|Fatwa by His Eminence, the Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, on the Swine Flu and its impact on Al-Hajj and Al-Umrah seasons:|
The Ministry of Health has asked His Eminence, the Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, a question about Islam’s position on Al-Hajj obligation this year, especially since fears about the spread of swine flu during Hajj extends across the whole Middle East. According to estimations, such a spread of the disease will lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. This issue will be addressed by the Arab Health Ministers who will hold a special conference on Wednesday in this regard.
Questions about this issue have been addressed to the Sayyed from various Islamic countries and Muslim communities in the West. The Sayyed answered these inquiries as follows:
“From an Islamic perspective, people’s health and wellbeing is one of the most important aims which all Islamic legislations have strived to protect. Islam considers health as being a key religious and humanitarian priority and wants mankind to move along the lines of health, wellbeing, and safety; thus Islam prohibits endangering the safety and health of mankind.
In view of this situation, where people sense a genuine threat to their lives and are afraid of the spread of the Swine Flu (H1N1), we would like to lay emphasis to the following:
First, Hajj is the greatest Divine obligation, and one of the most important aspects of Muslims’ glory and unity. Hajj embodies a season for worshipping which should be not be hindered under any circumstances.
Second, the special authorities, whether the countries from which pilgrims take off or the destination countries, should announce a state of emergency and bear full responsibility in preventing the spread of this disease amongst pilgrims, as well as the dangerous repercussions that spring upon their return to their societies and countries.
Third, efforts should be made to raise the awareness of the pilgrims on the precautionary means and prevention methods of infection, which may further spread the disease. Just as it is the responsibility of the countries and authorities, the organizers of the Hajj trips are also responsible as they should follow necessary health care measures with transparency.
Fourth, with regard to the accountable person [Mukallaf] who wants to fulfill the Hajj obligation this year; if he is not afraid of being infected and harmed, then he can perform this obligation, both regarding the Hajj or Umrah. However, if he is engulfed by fears of being infected – based on warnings made by experts – or if he is psychologically stressed out in this regard and thus, he does not feel at ease to perform the Umrah and fulfill the obligation of Hajj, then he is not religiously bound to perform Hajj or Umrah this year.