Delaying pregnancy for certain reasons
Fatwa No: 344434

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. I live in the UK (Daar Al-Kufr/Harb). I want a specific fatwa for my situation please. My question is: Is it okay to stop having more children because I get a condition called Obstetric Cholestasis during pregnancy? It makes it really difficult in pregnancy with high liver acids and severe burning and itching of the skin all over the body. It has to be controlled with medication, and I have to go to the hospital every week until the end of pregnancy, when I have to go every day. It is really difficult to deal with, especially given that my husband and i are practisicing Muslims. I wear the niqab, and I do not travel except with a Mahram (permanently unmarriageable kin) because of the area and the situation in this country. My husband also finds it difficult to take time out of his schedule when I get this condition in pregnancy. The staff at the hospital are hostile towards someone who wears the niqab; I do not feel this from other people, but the majority are like that. Another issue is that this condition also contains risks for the foetus, and I therefore have to be seen by doctors, and the majority of the doctors at the hospital are male. Sometimes I can have a female doctor, but it is always a hassle to request this because from the beggining the staff at the hospital treat me differently because I wear the niqab. I cannot accept a male doctor to examine me or be present when I give birth. When I was giving birth last time, they had a male doctor on standby, but we had to stop him from coming into the room when I was in labour giving birth. Allaah made a way for us, and they had a female doctor that day, but that is not the case all the time. Is it okay for my husband and I to decide not to have any more children based on my condition, the protocol in the country which we live in, and the hardship that it causes for me and others? I already have two children; a boy and a girl. Could you give me a fatwa according to the Quran, the Sunnah, and the understanding of the Salaf (pious predecessors). I believe that the niqab is obligatory based on proof, and I would not take it off.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, we would like to thank you and your husband for your keenness on adhering to the straight path, abiding by the commands of Allah, and asking about the rulings on religious matters which you do not know of. May Allah bless you with steadfastness on the truth and grant you Paradise. We implore Allah to bestow well-being and recovery upon you.

The Islamic Shariah urges Muslims to reproduce and increase the population of Muslims because this is a source of honor and strength for the Muslim nation. Moreover, the parents are showered with blessings from their Lord because of their children. Allah, The Exalted, reminding the Jews of the blessings that He conferred upon them, says (what means): {And We reinforced you with wealth and sons and made you more numerous in manpower.} [Quran 17:6] At-Tabari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him cited the statement of Ibn Zayd  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reading, “It means that Allah blessed them with a great number of offspring and increased their population...” in his Tafseer (exegesis) book.

Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “Get married (and reproduce) for I will boast of your great numbers before the nations.” Therefore, Muslim spouses should not refrain from having children if they are able to do so.

Generally speaking, there is no religious impediment against preventing pregnancy temporarily due to a valid excuse; and when the excuse ceases to exist, the spouses should adhere to the basic principle, which is to reproduce. Please, refer to fatwa 89833. Preventing pregnancy permanently is impermissible, except for a Shariah-acceptable necessity. Please, refer to fatwa 96082.

As for the hardship that you face during your recurrent visits to the doctor because of your health condition, the hostility towards the Niqaab, or having to visit a male doctor, the most likely correct view – and Allah knows best – is that there is no religious impediment to preventing pregnancy temporarily in the light of these circumstances as long as you agree with your husband on that until your excuse ceases to exist. Some scholars held that it is allowed to delay pregnancy for less pressing excuses.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was asked, “Is it permissible for the married woman to delay pregnancy until she finishes her college education?” He answered:

“She and her husband are entitled to delay pregnancy for an agreed-upon period of time for a particular purpose, and there is no harm in that. Taking contraceptive measures is permissible in principle because it was reported that the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, used the method of ‘Azl (coitus interruptus) during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and he did not forbid them to do that. Jaabir reported, ‘We used to practice coitus interruptus during the time that the Quran was being revealed.’ ‘Azl is a cause for delaying pregnancy...

It is better to seek medical treatment so that you would be able to get pregnant and have children easily without having to face unbearable hardship. On the other hand, you should bear in mind that living in non-Muslim countries causes much inconvenience to the Muslims, especially the religiously committed Muslim women. It is advisable that you and your husband try to find a way to migrate to a Muslim country where you would spare yourselves such inconvenience. There is no doubt that living in a non-Muslim country is dangerous for your children's future as far as their creed and manners are concerned.

Allah knows best.

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