Birth control: As national policy

Q63 :Is it appropriate for a married couple not to have more than two children because of their limited economic resources? Is it acceptable that they take measures to prevent pregnancy after having had two children?


A63 : During the time of the Prophet, some of his companions tried to reduce the chances of conception and pregnancy, because they did not want any more children. The Prophet was aware of that. Some referred to him while some relied on the fact that no edict was given concerning the question of preventing pregnancy. The general rule is that "everything is permissible unless pronounced otherwise." Thus, we have statements by some of the Prophet's companions such as: "We resorted to contraception at the time when the Qur'an was being revealed", and "We resorted to contraception and the Prophet was aware of that but he did not stop us." These statements are clear in their import. If the Prophet's companions had been doing something unacceptable to Islam, God would have either revealed a prohibition in the Qur'an or the Prophet would have given an order in a Hadith. The fact is that the Prophet did not give such an order. Instead, when he learned from one of his companions that he resorted to contraception, the Prophet said clearly that no method of contraception would stop the creation of a child, should God will that the child be born. As such, no method of contraception can stop God's will being fulfilled. The method of contraception which was known at that time was coitus interruptus. Modern methods are equally permissible, provided that they are safe and they prevent conception. Sterilization of either the man or the woman is not permissible except when it is made absolutely necessary for medical reasons. Thus, if doctors determine that any pregnancy is likely to present a serious risk to the life of the mother, then sterilization may be approved. But each case must be considered separately on its own merits. What I have said so far applies at the individual level only. A national policy of family planning which aims to reduce the population is unacceptable because it is likely to have serious repercussion on the health of the nation as a whole.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )