I was waiting for the Arba’in of Imam Husain (a.s.) to finish so I could share my humble perspective on issues related to the coronavirus situation happening not only in my local community, but all around the world today.
What I wish to share is not as a response to any personal attacks against me for any view I hold on this. Alhamdullah, I have not faced any difficulty myself, and things really are not that bad or out of control.
I just thought of hopefully being able to shed some light on issues that would help us all.
The main area I wish to focus on is whether or not religious scholars and community leaders have done what is necessary in directing the community to correct and effective courses of action. I would like to specifically explain and address the notion that ‘Ulama have failed in tackling the Covid-19 situation. Some are of the belief that religious scholars and community leaders have either stayed silent towards this situation, or become complacent in supporting vaccination, lockdowns and blatant discrimination.
Until now, we still do not really know everything related to Covid-19, but we do know it has certainly changed the world. What do local, national and international ‘Ulama and religious leaders need to do? What is their view on all of this? What is their duty towards the Muslims, and what is expected of them?
As for the virus itself, all we can do is deal with the information we have, trying to adhere to the most reliable and authentic of reports. But as it become more and more clear by the day, even this has proved to be a challenge.
My main concern, however, is the second part to this situation: on what can ‘Ulama contribute in guiding the community, and have the scholars done enough, or nothing at all. Also, do people have a right to call-out and condemn religious leaders because they have yet to join the rallies, fight against lockdown and refuse to take the vaccine?
People are entitled to their opinions on how they conduct their personal life. It is their choice where they live, what career they choose, when to get married, how many children to have, delivering a child at home or in a hospital, whether their children should go to school or be home-schooled, taking the vaccination or not, eating meat or being a vegan, and so on…
Our religion gives us general guidelines for our personal life, and at times very specific instructions, but we are also given flexibility to choose which direction we can take. I am entitled to choose what career I wish to have, as long as it falls within the boundaries of my religious and moral precepts. Furthermore, I cannot impose my view on someone who has made their free choice on what occupation they wish to pursue, or what personal lifestyle they wish to adopt, albeit being within the parameters of religion. This seems obvious.
We then have what our modern-day society has evolved into, making the obvious complex and maybe even problematic.
Social media has to some degree eradicated people’s boundaries of privacy. Everyone wishes to interfere into other people’s lives, and, in most cases, in a negative way. Someone who, for whatever reason does not eat meat would previously see this as a personal choice, and a preference of how they live. Social media has now changed vegetarianism and veganism from a personal preference or habit into a growing trend, a movement and an ideology. Veganism is very popular now, especially among the younger generation who see this trend as a form of social activism.
Not that I am completely against veganism, as I share some of the concerns raised by them, including animal cruelty, health benefits, etc. However, surely, we all can agree to how many of today’s vegans are extreme and combative in pushing their views on others, and how a simple discussion with them can so quickly evolve into an argument. They are passionate about this topic, and it’s very personal to them.
The Anti-Vax Movement
Critics of vaccination are the same. The anti-vaccination movement has been around for a long time. In Britain, the Vaccination Act of 1840 to 1853 made vaccination compulsory, and as a result, the Anti Vaccination League was established in 1896, and other groups like the Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League, along with journals and conferences as well.
The contentious arguments for or against vaccination continues until today. The anti-vax movement has attracted a wide range of individuals, scientists, theologians, moralists, politicians, conspiracy theorist and just average people who have mixed views about this and want to see things with a critical eye. In many cases, these individuals look at alternative literature, and try to develop their own perspective in this area.
The point here is opposition to vaccination is no new phenomenon. In numerous cases, anti-vaxxers have even planned and carried out violence, like fire-bombing clinics, clashing with police, vandalism, and so on. A lot of what we can see among today’s anti-vax arguments are just repackaging of the same arguments previously used.
It’s for this reason that it has become a very difficult topic. What do we do?
Should we take the passive side, and probably allow diseases to become rampant. Should we force people to take vaccination, threatening people’s liberty and freedom. Is fearmongering the best tactic for or against this?
I understand that there are some who do not completely oppose vaccinations, but rather are against the policies, misinformation, coercion and hidden agendas of governments. I agree with them on these points, but the problem they have fallen into is using anti-vax arguments, pushing the anti-vax agenda, and somehow aligning themselves with that kind of mindset.
