#308: Counterfeit Vaccine Certificate

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. Is it sinful if we forged or use counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine certificate? Hope for an explanation.

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

We begin with the statement of Allah SWT:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَخُونُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ وَتَخُونُوا أَمَانَاتِكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

“O you who have believed, do not betray Allah and the Messenger or betray your trusts while you know [the consequence].” [1]

Al-Maraghi explained the prohibition against betraying the trust of Allah SWT by neglecting Allah’s commandments, violating His prohibitions and transgressing the boundaries of religion. The same for betraying Rasullullah PBUH by not following the explanations of the Prophet PBUH, or rather holding unto the explanation of nafs (desires), the opinion of his teacher, father or order of the ruler. Not only that, but the betrayal towards Rasullullah PBUH is also in the form of not following the Prophet PBUH’s sunnah, but follows the sunnah of his father or ruler who claims they know better what is wanted by Allah and His Messenger.

Then, betraying the trust between people is also explained in matters that involve the affairs of muamalat, character and social. The same for the prohibition of betraying a ruler in matters of politics, for the act will benefit the enemy. Thus, in the context of the prohibition of betraying the trust between people, betrayal in terms of trust in education and work is also prohibited by Allah SWT. [2]

Counterfeit Vaccine Certificate

Life in the new norm, the importance of taking the vaccine is undeniable. The reason is the most important thing is to protect oneself, especially for individuals in the high-risk group. On this basis, the government obligates the citizens to take the vaccine to give extra protection and decrease the risk of a severe COVID-19 infection.

Generally, the act of deception is included in prohibited and sinful matters. This is based on a hadith from Abu Hurairah RA, where the Prophet PBUH went through a place of food (that is going to be sold). Suddenly, in the piles of food, inside it, he can feel some dampness – spoiled. The Prophet PBUH asked: “What is this, O owner of the grain?” He replied, “Rain had fallen on it, O Allah’s Messenger.” He said, 

أَفَلَا جَعَلْتَهُ فَوْقَ الطَّعَامِ كَيْ يَرَاهُ النَّاسُ، مَنْ غَشَّ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي

“Why did you not put it (the damp part) on the top of the foodstuff so that people might see it? Whoever cheats has nothing to do with me.” [3]

In a narration from Muslim, the hadith comes with the wording:

وَمَنْ غَشَّنَا فَلَيْسَ مِنَّا

“And he who treats us dishonestly does not belong to us.” [4]

Syams al-Haq al-‘Azim Abadi cited from al-Khattabi, said that the above hadith means not on our road and madhhab (the guidance of the Prophet PBUH). In other words, whoever lies to his brother and doesn’t advise him, then indeed, he has left the guidance of the Prophet PBUH and doesn’t hold unto the sunnah of the Prophet PBUH. However, there are some scholars who are of the opinion that it denies the person from Islam. However, this interpretation is untrue because the meaning meant from the hadith is to follow the guidance and sunnah of the Prophet PBUH. This is strengthened through the statement of Allah SWT:

فَمَن تَبِعَنِي فَإِنَّهُ مِنِّي ۖ وَمَنْ عَصَانِي فَإِنَّكَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“So, whoever follows me – then he is of me; and whoever disobeys me – indeed, You are [yet] Forgiving and Merciful.” [5]

Thus, this hadith is evidence that shows the prohibition against lying and this matter is agreed upon. [6]. Hence, it is clear to us that the act of deception is not from the teachings of Islam. A person can claim and consider the act of counterfeiting vaccine certificate as a small matter and shouldn’t be magnified. In truth, this act is among the main reasons that cause various issues and problems in society such as the rampant issue of corruption, deception and others.

Not only that, the act of counterfeiting vaccine certificate actually is included as an act that exposes one’s person to dangers because those who don’t take vaccine will have an increased risk of infection and infecting others. This is in line with the prohibition stated in the Quran through Allah SWT’s statement:

وَلَا تُلْقُوا بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ

And do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining].” [7]

The above verse means not to put ourselves into matters that lead to your own destruction, however, do things that will benefit and ensure your safety. [8]

Conclusion

According to the above discussion and deliberations, we conclude that the act of counterfeiting vaccine certificates is included in the matters that are prohibited in religion and its doer is considered sinful. What’s more, the act of counterfeiting vaccine certificates will expose us to the dangers and harms while at the same time risking others in the society and country. As responsible citizens, we are supposed to answer the call of the government to take the vaccine as one of the efforts to protect ourselves and the society from COVID-19.

Taking this opportunity, we’d also like to advise those who have done this to reflect and repent to Allah for what has happened with true repentance at the same time increasing their dhikrs and istighfar to Him.

May Allah SWT grant us all a clear understanding in religion. Amin.

Wallahu a’lam.

[1] Surah al-Anfal: 27

[2] See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 9/191-194.

[3] Narrated by Muslim (102); Narrated by Ibn Hibban (4905) and Syu‘aib al-Arna’ut stated the sanad of this hadith is sahih according to the conditions of Muslim.

[4] Narrated by Muslim (101)

[5] Surah Ibrahim: 36

[6] See ‘Aun al-Ma‘bud, 9/231;

[7] Surah al-Baqarah: 195

[8] See Zubdah al-Tafasir min Fath al-Qadir, pg. 38.

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