Abortion or permanent contraception if pregnancy harms wife
Fatwa No: 359581


Assalaamu alaykum, Shaykh. If present pregnancy or further pregnancies increase and worsen sickness and even threaten a woman's life, and that is confirmed by doctors, but the husband does not give his consent for abortion or permanent contraception, should the wife continue to obey him in that even when she is severely sick or harmed or may die? Is it allowed for the husband to not give his consent in these situations which endanger her wellbeing, her health, and even her life? Is it allowed or not for the husband and his family to not admit her to a hospital to deliver the baby (and thus force her to do so) at home even though a situation may arise which can be handled by doctors only, which often happens?


All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Abortion is prohibited, especially if the soul has been breathed into the fetus (i.e. after 120 days have passed since conception), except for a Shariah-acceptable excuse. It is prohibited to kill the fetus after the soul has been breathed into it unless there is a necessity, such as fear for the mother's life. Hence, if trusted doctors advised that continuing the pregnancy threatens the mother's life, it is impermissible for the husband to prevent his wife from having an abortion, and she is not obliged to obey him regarding what harms her. Obedience should only be in what is good, as the Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said in the authentic hadeeth narrated by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

The same ruling applies if the soul has not been breathed into the fetus yet but continuing the pregnancy would harm the mother; the husband does not have the right to prevent her from having an abortion.

Permanent contraception is prohibited, so it is impermissible to resort to it because it contradicts the purposes of the Shariah, which urge Muslims to reproduce. The Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, "Marry the one who is fertile and affectionate, for I will boast of your great numbers before all nations.” [Ahmad, Abu Daawood, An-Nasaa'i, At-Tirmithi, and Ibn Maajah]

If it is confirmed by trustworthy, specialized physicians that pregnancy would cause a guaranteed or most-likely harm on the mother and there is no other way to ward off that harm except by permanent contraception, then in that case it is permissible to resort to it, acting upon the Fiqhi maxim which states that 'necessities overrule prohibitions'. The husband has no right to prevent her from it under these circumstances.

Also, if delivery at home poses a danger to the mother, then it is impermissible for the husband or anyone else to prevent her from going to the hospital to deliver her baby there because this prevention would cause harm to her or her fetus.

Lastly, we stress that the spouses should avoid whatever gives rise to disputes and be keen on reaching mutual understanding and observing the rulings of Shariah when addressing the problems that may arise between them.

Allah knows best.

Related Fatwa