Praise be to Allaah.
Aborting pregnancy is not permissible, whether the soul has been breathed into the foetus or not, but after the soul has been breathed into it, the prohibition is more emphatic. If a husband orders his wife to have an abortion, it is not permissible for her to obey him.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
As for trying to abort a pregnancy, that is not permissible so long as the death of the foetus in utero is not proven; if that is proven then it is permissible.
Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Ibraaheem (11/151).
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) said:
Aborting pregnancy is not permissible. If a woman is pregnant the pregnancy must be protected, and it is haraam for the mother to harm this pregnancy or to put any kind of pressure on it, because it is a trust that Allaah has placed in her womb and it has rights, so it is not permissible to mistreat it, harm it or destroy it. The shar’i evidence indicates that it is haraam to abort pregnancy.
The fact that she cannot give birth without surgery is no justification for abortion. Many women cannot give birth without surgery, so this is not an excuse to abort the surgery.
If the soul has been breathed into this foetus and it has begun to move, then she aborted it after that and it died, then she is regarded as having killed a soul, so she must offer expiation by freeing a slave. If that is not possible then she must fast for two consecutive months as repentance to Allaah. That applies if it was four months old, because in that case the soul had been breathed into it. If she aborted it after that, then she must offer expiation as described above. This matter is very serious and cannot be taken lightly. If she could not bear the pregnancy because she is sick, then she should take medicines that prevent pregnancy before it begins, such as taking pills to delay getting pregnant until she regains her health and strength.
Al-Muntaqa (5/301, 302).
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about a man who said to his wife: Abort what is in your womb and the sin will be on me. If she did that in obedience to him, what expiation must they offer?
If she did that, then they must both offer expiation by freeing a believing slave. If they cannot do that, then they must fast for two consecutive months, and they must give a male or female slave to his heirs who did not kill him, not to the father because the father is the one who ordered that he be killed, so he does not deserve anything.
The phrase “male or female slave” refers to the diyah for the foetus, the value of a male or female slave, which the scholars set at one-tenth of the diyah for the mother.
The rulings(in term of purification) that have to do with abortion of the foetus at various stages.
They vary according to the time of the abortion, and fall into four categories, as follows:
1 – If the pregnancy is aborted within the first two stages (the nutfah (drop) stage which results from the mixing of the “two waters” which is the first forty days after the embryo attaches itself in the womb, and the ‘alaqah (clot) stage where it turns into solid blood during the second forty days), which add up to a total of eighty days, then in this case if it is aborted as a nutfah or ‘alaqah, there are no rulings to be followed, and there is no scholarly dispute on this point. The woman should continue to fast and pray as if she had not had an abortion, but she has to do wudoo’ for each prayer if she has any bleeding, as in the case of a woman suffering from istihaadah (non-menstrual vaginal bleeding).
2 – If the pregnancy is aborted in the third stage, the mudghah (chewed piece of flesh) stage, when the embryo looks like a piece of meat with the limbs and features beginning to appear, which lasts for forty days from the eighty-first to the one hundred and twentieth day, then there are two scenarios:
(i) This embryo does not have any human features and the midwives or other attendants did not testify that this was the beginning of a human being. In this case the ruling on abortion of this mudghah is the same as the ruling on abortion in the first two stages, and there are no rulings to be followed.
(ii) The embryo has complete human features or some human features such as a hand or foot, etc, or there are features but they are indistinct, or the midwives or other attendants testified that this was the beginning of a human being. In this case the rulings on nifaas are to be followed, and this signals the end of ‘iddah (waiting period following divorce or death of the husband, if applicable).
3 – If the pregnancy is aborted in the fourth stage, i.e., after the soul has been breathed into the foetus, which is after the beginning of the fifth month or after one hundred and twenty days of pregnancy have passed. Here there are two scenarios:
(i) If the foetus did not cry after birth, then the rulings mentioned with regard to the second stage of the mudghah are to be followed, but in addition the foetus should be washed, shrouded and the funeral prayer offered for him; he should be given a name and the ‘aqeeqah offered for him.