Although I disagree with this ideology, I still do not find it to be too problematic, as they are entitled to have their own view. The problem is when issues start spilling over into the community, creating problems and disrupting our harmony. That’s when it becomes a matter of concern.
We have some very passionate brothers and sisters who without doubt have good intentions, and they have expressed public objection to issues pertaining to covid vaccination, masks, lockdowns, etc. Most objections are made on social media platforms, and at times through demonstrations. Again, everyone is entitled to hold an opinion, and express their views, as this is their God-given right. My concern is more related to the level of aggression, inciteful comments or resentment they show towards “men of the cloth”, blaming them for their failure to stand up to what they see as justice and right. Unfortunately, on this issue, I am not able to say the same thing about anyone other than ‘anti-vaxxers’.
These brothers and sisters might not be outright anti-vaxxers, yet they are feeding into the anti-vax narrative, and hence probably unwillingly became branded as such. Indeed, in no way do I use this term in any form of disrespect to my fellow members of the community.
I just find it extremely unproductive when accusations and insinuating comments are hurled at religious scholars and community leaders. This is not a plea for compassion or a request for sympathy, but just a reminder of our greater responsibilities.
Everyone would agree that most of us are law abiding citizens, and we try our hardest to portray the best image of our identity and religion. As Muslims, we proudly wish to always contribute to our society in the most productive way possible.
But, unfortunately, it’s just always the case that smaller groups make the most noise.
I was in Qom until mid-2020, and after China, Qom was the next epicentre for the virus. It was very difficult for everyone, and during this time there was a negative view towards Qom. This negativity towards Qom was so much that it came to be called Qomharasi, or Qomphobia. People around Iran started to blame people of Qom for the spread, and cars outside of Qom that had a Qom numberplate were attacked.
In the very early stages of the virus, the Hawzah chose to close down, but it took a while for Qom Municipality to shut the bazaar and city. Those in charge of the Shrine of Seyidah Ma’sumah (a.s.) also had to make the hard decision of closing the doors of the Haram.
All in all, from what I saw, maybe 90% of the people were compliant, abiding to the stay-in-your-home request. It was close to the Nawruz holiday, and we know how Iranians are with Nawruz, but yet most people complied.
During this time, there were random cases of individuals and small groups coming out, objecting to lockdowns, or saying the virus was not real, or religious zealots wreaking havoc . The zealots objected to the closing of the shrines, protesting in front of Seyidah Ma’sumah (a.s.) Shrine, and even broke one of the doors. Some rejectors of coronavirus showed their defiance by licking the holy shrines, saying whatever sickness they have can be cured just by being at the shrine.
Alhamdulillah, most of these individuals were dealt with through the justice system, of course, some turned out to be aligned with a certain ideological trend I will refrain from mentioning.
There were also some influential individuals who were strong advocates of traditional medicine and homeopathy, and they strongly objected to vaccination as well. The most famous of them is Sheikh Abbas Tabriziyan, making headlines for his claim that taking the covid vaccine will turn you homosexual.
Outside of Iran, more recently, we heard the famous khatib, Sh. Abdul-Hamid al-Muhajir on satellite television saying that anyone who wears a mask while entering Karbala or doing ziyarah of Imam Husain (a.s.) is a “hypocrite of worst kind”.
On the other hand, many high-ranking ‘Ulama have issued statements against anti-vaxxers, or anti-lockdowners.
For whatever motive and whatever pretence these groups may have, as small as they were, they were extremely active and very vocal. What we see is them not just holding the same copy-paste views, but also realising that they are fighting a lost battle. Ultimately, they were either directly infected by the virus, or had a family member contracting it, which then somehow trickled down.
As I said, some not be completely against vaccinations, but just specifically denier of Covid-19, or against its vaccine. This might be because how they see things to be rushed, or forcing people onto to it, or because of the involvement of large corporations and manufacturers affiliated to oppressive governments, or any other reason they may have.
Nonetheless, all these things can be addressed, and if one still insists not to “take the jab”, then that is solely their choice. They will need to manage their affairs and the affairs of their family in such that will not only keep them away from harm, but also allow them to function in society like everyone else, especially if being vaccinated becomes a prerequisite for many things.
As we say, to each their own. But why do these brothers and sisters hold this mentality that anyone who is against us are “sell-outs” and have become puppets of Imperialism.
Where are our Community Leaders?
The common criticisms that are repeatedly mentioned in our current situation can pretty much be summed up as the following:
- Where are our community leaders?
