All praises are due to Allah, the most knowledgeable.
Family Planning is an issue which is technical and extensive in nature. The few lines of response here may not cover it all. However, I will like to summarize that:
Islam views children as gifts from Allah, and forbids terminating their lives for any reason including- poverty. Allah says:
Allah says: “Kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them”[Quran 6:151]
Allah also says: “And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide for them as well as for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin” [17:31]
Hence, Muslims should never abort or kill their children out of fear of poverty. It is Allah who provides for them.
It is not allowed to enact a general law that limits the freedom of spouses in having children.
Regarding your question, it is permissible for you to space your child birth due to health reason, in order to give your wife space for rest before another pregnancy. This is based on the permissibility in Islam for Al-‘Azl (coitus interruptus– the withdrawal method).
According to Jabir, “We used to practice ‘azl in the Prophet’s (pbuh) lifetime while the Qur’an was being revealed.” There is another version of the same hadith, “We used to practise coitus interruptus during the Prophet’s (pbuh) lifetime. News of this reached him and he did not forbid us.” (Bukhari)
According to Anas, “A man asked the Prophet (pbuh) about ‘azl and the Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘Even if you spill a seed from which a child was meant to be born on a rock, God will bring forth from that rock a child.’”
Jabir b. ‘Abdullah (Allah be pleased with them) reported that a person asked Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) saying: I have a slave-girl and I practice ‘azl with her, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: This cannot prevent that which Allah has decreed.The person then came (after some time) and said: Messenger of Allah, the slave-girl about whom I talked to you has conceived, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: I am the servant of Allah and His Messenger. (Muslim)
Of earlier scholar, only Ibn Hazm had a contrary view to permissibility of ‘Azl, but his view was criticized by Ibn Qayyim in Zaad Ma’ad.
However, it is forbidden to “permanently” end a man’s or a woman’s ability to produce children, such as by having a hysterectomy or vasectomy, as long as that is not called for by circumstances of necessity according to its Islamic framework.
It is permissible to control the timing of births with the intent of distancing the occurrences of pregnancy or to delay it for a specific amount of time, if there is some Shari’ah need for that in the opinion of the spouses, based on mutual consultation and agreement between them. However, this is conditioned by that not leading to any harm, by it being done by means that are approved in the Shari’ah and that it must not do anything to oppose a current and existing pregnancy.
I hereby recommend practice of ‘Azl, and, or abstinence while the wife is ovulating, both are effective if practiced with discipline.
In the event where other modern method of contraceptives is to be used, I recommend as well that a trustworthy Muslim Medical Expert should be consulted to guide on that with lowest form of harm to the user.
We will quote to you below a statement issued by the Fiqh Council (al-Majma’ al-Fiqhi) with regard to family planning:
The meeting of the Fiqh Council held during its fifth conference in Kuwait 1-6 Jumaada al-Aakhir 1409 AH (10-15 December 1988) – after studying the research presented by members and experts on the subject of family planning, and listening to the debate that took place on this topic, and based on the fact that one of the objectives of marriage according to Islamic sharee’ah is to reproduce and preserve the human race, and that it is not permissible to undermine this objective, because undermining it goes against the texts and teachings of sharee’ah, which call for having many children, protecting them and taking care of them, because producing and caring for offspring is one of the five kulliyaat (holistic principles) which sharee’ah came to take care of – issued the following resolutions:
1 – It is not permissible to issue laws that limit the freedom of couples to have children.
2 – It is haraam to remove the ability of men and women to have children, which is known as sterilization, so long as there is no need to do so according to shar’i principles.
3 – It is permissible to use temporary means of contraception in order to increase the gaps between pregnancies, or to stop them for a limited period of time, if there is a valid shar’i reason for doing so, based on the couple’s estimation and with mutual consultation and agreement, subject to the condition that this does not result in harm and that the means is acceptable according to sharee’ah and will not damage any existing pregnancy.
And Allah knows best.
Resolution no. 38 (1/5), re: Family planning.
See Majallat al-Majma’, vol. 1, p. 73)
Imam Sherifdeen Ibraheem
Na’ibul Amir, Cultural Affair (NACA)
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