An Islamic View on Contraception and Abortion

Mohammad Ali Albar



Though procreation is considered the most important function of marriage, millions of women use some means of contraception and even resort to abortion. Medical reasons constitute only a small proportion of the actual number of cases, the rest being for social and other reasons.

Islam encourages limitless procreation within wedlock; nevertheless, it does not ban the use of temporary means of contraception. The use of permanent means of contraception is not allowed unless pregnancy would pose a threat to the health or life of the expectant mother. Similarly, abortion is not allowed unless the life or health of the pregnant woman is at real risk.

Serious congenital anomalies of the fetus may be considered as an indication to perform abortion provided it is done in the first 40 days of pregnancy. A more lenient view would extend it to the first 120 days of pregnancy, computed from the time of fertilization.

This paper discusses the different viewpoints of Islamic jurists on these issues, and compares them with the actual practice in Muslim countries.


Islam; Contraception; Sterilization; Abortion

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