- Why isn’t anyone talking about this?
- Why aren’t our scholars saying anything?
- Where are the Muslim leaders?
- Why don’t our ulama condemn this tyranny?
- The silence we can see from the scholars against this oppression is sickening!
- Congratulations to all the Sheikhs on the payroll.
- How shameful. I am ashamed of being a part of this community.
- Pauline Hanson. You’ve got my vote.
Of course, there are many more, some subtle, and some damaging. Outside of covid, nothing is new, because we usually cop the heat, with negative comments, accusations and what not.
The major issue –or at least what I see to be a major issue– is why are religious scholars always thrown under the bus whenever someone thinks something needs to be said in public. The assumption certain individuals have is that whatever judgment they make, that should be the approach community leaders need to have as well.
We have seen this occurring regularly, especially when a serious event occurs, like 9/11, Cronulla riots, Lindt Café siege, local Muslim terrorist plots, sensitive crimes like the Skaf brothers gang rapes, and so on. The most common sentence you will hear is “why aren’t the community leaders saying anything?”
Of course, people look for answers from community leaders, and anticipate these issues to be addressed, to give them guidance and comfort. This is a duty religious scholars and community leaders have.
The issue is why are some people quick to jump and condemn community leaders and religious scholars, not fully knowing the circumstances and the details of what is happening on the ground.
If scholars find it necessary to voice their opinion, they should do so in a way that would be deemed appropriate and effective. This can include going on TV, attending a conference, delivering a sermon or a lecture, writing an article, visiting local politicians, posting something on social media, or any other positive, effective and productive way. They do this within the capacity of resources available to them, and according to their wisdom and, hopefully, correct judgment. A lot of these activities could also be done behind closed doors, and don’t necessarily reach the eyes and ears of the public.
Whether or not you agree with the approach, or whether the Seyid/Sheikh should have used this platform or approach instead of something else is a matter of discussion. You might have a view that ‘Ulama need to always be public, and everything they say and do needs to be out there, and whatever they do has to go by you and be endorsed and approved by everyone.
Until the Pope’s visit to Najaf, there were people who genuinely believed that A.U. Seyid Sistani had died years ago (may Allah prolong his life). Until today, there are many who believe this great Marja’ does not speak, because nobody has recorded him talking. These are not statements made by Shi’ah-haters. In numerous times I have personally heard how criticisms are thrown at A.U. Sistani: why doesn’t he leave his house; is he too good for us that he doesn’t talk to us, and so on. We then have certain pseudo-‘ulama who use this sensationalism to their advantage, and say: “Look at me and how active I am on TV and Youtube! You will never see a Marja’ as charismatic and active as I am.”
Some people are attracted to that kind of personality, and noisy people who like to announce themselves, or make what we Iraqis call hoosah. They are just noisy, and always has something to say. They always have a reply ready, and never falls short of criticising everyone and everything. Just overall negative.
I am sorry to say, but many of these anti-covid, anti-vax, anti-lockdown (I don’t know how else to describe them), act in a similar mode. Let’s be honest, how can we take them seriously when they have gone to such an extreme to even praise Pauline Hanson and promise her their vote.
In no way am I insinuating that my dear brothers and sisters are evil, or deviants, or anything of the sort. Perhaps misinformed and caught up in all this sensationalism, and moral and social panic.
Whatever the case may be, it still does not give anyone the right to think that because someone does not follow your approach or does not do what you assume would be the best thing to do, they deserve to be attacked. Everyone has a right to have their own opinion, and we can disagree on many things. Nobody thinks the same, but to allow it to become a fitnah, that’s when we need to stop and step back.
Self-Righteous Resistance Warriors
My dear brother/sister, why do you assume that because religious leaders are not as vocal and noisy as you and that they are doing nothing at all. You want leadership, but you want to be in charge of how scholars should act, and follow the way you desire. What sense does that make? You want guidance, but it must be in line with your way of thinking, or else they are sell-outs and have “put their hand in the hand of the oppressors”.
The big problem is you are not distinguishing between how you need to conduct yourself, and the ongoing problems of governments and their policies. Something like discrimination or police racial profiling is nothing new. You probably just recently picked up on that. You probably just found out.
