Dr. Hatem AHaj M.D Ph.D

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Islam encourages proliferation and protects children

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Narrated by Ma’qil ibn Yasar: “A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘I have found a woman of rank and beauty, but she is infertile. Should I marry her?’ He said, ‘No’. He came again to him, but he prohibited him. He came to him a third time, and he [the Prophet] said, ‘Marry the loving and fertile women for, I shall show you off on the Day of Judgment.’” (Abudawood book 11, number 2045:(s-j 2940)

عن معقل بن يسار قال جاء رجل إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال إني أصبت امرأة ذات حسب وجمال وإنها لا تلد أفأتزوجها قال

لا ثم أتاه الثانية فنهاه ثم أتاه الثالثة فقال تزوجوا الودود الولود فإني مكاثر بكم الأمم (ص-ج 2940 ) د/ 2050


Is family planning forbidden?

Although you should not say I will have only these kids and never have more you may use contraception for health reasons, which include the mother’s inability to care for more

عن جابر قال آنا نعزل و القرآن ينزل خ/ 4808 م/ 2608

Narrated by Jabir: “We used to practice coitus interruptus while the Quran was being revealed.” (Albukhari /4808 muslim/2608)

However, it is unallowable to do that out of fear from poverty, Allah says,

( نَحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاآُمْ )(الاسراء: من الآية 31)

“[17/31] We provide for them and for you” So take it on a one by one basis, if your wife has three or four and tells you, she can’t take anymore then, you may defer having more until she can and, if she couldn’t then it is Allah’s will that you have that many kids.

Islam protects children and provides for their physical intellectual emotional and spiritual well-being. Islam starts its protection of children prior to conception by establishing a healthy family to which the child will be born in. Islam protects the fetus in his mother’s womb.

Examples of such protection:

Preserving the fetus’s life

It is agreed upon amongst the scholars that aborting a fetus after 120 days from conception is a murder. Between 42 and 120 days it is controversial. That does not mean that abortion prior to that is lawful for, it is still haram except in very limited conditions. The mother who is entrusted with such a great favor is obliged to protect her fetus from any harm whether this harm can be caused by the consumption of a certain food, or medicine, or an activity that, is deemed by the experts as unsafe; it is enough here to say that Allah exempted the pregnant woman from the third pillar of Islam which is fasting for her and the baby’s sake.

Preserving his mother’s life.

عن بريدة قال جاءت الغامدية فقالت يا رسول الله إني قد زنيت فطهرني وإنه ردها فلما آان الغد قالت يا رسول الله لم تردني لعلك أن تردني آما رددت ماعزا فوالله إني لحبلى قال أما لا فاذهبي حتى تلدي فلما ولدت أتته بالصبي في خرقة قالت هذا قد ولدته قال اذهبي فأرضعيه حتى تفطميه فلما فطمته أتته بالصبي في يده آسرة خبز فقالت هذا يا نبي الله قد فطمته وقد أآل الطعام فدفع  الصبي إلى رجل من المسلمين ثم أمر بها فحفر لها إلى صدرها وأمر الناس فرجموه ا  خ/ 1695Narrated Buraidah that Alghamidiyah (a woman) came to the Prophet to, purify her from fornication and, she was pregnant so, the prophet told her go back until you give birth. She did and, came back and, the Prophet told her, ‘Go back and, nurse him.’ She did and, brought the child with a piece of bread in his hand, only then, the Prophet inflicted the punishment on her. (Albukhari/1695)

Punishment of whoever beats a pregnant woman leading to abortion of the fetus.

عن أبي هريرة أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قضى في جنين امرأة من بني لحيان بغرة عبد أو أمة      خ/ 6511Narrated Abu-hurairah that, the Prophet decreed against a woman who caused another woman to have abortion that, she gives a slave to the guardian of the aborted. Albukhari/6511 This financial punishment would not mean that the assaulter would not be punished in other ways as well

Financial rights of the fetus:

It is known that a fetus will inherit his deceased father who died before his birth. The father is required to spend on his pregnant divorcee as long as she is pregnant. Othman ibn Affan recommended that Zakat Alfitr be paid on behalf of the fetus. Once the child is born he/she is entitled to many rights, which include:

