Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Islam offers good guidance on containing H1N1: Mufti

THE recent Influenza A (H1N1) epidemic is a validation that certain verses stated in Al-Quran and hadith, forbidding Muslims to consume pork, are not just empty words, said the State Mufti yesterday.

Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr Ustaz Hj Abdul Aziz Juned highlighted this in his lecture yesterday at the Kampung Lambak Mosque in Berakas after mass Isyak prayer.

"Al-Quran is full and filled with knowledge, and no one can compete with the knowledge of Allah (SWT)," said the State Mufti, adding that pigs are forbidden to Muslims because the Almighty knows the danger that it poses and can cause.

Stating that there is a need to discuss the H1N1 outbreak, he reminded the congregation that in Islam, pigs are mughallazhah (things considered as najis or ritually unclean), such as dogs and pigs.

According to the State Mufti, there are four different verses in Al-Quran that remind and warn Muslims of the danger posed by pigs.

These quranic verses are in Surah al-Baqarah verse 173, Surah al-Maidah verse three, Surah al-Anam verse 145 and Surah an-Naml verse 115.

"One of the verses explains that the reason pigs are forbidden to Muslims is because it is dirty," he said.

The State Mufti explained that it is considered dirty because pigs contain bacterias, viruses and parasites that cause and carry various diseases.

He added that once the viruses and parasites are transferred to humans, it can cause a variety of dangerous diseases or infections.

Examples of some diseases that the State Mufti gave were Influenza A, a viral infection on the respiratory system; Japanese B encephalitis, a viral disease causing serious inflammation of the brain; stomatitis, which is a viral infection of the mouth characterised by ulcers and inflammation; and myocarditis, an inflammation of the myocardium (muscular wall of the heart or heart muscle).

The State Mufti added that pigs are not only carriers of diseases and a host for bacterias, viruses and parasites, but they can also evolve and adapt itself to become more vicious and dangerous types of strains.

It has been proven that the flu virus can adapt itself and be transferred to humans, he said, adding that this is what is currently happening.

He further commented that the change of the infection's name from swine flu to H1N1 was to get rid of the negative image associated with pigs.

These negative images brought up by the H1N1 flu has brought fear to many, up to the extent that it might bring about the slaughter of pigs, said the State Mufti.

There are also fears that it will affect the pork product industry, estimated to cost billions of United States (US) dollars, he said, adding that regardless of the epidemic's name, experts have stated that the virus threatening to affect the world is a flu virus caused by pigs.

Quoting from the Associated Press (AP) report, the State Mufti explained that, according to Dr Raul Rabadan, a Biology professor from Colombia University, US, scientists have traced the virus genes to pigs, where six out of eight segment branch of the virus are from pigs and the remaining two are derived from birds and humans. (RSH1)

Source: The Brunei Times

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