#344: Abortion Due to Busy Work Schedule

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. Is it permissible for my wife to abort her pregnancy because she’s too busy with work?

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

Children are a gift and blessing from Allah SWT as He stated:

يَهَبُ لِمَنْ يَشَاء إِنَاثًا وَيَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَاء الذُّكُورَ

“He gives to whom He wills female [children], and He gives to whom He wills males.” [1]

Imam al-Maraghi stated that the meaning of children here is only one’s biological child. A person who loves his wife and children will have the same reason, which is to continue his lineage and maintain the lineage of mankind. The feeling of love of a father for his son is greater than a daughter, for a son is considered as the one who is going to continue the lineage, continue the family name and build a family institution that will be the pride of the society. Furthermore, he is the focus of the hopes of his father in maintaining their lives. A son is also hoped to uphold his parents’ status. When a daughter grows up, she will separate from her family and become the family of another’s. [2]

Allah SWT further said:

إِنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ

“Your wealth and your children are but a trial,” [3]

Imam al-Maraghi detailed the love for wealth and children is a trial and test for they are the usual reason for sin and violation of anything that is prohibited. [4]

Aborting a pregnancy before it reaches four months is included in the matters of difference of opinions among jurists. The majority of scholars stated that it is prohibited. Some stated that it is permissible if there is a debility.

We are inclined towards the opinion of the majority of scholars regarding the prohibition of abortion that is less than four months old. This is based on several of the following arguments:

Allah SWT states:

وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا

“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.” [5]

Imam al-Tobari said: This verse explains that you shouldn’t kill your children due to fear of poverty or hardships. The reason is that previously, the people of jahiliyyah killed their children because they are worried about poverty. Then Allah SWT issued a warning to them regarding this matter and inform them that their sustenance and the sustenance of their children are under the authority of Allah SWT. [6]

According to the context of the above verse, originally, the parents are in a difficult situation. However, their worry for their yet to be born child will make them poor and hard for them to continue their lives. Thus, Allah SWT explained that the sustenance of their children and their own sustenance is under the authority of Allah SWT. One shouldn’t worry about the uncertain poverty due to the existence of their children, hence the prohibition against killing children is issued.

The same is stated by Allah SWT:

وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ مِنْ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَحْنُ نَرْزُقُكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ

“And do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them.” [7]

Ibn Kathir when interpreting this verse said: When Allah SWT advises doing good to parents and grandparents, Allah SWT also relates the act of ihsan (doing good) to children and lineage. Hence, Allah SWT stated that you shouldn’t kill your children because you’re poor. The reason is, that previously they killed their children following the whispers of shaytan who instructed them to do so. [8]

According to the above verse, it is clear that it is slightly different from verse 31 surah al-Isra’ that we previously stated. Second, is Allah SWT’s prohibition against killing children however it is intended in two different contexts for parents.

In surah al-Isra’, killing children in the situation where the parents aren’t in poverty but fear that they’ll be poor is prohibited. While in surah al-An’aam, killing children when the parents are poor is also prohibited. Thus, Allah SWT stated children first in surah al-An’aam, signalling that the sustenance of the children is under the authority of Allah SWT. While in surah al-Isra’, Allah SWT stated parents first for they (who are poor) is under the authority of Allah SWT.

According to both the verses, it is clear that Allah SWT prohibits killing children with the excuse of hardship or poverty or that we are poor and wouldn’t be able to take care of the welfare of our children. Both aren’t considered as a debility permitted by syarak.

Likewise, Allah SWT states:


وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” [9]

According to the apparent meaning of the above verse, it is clear that a person doesn’t know anything compared to Allah SWT the All-Knowing regarding what is good and bad for him. It is possible that we think that aborting a child is good and beneficial for us in our future. Consequently, it is harmful and damaging. It is also possible that we think that the existence and birth of a child will bring hardship in our lives, but as soon as the child is born, he becomes the coolness of our eyes, increases our blessings and brings about the calmness in our lives. All of these are the secrets of Allah SWT mentioned in His statement: “And Allah Knows, while you know not.”

Conclusion

To close, we’d like to emphasize that aborting a pregnancy because one is busy with work is prohibited in Islam. Moreover, for any reason, the act of purposely aborting a pregnancy is considered as an act of rejecting fate and blessing from Allah SWT, except if there is a permissible reason by syarak to do so. We’d like to take this opportunity to state some advice, among them:

  • Children are described as qurrah al-a’yun (coolness of the eyes) who provide a calmness to the parents in their busy daily lives.
  • When Allah SWT gifted children as a blessing, at the same time, Allah SWT himself guarantees the welfare of the children and parents.
  • Aborting children with the excuse of being busy with work, there’s no one to take care of the children as well as having other dependents isn’t acknowledged as a debility by syarak.
  • It is possible that we dislike something but it is a form of goodness for us due to our limited knowledge as humans.
  • However, in cases such as this, if the pregnant woman has received the advice of doctors and specialists whose expertise is acknowledged and she is informed that the pregnancy is dangerous or harmful for the mother or child, then this is considered a debility approved by syarak which is the opinion of some jurists who ruled is permissible to abort a pregnancy that has yet to reach four months if there is a debility.
  • Children are gifts from Allah SWT. It is a blessing that we should be grateful for considering how many other couples who didn’t get such a blessing when they desperately want it.

Lastly, we supplicate to Allah SWT so that we are granted a true understanding in religion. Amin. We end with the supplication:

رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

 “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.”

Wallahu a’lam.

[1] Surah al-Syura: 49

[2] See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 2/ 705-706

[3] Surah al-Taghaabun: 15

[4] See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 14/7053

[5] Surah Al-Isra’: 31

[6] See Tafsir al-Tobari, 17/437

[7] Surah Al-An’aam: 151

[8] See Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 3/360

[9] Surah Al-Baqarah: 216

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