His right on Allah is not to be held accountable until puberty

عن علي أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال –  رفع القلم عن ثلاثة عن الصبي حتى يبلغ وعن النائم حتى يستيقظ وعن المعتوه حتى يبرأ

د/ 4402 ص-ج 3514 ص-ج=صحيح الجامع

Aly reported that the Prophet said, “three shall not be held accountable, the boy until he reaches puberty, the person who is asleep until he wakes up, and the insane until he is cured” Abudawood /4402 s-j 3514

At the same time his good deeds will be counted for him

عن بن عباس قال رفعت امرأة صبيا لها فقالت يا رسول الله ألهذا حج قال نعم ولك أجره

م/ 1336Ibn Abbas reported that a woman raised her child (for the Prophet to see him) and said is this child’s hajj accepted the Prophet said: “Yes and you shall be rewarded.” Muslim/1336

Some of the rights acquired upon birth by the child on the family and the society

The protection of his lineage

The man who is married to a pregnant woman cannot deny his paternity of the newborn if such (i.e. paternity) is possible.

قال رسول الله الولد للفراش خ/ 1948 م/1456

The Prophet said: “The newborn shall only belong to the husband of the mother.” (Albukhari /1948; Muslim/1456)That means the protection of the infant’s honor and that someone will be responsible for him. The ill effects of disrupting the family system through premarital affairs and other forms of deviation are well known and documented. For that Allah forbade all those forbidden relations that some people may think are personal freedoms.


Allah said:

وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ آَامِلَيْنِ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ وَعَلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَآِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ لا تُكَلَّفُ نَفْسٌ إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا لا تُضَارَّ وَالِدَةٌ بِوَلَدِهَا وَلا مَوْلُودٌ لَهُ بِوَلَدِهِ وَعَلَى الْوَارِثِ مِثْلُ ذَلِكَ فَإِنْ أَرَادَا فِصَالاً عَنْ تَرَاضٍ مِنْهُمَ ا وَتَشَاوُرٍ فَلا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا وَإِنْ أَرَدْتُمْ أَنْ تَسْتَرْضِعُوا أَوْلادَآُمْ فَلا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا سَلَّمْتُمْ مَا آتَيْتُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ (البقرة: 233“[233] The mothers shall breast-feed their children for two whole years, (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling, but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother’s food and clothing on a reasonable basis. No person shall have a burden laid on him greater than he can bear. No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child, or father on account of his child. And on the (father’s) heir is incumbent the like of that (which was incumbent on the father). If they both decide on weaning, by mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no sin on them. And if you decide on a foster suckling-mother for your children, there is no sin on you, provided you pay (the mother) what you agreed (to give her) on reasonable basis. And fear Allah and know that Allah is all-seer of what you do.”

Custody (Alhadanah)The best environment for a child to grow and blossom is between his two parents who live in harmony with mercy and compassion being the driving force for the family as Allah stated in his book however, this is not always feasible and since Islam is a religion which deals with the reality of humans and tries to make the best out of this reality it set guidelines for the care taking of the child of divorced parents.

Both parents have the right to see and care for the child and, no parent should deprive the other of such right.

لا تُضَارَّ وَالِدَةٌ بِوَلَدِهَا وَلا مَوْلُودٌ لَهُ بِوَلَده

No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child, or father on account of his child.

A child who is less than seven gets to stay with his mother as long as she is unmarried.

And when the child becomes seven he gets to choose between his parents. These rules are deduced from the following two Ahadeeth.

عن جده عبد الله بن عمرو أن امرأة قالت ثم يا رسول الله إن ابني هذا آان بطني له وعاء وثديي له سقاء وحجري له حواء وإن أباه طلقني وأراد أن ينتزعه مني فقال لها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنت أحق به ما لم تنكحي صح/ناصر/إرواء د/ 2276Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-’as: a woman said: Apostle of Allah, my womb was a vessel to this son of mine, my breasts, a water-skin for him, and my lap a guard for him, yet his father has divorced me, and wants to take him away from me. The Messenger of Allahsaid: you have more right to him as long as you do not marry.

