccination campaigns across the region would continue even during the holy month of Ramadan, which started on April 2. During this period, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.

The Darul-Ifta noted that gatherings in mosques provide an opportunity for the vaccination team to vaccinate the largest number of people.

“They can do it in [a] specific room next to or behind the mosque or place of worship,” the guidelines state.


Last week, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., who is responsible for implementing the national COVID-19 task force, said special immunization days would be held at BARMM as national immunization programs focus on areas with low inoculation coverage.

Galvez said the government aims to inoculate 215,776 people in BARMM, or about 60% of the roughly 1.5 million unvaccinated population.

Maranao civic leader Samira Gutoc, a candidate for senator, welcomed the guidelines, saying that setting up vaccination centers near mosques brings the vaccination effort closer to the people. She urged all Muslims to go to vaccination centers and protect themselves against COVID-19.

There is a high rate of vaccine hesitancy and refusal in BARMM, mainly due to doubts about whether vaccines are halal or legal in Islam. INQ

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