Tuesday, 5 December 2006

The Ruling Of Using Contraception In Islam

Nowadays, there are many types of contraceptive methods used. Among them:

Reversible-Chemical - the pill which is taken orally spermicidal jellies used locally.

Reversible-Mechanical - use of condoms and intra-uterine devices

Reversible Physical - coitus interruptus, rhythm method

Permanent - Sterilisation Operation - tubal ligations, vasectomies.


Contraception is permissible on a limited scale for valid reasons - reasons considered by the Shari'ah to be valid. The circumstances which will permit reversible and permanent contraception differ.

Among the reasons accepted by the Shari'ah as valid for practising reversible contraception are:
1. Physical weakness.
2. Sickness.
3. The wife maintaining her beauty or figure for the sake of her husband.
4. The couple being on a journey or in a distant land.
5. Adverse political conditions, e.g. children are forcibly separated fromtheir parents as is advocated by communism; etc.
6. The couple decide to separate in the near future.
7. The wife is an immoral person.

The above are valid grounds for practising reversible contraception.

Poverty or the fear of poverty are not valid reasons for contraception. It is not permissible to practice contraception on account of a fear of not being able to provide for a large family. Such a fear is an attribute of non-Muslims.

According to the Al-Qur'an:

'There is not a living creature, but its sustenance is the responsibility of Allah."

Similarly desire to curb sexual desire which may stem out of piety is not a lawful ground for contraception. If practised for any reason which is unlawful in Islam, then contraception will likewise be unlawful, e.g. forindulgence in illicit sex.

Permanent contraception is permissible only if the woman's life is in danger or her health is seriously threatened.

Also Al-Tabarani extracted in his book entitled Al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer that Nabi SAW said:

"Get married and have large families."

Islam has encouraged and exhorted proliferation, and made the preserving of progeny one of the high ideals; Islam has decreed a set of rules designed to maintain the progeny, such as marriage, and also to protect it as reflected in Allah SWT saying in the Qur'an:

"Kill not your children for fear of want, We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you."(Surah 17: Ayat 31)

Allah SWT also mentions in the Qur'an:

"And from them twain he scattered countless men and women." (Surah 4: Verse 1)

In Islam, it isn’t permitted to halt birth due to economic or financial reasons, Allah SWT says:

"There is no moving creature on earth but its sustenance depends on Allah." (Surah 11: Verse 6)

And Allah SWT says in the Qur'an:

"Do not kill your children for fear of poverty for it is we who shall provide sustenance for you as well as for them." (Surah 6: Verse 2)

In Islam as in all the religions, fertility is highly prized and children are a gift of Allah to bring:

"Joy to our eyes." (Surah 25: Verse 74)

Bukhari and Muslim extracted on the authority of Sa‘id al-Khudri RA who reported:

"We were out with the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and we desired our women as we have been complaining from celibacy, our women wanted us to perform the ‘azl (coitus interruptus / withdrawal), so we asked Allah’s Messenger (SAW) about this and he said:

"There is no harm in doing this for Allah swt will create what he wishes till the Day of Judgment."

According to Umar ibn Khattab RA, the Prophet SAW forbade the practice of contraception (azl) with a free woman except with her permission.

The above texts explicitly indicate that the ‘azl, in other words temporary contraception, is permitted (mubah). This is so because the permissibility of ‘azl has been mentioned in connection with unwanted pregnancies. However, the belief must always be unshakable that if we used any means of contraception, Allah SWT will always create whatever he wished till the Day of Judgement.

Allah SWT says in the Qur'an:

"Losers are those who killed their children foolishly, due to their lack of knowledge, and prohibited what God has provided for them, and followed innovations attributed to God. They have gone astray, they are not guided." (Surah 6: Verse 140)

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