Abudawood book 12, number 2269: and authenticated by Alalbany in Irwa Alghaleelقال أبو هريرة اللهم إني لا أقول هذا إلا أني سمعت امرأة جاءت إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وأنا قاعد عنده فقالت يا رسول الله إن زوجي يريد أن يذهب بابني وقد سقاني من بئر أبي عنبة وقد نفعني فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم استهم اعليه فقال زوجها من يحاقني في ولدي فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم هذا أبوك وهذه أمك فخذ بيد أيهما شئت فأخذ بيد أمه فانطلقت به صح/ناصر/إرواء د/ 2277Abuhurairah said: o Allah, I do not say this, except that I heard a woman who came to the apostle of Allah while I was sitting with him, and she said: my husband wishes to take away my son, Apostle of Allah, and he draws water for me from the well of Abi inabah, and he has been good to me. The apostle of Allah said: cast lots for him. Her husband said: who is disputing with me about my son? The Prophet said: this is your father and this is your mother, so take whichever of them you wish by the hand. So he took his mother’s hand and she went away with him (Abudawood 2277 and authenticated by Alalbany in Irwa’ Alghaleel)The scholars agree however that the judge will have to use his discretion in the process of giving custody. For example, if one parent is too permissive with the child and doesn’t care much about the child’s education and manners, such a parent may not be given custody even if he is entitled to it according to the order or through the free choice of the child.

The right to sustenanceوَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ آَامِلَيْنِ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ وَعَلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَآِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ لا تُكَلَّفُ نَفْسٌ إِلَّ اوُسْعَهَا لا تُضَارَّ وَالِدَةٌ بِوَلَدِهَا وَلا مَوْلُودٌ لَهُ بِوَلَدِهِ وَعَلَى الْوَارِثِ مِثْلُ ذَلِكَ فَإِنْ أَرَادَا فِصَالاً عَنْ تَرَاضٍ مِنْهُمَا وَتَشَاوُرٍ فَلا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا وَإِنْ أَرَدْتُمْ أَنْ تَسْتَرْضِعُوا أَوْلادَآُمْ فَلا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا سَلَّمْتُمْ مَا آتَيْتُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ) (البقرة: 233[2/233] the mothers shall nurse to their children for two whole years, (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling, but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother’s food and clothing on a reasonable basis.No person shall have a burden laid on him greater than he can bear. So not only is the father responsible for the child but, also for his mother (who is divorced) as long as she is nursing him. If the father is absent or incapable, the duty becomes the child’s relatives;and, if there are no relatives (the sequence of who would be responsible is controversial,but Ahmad said those who would inherit the child when he dies are the responsible ones), the duty becomes the Muslim society (Baytulmaal).


There are different types of guardianship. One has to do with protection and sustenance and in general, looking out for the child’s best interest and, this is the father’s. In case of his absence or incapability, it moves to other relatives, who are males on the paternal side.Examples of such guardianship include, sharing with the girl in the decision making with regards to marriage and, the right to bar her from marrying someone who is not befitting for her, that is why this guardianship lasts until marriage as far as girls are concerned and until puberty for boys, and although this may look like a burden not a right, if you really examine the issue, you will realize, it is a right not a burden.The other type of guardianship is the custody which is the mother’s or if absent or incapable other female relatives on the maternal side.The third type of guardianship is a financial one (growing the child’s wealth), and, this is delegated to the child’s father or his appointee, if the father is not available, then, it is either delegated to the judge or his appointee (Hanbali methodology) or, the grandfather or his appointee then the judge (Shafi’y)

The right of education

Tarbeyat in islam included education, and the Murabby is the person who teaches both manners and reading, writing and other subjects. The Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) said:عن عائشة قالت قال رسول الله : ((من ابتلي بشيءٍ من هذه البنات فأدّبهن فأحسن تأديبهن ورباهن فأحسن تربيتهن آن له حجاباً من النار))خ/ 1352 م/ 2629“He who is tested by Allah by daughters and, he raised them well [which includes teaching them manners and knowledge], they will be a protection and a shield for him from the hellfire.” (Albukhari/1352 ; Muslim/2629). In the following few pages we will elaborate more on Altarbeyat (an Arabic word for raising children but it includes all the aspects of the process from an Islamic perspective, physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual)

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Dr. Hatem was born in Cairo, Egypt and currently resides in the United States of America. He was granted his PhD in Comparative Fiqh from al-Jinan University, Tripoli, Lebanon and his Master’s Degree in Islamic law from the American Open University. He graduated top of his class with a summa cum laude grade. He is also a board certificated in Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics. He has a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B., CH.B.). He graduated with honors from Alexandria University Medical School, Alexandria, Egypt.


