Is it permissible for women who are busy pursuing her career while having small kids under her care to abort her pregnancy of a few weeks old?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Aborting pregnancy before the foetus reaches four months old is included under matters disagreed upon by the jurists. Majority of the scholars state that its ruling is makruh. While others are of the opinion that its ruling is permissible if there are exigencies.
We are inclined to the opinion of the majority of the jurists on the prohibition of abortion of fewer than four months old. This is based on several arguments as follow:
Allah SWT says:
وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا
And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.
Surah al-Isra’ (31)
Imam al-Thabari rahimahullah said: This verse explains do not kill your children due to fear of poverty or scarcity. It is because the Jahili Arabs killed their children due to the fear of poverty. Then, Allah SWT gave warning to them on that matter as well as telling them that their provision and their children’s are under the care of Allah SWT. See al-Jaami’ al-Bayan ‘an Ta’wil Aayi al-Quran, Ibn Jarir al-Thabari (17/437).
Based on the context of the above verse, originally, those parents are in a comfortable situation and are not underprivileged. However, they were worried that if their children are born, it will cause poverty and scarcity in their life. Hence, Allah SWT explained that the provision of their children and even theirs’ are under the care of Allah. They need not worry about poverty which is not yet happening due to the presence of their children, hence, the prohibition of killing their children is sanctioned:
The same goes for the saying of Allah SWT:
وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُم مِّنْ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ
and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them
Surah al-An’am (151)
Imam al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir Rahimahullah said when commenting on the verse: When Allah SWT advises to do good to parents and also grandparents, Allah also relates it to ihsan (good deeds) towards children and grandchildren. So, Allah SWT states do not kill your children due to your state of poverty. This is because they killed their children because shaytan whispers that to them. Refer Tafsir al-Quran Al-Azhim, Ibn Kathir (3/360).
Based on the above verse, it clearly has some differences with verse 31 from Surah al-Isra’ which we mentioned before. Both are Allah SWT’s prohibition upon the action of killing children, but referring to two different contexts according to the situations of the parents.
In Surah al-Isra’, killing children in the situation where the parents are not underprivileged, but fear of the upcoming poverty is prohibited. While in Surah al-An’am, killing children because the parents are underprivileged is also prohibited. Therefore, Allah prioritizes mentioning children in Surah al-An’am, to show that the children’s provision is under the hand of Allah. While in Surah al-Isra’, Allah SWT prioritizes mentioning the parents because their provision (who live in poverty) is also in the hand of Allah SWT.
Based on both verses, it clearly shows that Allah SWT prohibits killing children due to the reason that those children will cause poverty and insufficiency or by the reason that we are poor and incapable of taking care of the welfare of our children. Both are not considered as excuses permitted by shara’.
The same goes for Allah SWT’s saying:
وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you, and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.
Surah al-Baqarah (216)
Based on the literal meaning of the above verse, it clearly states that a man does not know more than Allah SWT the All-Knowing on what is good and what is bad for him. Perhaps, we may perceive that abortion is good and beneficial for our own relief in the future. Conversely, it may cause harm and destruction. We may perceive the presence and birth of the child will cause hardships upon us in our lives, but after he or she was born, it becomes the pleasure to our eyes, increase in provision, calmer life and many other blessings. This all is kept under the secrets of Allah SWT included in His saying: “And Allah Knows, while you know not.”
As a conclusion, we state several matters we brought in the form of points as the following:
- Children are attributed as qurrah al-a’yun (pleases to the eyes) which gives tranquillity to the parents in facing hectic daily life.
- When Allah SWT gives children as the provision, then at the same time, Allah SWT Himself guarantees the welfare of the children and also the parents.
- Aborting a child due to being busy with career, have no person to care for him, as well as already have other dependents are excuses unrecognized by shara’.
- We may dislike something, but it is a goodness which we do not know due to our limit as humans.
- However, in cases like this, if the pregnant woman already consults any medical experts which are certified of their expertise, and she is informed that the pregnancy will cause harm towards the mother or the fetus, then it is included under exigencies recognized by shara’ which is the stand of the jurists who permits aborting a pregnancy of fewer than four months if there are exigencies.
- Children are blessings of Allah SWT. This is a blessing needed for one to be thankful of since many couples are yet to receive such a blessing while really wanting it.
Lastly, we pray to Allah SWT to give true understanding in religion to us all. Ameen.