FAMILY PLANNING; ANY DILEMMA?

Compilation: Abu Khaadeejah Al-Atharee

Written for a Muslim Students' Magazine, Al-Ilaaj, of the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, Nigeria, Rajab, 1433.

Indeed, all praise is due to Allah. We praise Him - the Exalted - and we ask for His forgiveness. I testify that none is worthy of worship except Allaah and Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

To proceed:

Is it imaginable that the Creator of this complex universe does so without putting in place a systemic way of controlling the number of lives that exist on a place on earth at every point in time in human history? Is it reasonable though that Allaah may fail to provide adequately for the numbers of life he creates? Has Allaah entrusted any of his creatures to censure His provisions for his creatures? Ultimately, has the perfect Sharee'ah failed to see to how we plan our families?

Answers to all of these questions are precisely in the negative even though, only the people of strong adherence to Allaah's laws can understand it.

Through the West, Shaytaan has made mankind to underestimate their Creator by assuming that the more children they bear, the poorer they become. Allaah- the Exalted- told the infidels of the period of Jaahiliyyah who had same notion with the female children;

"And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We providefor them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin". (Israa', 31)

Whether the children are killed overtly or covertly (as in many family planning methods available), the crime remains inherent and if it is unnoticeable in this life, Allaah will overtly bring the perpetrators to book in the hereafter.

Allaah -the High and Sublime- says:

"Then is he who knows that what has been revealed to you from your Lord is the truth like one who is blind? Only the people of understanding will receive admonition" (Ra'd, 19)

The erudite scholars of Islam –the people of understanding- have delved in to the issue and they have brought us to lime light of the position of the noble Sharee'ah concerning family planning cum family restriction-as the case may be. It is their positions I want to share with you, fellow brethren.

OBEY ALLAAH AND HIS PROPHET ONLY!

Since Muslims have persistently received their education from the enemies of Allaah in recent times, they have painstakingly made their ways of life alluring to the latter such that Muslims have made Allaah's commandments a secondary thing! Allaah -the High and Sublime- says:

It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allaah and His Messenger ((sallalaahu 'alayhi wasallam)) have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error. (Ahzaab, 36)

He also says:

"Indeed, this Qur'aan guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward" (Israa', 9)

Fellow brothers, the Qur'an and the Sunnah is our guide, once we hold fast to them, guidance becomes our lot and we are free of error.

PROVISIONS ARE ONLY WITH ALLAAH

The provision of Allaah for His creatures are such as would suffice them as contrary to the propaganda of the west. Would one imagine how richer the countries of the world have comparably grown in recent time and how many mineral resources are being discovered on daily basis in several regions of the earth? Allaah has charged himself with the responsibility of providing for His creatures and He needs no assistance from them; He certainly provides as He says:

"And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me. Indeed, it is Allaah who is the [continual] Provider, the firm possessor of strength." (Dhaariyaat, 56-8)

When we bear children with the hope in Allaah to sustain us, we remember his favor on us and we are at His service and if not, we are into error. Allaah (subhaanahoo wata'aalaa) says:

"O mankind, remember the favor of Allaah upon you. Is there any creator other than Allaah who provides for you from the heaven and earth? There is no deity except Him, so how are you deluded?" (Faatir, 3)

In an hadith qudsee, the Messenger of Allaah ((sallalaahu 'alayhi wasallam)) reported Him to have said: "O my Servants, if the first and the last among you; mankind and Jinnkind gather at a place to make request from Me and I am to give everyone of you his request, it would only reduce the like of the drop from a needle when dipped in the ocean" (Reported by Muslim).

So dear Muslim, take to Allaah's position and not His enemies.'

ARE YOU A MONKEY?

Don’t be offended please, monkeys learn to imitate even if against their nature. As Muslims, Allaah ordered adherence to His Laws and He warns us against imitating the non-believers as He says:

"O you who have believed, if you obey those who disbelieve, they will turn you back on your heels, and you will [then] become losers." (Aali Imraan, 149).

He also says:

Then We put you, [O Muhammad], on an ordained way concerning the matter [of religion]; so follow it and do not follow the inclinations of those who do not know. Indeed, they will never avail you against Allaah at all. (Jaathiyah, 16-7)

The Prophet (sallalaahu 'alayhi wasallam) equally condemns Muslims in imitating the non-Muslims thus: "You Shall follow the footsteps of those before you so succinctly that even when they enter the hole of lizard you will enter it with them." The companions inquired: do you mean the Christians and the Jews? He replied: "Who else?"

The idea of family restriction is from the non-Muslims and they strive hard to promote it for their evil goals of subduing Islam and the Muslims. Allah's guidance should suffice the Muslims so that they may be victorious.

ADMIRE THE PRECIOUS GIFT

Children are not liabilities but exceptional endowment from Allaah Whose offer we are not to reject. Do you imagine how impatient and sad a man becomes if he cannot bear children? The ideology of child restriction or family limitation is a direct and absurd way of telling Allaah: "I don’t want!". Our Lord wants us appreciate His favor as He says:

"And Allaah has made for you from yourselves mates and has made for you from your mates sons and grandchildren and has provided for you from the good things. Do they then believe in falsehood and in the favor of Allaah they disbelieve? " (Nahl, 72)

So, as He provides us with mates, children, grandchildren etc., He provides their provision along with it. Why then does a Muslim disbelieve and disobey His Lord? Imam as Sa'dee said in his commentary of the above verse: "…they deny the favors of Allaah and employ them in His disobedience and disbelieve…"

BEAR AS MUCH AS YOU ARE ABLE!

Since Shaytaan is their guide, the enemies of Islam say: 'Bear very few children so as to be able cater for them.' O Muslims, let's share the following golden words of the Messenger of Allaah (sallalaahu 'alayhi wasallam):

On the authority of Ma'qil bn Yassaar (may Allaah be pleased with Him) who reports: A man came to the messenger of Allaah (sallalaahu 'alayhi wasallam) and said; O Messenger of Allaah, I intend to marry a beautiful woman who is also of a high social rank and from a noble family although she cannot bear children, can I marry her? He (sallalaahu 'alayhi wasallam) forbade him and he came the second time and the Prophet forbade him. When He came the third time, the Prophet told him: "Marry fertile and loving women; for I shall boast of your number over [other] generations" recorded by Aboo Daawud and an Nasaa'ee while Shaykh Al-Albaanee graded it as authentic.

Family planning is aimed at making couples choose if and when to have a child (family planning) or to choose the number of Children that they will have (family size restriction).

The methods employed to prevent pregnancy are referred to as contraceptives. Some are meant for the man; withdrawal method, condom and vasectomy, while those meant for the woman include; prolonged breastfeeding, douching, use of virginal jellies, creams and diaphragm, hormonal contraceptive (the pill), the IUD, tubal litigation and induced abortion. The periodic abstinence method is said to require co-operation between the man and the woman.

Of all the methods listed, vasectomy and tubal litigation were irreversible and are in no instance allowed in the Sharee'ah.

People engage in one or more of these methods with the following motives: the fear of poverty, blind imitation of the non-Muslims (the West), to preserve youthfulness in women, to allow the woman work outside the home etc. and on medical grounds.

For the basis of the permissibility of contraception when the need arises, the scholars of Islam have employed the hadeeth of Jaabir bn Abdillaah who reported: "We do practice the withdrawal method and the Prophet came to know about it and he did not prevent us…" (Bukhaaree and Muslim)

He (may Allaah be pleased with him) also reported that a man came to the messenger and said: I have a female slave who does assist us. I do have intercourse with her while I do not want her pregnant. He (salla llaahu 'alayhi wassallam said: "You may practice the 'azl (withdrawal method) with her if you so desire although her's is whatever is destined for her." (Muslim, Aboo Daawud)

We have said, 'When the need arises' because, in the hadeeth of Juthaamah bint Wahb, the Messenger of Allaah ((sallalaahu 'alayhi wasallam)) even discouraged 'azl as he referred to it as 'a secret way of burying a child alive' (Muslim, Ahmad)

The Standing committee on religious affairs in the Saudi Arabia with the Shaykh bn Baaz as the head made several verdicts on the issue of family planning among which is this:

"The use of contraceptives (without a just cause) and family planning are forbidden in Islaam. This is so because, it contradicts the Sharee'ah which encourages marriage and having unrestricted number of children. It also entails an underestimation of Allaah's expanse provision with respect to he who engages in it for the fear of poverty.

But if there is a necessity such as when the woman is medically at risk if pregnant, she can employ those methods -such as withdrawal method and the pills- in as much as it will not cause her another harm."

WOULD YOU RESTRICT ALLAAH'S QADAR?

Allaah –The Exalted- says:

"Whatever Allaah grants to people of mercy – none can withhold it; and whatever He withholds – none can release it thereafter. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise." (Faatir, 2)

A man's state of penury is not because he has more or less children, those who are rich are so not because they have lesser children; Allaah has predestined His provision for His creatures as He says;

"Indeed, all things We created with predestination." (Qamar, 49)

So, whether you bear many children or you even castrate yourself, you cannot have more than what Allaah has predestined for you even when you strive hard for it.

Even though, many of the methods of contraception being employed are not totally effective; Allaah creates as He wills.

WHEN AND HOW DOES A MUSLIM PLAN HIS FAMILY?

A Muslim can engage in family planning or family restriction only when there is a dare necessity. The necessity should be such that could cause great harm to the woman or -sometimes- the husband. In such case, the harm should be real and confirmed by an expert Muslim doctor; and it should not be assumed. Those methods that are to be employed are the reversible ones and more importantly, those that do not cause much harm such as the withdrawal method (the only method available at the time of the Prophet), periodic abstinence, the condom /diaphragm etc.

This implies that you do not deliberately give a particular space between children except with such necessity as above. Meanwhile there are natural means by which Allaah has put in place. Such means of family planning includes the fact that most women do not conceive when they do exclusive breastfeeding in the early months after delivery.

The scholars of Islam have reiterated that even in spacing children, it should be prescribed by a reliable Muslim Medical expert. But to space children just because that is what operates in the society or that friends will not approve it of me…, that has no place in the noble Sharee'ah.

My dear brothers, we would only be facing reality when we are guided by the provisions of the Sharee'ah not when we allow all that surrounds us dictate for us other than Allaah.

NOT FOR FEAR OF POVERTY

Allaah -the High and Sublime- says:

"And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We providefor them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin". (Israa', 31)

It is amazing today that people terminate pregnancies for flimsy excuses such as; 'our last baby is not yet up to three years of age' or 'my last maternity leave at work is less than two years' or 'people will make jest of me' or that 'am not always attractive in pregnancy' and so on. As flimsy as these reasons are, they are not as irrational as the one who says, 'so that we will be able to cater for those that we have' .

This is so because there are direct texts from the Qur'an and the Sunnah on the prohibition of family planning. In addition, it is encouraged in the Sharee'ah to have many children as we have stressed earlier.

WHY MUST YOU ABORT?

Abortion is extermination of a sacred soul and for its gravity as a sin, it attracts a form of blood money (diyah) in the Sharee'ah.

Allaah –The exalted- has said:

"Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And Our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors." (Maa'idah, 32)

However, when there is a serious congenital defect in the fetus or when the birth could claim the life of the mother or when the pregnancy is as a result of an assault of rape (which could break a lineage) and most importantly before the pregnancy reaches four months, abortion is permissible. This is the opinion of scholars of Islam of old and the contemporary time such as Shaykh Uthaymeen, Shaykh bn Baaz and several others.

RAISE THE CHILD UPON ISLAM

You cannot give what you do not have. Parents need to widen their knowledge about Islam to be able to implant the teachings of the pristine Islam in their children in their tender ages.

The Messenger of Allaah ((sallalaahu 'alayhi wasallam)) stressed the importance of upbringing children with Islam in his saying as reported by Abu Hurayyah; "Teach the child how to observe Salaah at the age of seven and beat them over it at the age of ten". (Saheeh Abee Daawud).

Concerning the female child, Anas bn Maalik reported him as saying;

"Whoever takes care of two female children till they attain maturity, I and he will be as this close on the day of resurrection". And he joined his fingers. (Muslim)

As parents, we are responsible for the spiritual and moral upkeep of our children and wards as we are going to be questionable before Allaah over them. The messenger of Allaah ((sallalaahu 'alayhi wasallam)) said: "You are all Shepherds, and you shall all be questioned concerning your herds." - Bukhaaree

We should instill the love of Allaah and His Messenger ((sallalaahu 'alayhi wasallam)) in them. We should repulse them from every belief, ideology, education, values, and lifestyles that the Sharee'ah abhors. I pray Allaah to make our children the apple of our eyes and to join us together on the day of resurrection with the righteous- Aameen.


 
 
   
         
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