Islamic Laws

What is the opinion of Islam about birth control?

By: Abdul Adheem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani
Question: What is the opinion of Islam about birth control and stopping procreation? Some people in our family think that it is unlawful; therefore, they procreate in spite of their limited incomes, whereas others think that it is necessary to control birth though they are in a good economical state.
The answer: Basically, the Muslims should procreate and increase in number as it is understood from the Prophetic traditions. The Prophet (S) said, ‘Do you not know that I will be proud of you before nations on the Day of Resurrection even of miscarried fetuses…[114]’.
However, Islam has taken the different stages and circumstances of people into consideration. Economical conditions, narrow residences, difficulties of upbringing and educating, dangers of deviation from religion, and the problems of controlling people’s affairs in general are factors requiring birth control for some people, but they may not require other people to practice that.
This is understood from other traditions too. The Prophet (S) said, when predicting some things to take place in a time different from his time, ‘A time will come to people, in which the best of people will be… those of less children.[115]’
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘There are three things that are among the worst of calamities: big family, dominance of debts, and chronic diseases.[116]’
It is understood that a smaller family is better.
Imam Ali (a.s.) also said, ‘(having) few children is one of the two eases.[117]’
We conclude that this matter (birth control) is permissible and is a personal decision according to the circumstances of a person himself. It is not possible to impose or not to impose the concept of birth control on someone except if it harms others seriously.
It is thus if there are no imperialist plans behind birth control; otherwise, not controlling birth is obligatory on condition that one can bring up and educate his children properly, lest they become an easy game for the imperialists as mostly happens.
[114] Furoo’ al-Kafi, vol.5 p.334.
[115] Kanzol Ummal, vol.16 p.287.
[116] Ghurar al-Hikam, p.364.
[117]Nahjol Balagha, p.153.

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