By: Prof. Khaswar Syamsu, Ph.D
Professor of Agroindustrial Technology Departement, IPB University,
Head of Halal Science Research Center, IPB University
There are several opinions of jurisprudence scholars in addressing the involvement of porcine materials in the production process of food, beverages, drugs, and cosmetics. The lightest is istihalah in which the change of the element of porcine materials into another product removes its haram status (prohibition). This opinion, for example, justifies capsules made from pork gelatin as halal capsules.
The second opinion, which is also relatively mild, is istikhlak in which the mixture of porcine materials in water in large amounts until the loss of smell, color, and taste of the haram substances removes the haram status of the mixture. This opinion justifies products that use porcine materials as halal, as long as they are not detectable in the final product.
The third opinion is ikhtilath, which is the mixing of unlawful and unclean or haram and najis materials with halal materials . In this case, the status is different between the mixing of a solid object that can be separated from unclean substances and impurities, with the mixing in a liquid substance that can not be separated from unclean substances and impurities.
In the context of the involvement of porcine in liquid media for vaccine production, the entire liquid media becomes haram even though it is not detectable in the final product.
The fourth opinion is the intifa’, the prohibition of using porcine materials and its derivatives in the manufacture of food, beverages, medicines, and cosmetics.
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The Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) not only overshadows one Islamic organization, but all Islamic organizations in Indonesia, and with the principle of prudent takes the strictest opinion among the opinions of the fiqh.
MUI Fatwa Commission decided as haram for the involvement of porcine materials in food, beverage, medicine, and cosmetics based on the principle of ikhtilath and intifa’, despite not being detectable in the final product.
Based on the MUI fatwa, LPPOM MUI translates it into halal standards in the Halal Assurance System 23000 (HAS 23000) in which one of the 11 criteria is Traceability. Products that are declared as halal products are products that in the manufacturing process can be traced and proven that all materials used are halal and supported by valid halal supporting documents and is manufactured at the facilities which are free from haram and najis materials.
Moreover, one of the criteria in the Halal Assurance System, namely the Criteria of Facility does not allow facilities that have direct contact with materials and products, to be used together (sharing facility) to produce halal products with other products containing porcine materials or its derivatives.
For the vaccine industry, the process of material substitution in vaccine manufacturing is not easy. Therefore, for the vaccine industry, especially domestic vaccines that are being developed, it is ideal to consider the halalness of the ingredients used since the beginning of the process of research and development of vaccines so as not to cause halal problems later on in the future.
Although the MUI Fatwa Commission has decided that certain brands of COVID-19 vaccine are haram (fatwa of product), the MUI allows the use of the vaccine (fatwa of usage) on the basis of urgent need and emergency.
Emergencies occur because the availability of existing halal vaccines does not meet the need for the implementation of COVID-19 vaccination. This is also in accordance with Surat Al-Baqarah: 173 regarding the permission to consume what is haram in a state of emergency according to Islamic rules or shari’a. Even though it was declared as haram by the MUI, the COVID-19 vaccine can still be used for emergency reasons. (***)