(ii) If the foetus cried after birth, then the rulings concerning a full-term baby apply, as mentioned above; in addition the child may take possession of wealth bequeathed or inherited; he may inherit or be inherited from, etc.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 21/434-438.
Abortion of a foetus resulting from a zina relationship
The efforts and ijtihaad of the fuqaha’ have focused on abortion in general terms, and the rulings on that and the consequences that may follow. They have not gone into details concerning cases where the pregnancy results from immorality. This may be because they consider that to come under the same ruling as abortion of a pregnancy resulting from a proper marriage. If abortion of a pregnancy resulting from a proper marriage is haraam under normal circumstances, then it is even more so in cases where the pregnancy results from immorality, because permitting abortion of pregnancy which results from immorality would encourage evil actions and the spread of immorality. One of the basic principles of Islam is that it forbids immorality and all the ways that lead to it, e.g., it forbids tabarruj (wanton display of one’s charms) and free mixing (of men and women).
In addition, an innocent foetus which has committed no sin should not be sacrificed because of a sin committed by someone else. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“No one laden with burdens can bear another’s burden”
It is known that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent the Ghaamidi woman who was pregnant as a result of zinaa away until she gave birth, then after the birth he sent her away until she had breastfed the child and weaned him. She came back with the child who had a piece of bread. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave the child to one of the Muslims, then he gave orders that she should be placed in a hole up to her chest, and commanded the people to stone her. Imaam al-Nawawi said concerning this hadeeth: “A pregnant woman should not be stoned until she gives birth, whether her pregnancy is the result of zina or otherwise. This is agreed upon, lest her foetus be killed. The same applies if her hadd punishment is flogging; a pregnant woman should not be flogged, according to consensus, until she has given birth.” (Saheeh Muslim bi Sharh al-Nawawi, 11/202)
This incident shows us the extent to which Islam is concerned with the foetus, even if it is the result of zina: the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) delayed the carrying out of the hadd punishment on the mother in order to save the life of the foetus.
Can it be imagined that the Lawgiver would permit killing the foetuses by abortion in order to fulfil the wishes of those who follow their whims and desires?
Furthermore, those who say that abortion is permitted within the first forty days of a legitimate pregnancy based their ijtihaad on a concession, like not fasting in Ramadaan for those who have valid excuses, or shortening the four-rak’ah prayers whilst travelling, but it is stated in sharee’ah that concessions cannot be connected to sins.
Imaam al-Quraafi said: “With regard to sins, they cannot be taken as reasons for concessions. Hence one who is travelling for the purpose of sin cannot shorten his prayers or break his fast, because the reason for doing these is travelling, but in this case the reason for travelling is to commit sin, so the concession does not apply, because granting a concession on the basis of sin will encourage people to sin further.” (al-Furooq, 2/33)
Similarly, the basic principles of Islamic sharee’ah do not give the same concessions to a woman who is pregnant as a result of zinaa as are given to a woman who is pregnant as a result of proper marriage, lest that help her in her sin, and it does not make it easy for her to get rid of the results of her evil actions.
In addition, the foetus in the case of zinaa has no guardian, because according to sharee’ah the title of father can only be given to the one who has a child from a woman in a proper marriage. This is part of the meaning of the hadeeth: “The child goes to the owner of the bed and the adulterer gets nothing but the stones (despair, i.e. to be stoned to death).” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim). The guardian of the foetus in such cases is the sultan or ruler – the one who is in charge of the Muslims’ affairs – for he is the guardian of those who have no guardian. The way in which the ruler disposes of people’s affairs is based on the interests of the people, and there is no interest to be served in destroying the soul of the foetus in order to preserve the mother’s interests, because that would involve encouraging her and others to persist in this evil action.
