Islamic Stance on Abortion
Question: I have a 5-years-old boy and an 11-months girl. May God protect them from all harms! They are the centre of my life and I am living for them. I recently found out that I am pregnant although I was taking necessary precautions, but it still happened. My general health has become weak. Since then, I am not being able to take care of my kids and above all I am also working to help my husband make our living. I have been thinking about having an abortion but I don't want to take a wrong step. Can you please advise me on the options available in such situations?
Answer: There are two views amongst Muslim scholars regarding the permissibility of abortion:
i) It is not allowed under any circumstances except in a situation where the life of the mother is in danger. This view is based on the Qur'anic verse that asks us not to kill our children out of fear of poverty. (Qur'an, 17:31)
ii) The other group allows Muslim ladies to have abortion within the first four months of their pregnancy for less compelling reasons as well. The basis of this view are the ahadith according to which the Almighty breaths life into the unborn child when it is four months old in the womb of the mother. As a result, aborting it before that period would not amount to killing a soul. Even if the second opinion is followed, there has to be a strong reason to resort to it.
In view of the above understanding, I would recommend that you carefully look at your circumstances, including your health, before taking a decision. In case you think that resorting to abortion has become an absolutely necessity which you must resort to even if that would mean depriving yourself of as great a blessing of the Almighty as a child, only then go for it. I know that it is a tough decision. However, it is only you and your husband who can together come to a final conclusion. My personal vote is for not going for it. However, I don't know what exactly is the nature of your problems. I would strongly recommend that you do istikharah.
By istikharah I mean reading the prayer (du'a) of istikharah with its meanings in your mind for as many times as you can especially after prayers. I am confident that if you will start doing it with sincerity and regularity, the Almighty would guide you to the right direction. If you follow my advice, don't look for dreams after reading the prayer of istikharah. Just keep doing it and you will notice that your mind is leaning towards one of the two options. May the Almighty enable you take the right decision.
Does your Heart automatically affirm to Good?
Question: When you do something right, does your heart automatically affirm to it? Is there a feeling of definite emotional pinnacle whenever something noble, or at least, something that fights the wrong, is done by you?
Answer: If you have done something that is clearly right, then your conscience would most certainly be satisfied. However, on some occasions you may get a feeling that you haven't any clear signals from your "inside" indicating whether what you did was right or not. This is because of the fact that our actions and intentions are not always unquestionably pure. One thing is clear: the intellect the Almighty has given us must be continuously employed in the light of the guidance of His religious message to decide whether what we are doing is acceptable or not. A satisfied conscience is no criterion for you to conclude that what you did was correct if it goes against the clear verdict of the shari'ah, although it is difficult to imagine that even though one has gone against the shari'ah one's conscience will still be satisfied. At times, the reason why we would not be satisfied despite apparently following the shari'ah is that we might actually be mistaken that what we are following is actually a requirement of the shari'ah.
A person asked Allah's Messenger (sws): "What is faith?" He said: "When a good deed becomes a source of pleasure for you and an evil deed becomes a source of disgust for you, then you are a believer." He again said Allah's Messenger: "What is a sin?" Whereupon he said: "When something pricks your conscience, give it up." (Tirmadhi, No: 1311)
Misguidance through Qur'anic Parables?
Question: I was reading the second chapter of the Qur'an last night and came across this verse:
God does not disdain to coin the parable even of a gnat or of aught above it. Those who believe know that it is the truth from their Lord; but those who disbelieve say: What does Allah wish [to teach] by such a parable? He misguides many thereby, and He guides many thereby; and He misguides thereby only the transgressors. (2:26)
What does this verse mean?
Answer: The understanding of this passage that I can offer is this: God Almighty, in order to explain to us certain truths sometimes uses analogies in the Qur'an. If there is a need in the analogy to mention words like mosquito or fly, for instance, then a serious-minded reader would readily understand the idea in the right context. However, for someone who is inclined to reject the message without considering it properly, examples like these provide opportunities to make fun of it. Thus God Almighty says that the same message guides some and misguides others. However, the message doesn't misguide anyone but those who are transgressors: those who have spoilt their innate goodness by doing what their nature requires them to stay away from. For example, man's nature, fashioned by God Almighty, requires him to maintain good relations with relatives and not sever his ties with them. However, those who are ultimately misguided by the Qur'an instead of being guided by it don't bother to maintain their relations with them.
Let me give you an example of a passage where a fly has been mentioned in an illustration. The Qur'an mentions an example to illustrate the foolishness of those who worshipped statues instead of God Almighty in Surah Hajj. It says:
O mankind! A parable is coined, so pay heed to it: Those on whom you call beside Allah will never be able to create even a fly though they combine together their abilities for the purpose. And if the fly took something from them, they could not rescue it from it. So weak are both the seeker and the sought. (22:73)
In this verse, the Qur'an has effectively used the example of a fly to help the reader understand the weakness of the polytheistic position of worshipping statues. However, those who are to be misguided by this passage might claim that there was no reason why there should be a mention of a creature as mean as a fly in God's message.
Obviously anyone who says that has missed the point completely. However, he has missed the point not because there was anything wrong in the idea of mentioning a fly in the example, but because he didn't want to understand it, and in order to justify his position, he uses the mention of fly in the passage as an excuse. The Qur'an claims people who are thus misguided are those who have contaminated the innate goodness of their pristine nature by transgressing against Allah's will.
Does Every Verse of the Qur'an has only One Meaning
Question: How would you justify the approach that suggests that each verse of the Qur'an has only one true and exact meaning as per the reference to the context, if, as you say, nobody today can claim to possess 100 percent truth? What was Islahi's approach regarding this issue?
Answer: Islahi used to say that every ayah can have only one correct meaning given its wordings and context. This statement to me means that the opinion that several different, often conflicting, possibilities for a verse - mentioned by many exegetes – is not correct, because when the Almighty wants to say something, He says it clearly. His statements mean one clear thing. