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Baby with Genetic Disorder: Allah’s Punishment?

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Reply Date

May 14, 2017

Question

Salam. I live a confused life. Identity, gender and sexuality issues, abuses; I have faced everything you can imagine. It took me years to get in terms with myself and understand my religion. I am still not there, but I guess I am getting there. I decided to get married and was surprised how Allah helped me and made me a good husband to my wife. After the experience of getting married, which was the hardest choice in my life to make, I thought Allah will be pleased with me now and He may acknowledge the hardships I faced. I understand that I had lived a sinful life, but I did my best to understand my religion and I ended up doing the right things. I recently found out that my first baby may have a serious genetic disorder. I found out that both I and my wife are carriers of a faulty gene and it’s highly likely that my baby is infected. They found this out through scans. I didn't want to terminate the pregnancy as it was too late and decided to go ahead with it. I can’t sleep at night. I’m depressed that how I will manage if the baby ends up affected. I believe that the baby will not, but test reports and the situation of the baby in scan suggested that it’s highly likely. The worst is that because we both are carriers, we will face the same challenge at each pregnancy. What is this? I ask myself. I thought it’s all sorted and I can start a fresh life with a new, strong self-esteem and self-identity. But what is this now? Does Allah punish me? Although, I made wrong choices in life considering my faith, I refused to carry on sins. Or, does Allah love me and that’s why He gives me tests? I managed to get through all abnormalities and abuses I had. Now do I have to face another one - which may be the hardest? What is going on? I’m praying that the baby is not going to be affected, but what if that's the case? I am just sad, but I don't want to carry on moaning or blaming my sins or God. I am confused. I thought now Allah will put everything right.

Counselor

Answer


Baby with Genetic Disorder: Allah’s Punishment?

Answer:

As-Salamu ‘Alaikum brother,

Thank you for writing to us. I am sorry to hear there is a chance your baby may have a genetic disorder. It can be challenging when one’s child is not born “perfect”; however, brother, there is no such thing as perfect.

I would like to first address the fact that you do not know for sure if your child will be born with a genetic disorder.  While the doctors state that it is a high probability and scans indicate this may be true, you will not know until your baby is born. While these are definitely worrisome and distressing news to any parent, I encourage you to in sha’ Allah step out of your depression and worry and take this time to draw closer to Allah (swt) and put your trust in him.

Allah (swt) has guided you out of many situations in your past, why would He (swt) not help you now? In sha’ Allah, do not lose faith, but strive to increase it. Make du’aa’ to Allah (swt), asking that your child is not born with this genetic defect, and pray that if your child is, Allah (swt) guides you and your wife to have the resources, support and strength to love and care for this child which He (swt) entrusted to you both. Share your feelings about it with your wife and family. Often times, when we face a life crisis, our spouses and family are our comfort.

I also suggest, dear brother, in light of your past issues with identity, sexuality, abuse and so on, that in sha’ Allah you reflect upon the mercy’s of Allah (swt) and how He (swt) guided you from these devastations and gave you many blessings in the process. You have a wife, (someone to share your life with), and now you are going to be a father. You have so much now that you did not have before. This child, if born with a genetic defect, is not a punishment from Allah (swt), but rather this child would be an added blessing in many ways. If you look at other couples who have a child with a genetic disorder, would you think they too are being punished for their past?

All the sins of my followers will be forgiven except those of the Mujahirin (those who commit a sin openly or disclose their sins to the people). An example of such disclosure is that a person commits a sin at night and though Allah screens it from the public, then he comes in the morning, and says, ‘O so-and-so, I did such-and-such (evil) deed yesterday,’ though he spent his night screened by his Lord (none knowing about his sin) and in the morning he removes Allah’s screen from himself.” (Al-Bukhari)

If your child were to have special needs, look at it as if Allah (swt) chose you and your wife to care for your child, whom He (swt) created, and Allah (swt) does not make mistakes. If your child does, indeed, have a genetic disorder, in sha’ Allah you and your wife will have the faith and the strength to be the best possible parents to this child, for this child is not a mistake. This child is just different and will most definitely bring you and your wife much joy.

Brother, let me ask you this: what if you had a child, perfect in every way, you held her and took care of her as an infant, you saw her first smile, her first steps. You took her to the masjid, watched her grow, took her to the playground as she got older, looked forward to her jumping in your arms with joy saying “Daddy!” when you got home from work, and you were the one who took her to her first day of school and felt the tears well up in your eyes as she clung to you, not wanting you to leave. Then one day a terrible accident occurred that disfigured your child and made your child bed ridden for life. Would you want to give away your child or think your child was a punishment from Allah (swt), or a punishment from your past sins?

While I am not an Islamic scholar brother, I am a mother, and I can tell you that our children are gifts no matter if they are born with genetic defects or not. I used to work with parents of “disabled” children.  Do you know that they all said their children not only brought them immense joy, but they also brought them closer to God and to what was important in life? Also, they did not look at their child as disabled but differently ABLED. Meaning, although their child was born with a genetic defect, they had other abilities and qualities that made them special, endearing and beloved.

According to Genetic Alliance UK, “A working party of the Royal College of Physicians has estimated that 2-3% of births result in babies with either congenital or genetically-determined abnormalities. This means that approximately 13 000 births a year in the UK are so affected. Some conditions manifest themselves later in life. 5.5% of the population will have developed a genetic disorder by age 25. Later in life, this figure rises to approximately 60% if we include conditions in which genetics plays some role.  The incidence of many Mendelian disorders varies from one ethnic group to another.”

Brother, life is a series of tests and trials in one way or another. In regards to questions of “why is live so hard, or “I thought now Allah (swt) will put everything right”, AboutIslam illustrates these two surahs

“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them…” (Quran 29:2-4)

We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirun (the patient).” (Quran 2:155)

In sha’ Allah, brother, I ask you to really understand the meaning of these two surahs. While I am not an Islamic scholar, as stated previously, we can see by these surahs, and many others, that Allah (swt) does, indeed, test us throughout our lives and Allah (swt) does test those He (swt) loves.

I encourage you brother to take this time before your child is born to study the Qur’an more, keep in prayer, make du’aa’, and take the necessary steps to prepare yourself and your wife just in case your child is born with a defect. This may mean talking more with the doctor, getting more information/ knowledge, talking with family for support, possibly looking into support groups for parents with differently abled children, as well as preparing yourselves spiritually, emotionally and strengthening your marriage on a daily basis. Drawing closer to each other at this time is important. Most of all brother, give thanks to Allah (swt) for giving you one of the greatest blessings in life, a child. No matter what the outcome is, I know you will be a proud, loving, and capable father!

You are in our prayers dear brother. Please let us know how things turn out.

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 

 




About Karim Serageldin

Karim Serageldin, founder of Noor, completed his BA in psychology & religion, followed by an MA in east-west psychology with a specialization in spiritual counseling. He is a certified life coach with years of teaching and community outreach experience. His practical work and research includes developing a modern framework of Islamic psychology, relationship, family and youth coaching. He provides seminars and workshops in the United States. You can contact Br. Karim at: http://www.noorhumanconsulting.com or facebook.com/noorhumanconsulting


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