So, you just realised that there’s discrimination, anti-migrant sentiment, or police brutality? It seems that some are too naive. The pillars of today’s governments are founded on racism, discrimination and white-privilege. When was the last time you saw a happy indigenous person? Maybe some people have just woken up and realised. Have we suddenly become vocal about these anti-humane stances and policies when it has directly impacted our lives? Did they not exist before?
Most of us have become too comfortable.
What can we do? We try to be a part of society, presenting ourselves in the best way possible, integrating with the highest level of moral standards, but always being cautious. Adapt to your surroundings in a way that would be beneficial, preserving your level of self-dignity and values.
At times, there is a need to engage with others, on a local level, and on a national level. That is necessary, so our voice is heard and we can convey a message that represents us.
You want someone to take the position of leadership, to voice your concerns, and then you destroy them because they are saying or advising something that doesn’t fall in line with your mindset? What sense does that make. With all this, we then say “we don’t have any community leaders”. I don’t think that’s fair.
Is it because some individuals are too self-righteous people, or over-confident, thinking only what suits then, and everyone else is batil and the enemy. Hopefully not. Hopefully it’s just emotional talk that just passes by, and we are all then able to settle back down with mutual love and respect.
We must never shut ourselves from others, and have that level of accessibility, always thinking about what would benefit us as a whole. In my part, I try to do my duty in the way I see fitting and useful, thinking greater than just this situation.
I frequently receive phone calls on this topic of whether it’s allowed to be swabbed, or take a “foreign” vaccine, and cliché questions like that. Until now, I have not delved into debating or discussing, but somehow it always ends tense.
When I explain what I have gathered to be the shar’i, moral and social obligation we have, saying that we must follow the views of qualified experts in the field, I get a comment like: “Yeah, but Imam Husain (a.s.) stood up for his rights against oppression.”
I say, well if you are being oppressed, or your freedom has been taken away from you, is that because of lockdown, or mandatory vaccination, or something else. After this, comments like “we have to stand up to Yazid”, or “you’ve got it all wrong”. Someone even said to me: when my Marja’ takes my khums money, he knows me, but when I want him to support me, he’s nowhere.
I was speaking to a brother, saying how unfortunate it is that some think that the Seyids/Sheikhs are quiet because they work for the government and are on the pay-roll. The answer he gave me was: “Yeah, but are you?”
In our fiqh, on the discussion of taqlid, one of the arguments presented is that the logical action of one who isn’t specialised in matters of jurisprudence, is to turn to an expert scholar to emulate. Referring to experts in all fields is not only logical, but necessary, as one cannot be a master of all sciences. It’s become all too common now for people who have no formal education in religion, reject the expert opinion of jurists, based on their own limited understanding of Islamic sciences. Unfortunately, we see these same people all of a sudden become experts in medicine, and ignore and reject the opinions of most experts in favour of uninformed opinions.
Relating to that, as we previously mentioned, it is worth reflecting on the guidance of A.U. Seyid Sistani for dealing with covid, such as: “Take all of the necessary preventative precautions and treatment based on what is determined by the medical experts while staying away from unscientific methods…” and “Work hard to educate others of the dangers of belittling the dangers of this virus and encourage them to adhere to and not ignore the directions of the authorities on this matter.”
Even with this, we will have someone say that that’s not what he means.
There is no expectation that whatever religious scholars say needs to be correct or validated. You are always going to disagree with someone or something. The issue is how to stay away from disrupting the harmony of the community.
For example, if I was to find it upon myself to address an issue I thought needed to be addressed, I must first weigh the pros and cons, and see how this needs to be approached. Should I do it publicly, or privately? Should I be explicit and direct, or subtle and indirect? Should I do it myself, or delegate others to come to the forefront? Should I use the minbar, or social media, or other means?
Isn’t this all a part of wisdom and leadership?
It’s not just throwing things out there to satisfy the masses and cover yourself from potential criticism. What kind of leader is someone who is pushed by emotions, half thoughts and immature mediations? Do you want someone who guides you based on their expertise and qualification, or based on how you think and what you want?
Just because someone wears a mask, refuses to go to demonstration and takes the jab does not mean they have now submitted to mainstream media and accept discrimination or targeting of migrant suburbs.
Mainstream media has always been like this, but anti-vaxxers don’t fall short of being misinformed by wrong sources of alternative media. Then again, how desperate are some people that they are willing to support the most racist and anti-Islamic of politicians just so they can have their “freedom”.
What Approach do we Take?
