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Home » Patient care » Navigating medication and faith: discussing religious beliefs with your doctors

Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra

Member of MCB, Imam in Leicester

Many faiths and philosophies, including Islam, Hinduism and veganism have dietary requirements, but how does that apply to medicines? Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, member of the Muslim Council of Britain, explains.

Can I ask my doctor which medicines suit my religious/philosophical beliefs?

Shaykh Mogra: Muslim patients are expected to ask healthcare practitioners (HCPs) whether their medication is suitable for Muslims — if it is halal (permissible) or haram (prohibited). HCPs don’t always know. It would help if some doctors expanded their knowledge about patients’ religious needs.

What if the doctor doesn’t know what is allowed?

Conducting reliable research may help, or ask an expert about ingredients and alternative medicines. In addition to seeking advice from a clinician, Muslims can ask their Imam for support, who may direct them to a medical expert with more in-depth knowledge on their concern.

There are ongoing discussions on such medical considerations, including alternatives and exceptions. For instance, some Covid vaccinations had porcine ingredients, but Muslim jurists decided that as thousands of lives were at risk, so it was permissible to accept the vaccine as there were no alternatives available.

The preservation of life takes precedence over the rules about what is haram or halal.

What if there is no suitable alternative?

It is a religious duty for Muslims who are ill to seek medical intervention. For instance, medicines may come in capsules containing ingredients derived from animals.

Some people empty the capsule and take the powder, but that’s a bad idea because this may affect how the medicine is released and absorbed in the body.

What if there is an emergency and no time to ask? 

Shariah (Islamic law) says that if a doctor believes that the patient’s life is endangered, they can administer the medicine because the preservation of life takes precedence over the rules about what is haram or halal.

If you have concerns about the constituents of medicines and whether they impact your faith, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.’

Find out more

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) can be contacted on 0845 26 26 786 or via their website at

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