  • Guest
    Ayatullah Muhammad Saturday, 20 June 2015

    Sickle cell crisis

    Salam ya sheikh

    My questions are related to perspectives revolving round the invalidity or Validity of marriages that have possible chances of producing sickle cell kids. I want to find out if you have written anything on this subject first before I ask my questions and if I can be reffered to any fatawas on such. Also, in relating to the write up above

    1. Does that render the marrying of a barren woman forbidden or disliked? if it's the latter, then under what excuses can a man approach her and is Taqwa and religion a valid excuse for such(based on the Hadith relating on 4 preferences).

    2. I belong to a country that has a very high population of Muslims and there is hardly an issue about producing more. The problem lies in taking care of them, especially due to the severe poverty in the region but yet religious references are used in defense of producing more for the Ummah. That isn't really much of the problem. There is an issue with producing quality within the quantity as the ummah within the region is plagued with a lack of spiritual essence. They are either becoming Liberally inclined due to lack of purposefulness in their faith, or religion is much more cultural and rigid which has lead to extreme conservatism that has further brewed extremism in the area, decimating over 15,000 lives as we currently speak. This myriad of problems within the religious community was of course exploited by politicians who used them as foot soldiers and then abandoned them which resulted to Terrorism. My main question is:
    b. If Marriage between sickle cell carriers is assumed to be prohibited, can the pretext of spiritual purpose, taqwa and religion allow room for AS - AS genotypes to get married if they clearly understand the chances of having a defective child? In other words, what is the validity of such?
    c. There is an "eradicate sickcell campaign" going on which is slightly inclined to what I term 'Humanistic empiricism'( driven my emotions of what is vivid and neglecting unforeseen problems to arise). This is also neglecting the fact that basic permutations of an affected population cannot entirely weed out sickcell carriers(assuming favorable genotypes were restricted to 3). My question is, is there a theological problem with such (liberal) driven thought which also attempts to sideline any religious opinion and approach beyond an emphatic restriction and application of punitive measures(if not Just resulting to bully tactics in the name of "rational commonsense".(The same approach by the(unenlightened Muslims) is used to challenge the Validity of cousin-cousin marriages which is sharia compliant as it is said that it causes Alzhemier)
    d. regardless what the 'specific' fatwa for such given region will be, I am more interested in what a general deduction will look like in the absence of a break through genetic engineering(which is inexpensive) solution to finally curtail the problem. My question revolves round whether there is a balanced approach that has been discussed already by the Jurists and if not, what are the foreseeable approaches to such where the scholars in a given area are hardly a cohesive body or are clingy to their biases
    e. Going back to the above article, and if the eradication campaign is sharia compliant(devoid of theological problems), are there rooms for patching of sickle cell partners to establish marriage if they deem themselves compatible and choose to refuse to birth children(maybe preferring activism as their driven goal)? In other words, is the goal of the Sharia regarding marriage strictly about producing kids before one's individual religious pursuit or goal? Also, Can one(or the two parties) go into marriage for not strictly aiming for the pursuit of progeny(without permanently trying to alter/harm his default state or restrict it via contraceptives)
    f. Finally, if it's guaranteed that my questions aren't based on false premonitions/ Alarms, can one actually see it as a problem within protecting one Maqasid of the religion over another? That is for example, Religion over Life(of the Unborn child) and/or Over progeny? Again, what are the limits to (understanding) predestination in such matters(which has alienated folks to taking the Liberal position)? How do we engage with the Muslims as they create a false divide between science and Religion? How do we explain to SS/SC kids to not perceive so called 'Taqwa' driven decisions as not an extremism but an understanding of our Islamic Epistemology?
    g.(Apologies for chipping this in but You don't have to answer this :D :D) What should be the role of an islamically inclined government after enforcing compulsory awareness? ('specific' Fatwa wise) should they intrude(despite been liberal democracies) by dictating what kind of Unions(between genotypes and Sickle cell carriers) can be formed, whether or not parties regardless of their religious driven motives should be in union? Also, what is the limit to their power for both dire cases(in SS populated areas) and general cases(where it's still a moderate issue)?

    Jazakallahu khayran

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