A member of the
Senior Ulema Council claims pandemics is a hoax and that only “God
decides in the matter”. He backs his argument by saying that during
Ramadan, the number of funerals did not rise over the previous year,
and that many of the people he knew did not get the disease despite
not being vaccinated.
The world might be on alert for the new influenza, and Saudi
authorities might be setting up preventive measures in preparation
for Hajj to Makkah next November, but for Sheikh Saleh al-Luhaydan,
a member of the Senior Ulema Council, it is useless because the
swine flu is a huge hoax hatched by business interests. In such
matters, “God decides”, the sheikh said.
Reported in Asharq Al-Awsat, the views
of the Muslim religious leader were made public during a lecture at
Al-Rajihi Mosque, in Riyadh.
Asked for a ruling on whether a person
can pray in his house if he fears going to the mosque as a
precaution against being infected by the swine flu, the sheikh said
that it was not possible to “know how serious this epidemic is.”
He backed his claim by saying that
during Ramadan, there was no rise in the number of funerals over
last year. In addition, the Islamic scholar-cum-improvised
virologist said he knew people who had not been vaccinated and who
did not develop the disease.
“This is due to God's care and
protection of Kaaba's visitors,” he explained.
Sheikh Saleh's statements prompted Dr
Khalid Abdul-Ghafar Al Abdul-Rahman, the dean of the College of
Medicine at the Islamic Imam Muhammad Bin-Saud University, to
respond and emphatically said that the “epidemic does exist and has
been scientifically proven."
All that can be said about the low
number of cases during Ramadan is that it happened despite the huge
influx of pilgrims to Makkah.
On one point, religious scholar and
medical expert agree: in the end God’s hand helped the pilgrims
avoid the contagion.