From Ahkaam al-Janeen fi’l-Fiqh al-Islami by ‘Umar ibn Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem Ghaanim
Abortion of pregnancy resulting from rape
This happened to Some Muslims women because the Muslims have become so weak and humiliated, they, along with their lands and their honour, have become fair game for anyone; the nations call one another to attack them from all sides. Many Muslim women have often become a target for the scavenging wolves of humanity, who do not fear Allaah or any deterrent, as is the case in many countries in the Muslim world, and as has happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Philippines, in Chechnya, in Eritrea, and in the prisons of some of the contemptible systems of the Arab world.
There follow some important points concerning the woman who has been raped:
1 – The raped woman who did her utmost to resist these thugs and their ilk is not guilty of any sin, because she was forced into it, and the one who is forced to do something is not guilty of sin in the case of kufr, which is worse than zinaa (unlawful sexual activity), as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with Faith…”
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has forgiven for my ummah for their mistakes, what they forget and what they are forced to do.” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah in al-Talaaq, 2033; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah, 1664).
The Muslim woman who has fallen prey to a rapist will be rewarded for bearing this calamity with patience, if she seeks reward with Allaah for the harm that has befallen her. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No stress or exhaustion befalls the Muslim, nor worry or distress, even a thorn which pricks him, but Allaah will expiate for his sins because of that.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim).
2 – Young Muslim men should hasten to marry women such as these who have been tormented, so as to reduce their suffering and console them, to compensate them for the loss of the most precious thing that they possess, which is their virginity.
3 – With regard to their having abortions – the basic principle concerning abortion is that it is haraam and is not allowed from the moment of conception when it becomes a new being and is “placed in a place of safety” [cf. al-Mursalaat 77:21], i.e., the womb, even if this being is the result of a haraam relationship such as zinaa. In the case of the Ghaamidi woman who had confessed to zina and thus the punishment of stoning became obligatory, the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told her to go away until after she had given birth, then after she had given birth, he told her to go away until the child was weaned.
4 – There are some fuqahaa’ who think that it is permissible to have an abortion within the first forty days of pregnancy. Some of them even permit it until before the soul is breathed into the embryo. The stronger the excuse, the clearer the reason for the concession is, and if that is within the first forty days it is, this means that the concession is more appropriate.
5 – Undoubtedly the rape of a Muslim woman by an evil enemy is a strong reason for the Muslim woman and for her family to have an abortion. For she will hate this foetus, the result of this iniquitous attack, and she will want to get rid of it. So this concession is to be given because of necessity, especially in the first days of the pregnancy.
6 – Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with a Muslim woman who has suffered this disaster keeping the foetus without being forced to get rid of it. If it is decreed that it should remain in her womb for the usual term and she gives birth to it, then it will be a Muslim child, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every newborn is born in a state of fitrah (the natural state of man, i.e., Islam).” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari). The fitrah is the religion of Tawheed, i.e., Islam. It has been stated in fiqh that if the parents have different religions, the child should follow the parent who has the best religion. This is in cases where the father is known, but what about the child who has no father? He is a Muslim child, no doubt, and the Muslim society is obliged to take care of his upbringing, to spend on him and to bring him up well. They should not leave the burden to his poor, suffering mother.
One of the basic principles of Islam is to relieve distress and hardship, so if a Muslim girl who is keen to remain chaste is exposed to bestial aggression and fears the effect that this may have on her reputation or her honour, or fears that she may be an outcast or that she may be subjected to harm such as being killed, or she fears that she may suffer psychological or nervous diseases, or that her sanity may be affected, or that shame may be brought upon her family for a matter in which she is not guilty of any sin, or that the child will not find any place of safety, then I say: that if this is the case, there is nothing wrong with her aborting the foetus before the soul is breathed into it, especially when it has become easy for a woman to find out if she is pregnant or not, with the advance of medical means of detecting pregnancy in the first week. The earlier the abortion is carried out, the more appropriate this concession is. And Allaah knows best.
From Ahkaam al-Janeen fi’l-Fiqh al-Islaami by ‘Umar ibn Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem Ghaanim
Sheikh Muhammad Saalih Al-Munajjid