In the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful.
Peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved prophet Muhammad, his household, companions and his Ummah to the day of reckoning.
All praises be to Allah our creator, sustainer and provider for given me such an expensive opportunity to write about the issue of family planning on Islamic perspective.
Alhamdulillah, before I proceed to quotes what Islamic scholars said according to their knowledge of the Deen, let me give you the definition of family planning according to English dictionary.
“The practice of controlling the number of children one has and the intervals between their births, particularly by means of contraception or voluntary sterilization.
And there are fundamentally two methods of Contraception or family planning.
(1) Permanent methods
(2) Temporary methods
(1) Permanent Methods : Permanent methods include,
Vasectomy in males and Tubecotomy in females. All the scholars unanimously AGREE that permanent methods of family planning are COMPLETELY HARAAM (prohibited) since they involve changing human physiology.
Says Allah in the Qur’an: “So set you your face steadily and truly to the Faith: (Establish) Allah’s handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made humankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allah: that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind understand not.” (Al-Qur’an 30:30)
The Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said: “Marry the one who is loving and fertile, for I will be proud of your great numbers before the nations [i.e., on the Day of Resurrection].”
(Abu Dawood Hadith no. 2050, Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 1805)
(2) Temporary Methods:
Following are various different temporary methods.
- a) M.T.P. (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) or Abortion: All scholars unanimously agree that M.T.P. or abortion is HARAAM (prohibited.)
Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an “…kill not your children on a plea of want; We provide
Sustenance for you and for them;” (Al-Qur’an 6:151)
“Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you: verily the killing of them is a great sin.” (Al-Qur’an 17:31)
However, scholars unanimously agree that any permanent method of family planning, or even abortion, can be done if the life of the mother is in danger. For e.g. if the woman is suffering from certain diseases like heart disease or has under gone multiple caesarean operations and in her case the continuation of pregnancy or another pregnancy may be detrimental to her life, then the woman can be aborted or a permanent method of family planning can be adopted to save the life of the woman.
- b) Taking birth control pills:
Almost all the scholars including Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Council of the Senior Scholars [of Saudi Arabia] agree that it is not allowed to take birth control pills (Fataawa al-Marah) because of its side effects and changes in the normal physiology.
- c) Copper-T: A very common temporary method of family planning or contraception is Copper-T.
Though it is known as ‘contraception’ but technically it is contra-implantation . The sperm fertilizes the ovum but the zygote formed is destroyed by the Copper-T and is prevented from being implanted on the uterine wall (mother’s womb). Thus it is a very early abortion, which is prohibited in Islam.
- d) Coitus Interruptus (‘Azl):
Coitus Interruptus is permissible as long as it is performed with mutual consent of both the husband and wife since both of them have equal right to have children.
This is based on the Hadith of Jabir (RA) who said: “We used to practice (‘Azl) coitus interruptus during the days when the Qur’an was being revealed”. Jabir added: “We used to practice coitus interruptus during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger while the Qur’an was being revealed.” (Sahih Bukhari vol. 7, Hadith no. 136)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
“With regard to ‘azl, some of the scholars regarded it as haraam, but the view of the four imams is that it is permissible with the wife’s permission. And Allah nows best.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 32/110)
- e) As regarding other temporary ethods of family planning like condom etc., the scholars are divided whether their use is permitted or not. Allah (swt) has provided a natural method of planning the family, which is medically known as lactation amenorrhea. After the women gives birth to a child, till she breast feeds she does not have her menstrual cycle, thus the chances of pregnancy in this period of lactation is minimal.
*Allah says in the Qur’an “The mothers shall give suck to their offspring for two whole years…” (Al-Qur’an 2:233)
Reasons for Family Planning : All the various reasons for family planning can be divided into two categories:
- Either for poverty or
- Giving special attention to children by having fewer children.
As for those who are poor and fear that they will not be able to meet the economic expenses of the additional child, Allah (swt) has prescribed the system of zakaat. Every rich person who has the savings of more than the nisab level i.e. 85 gms of gold, should give 2.5% of his excess wealth every lunar year in charity. Those who are poor have the right to take the zakaat money.
Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an “…Kill not your children on a plea of want; We provide sustenance for you and for them;” (Al-Qur’an 6:151)
Allah (swt) also mentions in the Qur’a n “Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you: verily the killing of them is a great sin.” (Al-Qur’an 17:31)
Both these verses seems to convey the same message but on scrutiny we realize that the first verse is meant for poor parents, who fear that if one more child is born in the family neither they will be able to survive nor the child, thus Allah (swt) says we provide sustenance for you and for them. In the other verse Allah (swt) says We shall provide sustenance for them and as well as for you, referring to rich parents who feel
that if they have less children they can concentrate on them better and give them better education and quality life. Here Allah (swt) reverses the order and mentions first the children and then the parent.
It is a misconception that if there are fewer children you can provide better education and quality life to your child:
However, its worth notable that one never knows which child could be a blessing from the Creator for the family. It is quite
Possible that the child, which the parents anticipate to be a bane, may turn out to be a boon for the family and the society. History bears witness to the fact that many of the great scientists, thinkers, and revolutionaries were not from only amongst the first two children of their parents.
Thus the child whom the parents consider unwanted may be a blessing to the family religiously and economically.
With regards to the claim of the people who say that the
growth in population increases poverty, this was mainly based o n Malthusian’s theory. This theory states that, to maintain prosperity and welfare of human race, its increase should be checked to correspond with the production of foodstuff.
But now we have realized that Malthusian’s theory has been proved wrong and there is no shortage of food grains.
However, the question of family planning and birth control was discussed in detail by the Majma al-Fiqh al-Islami. 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 al-Baar, Ali al-Salus, Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti, Abdullah al-Basam, Hasan Hathut and Muhammad Sayid Tantawi. Their proceedings, papers and discussions may be found in Part One of the Fifth Volume of Majallah Majma al-Fiqh al-Islami (1988/1409 A.H.).
The following are some important questions and their answers related to the issue of birth control by Islamic scholars:
- Is child spacing allowed in Islam?
” Praises be to Allah
We hope that our brother will be certain that not one of the scholars said that it is obligatory for a couple to produce children, and that if they do not produce twenty children then they are sinning and deserve to be punished by Allah!
Similarly, not one of the earlier or contemporary scholars – as far as we know – has said that it is the fate of the wife to have a baby and breastfeed every single year, or that if the couple choose to delay pregnancy and having children, that is haraam.
We mention these facts to you, and ward off doubts based on illusion, so that we can introduce the Islamic ruling, first of all, and so as to highlight that everything that you mentioned in your question is not an argument that has any sound basis, because the Islamic ruling is far removed from what you mentioned in your question. In fact the Islamic evidence indicates that it is permissible to delay having children. As Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with said): “We used to engage in ‘azl [coitus interruptus, a form of contraception] at the time when the Qur’an was being revealed. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5208) and Muslim (1440). ‘Azl (coitus interruptus) means ejaculating outside the woman’s vagina in order to avoid pregnancy.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) quoted this hadith as evidence for it being permissible to space having children in order to give them a proper Islamic upbringing, when he said:
If a woman has a lot of children, and it is difficult for her to give them a proper Islamic upbringing because they are so many, then there is nothing wrong with her taking something to space her pregnancies in order to achieve this important purpose, so that pregnancy will not adversely affect her or her children, as Allah has permitted ‘azl for this and similar purposes.
End quote from Fataawa Noor ‘ala ad-Darb by Ibn Baaz ed. by ash-Shuway‘ir (21/394)
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Taking contraceptive measures is permissible in principle, because the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) used the method of ‘azl (coitus interruptus) during the time of the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and he did not forbid them to do that. But it is contrary to what is preferable, because having a lot of children is something that is prescribed and is desirable.
End quote from Fataawa Noor ‘ala ad-Darb by al-‘Uthaymeen (22/2)
So you may rest assured that if you and your wife decide to delay having children, as you mentioned in your question, that is not regarded as a sin or disobedience in principle, unless there are other considerations that have an impact on this individual or personal choice, which may be dictated by present-day circumstances:
If the decision to delay having children is widespread, at the societal, national or ummah-wide level, then in this case it becomes a destructive and negative choice, and in that case the ruling is that it is not allowed, because it has moved from being a permissible and natural matter to one that is imposed from without and will lead to negative consequences, and is therefore blameworthy.
If the motive for delaying having children is fear for their provision and livelihood, then this reflects a serious doubt concerning our belief in the will and decree of Allah and our belief in the abundant provision of Allah and that He will help those who strive to earn a living in the land. It reflects an unjustified fear of the future and a failure to produce and strive. In that case it is blameworthy and is not allowed, and there are clear fatwas that speak of it.
