Abortion for Fear of Negligence: Permissible?

23 January, 2017
Q Respected scholars, As-salamu `alaykum. I am a gynecologist and many women come to me asking for an abortion as they can't afford the child or they fear that the child will be neglected because they are working mothers. In the light of the Qur'an and Sunnah, what should we do in such situation? Jazakum Allahu 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.

Sister, first of all, thank you for your question, which emanates from a thoughtful heart. May Allah Almighty help us all adhere to the principles of this true religion, Islam, and enable us to be among the dwellers of Paradise in the Hereafter. Ameen.

It is to be stated that Islam forbids abortion in all stages of pregnancy. The extent 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 abortion becomes increasingly haram (unlawful) as the pregnancy advances. When the pregnancy reaches 120 days, 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:

We are not allowed to abort pregnancies or facilitate or condone abortion in any way except in extremely rare cases of dire necessity.

Generally speaking, abortion in all stages is considered sinful according to the best teachings of Islam, since it is deemed as disturbing and thus destroying the process of life once it has started.

However, the enormity of the sin increases as the pregnancy advances; while some scholars have allowed abortion in the very early stages of pregnancy in cases such as rape or incurable diseases or deformities, especially before the expiry of the first 40 days, there is a consensus among scholars, based on their sound understanding of the sources, that it is clearly forbidden to resort to abortion after the soul has been breathed into the fetus.

We are told by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in the well-attested traditions that when 120 days expire, Allah sends the angel to breathe the soul into the fetus. Therefore, from that point onwards, committing abortion is akin to murder. Allah says: “Do not kill your children for fear of poverty—We shall provide for them and you—killing them is a great sin.” (Al-Israa’ 17:31)

The reasons stated in the question cannot justify abortion in Islam. Although in such cases women or couples are justified in resorting to contraceptive measures (as recommended by their medical practitioners) in order to prevent conception, abortion itself is considered an abomination except in cases mentioned above.

Furthermore, in Islam, aiding someone to commit a sin is as sinful as committing the same.

Therefore, as Muslims we are not to condone such practices. Allah says: “When the baby girl buried alive is asked for what sin she was killed.” (At-Takwir 81:8)
Abortion, especially in the late stages of pregnancy, is analogous to infanticide.

May Allah, the Lord of Infinite Mercy, bless us all to shun sins of all kinds, both the outward and inward, as well as the major and minor, and may He cleanse and purify us so that we come to Him in a pure state. Ameen.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Excerpted with slight modifications from: www.islam.ca