Abortion in Case of Close Pregnancies: Allowed?

05 November, 2016
Q Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. I'm a new resident here. I have a 3-month-old baby who is having certain health problems since birth and I'm facing many difficulties in taking care of her. I have no family member here to help me. Yesterday I learned that I'm pregnant again and it is the start of the second month. Under these circumstances, can I have an abortion because it will be very difficult for me to take care of my newborn during pregnancy and even after delivery, I can't take care of both an infant and an 11-month-old baby. Please answer me according to the Shari`ah. Jazakum Allah khayran.


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.

Dear sister in Islam, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.

First of all, we’d like to state that abortion is forbidden in Islam whether it be in the early or late stages of pregnancy. The degree of sin incurred varies according to the stage of pregnancy, so that less sin would be incurred if the abortion took place during the early stages, while it becomes increasingly haram (forbidden) as the pregnancy advances. When the pregnancy reaches the 120th day, abortion becomes totally forbidden and is deemed a form of murder that results in compensation becoming liable.

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

Abortion or termination of pregnancy is generally considered abominable, and therefore is haram since it involves interfering with the life process once it has started. There are, however, differences of opinion about the permissibility of abortion in special circumstances depending on the stage of pregnancy.

1- There is a unanimous consensus among scholars that abortion is absolutely forbidden after 120 days from conception. This is the point when ensoulment (breathing of the soul into the embryo) takes place. To abort pregnancy from this point onwards is akin to committing infanticide, which has been condemned in the Qur’an. Scholars, however, have made a single exception to this rule: If continuation of the pregnancy and carrying it through to full term proves to be a risk to the mother’s life, abortion shall be considered permissible.

2- Abortion after the end of the first 40 days from conception is consideredharam except in the following exceptional cases: a) If carrying the pregnancy to full term exposes the mother to unbearable health problems during or after delivery; 2) if, as determined by reliable medical practitioners, the child will be born with such physical and mental deformity as would deprive him or her a normal life. This decision must be based on the opinion of at least two reliable medical experts in the field.

3- While many scholars consider abortion before the end of the first 40 days of conception asharam, a number of them, however, consider it as either permissible or at least not as haram.

In conclusion, as Imam Al-Ghazali has observed, one is discouraged from tampering with the life process once it has started; the intensity of sin, however, varies according to how advanced the pregnancy is. Thus while it may be considered as less sinful in the very early days, it is considered as absolutely haram after the ensoulment.

Coming to your specific case, if there is no medical necessity that compels you to seek an abortion, you are best advised to carry it through to full term. Meanwhile, turn earnestly and sincerely to Allah to ease your burden and pain and grant you patience and strength to surrender to His will. Allah has certainly promised to bring relief to all those who turn to Him for assistance. “Whoever remains conscious of Allah, He will grant him ease in his affair.” (At-Talaq 65:4) The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever consistently asks forgiveness of Allah, Allah will appoint for him a way out of every conceivable trouble and provide for him sustenance in ways he can never foresee.”

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

Editor’s note: Try to make friends at the mosque with other young mothers. You might learn from them how to deal better with caring for two small children, and perhaps you can exchange babysitting time so that you get a break once in a while from the kids.

Allah Almighty knows well.

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