We need to distinguish between what we need to do internally, within the Shi’ah community, and externally, with local community/government, then on a national level, then on an international scale.
We must not mix between these levels of activism. You might see your duty to be in one of them, or two, or three or all four. That is for you to define, based on your qualifications and authority that you have. But for someone to impose onto you what your duty is, that’s where the problem lies.
I am mentioning all of this on the back of what I’ve experienced. Most of my fellow colleagues and seniors have somehow been in these situations, but rarely explain what effective strategies they take to tackle them. It might be the case that we all need to explain, but maybe just wait for the correct time. That’s what wisdom is all about.
The unrealistic expectation is that every Seyid/Sheikh must not only justify their silence/vocalness, but also find a way to please everyone, explaining what they believe and why. Then, when that is done, they are at the mercy of the critics who, in most cases, will object just for the sake of objecting. The antagonistic aftermath of it all and what scholars go through bearing the brunt of all the heartless brutality is really difficult to deal with. Nobody thinks of that.
These people sit behind screens and keyboards with their aliases, having no accountability for what they say or do, and then expect someone to lead them.
This reminds me of something that occurred with Imam Ali al-Sajjad (a.s.), after Karbala.
A famous ascetic ‘abid by the name of ‘Abbad ibn Kathir al-Basri crossed paths with Imam al-Sajjad (a.s.) while on his way to Meccah, for pilgrimage. ‘Abbad said to the Imam (a.s.):
You’ve left Jihad and its difficulty, and turned to Hajj and its easiness. Almighty God says: Indeed, Allah has bought from the faithful their souls and their possessions for paradise to be theirs: they fight in the way of Allah, kill, and are killed. A promise binding upon Him in the Torah and the Evangel and the Qurʾān. And who is truer to his promise than Allah? So, rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him, and that is the great success. [Quran, al-Tawbah, 112]”
Imam al-Sajjad (a.s.) said: “Continue on with the next verse.”
‘Abbad said: [The faithful are] penitent, devout, celebrators of Allah’s praise, wayfarers, who bow [and] prostrate [in prayer], bid what is right and forbid what is wrong, and keep Allah’s bounds —and give good news to the faithful. [Quran, al-Tawbah, 113]
Then Imam al-Sajjad (a.s.) said:
If we were to see people who have such qualities, then Jihad with them would be better than Hajj.
‘Abbad mentions the duty of jihad, wanting to educate the Imam on what his duty is, and then Imam al-Sajjad (a.s.) points out the nine qualities that are mentioned in the next verse that the believers need to have for them to pursue such a duty.
What this means is there will always be people who’ve learnt a bit here and there but have no value for authority and their judgment.
I must spell this out for the nit-pickers. I use this story not to compare anyone with the Imams (a.s.), but to draw attention that there will always be alternative views and opposition, even to a Ma’sum.
A Marja’ or someone of religious authority issues a statement, retract an ijazah, defrock a deviant, warn about a dangerous ideology, encourage the Shi’ah to conduct themselves in a certain way, and then a random person says:
- Well, that’s not what he really meant.
- How do you know it was really him who said that?
- But he didn’t mention his name.
- That’s not what it means.
- With all respect, I take my religious guidance from him, but not my medical.
If you are so confident that you have all the answers, and are able to correctly and validly understand what your religious/moral/social duty is, then do as you see fit for yourself and your family. If you believe you are in line with what your taklif is, and the religious authority you respect and revere acknowledges it, then wonderful.
But you cannot impose this on others or condemn people because you think differently. You cannot say everyone else are sheep, but you’re the only free-thinker. You cannot create this image of yourself as some freedom fighter waging a war against tyranny, but also be living off Centrelink.
If you genuinely believe you are facing intolerable oppression, due to masks, vaccinations, and lockdowns, then you have few options:
- Voice your concern and opinion, within the rights that you have, and legally.
- When you feel nothing will change in your circumstance, migrate to another country where they do not have these mandatory requirements, like European countries.
- Although you might be passionate about what your personal belief is, give in and take the advice of what your religious authority is saying, as much as you might disagree with him, but for the sake of something greater.
But in no way should you turn to become some rebel who violates law, spreads fitnah and goes on some rampage attack against scholars or others within the community.
Self-Responsibility, Accountability, and Fitnah
At the end of the day, we are all responsible for our actions. Allah sees everything we see and do. We all believe in the Day of Judgement, and that we will have to answer for every action we take on this earth, particularly those actions which affect the lives of others. We must therefore be very careful, lest out of carelessness, we say something which impacts the lives of others in a negative way.
