Thursday, August 19, 2010

Abortion in Islam


Humans are the most favoured creation of the Creator, Allah (swt): "And indeed We have honoured the children of Adam, carried them on land and sea, gave them lawful, pure provisions, and greatly preferred them above many of those We have created." (Al-Isra,17:70)Among these signs of Allah’s favour on the children of Adam, is the sacred value Allah (swt) assigns to the life of a human being. When that value was violated with the first unlawful murder of a human being on earth, when one of Adam’s sons killed his own brother out of malice, Allah (swt) condemned that act and put it on record in the Quran as a reminder, to be recited until the Day of Judgement.Allah (swt) went even further, making unlawful killing of a single individual human being equal to mass murder of the whole of mankind: "Because of that, We ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation for murder or for spreading mischief on earth, it would be as if he killed all mankind. And who saved a life, it would be as if he saved all mankind." (Al-Maidah,5:32)

The Qur'an clearly disapproves of killing other humans: “Take not life which Allah has made sacred” (6:151; see also 4:29 “If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (for ever)” (4:93). Allah (SWT) went even further, making unlawful killing of a single individual human being equal to mass murder of the whole of mankind: "Because of that, We ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation for murder or for spreading mischief on earth, it would be as if he killed all mankind. And who saved a life, it would be as if he saved all mankind." (Al-Maidah, 5:32)

As to whether abortion is a form of killing a human, the Qur'an does not make any explicit statements. Only Surah 17:31 warns believers in general: “Kill not your children for fear of want. We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin.”

The Qur'an makes it clear that a foetus must not be aborted because the family fear that they will not be able to provide for it - they should trust Allah to look after things:

kill not your offspring for fear of poverty;

it is we who provide for them and for

you,surely,killing them is a great sin.

Qur'an 17:32

Most Muslim scholars would say that a foetus in the womb is recognised and protected by Islam as a human life.

The only case when aborting a foetus, before or after 120 days, is allowed in Islam, is when a medical situation threatens the life of the mother, leaving only two options, to let either the other or the foetus survive, but not both. Scholars argue that such a case can only be determined by a specialist, trusted and committed Muslim doctor. They argue that the mother can have other children, whereas the child cannot make up for losing the mother

It helps to remember what our beloved Prophet, Rasulullah (s), did when a woman came to him confessing that she was pregnant from adultery, although she was married. Her remorse and atonement for the sin was stronger than the fear from the penalty of being stoned to death. Rasulullah (s) first tried to verify that she was indeed confessing to the sin, and after she insisted, he sent her back to wait until she gave birth to the child. With true intention of being purified and punished in this world rather than in the Hereafter, she returned carrying a newborn child. Again, Rasulullah (s) sent her back to look after the child until the child was weaned. She later returned with the child eating a piece of bread in his hand.Only then Rasulullah (s) ordered that she be stoned to death as ordained by Allah (swt). The punishment was carried out with true commitment to Islamic Law in an Islamic State ruled by Rasulullah (s). When some of her blood stained one of the companions, he cursed her. Rasulullah (s) stopped him saying that she has truly repented, so much so that if her repentance were to be distributed to all the residents of Madinah, it would have been sufficient to wipe out all of their sins.