The public must understand the concept ofistihalahbefore coming to any decision that can be accepted by all, particularly in the issue of using porcine (pig) DNA for Muslims.

Istihalah, in simple terms, means change or transformation, that is the transformation of a substance that is forbidden into one that is permitted, with a different name, property or characteristic, or the other way around.

Health Ministry director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said if this concept was not fully understood by the masses, it would give a huge impact, including in the use of health products.

“We need to understand the concept first before we can make a collective decision among Muslims in the country, and globally, whether to agree or disagree on it.

“Only then can we talk about implementing it in our daily lives,” he said.

“This has a serious implications on the acceptance of pharmaceutical products, as well as vaccinations.

“The fact of the matter is that if our society is still talking about blood transfusions in order to cleanse their souls, we have failed to spread the basic understanding of Islam to them,” he said via his Facebook account.

Dr Noor Hisham was commenting on the statement made earlier by former Perlis mufti Associate Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, who highlighted arguments that porcine DNA or gelatine can be considered as halal if it has undergone the transformation process that is in accordance with the Islamic concept ofistihalah.

However, Asri said that he was not supporting or going against this school of thought on porcine DNA that was previously brought forth by Al-Syeikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi as well as several other Muslim scholars.

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