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Is Family Planning Allowed in Islam?
Is Family Planning Allowed in Islam?
By Sheikh Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo The question of family planning and birth control was discussed in detail by the Majma al-Fiqh al-Islaami. They had twenty three scholars research this topic and present their findings on this matter. The participants involved represented many different trends and schools of thought. Among the participants were Muhammad Ali alBaar, Ali al-Saaloos, Muhammad Saeed Ramadhan alBooti, Abdullah al-Basaam, Hasan Hathoot and Muhammad Sayid Tantaawi. Their proceedings, papers and discussions may be found in Part One of the Fifth Volume of Majallah Majma al-Fiqh al-Islaami (1988/1409 A.H.). These proceedings are 748 pages all about the question of birth control and related issues. The following are important points related to the issue of birth control in Islam. These were mentioned by some of the participants in the above program: The institution of marriage and the want to have children was the custom of the best of creation, the prophets and messengers chosen by Allah. Allah says about them
So follow their guidance" (al-Anaam 90) They should be emulated and not the disbelievers of the West. child-bearing women for I shall have the largest numbers among the prophets on the day of Resurrection.06/09/2010 Is Family Planning Allowed in Islam? "And indeed We sent messengers before you and made for them wives and offspring" (al-Raad 38) The best example for the believers is the example of the prophet Muhammad (saw)." (al-Nahl 72) Allah also said: "Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. and has bestowed upon you good provisions.com/…/familyplanning. Allah has warned about killing one's children out of fear of poverty for either parents or the missionislam.discourage women from having more children. Islam has forbidden celibacy (state of not being married). and I marry women. Allah will provide for them. If Muslims follow what Allah has prescribed for them. from your wives." (al-Kahf 46) The only true provider for all mankind is Allah. Allah mentions some of the bounties that He has bestowed upon mankind in the following verse: "And Allah has made for you spouses of your own kind and has made for you.) From the Islamic perspective. who married and had children. monasticism (life of monks & nuns) and castration (removal of the male glands) for such purposes. The prophet (saw) made this clear when he told those companions who were considering acetic forms of life: "I pray and I sleep.htm 2/7 .mostly out of concern for enjoying this life or obtaining as many worldly goods as possible . sons and grandsons. Allah says "They are those whom Allah has guided."(Recorded by Ahmad and ibn Hibban. whose new lifestyles . I fast and I break my fast. Whoever turns away from my way of life is not from me. children are a gift and a blessing from Allah. These prophets and messengers are the people whom Muslims should look to emulate." The prophet (saw) not only encouraged marriage but he encouraged marrying those women who are childbearing. He stated: "marry the loving.
Based on the above points and numerous others. It is forbidden to "permanently" end a man's or a woman's ability to produce children. if there is some Shariah need for that in the opinion of the spouses.htm 3/7 . providing an Islamic perspective to questions agitating the minds of people today.We provide sustenance for you and for them" (al-Anaam 151) Allah also says: "And kill not your children for fear of poverty. It is permissible to control the timing of births with the intent of distancing the occurrences of pregnancy or to delay it for a specific amount of time.com/…/familyplanning. the killing of them is a great sin" (al-Isra 31) Hence. Allah says: "Kill not your children because of poverty . Birth Control Reprinted from OurDialogue." a series appearing in the “Arab News” of Jeddah. the scholars who participated in the research on this question came up with the following resolution: It is not allowed to enact a general law that limits the freedom of spouses in having children. based on mutual consultation and agreement between them. Can a Couple Limit Their Children? Question: Is it appropriate for a married couple not to missionislam. We shall provide for them as well as for you. Muslims should never abort or kill their children out of fear of poverty. as long as that is not called for by circumstances of necessity according to its Islamic framework. this is conditioned by that not leading to any harm. However. Surely. such as by having a hysterectomy or vasectomy.06/09/2010 Is Family Planning Allowed in Islam? child. by it being done by means that are approved in the Shariah and that it not do anything to oppose a current and existing pregnancy. It is Allah who provides for them.com These are questions and answers reprinted from "Our Dialogue.
Some referred to him while some relied on the fact that no edict was given concerning the question of preventing pregnancy. should God will that the child be born. God would have either revealed a prohibition in the Qur'an or the Prophet would have given an order in a Hadith. Modern methods are equally permissible. A national policy of family planning which aims to reduce the population is unacceptable because it is likely to have serious repercussion on the health of the nation missionislam. the Prophet said clearly that no method of contraception would stop the creation of a child. provided that they are safe and they prevent conception. The fact is that the Prophet did not give such an order. As such. and "We resorted to contraception and the Prophet was aware of that but he did not stop us. if doctors determine that any pregnancy is likely to present a serious risk to the life of the mother." Thus.htm 4/7 . Sterilization of either the man or the woman is not permissible except when it is made absolutely necessary for medical reasons. The method of contraception which was known at that time was coitus interruptus. But each case must be considered separately on its own merits. then sterilization may be approved. because they did not want any more children. Instead.06/09/2010 Is Family Planning Allowed in Islam? have more than two children because of their limited economic resources? Is it acceptable that they take measures to prevent pregnancy after having had two children? Answer: During the time of the Prophet. we have statements by some of the Prophet's companions such as: "We resorted to contraception at the time when the Qur'an was being revealed". If the Prophet's companions had been doing something unacceptable to Islam. The Prophet was aware of that. when he learned from one of his companions that he resorted to contraception.com/…/familyplanning. no method of contraception can stop God's will being fulfilled. What I have said so far applies at the individual level only." These statements are clear in their import. some of his companions tried to reduce the chances of conception and pregnancy. Thus. The general rule is that "everything is permissible unless pronounced otherwise.
Coitus Interruptus Question: You advised a young man to get married and delay having children until he has finished his studies. as well in many other places. If He wants us to create something. The companions of the Prophet mentioned it to him and asked him whether it was wrong. especially during my prolonged absence. We have reports from companions of the Prophet mentioning that he was aware of their resort to contraception. Please comment. but he did not forbid them that. or in this case. but he told them that it could not stop Allah's work. most scholars say that birth control is not acceptable from the Islamic point of view. In our community. The Prophet did not forbid them that.com/…/familyplanning. This method was practiced in Arabia. if it does not involve the use of a harmful substance. Contraception and Sterilization Question: I have four children and I am considering resorting to a sterilization operation to be done for my wife. This obviously means that he has to resort to methods of birth control. away from home to work here in Saudi Arabia. It is not highly effective. before the new methods of birth control were invented. because some of the sperms may be released before the actual discharge. Answer: In ancient times. people resorted to coitus interruptus in order to restrict the number of children. She is thin and weak and can hardly cope with the demands of the family. then they decide whether to use it or not.06/09/2010 Is Family Planning Allowed in Islam? as a whole. if He wants a child to be born. In the light of the foregoing.htm 5/7 . we can say that using a safe and effective method of birth control is permissible. missionislam. It is a simple method which involves withdrawal before discharge. If so. because it does not involve the use of any substance or chemical compound. This is a safe method. the resort to contraception would not prevent the mother from getting pregnant. The couple must check with their doctor if a particular method is safe for them to use. These could easily fertilize the female egg.
from the strictly religious point of view. That must be kept at the individual level. Indeed. as required. It is perhaps more accurate to say that we cannot make a general. He did not instruct them to stop. It is true to say. Having said that. however. recommended. At the time of the Prophet. I should also point out before attending to the question on sterilization that resorting to methods of contraception which are safe and do not affect the health of the mother is permissible. I personally have experienced an improvement in my financial level with every child I have had. I can hardly cope with the great demands placed on me. Unlike other methods of contraception it is permanent. that improvement was very tangible in the case of one of my children. Other methods of family planning have the same verdict provided they are safe. some of his companions resorted to coitus interruptus. Sterilization which involves a surgical operation is a special case. We know that Allah provides sustenance for everyone of His creation.06/09/2010 Is Family Planning Allowed in Islam? May I also say that my financial situation is not that bright. Some people may not have such a tangible experience. sweeping statement in order to say that such an operation is either forbidden or permissible. Answer: Let us first of all deal with the financial aspect of this question. Indeed. and the Prophet was aware of what they did. that Allah will not neglect to provide sustenance for any human being.htm 6/7 . it is permissible. Any surgery may be considered. Preventing pregnancy by surgery is known as sterilization which can be performed for either the husband or the wife.com/…/familyplanning. If a highly competent doctor advises his patient that a certain operation will not only cure his illness but also prevents a missionislam. By this I mean that a family may resort to contraception in order to limit the number of their children if they determine that such a thing is desirable in their particular circumstances. Therefore it has to be viewed separately. discouraged or forbidden. which was the only method of family planning known to them. It is up to the breadwinner of the family to make use of the opportunities that Allah provides for him. nor did he tell them that what they did was forbidden. Therefore. according to the different circumstances of its person.
Therefore. then the woman may have such an operation without any qualm of conscience. such an operation is forbidden. In the case of sterilization. Hence. which is otherwise inevitable. I do not think the reasons you have advanced for such an operation constitute a sound argument to justify the operation. but you can easily delay pregnancy by resorting to other methods of contraception.com/…/familyplanning. if there is no strong medical grounds for operating on a certain patient. On the basis of what you say in your letter. then the doctor commits a sin by giving such an advice. On the other hand. for a woman who asks her doctor to perform such an operation because she feels that a pregnancy may spoil her figure or having children may stop her from taking a lengthy holiday every few months. you are only with your wife for a month or so every year. Top of Page Contact Mission Islam Discussion Board Recommended Links missionislam. If you take adequate precautions. what we have to look for is the effect of pregnancy on the health of the mother. then we can say that the operation is recommended.htm 7/7 . but the doctor advises the operation only to get his fee. the operation is not required on medical grounds. If a competent doctor determines that every pregnancy is likely to pose a real threat to the life of the mother or to cause serious threats to her health and that other methods of contraception may also have a bad effect on her health. Your wife may be thin and weak. In your particular condition. It is permissible in her case. On the other hand. it cannot be lawful in your case. you can almost certainly prevent pregnancy.06/09/2010 Is Family Planning Allowed in Islam? speedy deterioration of his case.
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