How then, can we answer to Allah (swt) if we discouraged someone from seeking appropriate medical treatment, causing them to become ill or die? Are we ready to take on the responsibility of the blood of our sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers? I don’t say this to sound dramatic, rather to stress upon the necessity of thinking before we speak or act, and the weighty consequences associated with taking ill-judged positions.
وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ ٱلسَّمْعَ وَٱلْبَصَرَ وَٱلْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْـُٔولًا
And follow not that of which you have not the knowledge; surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that.
I must apologise for this long post, but I wanted to bring together all that I thought was necessary in explaining the situation we are in. At the end of your read, you might still be confused where I personally stand on this whole Covid-19 saga.
That’s not the purpose of this post. What I wanted to address was the toxic attitude of blaming and criticising religious scholars/community leaders without any deep thought or consideration of the negative ramifications these public comments might have.
Nobody is beyond criticism, and we are free to choose what we want, but our collective duty is to respect others who are respecting themselves, give them the benefit of doubt, and most importantly avoid fitnah and disrupting our harmony which is the greatest harm of all. Covid may come and go however the long-term damage caused by fitnah will still be felt for years and won’t be easily undone.
 I use the term ‘Alim, ‘Ulama, Scholar as they are commonly used in society in reference to religious clerics, even though we have narrations that censure us from referring to ourselves as such. The holy Prophet (s.a.w.) has said: “Whoever says ‘I am a ‘alim’ is indeed a jahil.”
 Please read the following essay written during this period at an anti-vaccination conference in 1874. It carries the same arguments used today by anti-covid vaxxers, like breaching of civil rights, violating personal choice, false information, tyrannical laws, unjust coercion, and so on: The political side of the vaccination system; an essay read at the Birmingham Anti-Vaccination conference, October 26th, 1874 / by F.W. Newman. https://wellcomecollection.org/works/zrun9x57/items?canvas=6
 It’s said that a large percentage of anti-vax information comes from on 12 sources. See: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/17/covid-misinformation-conspiracy-theories-ccdh-report
 Numerous studies have shown how anti-vaxxers have become influenced and radicalised by far-right extremist groups. See: https://theconversation.com/the-anti-vax-movement-is-being-radicalized-by-far-right-political-extremism-166396
 On numerous occasions, I’ve seen when a sheikh/seyid shares an image of himself taking the vaccination, he faces a hail of insults, the least of them is “you’ve lost my respect,” just because he took the covid-vaccination.
For a detailed reply and objection by numerous scholars to this practice, see [in Persian]: https://www.hamshahrionline.ir/news/488289/%D9%88%D8%A7%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%B4-%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%AF-%DA%86%D9%87%D8%B1%D9%87-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%B7%D8%B1%D8%AD-%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%87-%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%B3-%D8%B2%D8%AF%D9%86-%D8%B6%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%AD-%D9%88-%D8%B2%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AA-%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%81
 See: https://aftabnews.ir/fa/news/724419/%D8%B9%DA%A9%D8%B3%7C-%D8%AA%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B6%DB%8C-%D8%B9%D9%84%DB%8C%D9%87-%D9%88%D8%A7%DA%A9%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%88%D9%86-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%86%D8%A7-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%84
A Jewish Rabbi has also made such a claim. See: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/covid-vaccine-rabbi-gay-b1788543.html
 For his views on coronavirus, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuMUay61LDQ&ab_channel=%D9%87%D9%8A%D8%A6%D8%A9%D8%B4%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D8%B5%D8%BA%D8%B1%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%87%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85
 See: https://www.isna.ir/news/1400062518764/%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%B9-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%B6%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%88%D8%A7%DA%A9%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%88%D9%86
 Al-Kafi, vol. 5, p. 22.
 The act of defrocking, or khal’ libas (in Persian) is a drastic measure in stripping a clergyman of his rights in wearing the clerical garb. This occurs when seminary authorities believe the person to be unworthy of wearing the official attire of Ulama. Among the reasons for defrocking could be that the individual is morally corrupt or holds views that go against the fundamentals of religion. For a detailed explanation, see: https://www.porseman.com/article/%D8%AE%D9%84%D8%B9-%D9%84%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B3-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%AA/35957
 Quran, 17: 36.