To abort or not
Fatwa No: 85930

  • Fatwa Date:16-6-2003 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 16, 1424
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I have a very sensitive query on behalf of a very dear friend who is currently in a dire dilemma and is frantic with worry over the situation, and I am extremely concerned for not only her well being but her mental state, with due regard to her previous experience. This sister is married with 6 children Masha-Allah, but during her last pregnancy just over 2 years ago, she suffered many ill effects and her health was very very poor. Al-Hamdu-Lillah, she carried full term and gave birth to a healthy little girl. However, very soon after, she suffered very bad post-natal depression, and thinking about it now, she remembers being very ill, but it not able to recall some of the things as she was so affected she was not always conscious of what was happening around her etc. Her family, i.e. her husband and all the children suffered, including the new baby, as although she tried to carry on with her normal everyday duties, she was unable to concentrate on what she was doing and often did things without being aware of if, neglected the family and the children and often spent days in a turmoil and suffered from heavy emotional states. Her family and friends also suffered and despite their efforts of trying to help, they were only able to so much and felt helpless to make her feel well again, and so also suffered with the family. Her husband was frantic with worry, and suffered greatly emotionally, physically with trying to look after the children, the wife, and a new baby and keep a full time job.
Al-Hamdu-Lillah, after a lot of suffering, praying and patience, from everyone round her, eventually after some months she started to get better and resume her normal way of life, but can sometimes be very sensitive when things get a little hectic, etc.
The Problem: The sister has now found out that once again she is pregnant, is extremely concerned about how she would be this time, and believes she is not able to go through with either the pregnancy and is even more worried about how she will be afterwards. She has always felt very guilty of what her family and friends suffered due to her ill health the previous time and already she is making herself ill with worry. She is also aware that she will not be able to have the full support of other round her as much as last time, as her mother is elderly and not too well herself. Her husband is also very very concerned for her health and her state of mind, and is also very anxious as to how the family will suffer, and how he would be able to cope. The doctors, can provide written confirmation of her previous history and also her current situation, if necessary, but the question is that as it is only about 2-3 weeks into her pregnancy, and given the circumstances, is there any way what-so-ever, she would be able to consider termination of the pregnancy. The husband and wife have discussed this at length, but due to their strong religious belief, need expert advice.
I am therefore, requesting advice and a possible ruling, taking into consideration the above. I hope I have been able to provide enough information as necessary, and so forgive for the length of the text.
Insha-Allah, I trust you will treat this matter as urgent and I await your reply.


Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions. Abortion of the fetus is forbidden regardless of whether it is done before or after the soul is breathed into the fetus. In fact, it is either a termination of a life without legal right if the fetus is already alive or a form of wiping out progeny if the soul has not yet been breathed into it. But the scholars of Islam excepted from this rule the situation where there is a Shariah benefit for aborting it or if this is done in order to ward off a probable and expected harm. Considering the above, we believe that if some trustworthy doctors testify that what happened to this lady was due to pregnancy, then it is lawful for her to abort this fetus to ward off this harm. But she should spare no effort to get treated from this illness as Allah has not brought a disease without bringing a cure for it. Finally, we advise her husband to practise A'zal with her as long as she is in this situation, or let her use a safe means of birth control that does not cause her any harm. Allah knows best.

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