Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.
Dr. Shabir Ally addresses this question in the video below:
Aisha Khaja: So, Dr. Shabir, the question today is about epidural. And someone is asking what is the Islamic point of view about using epidural.
And they’ve heard people say it’s haram. And also, if it’s not haram, would it be considered a form of suicide if you were asked to take epidural rather or you didn’t and you possibly passed away?
Dr. Shabir Ally: The question brings back memories for me because I was only 20 when my first child was born, my daughter. And I had to ask the same question of a scholar.
And the answer is that there is nothing in the Islamic tradition that prevents us from making use of medicines in general. And in this particular circumstance, there’s no harm in using some medication, epidural in this case, that will relieve the pain of the mother in childbirth.
Aisha Khaja: What about in the situation where, I guess, if you refuse it and then the person is saying you die in labor is that considered a form of suicide?
Dr. Shabir Ally: Well, I mean it is- no. It wouldn’t be a form of suicide. But one obviously should make use of the medication that is available. But some people may refuse it for some reasons that are best known to themselves.
Maybe someone wants as natural a childbirth as possible. This is their choice. But obviously, they’ll have to weigh the benefits, the pros and cons.
This question became discussed in the realm of religion because in the Middle Ages some people thought that women had to bear children in childbirth in pain as a result of a curse that God put on them.
But that’s in another tradition. It’s not in the Islamic tradition at all.
Aisha Khaja: Okay, so, that was a just an idea or a thought that was around at the time or?
Dr. Shabir Ally: Well, yes. You know, it’s mentioned in the book of Genesis that God put a curse on the woman that you will bear children in pain. So, some people thought if you try to relieve the pain, you’re acting contrary to the will of God.
Aisha Khaja: I understand.
Dr. Shabir Ally: But, of course, that’s not the Islamic story. No curse was put on Adam and Eve in the Quran. In fact, they were forgiven after the initial error that they committed.
I hope this helps answer your question. Please keep in touch.
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