Is Family Planning allowed in Islam ?
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Bismillah irRahman irRahem
In the Name of Allaah, The Most Gracious, The Most Kind
Is Family Planning allowed in Islam ?
by Jamaal Zarabozo
The question of family planning and birth control was discussed in
detail by the Majma al-Fiqh al-Islaami. 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-Saaloos, Muhammad Saeed Ramadhan al-Booti, Abdullah al-Basaam,
Hasan Hathoot and Muhammad Sayid Tantaawi. Their proceedings, papers
and discussions may be found in Part One of the Fifth Volume of
Majallah Majma al-Fiqh al-Islaami (1988/1409 A.H.). These proceedings
are 748 pages all about the question of birth control and related
The following are important points related to the issue of birth
control in Islam. These were mentioned by some of the participants in
the above program:
The institution of marriage and the want to have children was the
custom of the best of creation, the prophets and messengers chosen by
Allah. Allah says about them:
"And indeed We sent messengers before you and made for them wives and
offspring" (al-Raad 38)
The best example for the believers is the example of the prophet
Muhammad (saw), who married and had children. These prophets and
messengers are the people whom Muslims should look to emulate. Allah
"They are those whom Allah has guided. So follow their guidance"
They should be emulated and not the disbelievers of the West, whose
new lifestyles - mostly out of concern for enjoying this life or
obtaining as many worldly goods as possible - discourage women from
having more children.
Islam has forbidden celibacy, monasticism and castration for such
purposes. The prophet (saw) made this clear when he told those
companions who were considering acetic forms of life: "I pray and I
sleep; I fast and I break my fast; and I marry women. Whoever turns
away from my way of life is not from me." The prophet (saw) not only
encouraged marriage but he encouraged marrying those women who are
child-bearing. He stated: "marry the loving, child-bearing women for I
shall have the largest numbers among the prophets on the day of
Resurrection." (Recorded by Ahmad and ibn Hibban.)
From the Islamic perspective, children are a gift and a blessing from
Allah. Allah mentions some of the bounties that He has bestowed upon
mankind in the following verse:
"And Allah has made for you spouses of your own kind and has made for
you, from your wives, sons and grandsons, and has bestowed upon you
good provisions." (al-Nahl 72)
Allah also said:
"Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world."
The only true provider for all mankind is Allah. If Muslims follow
what Allah has prescribed for them, Allah will provide for them. Allah
has warned about killing one's children out of fear of poverty for
either parents or the child. Allah says:
"Kill not your children because of poverty - We provide sustenance for
you and for them" (al-Anaam 151)
Allah also says:
"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"
Hence, Muslims should never abort or kill their children out of fear
of poverty. It is Allah who provides for them.
Based on the above points and numerous others, the scholars who
participated in the research on this question came up with the
It is not allowed to enact a general law that limits the freedom
of spouses in having children.
It is forbidden to "permanently"
end a man's or a woman's ability to produce children, such as by
having a hysterectomy or vasectomy, as long as that is not called
for by circumstances of necessity according to its Islamic
It is permissible to control the timing of births with
the intent of distancing the occurrences of pregnancy or to delay
it for a specific amount of time, if there is some Shariah need
for that in the opinion of the spouses, based on mutual
consultation and agreement between them. However, this is
conditioned by that not leading to any harm, by it being done by
means that are approved in the Shariah and that it not do
anything to oppose a current and existing pregnancy.