If the reason for not having children is arguments and conflict between the spouses, where one of them does not want children and the other one does, then the one who is refusing does not have the right to do so, because having children is a right of both spouses, and it is not permissible for one of them to refuse with no excuse or good reason.
If the motive for delaying having children, or ceasing to do so, is to follow the cultural norms of non-Muslims and imitate them blindly, out of admiration for their culture and infatuation with their way of life, then undoubtedly the ruling in this case is that it is not allowed. One of the great principles of Islamic teaching is that the individual Muslim should be independent in his thinking and think within the framework of Islamic teaching; he should weigh up pros and cons objectively in the light of the circumstances that he lives in, and base his decisions on the Islamic principles in which he believes and with which he grew up, far removed from the illusionary psychological influences that are imposed by the media that represents the corporate powers that exist today, and should free himself from feelings of inferiority in the face of what he sees of the attitudes, customs and actions of the disbelieving nations.
If the means of delaying having children is medicine or surgical procedures that will prevent having children altogether (sterilisation), so that the woman or her husband will lose the ability to ever have children, then this is a serious transgression and is ingratitude for the blessing of Allah that He has bestowed upon His slaves, and it is destruction of a great blessing that Allah has instilled and created in them on the basis of great wisdom.
The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) forbade such things. This is the case concerning which there is no difference of opinion among the scholars that it is prohibited, for it is the undermining of one of the most important aims of sharee‘ah and a blatant violation of one of the five necessities that Islam came to protect, which are: religious commitment, life, honour, wealth, and offspring.
These five cases are what the scholars refer to when they speak about spacing or limiting the number of children. They are the reason why they spoke in strict terms in many cases, so that no one would take undue advantage of the fatwas which say that contraception is permissible.
That is why we have mentioned these five cases here, so as to draw attention to them. In any other case, where a couple take an individual decision on the basis of a genuine need, there is no blame on them for that.
Anyone who reflects on the statement of the International Islamic Fiqh Council no. 39 (1/5), which has to do with family planning, will clearly understand that the way in which it is drafted is very careful and clear, as we have explained above. It says in the statement:
The session of the Islamic Fiqh Council held during its fifth conference in Kuwait, 1-6 Jumaada al-Aakhir 1409 AH/10-15 December 1988 AH.
After studying the research papers presented by council members and experts on the topic of family planning, and listening to the discussion that took place on the topic,
And based on the fact that one of the aims of marriage according to Islamic teaching is to produce children and preserve the human race, and that it is not permissible to undermine this aim, because undermining it is contrary to the texts of Islam and their teachings which call for having a lot of offspring, protecting them and caring for them because protecting offspring is one of the five holistic principles that are promoted by Islamic teaching,
The council determined the following:
Firstly: it is not permissible to promulgate laws restricting the freedom of couples to have children.
Secondly: it is prohibited to completely eradicate the ability to have children in the case of either the man or the woman, which is known as sterilisation, so long as there is no necessary reason, according to Islamic standards, for doing so.
Thirdly: it is permissible to use temporary methods of birth control for the purpose of spacing pregnancies, or preventing pregnancy for a specific length of time, if there is a valid reason, according to Islamic teachings, for doing so, according to what a couple decide on the basis of mutual consultation and consent, on condition that this does not lead to any harm and that the method used is Islamically permissible and does not cause harm to any existing pregnancy. End quote.
And Allah knows best.
- Is it permissible to use birth control so that a person has a child every five years, because he sees the corruption in society and would not be able to raise a lot of children close in age in this overwhelmingly corrupt society?
Praise be to Allaah.
This question was put to Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, may Allaah preserve him, who replied:
So long as this is the intention, then it is not permissible to do this, because it reflects a lack of trust in Allaah with regard to the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) who said “Marry the one who is loving and fertile…”
But if the birth control has to do with the condition of the woman – because she cannot cope with repeated pregnancies – this may be permissible, but it is better not to do it.
Question: Do you mean that it is more important to pay attention to the woman’s condition than to the corrupt nature of society?
Answer: Of course, because there is no certainty that one’s children will be corrupt; they may be righteous people who will bring benefits to society. And Allaah knows best.
