How Does Islam View Birth Control?
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How Does Islam View Birth Control?

Questioner

Ameen

Reply Date

Jul 10, 2017

Question

As-salamu `alaykum. What does Islam say about birth control? Is it true that sex cannot be used for pleasure and only for reproduction? I was under the impression that this view exists only in Christianity. Please give references from the Qur’an and Hadith.

Mufti

Answer


Birth Control

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

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- The preservation of the human species is unquestionably one of the primary objectives of marriage, and this, by its nature, requires continued reproduction.

2-  Islam does not go against the idea of having many children as long as it’s done wisely, and it has, in many instances, blessed both male and female progeny.

3- Islam enjoins on Muslim a positive line of action by having a family planning  based on valid reasons and recognized necessities.


In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Marriage in Islam is based not on one single objective or purpose such as procreation or sexual fulfillment. Rather, it is intended to cater to multiple purposes which include, above all, spiritual tranquility and peace, and cooperation and partnership in fulfilling the divine mandate. Let me explain this briefly.

Islam, being a natural way of life, takes into account all of genuine human instincts such as physical, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, et cetera.

It is for this reason that, unlike some other religious ideologies, Islam looks at sexuality positively.

In other words, instead of attaching any taboo to sexual fulfillment, Islam teaches us to celebrate sexuality within the framework of a lawful union.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“You merit rewards of charity in your sexual union with your spouses!” His companions asked in surprise, “How shall we getting rewards for fulfilling our natural instincts?” He asked, “What if someone were to fulfill his desire unlawfully; would he/she be punished for doing so?” They replied, “Certainly.” Then he said, “Likewise, when one does it within the framework of marriage, he/she will be rewarded for it!” (Muslim)

Although sexuality is one of the main purposes of marriage, it is not the sole one. According to the clear statement of the Qur’an, tranquility and peace through a successful union is considered the primary objective of marriage:

“Among His signs is that He created for you spouses of your own kind in order that you may repose to them in tranquility and He instilled in your hearts love and affection for one another; verily, in these are signs for those who reflect (on the nature of the reality).” (Ar-Rum 30:21)

In another place, Allah refers to the relationship between males and females in terms of partnership for achieving goodness and fulfilling the divine mandate for their lives.

“The believers, males and females, are partners of one another; they shall jointly enjoin all that is good and counsel against all that is evil.” (At-Tawbah 9:71)

Procreation of the human species is also another important purpose, although marriage is still valid if, for one reason or another, the stated purpose of procreation cannot be achieved.

Now coming to the issue of birth control, there is nothing in Islam that prohibits it as long as it is done consensually for valid reasons such as the following:

1- Putting off pregnancy until such time when spouses are in a better position to shoulder responsibilities of parenting,

2- Allowing space between pregnancies in order to provide proper nurturing and taking care of existing children, et cetera.

Birth control is, however, forbidden or undesirable when it is resorted to as a permanent measure to prevent conception altogether; likewise, it is forbidden if resorted to for fear of poverty.

Allah says:

“Don’t kill your children for fear of poverty; it is We who provide sustenance for them and you; verily killing them is a most heinous crime!” (Al-Isra’ 17:31)

After reflecting on this verse, scholars have concluded that the idea of  birth control solely for fear of poverty is unlawful since it implies weakness of faith and trust in Allah as the Provider and Sustainer of all beings.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from, www.muslims.ca




About Sheikh Ahmad Kutty

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty is a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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