We Asked ‘Is Abortion Haram?’ and These Are the Answers We Received

The topic of abortion has proven to be very divisive and polarizing in any setting. The Muslim community is divided on whether or not they should support abortion. There are many factors that influence a woman’s decision on abortion. Unfortunately, the social climate around the topic is such that many groups and even the government condemn this act. So, the question arises… Is abortion haram?

Mention of Abortion in the Quran

The first source many Muslims refer to when making a life-altering decision is the Quran. Many Muslim women believe that abortion in instances of medical need is permissible in Islam. On the contrary, many practicing Muslim women believe that abortion for the sake of convenience, like getting pregnant before wedlock or not being financially stable, is forbidden (haram) as Allah (SWT) chooses whom He wishes to bring into this world. It is stated in the Quran: “…and do not kill your children for fear of poverty; we give them sustenance and yourselves (too); surely to kill them is a great wrong.” 17:31

Islam is a religion that is meant to make the lives of Muslims easier, and therefore it is important to recognize that anything harmful to one’s health is condemned.

Many scholars agree that abortion is only permissible in the instance that a woman’s or baby’s health is at risk. Islam is a religion that is meant to make the lives of Muslims easier, and therefore it is important to recognize that anything harmful to one’s health is condemned. For many Muslims, this includes mental as well as physical health.

In Islam, life is considered to be sacred. As such, it is to be preserved. We learn from the Quran, in-depth, how humans are formed and therefore need to acknowledge that getting rid of life, for reasons other than health, is indeed considered a sin. The Quran states: “And indeed We created humankind from an essence of clay. Then We placed him as a sperm-drop in a resting place firm; then We created the sperm-drop into a clinging substance, then We created the clinging substance into an embryonic lump, then We created from the embryonic lump bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, then We produced it as another creation. So blessed is God, the best of creators.” 23: 12-14

Islamic Schools of thought

For many Muslim women, it is a challenge to make an informed decision on abortion because of the misunderstandings revolving around it. The Yaqeen Institute published a research paper written by Omar Suleiman on “Islam and the Abortion Debate”.

In his research paper, Suleiman writes:

“During the first 40 days after conception, the majority permitted abortion when the two spouses mutually agreed, and especially for clearly legitimate reasons (such as rape, and the physical or mental inability to raise children). And just as with ‘azl (coitus interruptus), many of these scholars held that fear of poverty did not qualify as a justification. The Mâlikis opposed this position altogether. Ibn Juzzay (d. 741 H), a Mâliki jurist, says, “Once the womb contracts the semen, it becomes impermissible to interfere with it. Worse than that is when it (the fetus) has developed [external] features, and worse than that is when the soul has been blown into it. In that [last] case, this would be killing a soul—by agreement.”12 – Omar Suleiman, Islam and the Abortion Debate

It is evident that there are different Islamic schools of thought on the topic of abortion. The Muslim community must make a conscious effort to understand the rulings of abortion as highlighted in the Quran and Hadith to make an educated decision regarding the topic.