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Abortion due to Pregnancy Resulting from Fornication

Q:) A relative of mine who is Muslim got his girlfriend pregnant. He is not planning to stay with her and she is not Muslim. He knows that if she has the baby- the baby will be raised as a non-Muslim and she does not come from a good family. He was trying to convince her to have an abortion but I told him an abortion is haram since there is no danger to the mother. He wants to know if he can convince her to have an abortion since he does not want the baby to be raised with her when and if they split. He is considering staying with her if she stays pregnant so the baby is raised as a Muslim. She is less than 3 weeks pregnant right now. The first question is: can he try to convince her to have an abortion so that the child is not raised as a non-Muslim if they split. And if he marries her before the baby is born, is the baby still considered illegitimate?

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

A:) Pregnancy due to illegitimate sexual intercourse is no excuse for carrying out an abortion. Islam condemns and rejects illicit sex and everything that leads to it. Allah Most High says:

And do not come (even) close to adultery, for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).� (Surah al-Isra, V: 32)

Islam has also laid down a legal punishment (hadd) for the one who is guilty of this grievous crime, so that it serves as a deterrent for others.

Thus, it would not be permitted to have an abortion due to unlawful sex, regardless of how old the pregnancy is. Abortion is not the Islamic solution to illegitimate sex resulting in pregnancy; rather, the solution is to eradicate means that lead to fornication. If the door is left open for aborting pregnancies that occur outside of wedlock, its consequences could be destructive.

An incident which took place in the time of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) sheds light on the Islamic viewpoint in this regard.

Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Burayda (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates on the authority of his father�. �T
hen came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) a woman from Ghamid and said: �O Messenger of Allah! I have committed adultery, so purify me.� He (the Messenger of Allah) turned her away. On the following day she said: �O Messenger of Allah! Why do you turn me away? Perhaps, you turn me away as you turned away Ma�iz. By Allah, I have become pregnant.� He (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: �Well, if you insist upon it, then go away until you give birth to (the child).� When she delivered, she came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) with the child wrapped in a piece of cloth and said: �Here is the child whom I have given birth to.� He (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: �Go away and suckle him until you wean him.� When she had weaned him, she came to him with the child who was holding a piece of bread in his hand and said: �O Prophet of Allah! Here is the child, as I have weaned him and he eats food. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) entrusted the child to one of the Muslims and then pronounced punishment. And she was put in a ditch up to her chest and he commanded people and they stoned her. Khalid ibn al-Walid came forward with a stone which he flung at her head and because of it blood spurted on the face of Khalid and so he cursed her. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) heard him (Khalid) cursing her, hence he said: �O Khalid, be gentle. By Him in Whose Hand is my life, she has made such a repentance that even if a wrongful tax-collector were to repent, he would have been forgiven. Then the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) gave order regarding her, hence he prayed over her and she was buried. (Sahih Muslim, no: 1695)

The above incident clearly illustrates that pregnancy due to illegitimate sexual intercourse cannot be terminated; rather it should be carried to term. Had aborting it been permissible, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would have surely advised it to the woman.

If one was to read the Islamic literature with regards to penal law, it would become clear that the matter of legal punishment is not something that is to be taken lightly. A legal punishment (hadd) should be carried out as soon as possible, but despite this, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give peace) ordered her to wait until the child was born and started weaning. He could have advised her to abort the foetus in order for the legal punishment to be carried out sooner.

The above incident also points out to the fact that abortion due to illicit sex will be unlawful at all stages, whether the soul is blown into the foetus or otherwise. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) did not ask the woman as to how old was the pregnancy.

Moreover, the unborn baby in the mother�s womb is honoured and sacred, even though it may be a result of unlawful sex and adultery.

It is stated in the famous Hanafi Fiqh masterpiece, al-Hidaya:

�And the foetus (due to illegitimate sex) is (also) honoured, as it is not guilty of any wrongdoing, thus it will not be permissible to terminate it.� (2/292)

In other words, the unborn child in the mother�s womb has not committed any sin for its presence. Hence, it is surely a crime to abort it due to a sin committed by another person. It is inhumane and unjust that the unborn child has to pay the price for a sin committed by its parents- a sin which they desire to conceal from others. One individual cannot bear the burden of another, and every individual must bear his/her own responsibility, a fact outlined by the Qur�an.

Allah Most High says:

No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another.� (Surah al-Isra, V: 15)

Thus, it is clear with the above that abortion due to unlawful sexual intercourse cannot be justified. It will remain unlawful after and prior to the soul being entered into the foetus. (Taken from my up and coming publication Insha Allah, Birth Control and Abortion- The Islamic Perspective (Revised Edition)

The above explanation answers your first question, in that the brother must not insist or try and convince the non-Muslim girl in having an abortion. If she has an abortion on her own accord without him advising her, he would not be sinful. Merely the fear of the child being raised as a non-Muslim will not justify abortion. Guidance is in the hands of Allah Most High; hence one should leave this to Him. The brother, however, should also try his best to ensure the child is not raised as a non-Muslim, even if he does not end up staying with the girl.

The answer to your second question is that, firstly, marriage to a pregnant woman is permissible and also sexual intercourse if the impregnator himself is marrying. (Radd al-Muhtar, 3/48-49), provided the woman is a Muslim or a genuine Kitabi (from the people of the book).

Secondly, as far as the child is concerned, if the child is born six months or more after the time of marriage (nikah), paternity will be established and the child will be attributed to the husband. However, if the child is born before six months have elapsed, it will not be attributed to the husband. (Radd al-Muhtar, 3/49)

Therefore, I suggest that the brother should get the non-Muslim girl converted to Islam. She should be educated with the fundamental beliefs of Islam, and her conversion should not merely be a solution to the problem. After she genuinely and truly accepts Islam, he should marry her as soon as possible. You sate that she is less than three weeks pregnant; hence there is still time for the child to be considered legitimate. If the child is born six months or more after the time of marriage, the brother will be considered a legitimate father. In this way, he will also be able to ensure that the child has an Islamic upbringing.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK.


Article taken (with Thanks) from Al-Islaah Publications

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