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Family Planning 

Family planning is the practice of controlling the number of children in a family and the intervals between their births, primarily through the use of contraceptive methods

Family planning is not inherently sinful or haram; in fact, using contraception is allowed in Islam. However, various factors could influence whether such a choice is deemed permissible. It’s essentially based on your intentions. Let’s explore some of these considerations: 

  • If the decision to delay having children becomes widespread at the societal, national, or ummah level, this might be seen as harmful. Such a scenario could shift from being a personal choice to a collectively imposed one, leading to negative social consequences and thereby being considered impermissible.
  • Delaying childbirth due to fears about financial provision and livelihood signifies a lack of trust in Allah’s will and abundant provision. This indicates an unfounded fear of the future and reluctance to strive, which is not permissible as outlined by numerous fatwas.
  • If disagreements and conflicts between spouses are the reason one party wishes to delay children while the other desires them, this is not Islamically permissible. Both spouses have a right to have children, and one cannot unilaterally refuse without a valid excuse.
  • Imitating non-Muslim cultural norms and delaying childbirth out of admiration for their lifestyle is incorrect. Islamic teachings emphasize independent and objective decision-making within the framework of Islamic principles, free from external psychological influences.
  • If delays in childbirth involve medical or surgical methods that result in permanent sterilization, this is seriously transgressive. Such actions show ingratitude for Allah’s blessings and destroy a significant capability bestowed with great wisdom, as the Prophet (ﷺ) clearly forbade such practices.

This is based on the hadith where the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:

دْنَا أَنْ نَعْزِلَ، وَقُلْنَا نَعْزِلُ وَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بَيْنَ أَظْهُرِنَا قَبْلَ أَنْ نَسْأَلَهُ فَسَأَلْنَاهُ عَنْ ذَلِكَ فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ مَا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْ لاَ تَفْعَلُوا، مَا مِنْ نَسَمَةٍ كَائِنَةٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ إِلاَّ وَهْىَ كَائِنَةٌ

“…So when we intended to do coitus interrupt us, we said, ‘How can we do coitus interruptus before asking Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) who is present among us?” We asked (him) about it and he said, ‘It is better for you not to do so, for if any soul (till the Day of Resurrection) is predestined to exist, it will exist.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 4138

If withdrawal is seen in such light, then sterilization is forbidden because it permanently prevents pregnancy and interferes with the divine plan for procreation.

These five scenarios highlight crucial situations the scholars consider when discussing child spacing or limiting the number of children in the context of family planning. They insist rigorously on certain conditions to prevent the misuse of permissive fatwas regarding contraception. 

In the session of the Islamic Fiqh Council held during its fifth conference in Kuwait, 1-6 Jumada al-Akhir 1409 AH/10-15 December 1988 AH, the council determined the following: 

  • Firstly: it is not permissible to promulgate laws restricting the freedom of couples to have children.
  • Secondly: it is prohibited to completely eradicate the ability to have children in the case of either the husband or the wife, which is known as sterilization, so long as there is no necessary reason, according to shariah.
  • Thirdly: Temporary birth control for spacing pregnancies or delaying pregnancy is permissible in Islam if both spouses agree, the method is safe, and it aligns with shariah, without harming any existing pregnancy.
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