Fatwa ID: 83806
Title: advise on Abortion
Category: Women
Scholar: Dr. Hatem al-Haj
Date: 2011-02-17
Question:

Asalaam aklyum rhatmallah, beloved shayh, for the past 4 years I have been married, and me and my wife cannot seem to get understanding and we already have 2 girls. I personally do not want anymore kids with her. not because of povery. but because I dont belive she can be good mother knowing how she is dealing with my other young kids. and secondly. after all this. I dont have the mental confidence to have more kids. because she has very bad manners and temper. and I'm make dua ALlah guide her. but I just cant stand her like this anymore. Now she might be pregrant with 3 third. can she do Abortion? I just cannot put up with with her and ready for mroe children. please advice but alhumdilalah I have no complains.

Answer:

All praise be to Allah and may His blessings and peace be on His last messenger, Muhammad,

We have three different milestones regarding this issue:

conception, 40 days from conception and 120 days from conception. (Note that physicians calculate the age of pregnancy from the last period, which is two weeks prior to conception) As for the most constant and universal position in Islam regarding abortion, it is the complete ban and total prohibition after 120 days, unless the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy. As for the period before that, the madhahib disagreed, with the Hanafi madhab being the most lenient and the Maliki the strictest.

It is noteworthy here to say that each one of the madhahib exhibits a range of scholarly opinions within it. The dominant Hanafi position is the permissibility of abortion up until 120 days from conception. This even applies if the woman didn’t consult with the husband. The Malikis ban any measure that would even result in the expulsion of the semen after it reaches the womb.

Note, though, that coitus interruptus (al-‘azl) is approved by the majority, including the Malikis, whose majority prohibited the use of medical techniques (drinking of medicine) as a means of birth control. Between the two positions of the Hanafis and Malikis lies the Hanbali position, which is prescribed by many contemporary scholars. According to it, abortion is allowed by mutual consent between the two spouses within the first 40 days.

Between 40 and 120, abortion may be allowed in some pressing cases. Although not always true and clear in individual books, it is generally understood from the inductive examination of the Islamic fiqh that in all of those cases of permissibility, a good reason must be present for the decision to abort. Such reason may not be the fear of poverty. Some scholars embarked on listing the reasons, obviously with varying results.

The modern day scholars, and fiqh bodies do tend to concur with the Hanbali position, albeit with emphasis on the motive for it in the first 40 days being sound and pressing. They also all agree on the impermissibility after 120 days, where it is an act of murder, unless the mother’s life is in real danger.

As for the period in the middle, they differ whether it may be permitted to abort for a very significant cause like a major fetal deformity incompatible with normal life (that certainly doesn’t include the absence of some of the limbs or senses.) Also, instances of rape may be a justification in this period.

In summary, abortion in the first forty days of pregnancy upon the mutual agreement of both parents is permissible for a legitimate cause, such as the woman’s fear of not having the capacity to raise a newborn. Having said that, it is always preferable to avoid that, and if one relies on Allah’s help and puts his/her trust in Him, He will not them down. That fetus may become their favorite child one day. In your case, abortion is not permissible after 40 days from conception. Allah knows best.