Home / Fatwa / Birth Control from Sunni Scholars’ Point of Views

Birth Control from Sunni Scholars’ Point of Views

The religion of Islam has never desired to make the society weak, rather, it has desired to bring forth a safe and powerful nation and the only way that this is possible is through family planning.

The uncontrolled growth of population this century has posed a huge dilemma and has brought with it irreversible damages to all aspects of life – including the environment that people live in and the health and welfare of the family. Keeping in mind that if the economic, societal and cultural factors do not expand to keep in line with the growth of population, then this population growth will definitely have a negative impact on the well being of the entire society.
Whereas 150 years ago, the population of the world was a mere 500,000,000 people, at the present time, there are currently over 6,000,000,000,000 people inhabiting the planet Earth and this number is on the increase as can be seen by the current growth of population of the world. We must also keep in mind that 90% of this increase has taken place within the non-Industrialized countries of the world.

The below is compilation of Fatawa from the top caliber religious scholars of the Ahl as-Sunnah Ahl as-Sunnah within the Islamic Republic of Iran in relation to the various methods of birth control.
Rule 1: The first fatawa (Islamic ruling) in relation to the prohibition of any form of birth control to prevent pregnancy given within the Islamic countries was on the 29th of January, 1937 from Shaikh `Abdul Hamid – the great Mufti of Egypt. In this letter which was a response to a question as to what the opinion of Islam is in regards to birth control and abortion from the point of view of medicine and society, it was answered:
a) Both the husband and the wife have the choice of preventing pregnancy due to medical reasons or societal issues through any preventative way and it is not a condition to have the consent of the other side.
b) It is permissible to use medicine and other measures which would result in the abortion of the fetus up until the 16th week (four months) of the pregnancy with the condition that it has been recommended (to the woman) that it is necessary to abort the fetus and as long as the life of the mother is not put into danger (by use of the medicine or other measures).
c) All the leaders of the religion are in agreement that after this time period has passed, the abortion is not permitted to take place under any circumstances.
Those scholars who have been named in the fatawa are of the Hanafi school of thought who confirmed this ruling and believe that it is permissible for a woman to have her tubes tied in such a way that the sperm of the man would not be able to reach to the egg.
Just as can be seen, not only did the Great Mufti of Egypt permit the various forms of birth control to prevent pregnancy before the act of conception, rather, he has even permitted abortions to take place within the first four months of the pregnancy. In addition, he has not considered the agreement of both sides (the husband and wife) as being necessary.

Thirteen years later, (in March of 1953), it was written:
The Fatawa Committee of Al-Azhar University have given a revised opinion:
According to the opinions of the Shafi`i Madhab, it is not forbidden to use medicine to prevent pregnancy.
“Surely Allah wishes ease for you and does not wish difficulty upon you.” Surah al-Baqarah, Verse 185

`Allamah Khalid Muhammad Khalid
In the book entitled, “We Start From Here”, he has stated the following opinion that: “This issue must be made completely clear to the people that not only is an uncontrolled increase in population not something that cannot be praised, rather, from the point of view of the society and economy is actually something very dangerous. Unfortunately, the Islamic nations have not been able to fully grasp this societal issue and it is because of this, that we are now forced to announce the correct view of Islam on this issue.
The teachings of Islam – whether they be from the point of view of the benefit of the individual and whether they be in relation to the over-all well being of the society – state that family planning is something which is necessary. According to the Islamic teachings, any sort of population growth which is not in accordance with the economic growth and the planning and management of the society is actually considered as a trial and punishment from the Divine.”

The Late `Allamah Mahmud Shaltut
The rector of the Al-Azhar University in Egypt had written in his book, under the topic of, “The View of Islam and Family Planning” that: “The religion of Islam has never desired to make the society weak, rather, it has desired to bring forth a safe and powerful nation and the only way that this is possible is through family planning.”
The Noble Prophet of Islam (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) has said, “Have modesty in relation to other women (when you deal with them) so that when others deal with your women, they too show modesty.”Mustadrak al-Wasa`il, Volume 15, Page 174, Hadith 5.

In relation to using the various methods of birth control, it was asked from Mr. Mamusta Mullah `Arif Mudarrasi, the son of the late Mamusta Mullah Baqir Mudarrasi better known as Mudarris Kurdistani, Iran:
Question 1: Dear teacher, please inform us what the opinion is according to the Shafi`i school of thought for women to use the various methods of birth control such as birth control pills, condoms, I.U.D., tubal ligation and other methods?
Answer 1: From the book, I`anatul Talibin, which is a commentary on the book entitled Fathul Mubin in the beginning on the section on marriage, chapter four, page 254, it has been mentioned that there are three methods which can be used to prevent pregnancy:
1. Before the husband and wife have sexual relations at which time it is allowed meaning it is halal (permissible) and there is absolutely no problem.
2. After the couple have had sexual relations however the fertilized egg has not yet had life infused into it – meaning the fetus has not yet reached to four months of age in which case to abort it is Makruh or highly discouraged however it is still not haram (forbidden).
3. In the event that the egg is fertilized, then to abort it (at this time – after four months) would be haram (forbidden) and it would be forbidden to kill that which is living.
From the explanation given by the teacher, it can easily be seen that not only do the methods of birth control not have any problem from the point of view of the Islamic legislation, rather, very clearly, sometimes the order to go forth with it (birth control) has even been given. Forget about those people who do not have the (spiritual) eyes to see and understand the commands of the Lord and let them continue in their pessimistic talks since our religion is the most complete religion.

In 1991, Shaikh Jadil Haqq `Ali Jadil Haqq, the grand rector of Al-Azhar, published a detailed report on the Islamic regulations in relation to women’s issues.
This report included various issues such as: how they have come to the conclusion in regards to the use of birth control to prevent pregnancy, abortion and permanent forms of birth control.
Rule 1: In the clear text of the Qur`an, there is no prohibition in relation to birth control to avoid pregnancy or in relation to reducing the number of children that one should have. However, by making use of the examples given in the Sunnah of the Prophet and by employing deductive reasoning, we can presume that the modern methods of preventing pregnancy are permissible.
Rule 2: Preventing pregnancy is not equivalent to killing another person and it does not go against the issues of Tawakkul (reliance upon Allah) and the fact that Allah is the sustainer.
Rule 3: Making use of the temporary methods of preventing pregnancy are permissible however in relation to the permanent methods of birth control, in the event when it is necessary for the individual, then it too is permissible.
Rule 4: It is forbidden (haram) to abort the fetus after 120 days except in cases when the life of the mother is in danger (after the soul has been infused into the body). A group of scholars from amongst the Maliki, Imamiyah, `Ibadiyah, Zahriyyah and Hanbali (schools of Jurisprudence) have considered it forbidden (haram) to have an abortion after forty days.
Rule 5: Using the sperm of one’s spouse (to fertilize ones’ self) is permissible however it is not permissible to use the sperm of another person (the Sperm Bank).

• “A majority of the scholars of the Hanafi (school of Jurisprudence), just as they have permitted coitus interruptus, have also permitted other modern methods of birth control with the consent of the husband. Of course, the later scholars of the Hanafi (school of Jurisprudence), keeping in mind that the needs of the time (the decrease in the (Islamic) teachings and the fear of giving birth to un-righteous children) also do not consider the permission of the wife for coitus interruptus to be necessary.”
• “A majority of the scholars of the Maliki (school of Jurisprudence) have confirmed the permissibility of using the method of coitus interruptus to prevent pregnancy and some of the scholars have stated that the consent of the wife is a condition (in this).”
• “A majority of the scholars of the Shafi`i (school of Jurisprudence) have deemed it permissible to employ coitus interruptus and do not consider it necessary to take the permission of the wife for this. Of course, in instances (the wife not being pleased with this), it is discouraged however in summary, it is necessary for the husband to have the consent of his wife before he has intercourse with her, however in relation to coitus interruptus, it is not a condition (to have her consent).”
• “A majority of the scholars of the Hanbali (school of Jurisprudence) deem it permissible to use coitus interruptus with the wife’s consent (whether she be young or old). However in certain circumstances, the wife’s permission is not needed.”
• “A majority of the scholars of the Zaidiyah (school of Jurisprudence) are of the belief that it is not forbidden to use coitus interruptus and thus, they deem it permissible however they have a difference of opinion if it is necessary to have the consent of the wife.”
• “A majority of the scholars of the Isma`iliyyah (school of Jurisprudence) are in agreement with the permissibility of coitus interruptus with the consent of the wife and this consent must be given by the woman at the time that the marriage is being performed.”
• “A majority of the scholars of the `Ibadiyyah (school of Jurisprudence) deem it permissible to use coitus interruptus as long as her consent has been given.”

The selection taken from “Islamic Edicts on Family Planning” by Bahram Dilawar”.

Related Post

Check Also

Article: Induced Miscarriage in Early Mālikī and Hanafī Fiqh

This article traces the manner in which Mālikī and Hanafī jurists in the first six centuries AH arrived at their respective legal assessments of...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real Time Web Analytics