- Please tell me if i should wait to try and have children based on my concern for giving any children Allaah ta’Ala might give me a good islamic family environment. i have debts from long ago that involve paying ribaa and i feel that i should wait to have children until i can pay off these debts?. please advise. jazakum Allahu khairan
Praise be to Allaah.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings)
“And no moving (living) creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allaah” [Hood 11:6]
“And so many a moving (living) creature carries not its own provision! Allaah provides for it and for you. And He is the All‑Hearer, the All‑Knower” [al-‘Ankaboot 29:60]
“Verily, Allaah is the All‑Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong” [al-Dhaariyaat 51:58]
“so seek your provision from Allaah (Alone), and worship Him (Alone), and be grateful to Him”
Allaah condemned the people of the Jaahiliyyah who killed their children for fear of poverty, and He forbade doing what they did. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide for them as well as for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin” [al-Israa’ 17:31]
Allaah has commanded His slaves to put their trust in Him in all their affairs, and He is Sufficient for those who put their trust in Him. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“and put your trust in Allaah if you are believers indeed” [al-Maa’idah 5:23]
“And whosoever puts his trust in Allaah, then He will suffice him” [al-Talaaq 65:3].
So you have to put your trust in your Lord and believe that He will provide for you and your children. Do not let the fear of poverty prevent you from seeking to have children, for Allaah has guaranteed provision for all. By not wanting children for fear of poverty, you are imitating the people of the Jaahiliyyah.
You should also note that taking out loans with interest is ribaa (usury), for which Allaah issues the warning of a painful torment. It is one of the seven sins which condemn a person to Hell. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Avoid the seven sins which condemn a person to Hell…[which include] consuming ribaa.” And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has cursed the one who consumes ribaa, the one who pays it…” Consumption of ribaa is one of the greatest causes of poverty and loss of blessings, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Allaah will destroy Ribaa and will give increase for Sadaqaat (deeds of charity, alms)” [al-Baqarah 2:276]
I think that you do not know the ruling on interest-based loans. So seeks Allaah’s forgiveness for what is in the past, and do not do it again. Wait for your Lord to grant you a way out and seek provision from Him. Put your trust in Him for Allaah loves those who put their trust in Him.
- I suffer from a severe sickness during pregnancy, that lasts almost until the moment of birth, especially in the first three months. It was so bad that I spent almost two months in hospital. During this time, I stopped eating and drinking completely, and I disliked everything. I was fed by means of injections in the hospital. In this case is it permissible for me to avoid getting pregnant and giving birth altogether, or is that not permitted?.
Praise be to Allaah.
Islam encourages people to get married and have children so as to increase the numbers of the Muslim ummah and to make the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) proud before all other nations on the Day of Resurrection, and in accordance with human nature (fitrah). The Prophets themselves (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon them) asked Allaah to bless them with righteous offspring. Allaah tells us that Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) said:
“My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous”
[al-Saaffaat 37:100] .
And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And (remember) Zakariyya (Zachariah), when he cried to his Lord: ‘O My Lord! Leave me not single (childless), though You are the Best of the inheritors’”
[al-Anbiya’ 21:89 . ]
Allaah tells us of many of the du’aa’s of the righteous, such as the verse in which He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And those who say: “Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders of the Muttaqoon (the pious)”
[al-Furqaan 25:74] .
People will remain like that so long as their nature (fitrah) remains sound.
Ongoing contraception is haraam.
But an exception is made to that in cases of necessity – as is the shar’i principle with regard to all haraam things, as it allows them in cases of necessity. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity”
[al-An’aam 6:119] .
So if a woman is weak or sick and will be harmed by pregnancy or there is fear for her life because of that, then it is permissible for her to use that which will prevent pregnancy.
In research prepared by the Standing Committee for Academic research and Issuing Fatwas it says:
… Based on that, limiting the number of offspring is haraam in general, and contraception may be haraam except in rare individual cases that are not general in application, such as if the pregnant woman will have to give birth in a manner other than that which is usual, and she will have to have surgery to bring the child forth; or if the woman’s health or life will be at risk due to pregnancy. In such cases contraception is permitted as anexception because of the likelihood of harm, so as to preserve her life, because Islam seeks to bring benefits and ward off harms, and to advance the greater of benefits and reduce the harm in the case of a conflict. End quote.
Majallat al-Buhooth al-Islamiyyah (5/127).
Shaykh Ibn Baaz was asked about a woman who had given birth to ten children, and now pregnancy would cause her harm, and she wanted to have an operation to have her tubes tied.
There is nothing wrong with her having the surgery mentioned, if doctors have determined that giving birth will harm her, and if her husband allows that. End quote.
