Category: Jurisprudence and Rulings (Fiqh)
Fatwa#: 31929
Asked Country: South Africa

Answered Date: Jan 25,2015

Title: What is the Islamic verdict on contraception and birth control in general?


What is the Islamic verdict on contraception and birth control in general? Is it only permissible at times of need?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

First of all, it should be known that, one of the main aims of marriage in Islam is procreation. Islam encourages its followers to reproduce in large numbers in order to increase the size of the Ummah of our Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Allah Ta’āla says in the Qur’an:

فَٱلۡـَٔـٰنَ بَـٰشِرُوهُنَّ وَٱبۡتَغُواْ مَا كتب ٱللَّهُ لَكُمۡ‌ۚ

“So now hold intercourse with your wives and seek (the children) what Allah has ordained for you.” (Surah al-Baqarah, V: 187)

In a Hadith recorded by Imam an-Nasa'i (rahimahullāh), the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

عَنْ مَعْقِلِ بْنِ يَسَارٍ، قَالَ: جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَقَالَ: إِنِّي أَصَبْتُ امْرَأَةً ذَاتَ حَسَبٍ وَمَنْصِبٍ إِلَّا أَنَّهَا لَا تَلِدُ أَفَأَتَزَوَّجُهَا؟ فَنَهَاهُ ثُمَّ أَتَاهُ الثَّانِيَةَ، فَنَهَاهُ ثُمَّ أَتَاهُ الثَّالِثَةَ، فَقَالَ: "تَزَوَّجُوا الْوَلُودَ الْوَدُودَ، فَإِنِّي مُكَاثِرٌ بِكُمْ"

السنن الكبرى للنسائي(3227)

It was narrated that Ma'qil bin Yasar (radiallahu anhu) said: "A man came to the Messenger of Allah and said: 'I have found a woman who is from a good family and of good status, but she does not bear children, should I marry her?' He told him not to. Then he came to him a second time and he told him not to (marry her). Then he came to him a third time and he told him not to (marry her), then he said: 'Marry the one who is fertile and loving, for I will boast of your great numbers.'"(Nasa’ī-3227)

It is clear from the above, that Shariah encourages its followers to abstain from practicing birth control, especially, when it is given a formal, organized and general approach. Therefore, one should refrain from practicing contraception unless necessary.

As far as the Shar’i ruling is concerned, there are two categories of birth control and the ruling of each is different as detailed below.
1) Permanent Irreversible Contraception

This type of contraception is carried out when the couple decide never to have a baby. It is done with a sterilization operation carried out either on the man (vasectomy) or the woman (tubectomy) and renders the couple incapable of ever having children.[1]

The ruling with regards to this is that, it is unlawful (haram) to carry out such operations. There are many Narrations of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and clear texts of the Fuqahā (Jurists) which determine this.

The Companion, Sayyidna Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radiallahu anhu) said:

قَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ: كُنَّا نَغْزُو مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَلَيْسَ لَنَا شَيْءٌ، فَقُلْنَا: أَلاَ نَسْتَخْصِي؟ " فَنَهَانَا عَنْ ذَلِكَ

صحيح البخاري (5075)

“We use to engage in Jihad in the company of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and our wives did not accompany us. We said: O Prophet of Allah! Shall we not castrate ourselves? He forbade us from doing so.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

The great Hanafi Jurist, Allamah Ibn Aabidīn Shāmi (rahimahullah) says:

“Castration of humans is Haram.”[2]
Allāmah Badruddīn Al-Ayni (rahimahullah) says:

“Castration (and sterilization) is prohibited with the consensus of all the scholars.”[3]

However, in cases of extreme necessity, Irreversible contraception will become permissible. For example, a woman’s life is in danger or repeated pregnancies gravely damage her health, etc. This however, should be advised by a Muslim qualified doctor.[4]

2) Temporary Reversible Contraception

There are many methods by which reversible contraception can be performed. Coitus interruptus (Withdrawal method), the pill, using of the condom, i.u.d, spermicidal, just to mention a few.

The ruling on reversible contraception is that, it is somewhat disliked (Makruh Tanzihī) if practiced without any reason[5]. However, it should not be done without the wife’s permission.[6] If there is a genuine reason, then it will be totally permissible without the permission of the wife.[7] Some of the reasons (for the permissibility of reversible contraception), which the Fuqahā mention, are:

a) Extreme weakness and illness,

b) The couple’s relation is unstable and divorce is likely. [8]

It is not permissible to practice contraception for the following reasons:

a) Fear of poverty and not being able to provide,

b) To keep up to the fashion of keeping small families,

c) Being ashamed of having a girl.[9]

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Asim Patel

Student Darul Iftaa
Venda, South Africa

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.



