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My Age, More Children and the Economy

Questioner

Z (40-female-US)

Reply Date

Dec 15, 2017

Question

Salaam. What is the optimum age to have kids? I am 40 and I have 2 children with operations. Should I go for more kids? Is it haram to have contraception? If so, why is it haram? The contraception method my husband uses has worked for us so far, so I want to keep continuing with that. My husband and I are financially stable for now alhamdulillah so far, however, we live in such a condition that we both have to work to run our family. If we have more children, I'd have to take a break. It would have to be short, and then I would have to go back to work soon. Which means the baby, like my other children, would have to go into day care. Is it fair on the little ones to go into day care? Now, my kids are old enough and go to school. They have been requesting us to have another baby because all their friends have.They, too, want a little one to play with. I feel guilty that I am not having any more. I am afraid because of a number of things. My job, the economy and my husband's job, my age, etc... In my family, I have one sibling who is mentally ill. I strongly suspect that another sibling is likely to be mentally ill. My father probably had a mental problem towards the end of his life. My children so far are healthy, alhamdulillah. But with age, I am becoming more insecure in terms of mental health for my children.Is it advisable for me to still have more children? Why does Islam encourage keep having children? It is not unfair to the child whose parents will not be young enough or not live that long when they need the most (during their wedding years or higher education)? When I look around, the more children a family has, the less they can provide for higher education or other facilities. Especially here in the U.S., it is so difficult to raise kids in an Islamic atmosphere. My two children go to a private Islamic school. It is also very expensive for us and, like I said, I'd have to keep working. So, even if I have to still send the baby to day care, does Islam encourage me to still keep having children? What is the reason?

Counselor

Answer


age

As-Salamu ‘Alaykum dear sister,

 

First of all, let me say sister that the perception Islam sees women as vehicles for breeding children endlessly is just one of those myths that probably bears more in common with certain cultural practices than it does with Islam itself. Allah (SWT) tells us Himself that He gives to some and makes barren others. If women were specie for the sole purpose of furthering the specie was based in Islam, then all women would be able to conceive, and all women would be doing just that, because it would be within our makeup, and like animals, we would have no choice. Al hamdu Lillah, Allah (SWT) gave us as humans the gift of choice above His other creations, even though we still do not use that gift wisely, and sometimes not at all! 

Only Allah (SWT) knows what each life that comes into being has the potential for, and only He knows what we as a society may lose by not allowing that life come into existence. Allah (SWT) placed it within our makeup to desire a family, because it is only the family with a halal basis which can create the necessary environment through which we learn the fundamental emotional and social skills that help to complete us as human beings reaching out into, nourishing, and increasing balance within society at large.

Without these fundamental skills, we are unable to reach the intellectual and spiritual potential that lies within all of us. That is why the family is so important in Islam, and increasingly the secular world is finding that many of the problems that it is facing today are rooted in dysfunctional families. This is why to have a family is a blessing, and why Islam encourages us so much. It is also why we are told not to fear the things that you fear, because Allah (SWT) will provide in one form or another. When He does not, it is because we have some heavy lessons to learn.

All said and done, no one knows when the current global financial crisis will end. Only Allah knows it, but what if it does not, will we suspend having families? If we have more faith in the world economy than we do in Allah (SWT), then surely this leads to shirk (polytheism). We find it so easy to worship many things today and Allah (SWT) only gets a look in during Ramadan. We must be careful what we wish for…

  • If the job insecurity was not present, what would you do?
  • How much of what you provide for your family is made by you or members of the family e.g. food, clothing soft furnishings, toys, learning, entertainment, soft furnishings etc.
  • How much do you buy ready-made, and how much of that you could make yourself?
  • How much do you depend on private/public transport, and how much do you walk?
  • How much do you spend on wasteful things instead of buying something well made that can be passed down from child to child?
  • How much time do you spend with one another sharing experiences, learning from one another, being counsel for one another, doing things together?
  • How much would you save if you did all of the above?

There is a price for everything, and now, you find yourself in a situation whereby you could have another child, but you have too many fears. No one knows for sure if you were to have another child, he/she would be born mentally ill, just as we do not know if a few years on something were to happen to cause mental illness.

You have one life sister, and even though it is ill advised to have a child late in life from the woman’s point of view, no one can say for sure what are the chances for that child to be ill, and this is why we must have faith. No one can say that you can have another child, but for the children you do have, maintain good health, learnt the Islam that you want them to learn, and if Allah (SWT) wills, may you be ready to have another child in sha’ Allah.


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About Hwaa Irfan

Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.

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