Should We Have Many Children?

17 January, 2017
Q Does Islam direct the married couple to have as many babies as possible? If yes, what about the problem of over-population in the country?


Salam Abhishek,

Thank you for contacting Ask About Islam with your question.

God’s Provision

People often forget it is not up to them to allow or prevent children from coming into the world. All they can do is try, but it is God alone who decides whether we have children or not, and how many and of which sex.

He also created the world in perfect balance; and He knows best how to allocate His gifts. When we interfere with that balance, we end up with a crisis situation.

Such is the situation in China, where the country is experiencing serious sex-ratio imbalance, to the extent of being called a “geopolitical time bomb”.

This resulted from laws limiting one child per family in fear of poverty, in a culture which favors sons, causing a trend of selective pregnancy, abortion, and even female infanticide. (Reference: China Grapples With Legacy of Its ‘Missing Girls’China’s Surplus of Sons: A Geopolitical Time Bomb)

All those practices are prohibited in Islam in respect to human life and to preserve natural balance. God prohibits killing children, and promises to provide for them because He created them.

Allah’s promise to provide for every born child

In the Quran, He addresses the two main concerns: anticipated poverty, and suffering actual poverty; and He promises to provide for every child born in either case:

{Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin.} (Al-Israa’ 17:31)

{Kill not your children on a plea of want – We provide sustenance for you and for them} (Al-An`am 6:151)

Prophet Muhammad actually promised that marriage and having children warranted God’s provisions and bounty, and he encouraged people to get married and to have children and raise them well.

Consequently, we should view poverty in densely populated nations as a problem of mismanagement of resources and disturbing the natural balance—often because of injustices done by the very wealthy and powerful—rather than a result of the number of children born into each family.

The Value of Humans

God describes children in the Quran as a “gift” from Him and not a burden, and mentions them in conjunction with material wealth, stressing their value:

{Wealth and children are the ornament of this worldly life} (Al-Kahf, 18:46)

We never see anyone complaining of a “surplus” of money. How can we complain of a surplus of children then?

Money cannot substitute good children, and good children can make money and also do good deeds, and evidently, limiting the number of children doesn’t result in happier or wealthier conditions in the long run.

So, why are people refraining from having children after all the above reassurance from the Creator Himself? It is a shame that people are regarded as a useless surplus when human capital is a valuable economic resource.

Children & Poverty

Many people today are complaining of the lack of food due to increasing food prices. Some wealthy nations actually destroy huge amounts of food to keep the prices up. They also produce bio-fuel from crops such as corn, making more people unable to feed their children.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said in a public speech:

If you travel to India these days, people are eating twice a day, and if 300 million people in India do that and suddenly consume twice as much food as before; and if 100 million Chinese start drinking milk too, then of course our milk quotas become skewed, and much else too.

Germany is the world’s largest bio-fuel producer; it also has the lowest birthrate in Europe with 8.18 births per thousand people per year. (Reference: Bad policy, not biofuel, drive food prices: Merkel, Demographics of the European Union)

The Brazilian President told reporters:

Food is expensive because the world was not prepared to see millions of Chinese people, millions of Indians, and Africans eating three times a day.

Brazil is the world’s largest sugarcane producer, bought by Germany for bio-fuel production.

It is sad this is happening, when there is a ground-breaking invention of Muslims in India to produce energy from plain air! (Reference: Muslims Invent Engine That Runs on Air

This irresponsible and supremacist exploitation of human resources affects human and animal food resources all over the planet, and causes unhappiness for billions of people.

If we really believed this world to be one unit, we will be able to see a world of opportunities and creative solutions; we will be one big family collectively responsible for finding solutions to our problems.

Prophet Muhammad made a brilliant analogy about this concept: We are all in the same boat.

The disintegration of family values in favor of individual freedoms, the materialistic and consumerist values propagated by the media for commercial interests, in addition to lack of proper education about life skills and God’s religion, all of these are the true reasons for poverty of soul and mind, which is the most dangerous type of poverty.

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

Walaikum Asalam.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

What Is Kindness to Parents?

Raise My Children as Muslims!

What Are The Supplications for the Gift of Children?