Is Gender Selection Allowed For Muslims?

17 June, 2019
Q I have 3 daughters. My husband wants a son. He is planning for medical treatment so that gender selection may be done and he may have a son. Does Islam allow any couple to have a son through this medical treatment called gender selection? As I am reluctant to have this procedure, do guide me please.


Salam dear questioner,

Thank you for your question.

First, I have to rush to start my answer with the following reminders:

We have to be content and satisfied with what Allah the Almighty destined for us. For Allah knows what is good or bad for us.

He is the only knower of the Unseen.

Any child, male or female, is a blessing from Allah. Everyone will have only the child(ren) that Allah has destined for him to have. We read in the Quran what means:

To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He creates what he wills. He gives to whom He wills female [children], and He gives to  whom He wills males. Or He makes them [both] males and females, and He renders whom He wills barren. Indeed, He is Knowing and Competent. (Quran 42:49-50)

You see how Allah starts with the females and mentions the males later. So, you and your husband should be proud of what Allah has given you.

Daughters Are A Dear Blessing From Allah

Having daughters is also a blessing from Allah, as having daughters will be a means for you both to enter Paradise.

Abu Sa`id al-Khudri said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

No one has three daughters or three sisters and is good to them but that he will enter the Garden. (Al-Adab al-Mufrad by Al-Bukhari)

Hating to have female offspring was a habit in the pre-Islamic era. The Quran tells us about this kind of people in the following words:

And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide. (Quran 16:58-59)

Islam came and put an end to the tradition of killing girls alive. In another verse, we read what means:

And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked for what sin she was killed. (Quran 81:8-9)

The Prophet is reported to have said:

Allah has forbidden you to be undutiful to your mothers, to withhold (what you should give) or demand (what you do not deserve), and to bury your daughters alive. And Allah has disliked that you talk too much about others, ask too many questions (in religion), or waste your property. (Al-Bukhari)

In another hadith, we read:

If anyone has a female child, and does not bury her alive, or slight her, or prefer his children (i.e. the male ones) to her, Allah will bring him into Paradise. (Abu Dawud)

We read every day about parents who wished to have male children but they were sources of troubles for them.

Many parents were not happy to have female children but these females were sources of happiness for them.

One of the characteristics of the Servants of the Merciful is that when they pray to Allah to have kids, they ask for “good offspring”, not males or females.

And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.” (Quran 25:74)

I, myself, have three daughters and they are the joy of my life. I am very proud of having them and I cannot imagine my life without them.

Gender Selection

As for the issue of sex selection, let me quote a juristic opinion:

“The Islamic Fiqh Council belonging to the Muslim World League, in its nineteenth session held in Makkah al-Mukarramah, 22-27 Shawwaal 1428 AH/3-8 November 2007 CE, examined the issue of choosing the gender of the foetus. After listening to the research that was presented, consulting specialists and a great deal of discussion, The Council affirms that:

1- It is permissible to choose the gender of the foetus by natural means, such as following a certain nutrition plan, chemical washes, and choosing times for intercourse according to the time of ovulation, because these are permissible means and there are no reservations about them.

2- It is not permissible to use any kind of medical intervention to choose the gender of the foetus, except in cases of medical necessity with regard to hereditary diseases which affect males but not females or vice versa. In that case intervention is permissible, subject to established Shar`i guidelines, so long as that is done on the basis of a committee of specialist doctors consisting of no less than three doctors of good character, who produce a medical report stating that the case calls for medical intervention so that the foetus will not be affected by the hereditary disease. Then after that, this medical report should be submitted to the Department for Issuing Fatwas so that they may issue a ruling as they see fit in that case.

3- It is essential to establish “watchdog” committees that will keep a close watch on hospitals and medical centres which carry out such procedures in Muslim countries, so as to prevent any practices that may go against the content of the report. In Muslim countries official bodies should set up systems and guidelines to achieve this.”


I hope this answers your question. Please stay in touch.

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About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.