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Islam Birth Control

Where Does Islam Stand On Birth Control?

Islam encourages marriage, and the main purpose of marriage in Islam is to have children. But there are times when a couple may not want to have children. So what are the Islamic views on contraception and birth control? Well, let’s read on to find out.

General Islamic Ruling on Contraception and Birth Control

In general, most forms of contraception and birth control are forbidden. But since Islam is a complete religion, we have the benefit of the Quran, the hadith and traditions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the companions, and many learned scholars to help us come to an informed decision.

First, any sort of permanent birth control that is not for medical reasons is forbidden. So any medical procedure that leads to complete sterilization and is not medically required, is not allowed. This goes against the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad and if not done for medical reasons, is usually done for vain, selfish or impractical purpose.

For instance, some people have the foolish notion that the world is becoming overpopulated and the earth’s resources are running out. But Allah has made His earth bountiful, and if we trust in Him, there is certainly enough food and water and air to go around.

Wherever there is starvation in the world, there is needless gluttony and waste elsewhere. So the problem is not a lack of resources, but a lack of compassion for those who are less fortunate than us.

How can Zakah ease world suffering?

Now, let’s look at the different types of birth control and the rulings on each of them.

Surgical Contraception

There are two primary forms of surgical contraception:

  1. Vasectomy – Where the Vas deferens of a man are cut and tied to prevent the passage of sperm from the testicles to the semen. This procedure allows a man to have intercourse and ejaculate, but not transfer sperm to his wife, hence she will not get pregnant.
  2. Hysterectomy – This procedure involves surgically removing the uterus from a woman. This results in permanent sterilization for the woman.

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Vasectomy

It is not permissible for a man to have a vasectomy. There is no medical reason that warrants such a procedure. Hence, every reputable scholar in Islam has ruled that vasectomies are haram, or forbidden. The only reason a man would want to have such a procedure is to have sex without the responsibility of rearing children.

Hysterectomy

Hysterectomies are the most common gynecological procedure done in the United States, with over half a million performed each year. Most of these are not for serious medical reasons. It is not permissible for women to have a hysterectomy for any reason except where getting pregnant may endanger her life. So, if having children may kill the mother, and there is no hope of curing or reversing this condition, then it is permissible for her to have her uterus removed.

Medical Contraception

Medical contraceptions are birth control methods that typically disrupt the natural hormonal or menstrual cycle of a woman in order to prevent pregnancy. There are many different forms of medical contraception, most of them temporary. But there are also a few permanent ones.

Temporary Birth Control

These include the Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill, aka “The Pill,” patches, and other drugs that temporarily prevent birth.

In Islam, these methods are usually prohibited unless both of the following conditions are met:

  1. There is a medical reason for doing so.
  2. The husband agrees.

Permanent Sterilization

For the permanent methods, like the Coil, these take the same ruling as having a hysterectomy. It is permissible if there is a life-threatening medical reason.

Physical Contraception

Physical methods of birth control are those that do not alter the body in any way and simply prevent the sperm from meeting the egg. These include methods like condoms, diaphragms, and coitus interrupts (withdrawal).

There is a hadith related by Jaabir that says:

We used to engage in coitus interruptus at the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). News of that reached the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he did not forbid us to do that.

Related by Bukhari and Muslim

“Coitus Interruptus” is when the man withdraws from the woman before ejaculation. From the above hadith, we can see that our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did not forbid this practice, hence it is permissible. Since condoms and diaphragms essentially perform the same function, they are both allowed also.

However, the man should only use these methods in agreement with his wife as she has the right to bear children if she wants. And we should also understand that the companions of Prophet Muhammad usually used this method to prevent their slaves from getting pregnant, as the following hadith shows:

O Messenger of Allaah, I have a slave woman and I engage in ‘azl with her, because I do not want her to get pregnant, but I want what men want. But the Jews say that ‘azl is a lesser form of infanticide.” He said, “The Jews are lying. If Allaah wants to create (a child) you cannot prevent that.

Narrated by Abu Dawud.

Despite being allowed, many scholars believe these methods to be makruh, or disliked. In other words, it is better to avoid them if possible, though there is no sin in them. This comes from the following hadith:

Marry women who are loving and fertile, for I will be proud of your great number before the other nations on the Day of Resurrection.

Narrated by Abu Dawud.

From this we can see that it is better for us to have as many children as Allah allows us to bear.

In today’s world we deal with many things that were not present during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Nonetheless, we have the guidance of the Quran, sunnah, and righteous scholars to help us find our way through these difficult situations.

In the end, we must all put our faith and trust in Allah, and ask His guidance and forgiveness in any decisions we make.

And Allah knows best.

Related Articles:

Abortion in Islam

Marriage in Islam

Muslim Baby Names

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34 Responses to Islam Birth Control

  1. Anna says:

    What you have failed to mention is that unwanted pregnancies often result in misery for both the mother and child. When given the choice to spend many years on welfare or simply wrap up by using a rubber, I would choose the latter. Life is hard enough to support oneself during these economic times but with a child, it becomes harder tenfold.

    • Abu Ibrahim says:

      You are right to a certain extent Anna, but I wasn’t trying to pass judgement on the morality of the issue nor trying to influence Muslims to use or not use birth control. I was only giving the Islamic legal ruling on the practice so people can make an informed decision.

      In the end, all sustenance comes from Allah and there is no guarantee that a person will be poor or “spend many years on welfare” simply because they have a child.

  2. Pats says:

    There is one more simple contraception for female. It is called implanting RING on the Fallopian tube (the path the egg travels from Ovaries to the Uterus), which block the path (kind of a clip). Thus, the released egg never reaches the uterus. It is a 5 minute 1-cm incision process, can be removed anytime. The lady can get back home the same day. This is widely practiced worldwide. This gives 100% sexual freedom for both men and women from the worries of conception.

  3. Quora says:

    Which religions oppose birth control?…

    > Christianity: From the beginning of Christian history until the 19th century, the teaching held that contraception was sinful, says Allan Carlson, the author of “Godly Seed: American Evangelicals Confront Birth Control, 1873-1973.” “ ‘Be fruitful and…

  4. [...] vs. the Catholic Church issue. The Orthodox Christian Church, some protestant denominations, Islam, and other faiths also have similar beliefs that forbid unnatural birth control either entirely or [...]

  5. [...] to its implications on the health and well-being of families, particularly women. The fact that Islam is not against contraception (in its totality) also remains an undelivered [...]

  6. kadidia says:

    Salam Aleykoum
    j aurais aimé savoir si en islam l implant contraceptif été autorisé ?????

    • Abu Ibrahim says:

      Wa Alaikum Salaam,

      Alhamdulillah for Google translate.

      It is generally disliked to use any form of contraception unless it is for medical or health reasons. If you use them for any other reason (like, you’re just not ready to have children) then it must be something safe and both husband and wife must agree to it. If this contraceptive implant is irreversible, or it brings you harm, it may not be allowed.

      Please read this fatwa.

  7. karnak says:

    21st century and still people bother with ideology of 5000 years ago, 2000 years ago or 1400 years ago. It is simply flabbergasting.
    Having a big family is amazing, I would not argue with it, as long you can truly provide for each and every individual equally and equip your progenitors with what is required to live a decent life.
    Unfortunately it is so much harder for big families, and statistics seem to corroborate this. Usually you will find large families among the poorest and least educated part of your population.
    Remember and obviously that is always a problem in patriarchal societies that the burden is always on the mother, she bears the child and raise them, too bad she does not seem to have a say and the one footing the bill are the kids.
    The father is the least affected, goes to work bring the pay check and ride along, no wonder it does not seem to be bothered having a whole tribe except maybe when they are too noisy for him to watch the soccer game.

  8. [...] so we have duas for wealth and health and marriage and family and pregnancy and all sorts of [...]

  9. [...] of the researchers noticed that there was a much lower incidence of HIV/AIDS infections in Muslim majority [...]

  10. k zakouari says:

    i am 32 with 6 kids and allergic to the hormones in all the contraceptions.i am very interested in finding out more about the RING you spoke about.are you sure its not haram?

