An Islamic Response to Legalized Abortion

Allah Most High has prohibited the killing of children (both born and unborn) when such is resorted to for no just cause. It is indeed a very great sin. But an essentially godless age has shown no concern whatsoever for the Word of Allah Most High. In fact this age is experiencing something more sinister than disregard for the Word of Allah since, whatever He declared to be Haram (i.e., prohibited), the modern godless age has proceeded to legalize (i.e., to declare to be Halal or permitted). Gambling, for example, has been elevated to such respectability that governments around the world now organise state-sponsored lottery. And so what we now face is not just godlessness, but rather, a war on the religious way of life! It is in this context that we must examine the effort to legalize abortion.

The eminent Islamic scholar, Maulana Dr. Muhammad Fazlur Rahman Ansari (1914-1974), resorted to the legal principle of ‘necessity’ to declare ‘abortion’ permissible in such cases when a mother’s life would be endangered if she were to carry her baby until birth. A ‘just cause’ justifies taking the unborn baby’s life. It also represents the lesser of two evils. Whether such a resort to the doctrine of necessity can be permitted in the case of pregnancy because of rape, or incest, or where an unborn child is discovered to be seriously deformed, etc., is a subject which can be studied in a context other than the one addressed by this paper. Let us address the context of this paper. 

The majority of those who resort to abortion in today’s godless world do so because of economic hardship, or for such reasons of convenience as ‘standard of living’, ‘insufficient time to devote to more children’, ‘accidental pregnancy’, ‘relationships which have turned sour’, ‘public opinion’ that frowns upon children being born out-of-wedlock etc. But these are reasons that display ignorance of the reality of the subject. The Qur’an has delivered an ominous warning to people who resort to abortion for such reasons:
“Lost are those who, in their ignorance, have slain their own children, and (in so doing) have deprived themselves of that which Allah had bestowed upon them, (while) concocting falsehoods against Allah. They indeed have gone astray and are not guided.
(Qur’an, al-An’am, 6:140)

The Qur’an has gone on to advise:
“… say: Come, I will tell you that which your Lord has made binding on you: that you shall serve no other gods besides Him: that you shall show kindness to your parents: that you shall not kill your children because you cannot support them; — (for remember) We provide for you as well as for them … and that you do not kill – for such is forbidden by Allah — except for a just cause… ”
(Qur’an, al-An’am, 6:151)

The Qur’an emphatically declares that He, Who alone gives life, also provides for every living creature He has created.
“And there is not a creature on the earth whose sustenance is not provided by Allah . . .”
(Hud, 11:6) (and then again warns)
“You shall not kill your children for fear of want. We shall provide for them and for you. To kill them is a great sin . . . (and) do not kill any whom Allah has forbidden (you to kill) except for a just cause . . . (and), do not follow what you do not know. Surely the hearing, sight and heart — about all these you shall be questioned . . . These injunctions are but a part of the wisdom which your Lord has revealed to you . . .”
(Qur’an, Banu Israil, 17:31-39)

There are those who would respond to the effect that while Allah Most High has declared that He has provided for every child born into the world, the harsh reality is that there are those who do not have the means to feed another child. Rather than reject the Word of Allah as untrue, however, it would be more appropriate for such people to ask: if Allah sent the food, and if we do not have it, then who took the food? That question would open for them the door to understanding the subject of the prohibition of Riba in Islam (money being lent on interest, as well as transactions which rip people off), and that in turn would explain the new economic slavery which is descending upon the masses around the world.

Islam treats the unborn child as a human being as soon as forty days have elapsed after conception. It is at that time that the angel breathes the spirit (Ruh) into the fertilized egg of the mother. The Qur’an has presented minute and highly accurate knowledge (confirmed only now by modern embryology) of the stages through which the fertilized egg passes before the human being emerges. If abortion (for no just cause) takes place prior to the fortieth day, then that would constitute a sin and would be dealt with in a heavenly court. But if abortion were to take place after that time, then such would constitute criminal conduct with consequences requiring a judicial response. Consider the following:

One woman struck another woman with a rolling pin killing both her and what was in her womb. So Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) gave judgment that compensation be paid for the (unborn) life which was taken, and it should be a male or a female slave of the best quality, and that the woman who killed should have her life taken.

Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) also ordered that (funeral) prayers be offered over an unborn child who died before birth, and forgiveness and mercy sought (through prayer) for its parents.

It is, of course, a heinous crime and sin for a human life to be taken without just cause. When such an act is committed unintentionally, then the murdered person’s family is entitled to compensation. The above incident confirms that the unborn child whose life is taken unintentionally has the same right as others. When a life is taken intentionally, then of course the divine law of equity is that of ‘a life for a life’. When a doctor performs an abortion and intentionally takes the life of an unborn ‘human being’ for no just cause, then the law of equity must also apply. If he is not punished by the godless world, his punishment is sure to be inflicted in the heavens above, and it would be truly terrible!

But it is an even greater sin to take the life of a believer (in the One true God) with no just cause. The above is dramatic evidence that the unborn child who died before birth is a believing human being with rights like all other believing human beings, to a funeral service. Hence taking the life of an unborn child (i.e., a fertilized egg which has reached the stage of becoming a human being) through abortion for no just cause constitutes an even greater sin and crime -punishment for which would be truly terrible.

A state and government that legalizes abortion (for no just cause) would be enormously sinful and would commit a grave crime. Those who vote in elections to constitute a government that would rule over such a state would themselves become a part of that enormous sin and crime and would pay a terrible price for it. And those who knowingly cast their vote in elections in favor of a political party which, as government, presided over and supported legislation legalizing abortion (for no just cause) would themselves become a direct party to that enormous sin and crime and would pay a terrible price for it. In fact, it would be the greatest sin of all, i.e., Shirk.

Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) gave such dramatic description of the unborn child’s personality as would haunt abortion doctors. He said: “The unborn child who died before birth would dispute with his Lord when He (the Lord) causes his parents to enter Hell (for sins which they committed), and would receive the reply, ‘You unborn child (who died before birth) and who is disputing with your Lord, bring your parents into paradise.’ He will then draw them with his umbilical cord till he brings them into paradise.”

The Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said “No Muslim couple will lose three (of their children – born or unborn) by death without Allah bringing them (i.e., the couple) into Paradise by His great mercy.” He was asked if that applied if they lost two, and he said it did. He was also asked if it applied if they lost one, and he said it did. Then he said, “By Him in Whose hand is my soul, the child who was lost before birth draws his mother to Paradise by his umbilical cord when she seeks her reward for him from Allah.”

The unborn child who died before birth has a status with his Lord that is so great that he can even argue with the Lord on behalf of his parents who were consigned to the hellfire, and he can succeed in himself bringing them out of the hellfire with his umbilical cord. If he can do that, what then can he do to a parent, or parents, who cruelly killed him through abortion? Or to the doctor who performed the abortion? Or to the state and government which presided over the legalization of that which Allah Most High had prohibited?

Muslims have long realized that they cannot prevent the march to godlessness around the world today. True Muslims insist, however, that they do not want to be a part of that godless world. And this is one of the reasons for establishing God-fearing, remotely located Muslim Villages.