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How Long Is It Permissible to Remain on Birth Control?

04 July, 2021
Q Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. I have been on birth control pills for almost a year now. My husband and I are not yet financially stable to have a child, and I am still attending school. Is there a certain amount of time a woman is allowed to be on birth control pills? 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.

In this fatwa:

If you feel that you are not prepared to shoulder the heavy responsibilities of parenting because of your special circumstances, you are allowed to resort to safe methods of contraception in order to delay pregnancy. However, both of you should know that it is allowed only as a temporary measure.

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

The preservation of human species is unquestionably the primary objective of marriage, and such preservation of the species requires continued reproduction.

Accordingly, Islam encourages having children, and has blessed both male and female offspring. However, it allows Muslims to plan their families due to valid reasons and recognized necessities.

As for your question, this is an area where you should ask your own Islamic conscience before making a final decision. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Consult your own conscience, even if they give you a verdict; even if they give you a verdict.” (Ahmad)

In other words, if you are reasonably certain that you are presently unable and unprepared to take on the responsibility of rearing children, then you are allowed to delay pregnancy by resorting to reliable methods of birth control until such time that you are able.

But let me point out that it cannot be a permanent policy. Therefore, it is important for you to come off the pills as soon as your situation improves.

Having said this, I must point out that, as Muslims, we must not be overly materialistic in our judgments and attitudes to life. That would certainly be the case if we were to imagine that we would be having children only when we have accumulated so many riches or such bank balances or amenities, etc.

Such attitudes are definitely considered wrong in Islam, for, as Muslims, we ought to trust in Allah as the Provider while trying our best to seek a lawful source of living. Allah says, {If they are poor, Allah of His bounty will enrich them. And Allah is Vast, Knowing.} (An-Nur 24:32)

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.