In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- If you feel that you are not prepared to shoulder the heavy responsibilities of parenting because of your special circumstances, you are allowed to resort to safe methods of contraception in order to delay conception.
2- However, both of you should know that it is allowed only as a temporary measure.
In his response to the question in point, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
The preservation of human species is unquestionably the primary objective of marriage, and such preservation of the species requires continued reproduction. Accordingly, Islam encourages having children, and has blessed both male and female progeny.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), therefore, exhorted his people to “marry and procreate.”
While procreation through marriage is highly recommended, Islam equally stresses the importance of rearing and nurturing children who are the future leaders and assets of the community and humanity.
Parenting demands adequate care and attention on the part of parents, in the absence of which, children will simply become a burden. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “A strong believer is superior to a weak believer.” (Muslim)
Therefore, if both of you are students, and you strongly feel that you are not prepared to shoulder the heavy responsibilities of parenting because of your special circumstances, you are allowed to resort to safe methods of contraception in order to delay conception.
However, I should remind both of you that it is allowed only as a temporary measure.
In other words, you are permitted to resort to family planning only as a temporary measure to delay conception until such time that both of you have settled down.
The above ruling of scholars is based on a certain precedent in the time of the Prophet and his companions.
According to authentic traditions, many of the Prophet’s companions practiced coitus interruption in order to prevent conception.
As reported by Jabir, one of the eminent companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), “We used to practice `azl (coitus interruption) while the Qur’an was being revealed; had it been forbidden to do so, the Qur’an certainly would have declared so.”
In other words, the silence of the Qur’an about coitus interruption is considered as an indication of its permissibility.
Modern methods of contraception are no different from `azl practiced by the Companions. It is on this basis that the scholars have declared it permissible to make use of them—through the consensual agreement of both spouses—as a temporary method of preventing pregnancy.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.