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What Does Islam Say About Family Planning?

Family planning is as important as marriage itself. But the bitter truth is that we don’t hear about family planning in Muslim communities or specifically in Asian Muslim communities. This has led to a lot of issues such as economic burdens, stress, health issues, and so on. Of course, Allah (SWT) provides sustenance to everyone.

But;

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, the hadith outlines a Bedouin man who was leaving his camel without tying it. The Prophet (PBUH) asked him, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet then replied, “Tie your camel first, and then put your trust in Allah.”

The above narration clearly shows that we must do what needs to be done while trusting Allah. Similarly, a couple shouldn’t be mindless about family planning. They should consider factors such as economy, financial status, space, and health. These factors never hit the topic of Asian Muslim communities because right after getting married, the next milestone would be to get pregnant. Unfortunately, personal choices become a discussion at the dinner table, and that’s not enlightening.

We All Plan But Allah (SWT) is the Best of Planners

Family planning is allowed in Islam, and we must undoubtedly plan to avoid serious problems like not meeting the child’s basic needs. I have come across parents who complain that they can’t handle their children’s expenses. They find it hard to meet children’s needs from their single income source. Well, Shouldn’t you have taken family planning seriously?

You might instantly get away with the situation, saying that it is all planned, but remember, you will be questioned for everything you do. If you are unable to meet your children’s basic needs, you will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment. Allah (SWT) permitted you to plan, so why didn’t you consider it?

Though older generations might claim that birth control is haram, it is not! It is permissible to use birth control. There are no ahadith or Quran verses against birth control, so you don’t have to flinch. Moreover, there are ahadith in favor of birth control.

Narrated by Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “(Imām) Ali ibn al-usayn saw no problem in coitus interruptus, and he used to recite the verse that ‘When your Lord took from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their descendants…’ (Sūrat al-A~raf, Verse 172) So from whatsoever (seed) Allāh (SWT) has taken a covenant, it is sure to be born even if it is (spilled) on hard rock.”

Understandably, Allah is the best of planners. According to the above narration, we can conclude that birth control is permissible because, in the end, it is all in Allah (SWT) ‘s hand.  

A few Permissible Methods You Can Consider

Most women in Asian Muslim communities are against contraceptives though some of them are permissible. However, it’s high time that we educate ourselves on family planning and lawful methods to avoid pregnancy.

Following permissible methods are reversible, and you will not be undergoing any surgeries. Anyone who’s using these methods can conceive a baby whenever they need as these are reversible.

  1. Oral contraceptives are birth control pills that stop ovulation. These pills adjust the hormonal levels, so the signals that otherwise would have been sent for an ovum release will be altered. However, before you take these pills, make sure to consult your physician.
  2. Intrauterine Devices (IUD) are metal or plastic objects that are in various shapes. These devices are implanted in the uterus.
  3. Depo-Provera is just like the pills, but instead of consuming it orally, you will be injected. The time period and other essential details must be discussed with the physician.
  4. Avoiding sexual intercourse during a woman’s fertile period is another method. There are three methods, such as ovulation, temperature, and rhythm. The ovulation method is by checking the changes in the mucus discharge. The temperature method deals with analyzing daily body temperature that helps to find fertility. Lastly, the rhythm method means checking the monthly cycles for a year to identify the fertile days.
  5. Barrier devices stop sperms from reaching the uterus so that pregnancy can be avoided. There are different methods to do it and is permissible in Islam.
  6. Coitus Interruptus means withdrawing before ejaculation. Before finding modern devices, this was the most practiced birth control method.

Now that you know the permissible methods, it is vital to understand what is prohibited in Islam. These circumstances will help you know what’s forbidden.   

  • If a birth control method risks women’s health, it is not permissible in Islam. For example, removing the ovaries.
  • If it involves haram acts such as touching or enjoying other women’s private parts, it is prohibited.

Contraceptives and Mutual Agreement

A wife can use contraceptives as long as they don’t hinder the conjugal rights of the husband. She can take measures without the husband’s consent, but her safety measurements shouldn’t become a threat to her husband’s sexual needs, for example, forcing the husband to use a condom is against his rights.

Though the wife should be available to her husband’s sexual needs, it doesn’t mean that she must bear children without her interest. She has the right to decide to take children; hence, she can consider contraceptives such as cleansing, injections, or pills. Then again, it shouldn’t become a challenge to the conjugal rights of the husband.

The husband can’t expect the wife to get pregnant without her consent, and it is not permissible to force her through methods such as injections, pills, and more. Nevertheless, the husband can use a condom with the wife’s consent, and like said earlier, it is a mutual agreement.

If the mutual consultation isn’t practiced, it will risk the relationship as a whole. Therefore, it is suggested to have a real one-to-one conversation with your husband/wife regarding family planning.

If your relationship is based on mercy, kindness, love, and commitment, it will be easier to make tough decisions like family planning.  

} وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً {

“And He ordained affection and mercy between you.”

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