Islam and the Abortion Debate
Published: March 20, 2017 • Updated: September 20, 2022
Author: Dr. Omar Suleiman
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Updated: September 20, 2022
September 20, 2022 Due to the changing political realities and questions about the accuracy of the statistics provided, author decided to remove the section "Practical Realities and Moral Directives". Please refer to the DoubleTake podcast episode for further discussion. https://youtu.be/EKNzLznwPDc
The Sanctity of Life in Islam
Comparisons to Other Religious Groups
1 Collected by al-Bukhâri (6471) from ‘Abdullâh b. ‘Umar (rA).
2 See: Zâd al-Ma‘âd (5/142-145), 7th edition, printed by ar-Risâla (Beirut, Lebanon), 1985.
3 Collected by al-Bukhâri (5208) and Muslim (3497).
4 Due to the Prophet referring to ‘azl as a “hidden infanticide” in one hadith, some jurists held that it should not be performed due to fear of poverty, as that was a primary reason behind infanticide in Arabia. Others reconciled it with the traditions condoning ‘azl by saying: it entails discouraging ‘azl (not prohibiting it) because it undermines the blessing of children, just in a less overt (and less objectionable) way.
5 Many physicians believe that with newer IUDs, the incidence of fertilization is much less likely than it was in the past, and hence the obstructing implantation debate becomes increasingly irrelevant concerning this method.
6 In the 1960s, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists redefined the onset of pregnancy as the completion of implantation in the womb, contrary to the prior majority belief that pregnancy began at fertilization. There is approximately two weeks’ time between fertilization and implantation, and redefining the terminology is entrenched in the legal debate surrounding this subject today. For those adhering to the newer definition, preventing implantation is tantamount to preventing pregnancy, while the opposition considers preventing implantation to involve killing a living being.
7 Collected by Abu Dawud (1694), at-Tirmidhi (1/348), Ahmad (1/194), Ibn Hibban (2033), al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (53), and al-Albani in as-Silsila as-Sahiha (2/36: 520).
8 Physicians calculate the age of pregnancy from the last period, which is roughly two weeks prior to conception. Therefore, 134 days into the pregnancy—according to physicians—is the 120-day mark in terms of Islamic rulings.
9 See: al-Burhân al-Kâshif (p. 275) by Ibn az-Zamlakâni.
10 See: Tafseer Ibn Katheer; Surat al-Mu’minoon (23); Ayah 14.
11 The scholars unanimously agree that a wife is entitled to children, and hence she cannot be forced to terminate her pregnancy. The majority of scholars agree that the husband also has the same entitlement, and hence she cannot insist on abortion without a valid reason. See: Badâ’i‘ as-Sanâ’i‘ (2/334) by al-Kâsâni, al-Muntaqâ Sharh al-Muwatta’ (4/134) by al-Bâji, Fath al-Bâri (9/308) by Ibn Hajar, and al-Ifsâh (2/141) by Ibn Hubayra.
12 al-Qawâneen al-Fiqhiyya (141) by Ibn Juzzay.
13 Abortion Due to Family Issues (taken from www.drhatemalhaj.com).
14 Pope Francis denounces 'horror' of abortion. (2014, January 14). Retrieved February 10, 2017, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25723422
15 John Paul II. Vatican. Evangelium Vitae. 25 March 1995. 19 March 2013. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html
16 Johnstone, Brian V. (March 2005). "Early Abortion: Venial or Mortal Sin?". Irish Theological Quarterly. 70
18 Communications, U. M. (n.d.). Social Principles: The Nurturing Community. Retrieved February 10, 2017, from http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/the-nurturing-community
19 Life Library - Abortion. (n.d.). Retrieved February 10, 2017, from http://www.lcms.org/page.aspx?pid=849
20 A Christian presence in every community. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2017, from https://www.churchofengland.org/our-views/medical-ethics-health-social-care-policy/abortion.asp
21 American Baptist Resolution Concerning Abortion And Ministry In The Local Church, 12/87. Online: http://www.abc-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Abortion-and-Ministry-in-the-Local-Church.pdf
22The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (n.d.). Retrieved February 9, 2017, from http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?locale=0&sourceId=43de991a83d20110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=e1fa5f74db46c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD
23 American Baptist Resolution Concerning Abortion And Ministry In The Local Church, 12/87. Online: http://www.abc-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Abortion-and-Ministry-in-the-Local-Church.pdf.
24 23, 2. F. (2016, April 05). Abortion Issues. Retrieved February 4, 2017, from http://www.presbyterianmission.org/blog/abortion-issues-2/
25 What Do Orthodox Jews Think About Abortion and Why? (2000, August 25). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/culturebox/2000/08/what_do_orthodox_jews_think_about_abortion_and_why.html
27 Coleman, C. (2011, April 15). Five myths about Planned Parenthood. Retrieved December 17, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-planned-parenthood/2011/04/14/AFogj1iD_story.html?utm_term=.2a68350e3ad8
29 American Baptist Resolution Concerning Abortion And Ministry In The Local Church, 12/87. Online: http://www.abc-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Abortion-and-Ministry-in-the-Local-Church.pdf.