Fataawa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah (5/978).
Shaykh Ibn Jibreen said:
It is not permissible to have surgery to end or prevent pregnancy except in cases of necessity, when trustworthy doctors have established that giving birth will harm her or make her sickness worse, or there is the fear that pregnancy and childbirth will likely lead to her death. But it is essential that the husband give his approval to the ending or prevention of pregnancy. Then when the excuse ends the woman should go back to normal. End quote.
Fataawa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah (2/977).
Based on this, if what happened to you was caused by pregnancy, then it is a passing thing that was caused by sickness or weakness which it is hoped will pass. In that case you can use contraceptives on a temporary basis, until Allaah heals you. But if it is an ongoing problem for which there is no hope of an end, then there is nothing wrong – in sha Allaah – with you using contraception on an ongoing basis.
And Allaah knows best.
- What is the shar’i ruling on using the coil (IUD – intrauterine device) as a means of preventing pregnancy, knowing that this means does not prevent fertilization of the egg, but it prevents the embryo from attaching itself to the wall of the uterus? May Allaah reward you with good.
Praise be to Allaah.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
What the Muslims should do is to have as many children as they can, because this is the command issued by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he said, “Marry the one who is loving and fertile, for I will be proud of your great numbers.” Because increasing the number of children increases the size of the ummah, and being of great numbers is a source of pride, as Allaah said, reminding the Children of Israel of that (interpretation of the meaning):
“And We helped you with wealth and children and made you more numerous in man-power” [al-Israa’ 17:6]
And Shu’ayb said to his people:
“ ‘And remember when you were but few, and He multiplied you’”
[al-A’raaf 7:86 – interpretation of the meaning]
No one would deny that if the ummah is great in number this will lend it pride and strength. This is contrary to what is imagined by those who think evil thoughts, that the large numbers of the ummah is the cause of its poverty and hunger. If the ummah increases in number and relies on Allaah, and believes in His promise, in the aayah “And no moving (living) creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allaah” [Hood 11:6 – interpretation of the meaning] , then Allaah will make things easy for them and will grant them sufficient means from His Bounty.
On this basis, the answer to the question is as follows:
A woman should not use birth control pills unless the following two conditions are met:
(1) She should have a reason for that such as being sick and unable to bear a pregnancy every year, or being physically weak, or having other reasons why getting pregnant every year would be harmful for her.
(2) Her husband should give his permission, because the husband has the right to have children. This must also be done in consultation with a doctor, to find out whether taking these pills will be harmful to her or not.
If these two conditions are met, then it is OK for her to use these pills, but that should not be on a permanent basis, i.e., she should not use the type of birth control pills that prevent pregnancy permanently, because this is preventing progeny.
(Fataawa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah , 2/657, 658)
Concerning the harms caused by contraception, the Shaykh (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Birth control pills: I have heard from a number of sources that doctors say they are harmful. Even if we do not know this from the doctors, we know it from ourselves, because preventing something natural that Allaah has created and decreed for the daughters of Adam is undoubtedly harmful. Allaah is Wise, and He has only created this blood which flows at certain times for a reason. If we prevent it with these medicines, that is harmful without a doubt.
But I have heard that the matter is worse than we imagine, that they may be a means of damaging the womb, and a means of causing nervous disorders. This is something we must beware of.
(Liqaa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh , question no. 1147)
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked:
What is the ruling on removing the uterus in order to avoid having children for medical reasons which are either present, or may occur in the future and have been predicted by medical and scientific means?
He answered: if that is necessary, then it is OK, otherwise it should not be done, because the Lawgiver urges us to have children and promotes that in order to increase the size of the ummah. But if there is a necessary reason then it is OK, just as it is permissible to use means of contraception for a limited time for a legitimate shar’i reason. (9/434)
What is said concerning the birth control pill may also be said concerning the coil. It has been definitely proven by the doctors that this contraceptive method causes harm, especially when it is used continually. It is known that the woman who has a coil inserted has an increased flow of menstrual blood, and her period may come twice a month, which causes an iron deficiency in her body. Iron is one of the important minerals which the body needs. Some women may become anaemic when they use the coil and it makes their periods longer, resulting in the woman losing a large amount of blood and thus a large amount of the iron stored in the body. It has also been proven that many women suffer infections of the uterus as a result of using the coil. Despite all this, a woman may become pregnant with the coil in place, as has happened to a number of women. We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound.
And Allaah knows best.