أَمَّا خِصَاءُ الْآدَمِيِّ فَحَرَامٌ الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (388/6) دار الفكر-بيروت


قَوْله: (أَلا نختصي)، من خصاه إِذا نزع خصيته يخصيه خصاءً. قَوْله: (فنهانا عَن ذَلِك)، يَعْنِي: عَن الاختصاء، وَفِيه تَحْرِيم الاختصاء لما فِيهِ من تَغْيِير خلق الله تَعَالَى، وَلما فِيهِ من قطع النَّسْل... عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري (208/18) دار إحياء التراث العربي -بيروت


الاستشفاء بالمحرم إنما لا يجوز إذا لم يعلم أن فيه شفاءً؛ أما إذا علم أن فيه شفاء، وليس له دواء آخر غيره فيجوز الاستشفاء به؛ ألا ترى إلى ما ذكر محمد رحمه الله في كتاب الأشربة إذا خاف الرجل على نفسه العطش، ووجد الخمر شربها إن كان يدفع عطشه؛ لكن يشرب بقدر ما يرويه ويدفع عطشه، ولا يشرب للزيادة على الكفاية المحيط البرهاني في الفقه النعماني (373/5) دار الكتب العلمية، بيروت – لبنان

قَالَ فِي النِّهَايَةِ: وَفِي التَّهْذِيبِ يَجُوزُ لِلْعَلِيلِ شُرْبُ الْبَوْلِ وَالدَّمِ وَالْمَيْتَةِ لِلتَّدَاوِي إذَا أَخْبَرَهُ طَبِيبٌ مُسْلِمٌ أَنَّ فِيهِ شِفَاءَهُ وَلَمْ يَجِدْ مِنْ الْمُبَاحِ مَا يَقُومُ مَقَامَه الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (228/5) دار الفكر-بيروت


قِيلَ ذَلِكَ لَا يَدُلُّ عَلَى حُرْمَةِ الْعَزْلِ بَلْ عَلَى كَرَاهَتِه مرقاة المفاتيح شرح مشكاة المصابيح (2092/5) دار الفكر، بيروت -لبنان


ولا يعزل عن زوجته إلا بإذنها... لأن الوطء حق الحرة قضاء للشهوة وتحصيلا للولد.  الهداية في شرح بداية المبتدي (372/4) دار احياء التراث العربي -بيروت –لبنان


 (قَوْلُهُ قَالَ الْكَمَالُ) عِبَارَتُهُ: وَفِي الْفَتَاوَى إنْ خَافَ مِنْ الْوَلَدِ السُّوءَ فِي الْحُرَّةِ يَسَعُهُ الْعَزْلُ بِغَيْرِ رِضَاهَا لِفَسَادِ الزَّمَانِ، فَلْيُعْتَبَرْ مِثْلُهُ مِنْ الْأَعْذَارِ مُسْقِطًا لِإِذْنِهَا. اهـ

 دار الفكر-بيروت (3/ 176) الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار)


وَفِي الْفَتَاوَى إنْ خَافَ مِنْ الْوَلَدِ السُّوءَ فِي الْحُرَّةِ يَسَعُهُ الْعَزْلُ بِغَيْرِ رِضَاهَا لِفَسَادِ الزَّمَانِ، فَلْيُعْتَبَرْ مِثْلُهُ مِنْ الْأَعْذَارِ مُسْقِطًا لِإِذْنِهَا. اهـ. فَقَدْ عُلِمَ مِمَّا فِي الْخَانِيَّةِ أَنَّ مَنْقُولَ الْمَذْهَبِ عَدَمُ الْإِبَاحَةِ وَأَنَّ هَذَا تَقْيِيدٌ مِنْ مَشَايِخِ الْمَذْهَبِ لِتَغَيُّرِ بَعْضِ الْأَحْكَامِ بِتَغَيُّرِ الزَّمَانِ، وَأَقَرَّهُ فِي الْفَتْحِ وَبِهِ جَزَمَ الْقُهُسْتَانِيُّ أَيْضًا حَيْثُ قَالَ: وَهَذَا إذَا لَمْ يَخَفْ عَلَى الْوَلَدِ السُّوءَ لِفَسَادِ الزَّمَانِ وَإِلَّا فَيَجُوزُ بِلَا إذْنِهَا. اهـ. لَكِنْ قَوْلُ الْفَتْحِ فَلْيُعْتَبَرْ مِثْلُهُ إلَخْ يَحْتَمِلُ أَنْ يُرِيدَ بِالْمِثْلِ ذَلِكَ الْعُذْرَ، كَقَوْلِهِمْ: مِثْلُك لَا يَبْخَلُ. وَيَحْتَمِلُ أَنَّهُ أَرَادَ إلْحَاقَ مِثْلِ هَذَا الْعُذْرِ بِهِ كَأَنْ يَكُونَ فِي سَفَرٍ بَعِيدٍ، أَوْ فِي دَارِ الْحَرْبِ فَخَافَ عَلَى الْوَلَدِ، أَوْ كَانَتْ الزَّوْجَةُ سَيِّئَةَ الْخُلُقِ وَيُرِيدُ فِرَاقَهَا فَخَافَ أَنْ تَحْبَلَ، وَكَذَا مَا يَأْتِي فِي إسْقَاطِ الْحَمْلِ عَنْ ابْنِ وَهْبَانَ فَافْهَمْ الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (176/3) دار الفكر-بيروت


جواهر الفقه (88/7)  

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