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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Birth Control in Islam

The responsibility for our sustenance and livelihood and all the living things and creatures rests on the Creator of the universe, as Allah, the Exalted, said in the holy Quran on various occasions. Being the world the house of the means, Almighty Allah has ordered us to opt the livelihood means. But, abundancy of means does not guarantee the abundance of wealth, as it is seen that despites adoption of means, sometimes we undergo losses. If the results dependent upon the means only, then the people who try their best in this world would have been the wealthier, but the experiences prove contrary to this, as the entire worldadmits it. On this topic, only translation of three verses of the holy Quran is presented to you:

And there is no creature on earth but that upon Allah is its provision, and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. All is in a clear register. [Hud-6]. And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin [Isra-31]. And do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them [Ana’am-151]. It is explicitly mentioned in multiple verses of the holy Quran and prophetic Hadiths that we are only reasons and means for thesustenance of our children, not the Superb Provider. We certainly try our best to solve our issues and our children’s, but certainly,Allah, the Exalted, is the One Who solves our issues and problems. In the light of two later verses, the interpreters wrote that after firmness of pregnancy, it is not permissible to abort the pregnancy at all, fearing destitution and thinking that who will feed our children, yes! If there is a danger forthe mother life, then it is permissible.

Since the early days of Islam until today, all interpreters, Hadith representatives, jurists, intellectuals and scholars are agreed upon that if couples are desirous of having children more than two or three, then they can’t be obliged to have two children only. Almighty Allah has said in the holy Quran in explicit ways that a man affordably can get marry to four women [An-nisa 3]. When, the Creator of male and female Himself does permit to get marry to four women, so no creature is entitled to raise any objection on that. The Polygamy itself is a major cause for thebirth of many children. Furthermore, the holy Quran has been revealed to the man who by his saying and doing conveyed Allah’s message to the whole humanity will be coming till the doomsday that abundance of children is required, even though by adopting permissible contraceptive ways, there is room to keep the number of children less.

Narrated by Ma'qil ibn Yasir: A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said: I have found a woman of rank and beauty, but she is infertile. Should I marry her? He said: No. a second man came again to him, but he prohibited him. A third man came to him, but he prohibited him too, and he (the Prophet) said: Marry women who are loving and very prolific, for I shall outnumber the peoples by you. [Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah) (670) Chapter: The Prohibition Of Marrying Women Who Do Not Give Birth,  Grade Hasan Sahih(Al-Albani), Sunan Abi Dawud, 2050]

The above-mentioned Hadith is available in numerous hadiths books and the entire Muslim Ummah has agreed on the authenticity of this hadith. There are many sayings of our beloved prophet PBUH in the hadiths books related to this topic. All the scholars of every school of thoughts are unanimously agreed on being these all hadiths authentic. Moreover, in the teachings of prophet PBUH, there is not any encouragement anywhere for lessening the birth of children. Although, this is an undeniable fact that our prophet was very merciful and kind towards his Ummah, but he, by his own action, encouraged Muslim Ummah to have many children that four girls and three boys were born from him. In his life there were a large number of his companions who had had children more than him. However, he had never said to any companion to stop thebirth of children. We all better know that the real purpose of the Prophet's mission was to enlighten and educate people. So it’s known that having many children is no hurdle for better bringing up of children. If this would be true, so why didn’t he prevent the honourable companions from having many children? The life of our prophet PBUH is role model not only for his companions, but it is good example and model for the entire human beings who will come unto the Day of Resurrection. As, Allah Almighty has said in Surah Al-Ahzab, Verse no. 21 and it is our belief that in the obedience of the holy prophet PBUH is indeed guaranteed thesuccess of both the worlds.

So far as Birth Control is concerned, since ancient time, there had been three opinions of scholars and jurists: 1) Birth Control is not permissible at all;as an evidence, the verse 151 of Surah Ana’am is quoted. 2) There is a limited room for Birth Control, i.e. if someone wants to opt Contraceptive means, then it is permissible for him,because, the prophet did not prevent some companions from “Azl” [a means of Birth Control, therein a man upon intercourse, drops his semen outside the woman's vagina] [Bukhari-Kitab Alnikah-Bab Alazl]. 3) It is haraam in shari'a to choose Birth Control by having an apprehension of poverty, e.g. if someone thinks that who will feed my children as he does not have enough, but it is permissible in other cases.

If the pregnancy is confirmed, then abortion is not permissible, [Surah Bani Israel 31, An’ am 151]. However, if there is de jure permissibility, then abortion is permitted in a very limited scope. In case, four months passed in pregnancy, thereafter abortion is absolutely unlawful.As this is tantamount to killing a soul.If due to a valid reason, the mother life is exposed to danger, in this case,to rescue the mother’s life, it is permitted to abort thepregnancy. It is merely to void the significant risk out of two risks, as it is allowed to gain a big interest out of two.

Note: these days, despite confirmation of pregnancy, abortion takes affect due to being children of very small age or difficulties will be confronted, etc. this is not allowed. Contrary, if we desire a breakup period in between, then we are to pick out one of many permissible contraceptive ways, so that no issue of abortion is faced.In Shari’ah, temporarily,there is a permission to choose the reasons for contraception, but after confirmation of pregnancy, just only forsmall reasons/excuses resorting to abortion is totally not allowed. 

Birth control movement was first launched in Europe in 1798, by the famous economist Malthus, for which some of thefalse outcomes are already visible andare continuing to grow. This has been previously confessed by Orientalists themselves and constantly being acknowledged. For almost 25 years ago, there was no specific actionon birth control in our society, now there is an outbreak of this epidemic in our society and particularlyin cities. Even some west impacted people, against the wishes of the Prophet , declare to have more children as wrong and they present for that such rational argument thatseem that so far the whole human beings had committed a big mistake.

Removal of a fallibility: In this modern era, the better-off people and habitants of cities are practicing the act of birth control. By this, their children apparently are looked better-off, that is why; the western civilization affected people think that this is due to being alackof children. Anyhow, this is not a result of birth control, but in fact, they were already better off. If the prosperity would come due to lack of children, then in the case of being one or two children of a poor person of a village, this person’s standard of life would be far better than cities dwellers and rich, whose number ofchildren are more than two. Whereas the case is quite adverse. So, it is known that having fewer children is not the definite way for prosperity. In Islam, excellent bringing-up does not mean that the boy becomes a doctor or engineer, whether he is not abreast of basic Islamic education. For Islamic bringing-up, it is inevitable that he should be fully familiar with the basic precepts of Islam and must follow them, whether he would be engineer or doctor, professor of a university or a teacher of elementary books in villages, or a merchant or vegetable seller.

Aabridgment: In the light of Quran and Hadith, every Muslim believes that the responsibility of our sustenance and livelihood and our children’s is solely on the Creator of the universe. Therefore, fearing the future that who will feed the children, we should not carry out Birth Control, we have full trust that Allah, the Exalted, has taken responsibility for our sustenance and our children’s. He is the Only Sustainer, Creator and Owner. As per Shari’ah, it is allowed to us that we can choose contraceptive means (like acondom, contraceptive medications, etc.) temporarily and stop the series of children at two or three only. If someone wants to have more children, then we should not look down upon him, but we have to show for him full respect and honor, as, he is the right person who has selected the better way in the light of the holy Quran and Sunnah. To exterminate the fertility of a woman permanently, there is a fatwa by the scholars for it that it is not permissible in the light of Quran and Sunnah. Under no circumstances, if a woman has had three or two children through caesarean operations and the doctors are of the view that it is entirely inevitable to end the birth chain for sake of health of the woman, then there is a room for that.

Dr. Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi