Fatwa ID: 05761
Answered by: Maulana Yūsuf Badāt
My wife is 41 and is pregnant with our third child Alḥamdulillāh. This was a planned pregnancy as we wanted more children and planned for 3, given we were married at 33. However, this pregnancy unlike the others carried higher risk factors due to age and previous 2 c-sections as well as the history of large babies etc. thus experienced a lot more issues and has required extra monitoring. The doctor has suggested my wife consider sterilization as future pregnancies will carry high-risk factors to herself and the fetus. He suggests that further pregnancies may not be safe, mainly due to the age factor. Under this circumstance, is it permissible? Please can you advise on this matter soon? The doctors have suggested sterilization to take place during the c-section operation for which we have to provide consent, in the next few weeks. We, of course, would like to take the Islamic perspective into consideration before making a final decision. We have read online, to consult a Muslim doctor who is knowledgeable on these matters but does not know of anyone in the medical profession. I would be grateful for your guidance on this matter.
In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Female sterilization is a permanent procedure to prevent pregnancy. The Islamic ruling is that permanent procedures to stop pregnancy are forbidden since this entails unwarranted disfigurement and alteration from fiṭrah (natural disposition). It also opposes the Islamic objective of having children. However, adopting temporary procedures, in pressing circumstances such as in the described case, is permissible. – (See: Rad Al-Muḥtār, Vol 3, Page 175, Dār Al-Fikr)1
”I heard Sa’d (may Allāh be pleased with him) saying that the idea of ‘Othmān ibn Madh’ūn (may Allāh be pleased with him) to live in celibacy was rejected [by the Prophet]. If he had been given permission, some of us Companions would have ourselves castrated [but he did not grant permission].” – (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1402)2
Jabir (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported, “We used to practice ‘azl (withdrawal during intercourse to prevent pregnancy) during the lifetime of Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). The news of this practice reached Allāh’s Apostle (peace and blessings be upon him), and he did not forbid us.” – (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1440)3
Only Allāh knows best.
Written by Maulana Yūsuf Badāt
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
1 فَإِذَا أَذِنَ فَلَا كَرَاهَةَ فِي الْعَزْلِ عِنْدَ عَامَّةِ الْعُلَمَاءِ وَهُوَ الصَّحِيحُ؛ وَبِذَلِكَ تَضَافَرَتْ الْأَخْبَارُ وَفِي الْفَتْحِ: وَفِي بَعْضِ أَجْوِبَةِ الْمَشَايِخِ الْكَرَاهَةُ، وَفِي بَعْضٍ عَدَمَهَا نَهْرٌ، وَعَنْهُمَا أَنَّ الْإِذْنَ لَهَا وَفِي الْقُهُسْتَانِيِّ أَنَّ لِلسَّيِّدِ الْعَزْلَ عَنْ أَمَتِهِ بِلَا خِلَافٍ وَكَذَا لِزَوْجِ الْحُرَّةِ بِإِذْنِهَا – كتاب الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين رد المحتار ج ٣/ ص ١٧٥
2 عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ الْمُسَيَّبِ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ سَعْدًا يَقُولُ رُدَّ عَلَى عُثْمَانَ بْنِ مَظْعُونٍ التَّبَتُّلُ وَلَوْ أُذِنَ لَهُ لاَخْتَصَيْنَا – اخرجه مسلم ١٤٠٢
3 عَنْ جَابِرٍ قَالَ كُنَّا نَعْزِلُ عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَبَلَغَ ذَلِكَ نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَلَمْ يَنْهَنَا – اخرجه مسلم ١٤٤٠