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- Abortion is a grave and heinous crime. It is a form of murder and deserves Almighty Allah’s punishment.
2- Abortion may be approved under necessity and in the first days of pregnancy.
In his response to the question, Sheikh Muhammad Iqbal Nadvi, Director and Imam of Al-Falah Islamic Center, Oakville, Ontario, Canada, states:
I am not aware of the Fatwa issued by the academy in this regard; therefore, I am not in a position to judge it or give comments on its details.
However, generally speaking, the discussion among scholars with regard to abortion before 120 days of gestation, is related to when the embryo becomes a human soul after the breath of life has been blown into it.
Those who allow abortion before 120 days for severe medical complications and the like argue that since the breath of life has not been blown into the embryo, it is not considered a human being, and therefore, abortion would not be tantamount to killing.
Sheikh Muhammad `Ali Al-Hanooti, the late member of the North American Fiqh Council
Abortion is absolutely impermissible unless there is a necessity; irrespective of the age of the fetus, because if anyone causes damage to the pregnancy by causing a miscarriage or abortion, there will be a penalty called ‘ghurrah’, which is 1/10 of the full diyah (compensation) for accidental killing; this amount used to be equivalent to 100 camels. So, for killing a fetus, the compensation would be 10 camels.
Given the above, abortion is considered unlawful unless it is absolutely necessary.
Certainly, if the fetus is more than 119 days old, it is haram (unlawful) to abort it because the soul joins the body and becomes a human being. The soul means life and its departure causes death.
When the fetus is 120 days, there should be a study to determine whether abortion is required on the basis of the Shari`ah and medical consideration.
I consider rape cases to be an exceptional case if the fetus is in the early stages of development. Some schools of thought would only allow it if it is less than 6 weeks old. However, the hadith of Ibn Mas`ud saying the soul is implanted at 120 days provides stronger evidence that it is allowed up until 119 days.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.