The Right of the Fetus to life: Islamic Ruling on ABORTION

By: Dr. Hassan A. Abou Ghuddah

All jurists have agreed that it is prohibited to abort the fetus after breathing the spirit in it one after hundred twenty days (four months) of gestation. This is clearly put down by the Prophet’s saying narrated by AI-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Ibn Masoud, may Allah be pleased with him, stating that:
“Each one of you is formed in the uterine as a sperm at forty days, as a clot following the same period and as an embryo following the same period; following which the angel is sent to breathe the spirit in him…”
Scholars said that aborting the fetus after four months of gestation is prohibited according to Islamic Sharia. It is, in fact, a murder act whether committed by the mother or by anyone else and whether maintaining pregnancy forms a danger to the life of the mother or not; since endangering the life of the mother by maintaining pregnancy is something presumptive, and hence no human being should be killed based on a presumption.
However, if it becomes most likely based on several preceding cases that maintaining the life of the fetus would entail death of the mother and the fetus together, rescuing the life of the mother should be given priority because her life is certain. In such a case, there is no objection to abort the fetus to rescue the life of the mother taking the legal rule “committing the more minor damage into consideration.
Aborting the fetus before the spirit is breathed in it during the first four months of gestation has been a subject of difference among scholars. Some of them permitted it at large; some others permitted it for a certain excuse. However, others said it is undesirable but some others said it is prohibited. It is apparent that the opinion that has more weight is that abortion is prohibited even if it is made before four months of gestation unless it is performed for an established legal necessity or excuse. Such an opinion focuses on the right of the fetus to life, which is the right of all creatures according to Islam. Hence, such life should not be wasted except for legal justifications.
Modern medical and ultrasound studies and tests have shown that the heart of the fetus starts beating about thirty days after inoculation. As such, this primary life of the fetus which will eventually become a complete human being should be given due respect.
The above statements generally apply to all abortion cases for any reason and by any means: whether it is meant to dispose of the fetus from a legal marriage or from an illegal relationship and whether it is done by any way of abuse of the pregnant woman to make her abort the fetus.

Islam gives great interest to the right of creatures to life, especially to the noblest and most glorified creature, i.e. man. It has protected man’s existence even before he is born and hence prohibited aborting the fetus and imposed financial penalties on those who caused abortion. Islam considers pregnancy as bliss from Allah, the Al-Mighty, because it is the means that ensures mutual solidarity between the emotions of the father and the mother. It is an instinctive way to sustain human gender and continued life on earth. Therefore, these values should not be transgressed, especially as related to pregnancy and the evolution of tender and compassion emotions in the heart of the pregnant mother.

Source: AL-DAAWAH magazine Issue No.7 May 2002, page (37)


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *