Friday, 2 March 2012

Indian Muslim & Family planning is Haram in Islam : A review of on Islamic Law

This is a very common question between our young generation as well as in Islamic intellectuals.As per my knowledge,Birth control is permissible according to Islam,which recognizes that the sexual act is more than just a means of procreation.During the time of the Prophet Muhammad(SAW),the most commonly practiced method of birth control was'azl or the withdrawal method.According to the ulama (scholars),withdrawal is permissible but generally thought to be makruh(reprehensible), since it deprives the woman of her right to be able to have sexual satisfaction and to bear children if she so desires,so therefore the conclusion reached by most scholars is that withdrawal should not be practiced unless the woman agrees to it.

If repeated pregnancies have weakened the woman's body or becoming pregnantwould threaten her life,such birth control may be construed as a necessity,and not makruh.Modern scholar Shaykh Ahmad al-Sharabassi of Egypt has pronounced the following as genuine reasons for practicing contraception.So that the woman may rest between pregnancies.If either partner has a transmittable disease.For the sake of the woman's health.For example if she is already breast-feeding a child it would be damaging for both her and the child to have another pregnancy.If the husband can not afford to support any more children.
Since most"modern"methods of birth control have the same aim as the withdrawal method --- to frustrate the attempt of the sperm to fertilize the egg --- we can by analogy assume that modern birth control is also permissible.
Among the methods that work by preventing fertilization of the egg by the sperm are:-the "Pill",IUD,diaphragm,condom,sponge,spermicides, and the rhythm method.Of these the most questionable is the IUD(Intrauterine Device), since if a woman becomes pregnant while using this device,there is a higher likelihood that the pregnancy will occur outside the womb (ectopic)or be aborted during the second term. This method is best for women who have already had at least one child.The Pill is a very effective method if the woman can remember to take the pill at the same time everyday, and can tolerate the side effects that sometimes effect pill users.This method is generally considered safe for women who are under the age of 35 who do not smoke.The diaphragm is a barrier method which is most effective when the woman has experience with inserting the device and her partner has the patience to wait.
The condom and sponge are easily available barrier methods that don't require a visit to the doctor.

Again,patience is needed on the part of both partners while the condom is put on or the sponge is inserted.Spermicides are usually used in conjunction with another method(such as the sponge,diaphragm,or condom)to increase the contraceptive effectiveness of that method. Some people have allergic-type reactions to the chemicals in these jelly-like substances,and must discontinue using them.
Douching is considered to be a very ineffective way to prevent a pregnancy,since it actually forces the sperm up towards the uterus.The Rhythm Method,also called Fertility Awareness, involves avoiding intercourse on the days when the women is most fertile.
Other methods of birth control are called "irreversible"methods,and include vasectomy, tubal ligation and hysterectomy.All three involve surgical procedures to permanently end the fertility of the man or woman. Sometimes these procedures are reversible,but it is not guaranteed.
Islamic scholars usually say that such irreversible methods of contraception are forbidden,based upon a hadith of the Prophet (SAW) forbidding some early Muslim men to castrate themselves.In addition,such surgical intervention into the human body without need, alters the true nature of our bodies as Allah (SWT) created them. Again,such methods become permissible in the case of necessity.
Occasionally even reversible birth control can become unlawful.This can happen on a temporary basis if the issue of population control is politicized.For example,if a non-Muslim government tries to impose birth control on its Muslim citizens in order to deplete their numbers,a sheikh could issue a fatwa(ruling) saying that birth control is forbidden,until that situation passes.Many of the Muslims who opposed the Family Planning conference in Egypt in 1994 did so because they saw birth control being used as a weapon against Muslims,to control the Muslim population,which is growing faster than that of any other religion.
After a woman gives birth,she is temporarily unable to become pregnant,while her body recovers from the pregnancy.If she is breast-feeding the new baby,she is even less likely to become pregnant.This breast-feeding"method"of birth control is NOT guaranteed to prevent pregnancy,but it has been shown that if a woman is breast-feeding regularly,like every 4 hours, without giving supplemental feedings,then she is unlikely to ovulate.If a woman goes 10-12 hours or longer without breast feeding her infant,then her cycle is likely to return.
For a nursing mother there is a 1% chance that she will become pregnant within the first 3 months after delivering a baby,a 5% chance within the first 6 months,and a 10% chance within the first year.For a non-nursing mother, the percentages are 3% for the first 3 months, 15% for 6 months and a 25% chance she will becomepregnant again within a year.These figures assume that no other method of birth control is being used.Abortion
"And do not kill your children for fear of poverty: We give them sustenance and yourselves (too): surely to kill them is a great wrong." (17:31)
The abortion of a fetus from the mother's womb is a different issue,since the sperm and egg have already met and fertilized what could become a human being.The scholars all agree that abortion is forbidden after the first four months of pregnancy,since by that time the soul has entered the embryo.The schools of shari'ah (Islamic law) vary regarding the exact time the soul is believed to have entered the embryo. Some say that pregnancy begins as soon as the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterus, and to end the pregnancy after that point would forbidden.This is almost like saying that abortion itself is forbidden,since the fertilized egg will have implanted itself in the uterus within a few days after intercourse, but it would allow the use of RU486(the "morning-after pill"),as long as it could be reasonably assumed that the fertilized egg has not become implanted on the wall of the uterus.
Most scholars say that abortion is legal under Islamic shariah (law),when done for valid reasons and when completed before the soul enters the embryo.To abort a baby for such vain reasons as wanting to keep your youthful figure, are not valid.
"...and do not slay your children for (fear of) poverty -- We provide for you and for them --- and do not draw nigh to indecencies, those of them which are apparent and those which are concealed, and do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden except for the requirements of justice: this He has enjoined you with that you may understand."(6:151)
1."Contemporary Jurisprudence Research Journal," 15th Ed., 4th yr., Oct. & Nov. & Dec. 1992, pp. 57-59, 
2."Biomedical Issues Islamic Perspective," Abul Fadl Mohsin Ebrahim,
3."The New Birth Control Book," by Howard I. Shapiro, M.D.,
4."Marriage and Morals in Islam," by Sayyid M. Rizvi
5.Family planning in Islam by Dr.Moulona Abdul Bari(MM,MA,M.Th,Phd)

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