    • Abu Ibrahim says:

      This is what I’ve been taught. Of course, there are differences of opinion. But going by the hadith where Prophet Muhammad told his companions it was okay to practice the “withdrawal” method, many scholars use this as evidence that birth control (with agreement from both spouses and so long as it isn’t dangerous) is permissible.

      Of course, in the end, Allah knows best.

  11. Elliot Garcia says:

    When was this article written, I would like to reference it in my project. I am doing a multiculturalism project on Islam. Thank You

  12. Muslimah says:

    Salam – a well-written article mashallah. I am highly enjoying this website, may Allah give you barakah for all your beneficial work.

    I just wanted to point out that I think that your tone here is slightly harsh. I am a practicing Muslim, certainly not athiest-liberal-whatever, and the idea that resources on earth are limited is certainly not a laughable one. True, the earth is abundant alhamdulillah, and the current state of world hunger is largely due to unequal distribution (in my opinion based on interest-based, non-zakat, profit rather than moral inspired societies), but we cannot deny the fact that humanity are expanding at a rate that means that there is less space on earth for each of us. Also, an abundance of children with the idea of ‘quantity over quality’ can be highly draining on families, particularly women.

    This is a nice article written for Sisters magazine which expounds on this.

    http://thesalafifeminist.blogspot.com/2013/01/children-as-choice.html

    As salamu alaikum!

    • Muttaqi says:

      Alhamdulillah, you may be right. There are many things I’ve written on this site that i think I could have done better. I may go back and edit these things, but I like seeing my progression over time.

  13. GCSEcrazy says:

    Excuse me I’m doing my GCSEs and were doing this topic in R.E and I’m getting a little confused, I don’t want to go in to much detail as this is an uneasy topic, but from the reading the article I am a little confused… Is it allowed in Islam to have s-x for pleasure?
    Because after reading your first quote on the withdrawal technique it seems like it…and can you please tell me which Islamic group you are in as we need a reference from all Islamic groups
    Thank you

    • Muttaqi says:

      Yes, it is allowed to have sex for pleasure so long as it is with your spouse. I am a Sunni Muslim but I’m sure the Shi’ites have the same belief.

    • Rachel says:

      It seems silly to not have sex for plesure, doesn’t it? I do not belive in any God (and I am proud of it, too), but you do and so therefore wouldn’t you think that your god made you feel plesure during sex for a reason? ***Comment edited for profanity***

  14. [...] That, or something tending in that direction, is the view not only of the Catholic Church but of other major religious and philosophical traditions. It is evident then that its truth is accessible to [...]

  15. Abu says:

    Marriage in Islam is a good thing, but children aren’t the only reason marriage is promoted, there are certain things that Allah and his messenger do not touch on, because Allah(swt) doesn’t want to make things difficult for us. Don’t ask rulings on things That are left alone by the creator. Do what has to be done and ask for sincere forgiveness. In case ur actions may be disliked .

    • Allah has given us the Quran as a broad framework to life and the Sunnah fills in some of the gaps. But there are still many things in life that are not specifically mentioned in either the Quran or Sunnah.

      For these things, we must use Fiqh to derive the best rulings from this framework of the Quran and Sunnah to come to a ruling.

      Allah has given us our intellect; it is our duty to use it.

  16. [...] each type briefly. According to Abu Ibrahim’s article entitled “Islamic Birth Control” (http://islamiclearningmaterials.com/islam-birth-control/; accessed: 6 December 2012) which appears to be a researched and informed source, the globally [...]

  17. mu'mina says:

    I have a question. if a woman wants child can she stop having pills without husband’s permission?

    • Allah knows best. But neither a husband nor a wife can force the other to go without children as that is a right for both. So if the wife wants to have children, she can stop taking the pill and go forward. I guess out of respect, she should discuss it with her husband, but she doesn’t need his permission to do something that is within her rights.

  18. IMO birth control pill must be taken with caution. It increases the breast cancer risk if taken in a long time. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-181273/Cancer-risk-45-higher-Pill.html If you want a safe birth control, do an abstain, wear protection, or eat a lot of eggplants :D.

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