Muslims strive to build a strong family and community bonds, and they welcome children as a gift from Allah. Marriage is encouraged, and raising children is one of the main purposes of marriage in Islam. Few Muslims choose to remain child-free by choice, but many prefer to plan their families through the use of contraception.
For men who could not afford to get married, they are encouraged to fast. Marriage allows mankind to continue his ancestry and to populate the earth. With the birth of children and the strengthening of the family’s foundation, marriage reinforces the spirit of helping amongst the community in their everyday lives. The prophet (peace be upon him) forbade Muslims from living celibate lives. Instead, he encouraged the ummah to marry as stated in his hadith:
“Marry a woman who could bear many children as I would be proud of you on the Day of Judgement for populating the ummah.“
The prophet (peace be upon him) also stated that:
“Marriage is my way of life, So, he who deviates from my way is not from me (not one of my followers)” Ibn Majah
The Quran does not specifically refer to contraception or family planning, but in verses forbidding infanticide, the Quran warns Muslims:
Say: "Come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from": Join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want;- We provide sustenance for you and for them;- come not nigh to shameful deeds. Whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus, doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom. (Quran 6:151)
See 17:31 too.
Muslims have interpreted this as a prohibition against contraception as well, but this is not a widely accepted view.
“Do not inflict harm nor repay harm with another.” (Narrated by Ibn Mājah and al-Daral-Quṭni).
According to this ruling, the husband and wife should both be aware of contraceptive use, and ensure that it does not result in harm. This harm includes possible health hazards to users, such as affecting the chances of having a baby in the future.
On the issue of family planning, we can find a similar situation in the time of the Prophet. In those days, some of the Prophet’s companions practiced family planning with a method called “azal”, which is ejaculation outside of the woman’s womb to prevent pregnancy (coitus interruptus). When this matter was raised to the Prophet, he neither forbade nor encouraged it since the true intention of marriage is to conceive children. From a hadith, it is understood that adopting the practice of “azal“, with the intention of spacing pregnancies, is permissible.
” The prophet (peace be upon him) forbids a husband from performing “azal” when ejaculating without the permission of the wife who is a free woman.” Ibn Majah.
This is because the relations between husband and wife would not be fulfilling and it is cruel towards one of the parties in this relationship. However, with the use of modern contraceptives, the process of “azal” is not necessary.
The Islamic law contains rulings on various types of contraception.
- Natural family planning: This was commonly practiced during the time of the prophet Muhammad, and he did not universally object to it. Spouses need to be sensitive to each other’s needs for fulfillment, however, and practice this method only if both agree.
- Barrier methods (condoms, diaphragms, etc.): These are designed to prevent conception, and are therefore accepted by most Muslim scholars.
- Hormonal and other methods (pill, patch, IUD, etc.): These work through a combination of preventing fertilization and interfering with implantation. Most scholars frown upon such methods except under medical supervision—particularly if those methods may cause harm to the woman using them.
- Surgery (vasectomy, tubal ligation, hysterectomy): Islam forbids a couple from choosing to be permanently child-free through the use of surgeries that are irreversible, unless for medical reasons.
Abortion is defined as a procedure to medically remove a foetus from the womb. Originally, this act is prohibited, but it is allowed (in the following circumstances):
- To save the life of the mother;
- . If the unborn child was conceived out of wedlock (with the condition that it has to be less than 120 days old i.e. before it develops into a foetus).
Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I am about to create man from clay: (Quran 38:71)
This shows that the material world round us was created by Allah before Allah fashioned man and breathed of His soul into him. Geology also shows that man came on the scene at a very late stage in the history of this planet.
"When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him." (Quran 38:72)
See 4:171 and 15:29, too.
“Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother’s womb for forty days in the form of a drop, then he becomes a clot of blood for a like period, then a morsel of flesh for a like period, then there is sent to him the angel who blows his soul into him and who is commanded with four matters: to write down his sustenance, his life span, his actions, and whether he will be happy or unhappy” (narrated by al-Bukhārī and Muslim).
Every life is from Allah. According to the conception of Islam the human soul enters man directly from Allah. According to some perceptions, this occurs around the fourth month of pregnancy. Scholars agree that abortion after the fourth month is haram, it is in fact is a criminal act. Such an act is similar to killing a living, fully-formed being. Therefore, Muslims are prohibited from it unless it is to save the mother’s life. For abortion before four months, opinions of the ‘ulamā differ. This is because there are disagreements on whether the embryo/foetus is alive. The majority of ‘ulamā view that, based on medical evidence, it is alive; they consequently prohibit its abortion. Since medical knowledge indicates that a foetus is alive from the point of conception (fertilization of male and female cells), the Fatwa Committee has decided that abortion is prohibited, no matter the age of the embryo/foetus in the womb.