In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the noblest Messenger, our Master Muḩammad, his household, and companions. To Commence:
Let me first extend to you the greetings of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Prof. Aḩmad Aṭ-ṭayyeb, may Allah protect and safeguard him, who was keen to be with you but who is being too busy with inevitable commitments. He wishes you a pleasant stay and ongoing success.
Let me say that this meeting is an important one as it is concerned with a thorny and serious issue on which the future of nations and communities is based. In my view, its importance stems from the fact that it deals with significant matters, including:
1- Emphasis on the strong relationship between religion and science, or between religious and experimental sciences, especially with the presence of the materialist philosophy again in our modern and contemporary times.
Through this subject (of polio), which is primarily a medical issue, it is clear that religious scholars have been aware of this relationship between the sciences of religion and the sciences of medicine many centuries ago. Sultan of Religious Scholars, Al-‛Izz Ibn ‘Abd-Esalām, stated that medicine is like Sharia in determining benefits and harms. He said, “Medicine is like t Sharia. Both are meant to secure safety and wellness, and to ward off the harms of vulnerability and unsoundness.”
2- Emphasis on the role of religious institutions:
This is particularly important, as some of these institutions are viewed as irrelevant to real life, not concerned with its issues, or at best as ones that pay attention only to human spirituality.
Such meetings of ours underscore the fault of this view because these institutions, while concerned with the spirit, are also concerned with the human physical being. Likewise, they are concerned both with the Hereafter and the worldly life. This is the understanding of true religion on which we depend and to which we invite people, and which we promote.
3- Confirmation on the importance of caring for and preserving the children as they are the men and women of tomorrow, the leaders of the future, the hope of communities and the builders of nations. They are the first seeds of generations that, in their future, can achieve the mission, for which they have been created; that is worshipping Allah and developing the universe. Allah says, “I have not created the jinn and humankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’ān, 51:56) He also says, “And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels,' I am surely going to place a vicegerent on earth'.” (Qur’ān, 2:30) He, furthermore, says, “He (Allah) has originated you from the earth and settled you in it.” (Qur’ān, 11:61)
It is well-established facts that giving children their due rights and taking care of them are among the stated objectives of Sharia.
4- The importance of science and its role in achieving the interests of human beings and protecting them.
That is why among the prior rights of the children are to discipline, educate and preserve them physically, mentally and medically on the basis of knowledge. Therefore, seeking knowledge is an obligation. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every Muslim.”
In this regard, we must take care of the children and save no effort to protect them. Therefore, vaccination against polio and all other infectious diseases is among the positive benefits of science and its most important missions. It protects their lives from destruction and from catching diseases. It also enables them to enjoy complete comfort, physically, mentally, psychologically and socially. These facts are stated in the Holy Qur’ān, in the prophetic traditions and in the charters of international organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the UNICEF.
Therefore, vaccination against polio and other diseases is a religious obligation on the part of the family, the society, the governments and the whole world at large. It is a scientific requirement confirmed by scientific research.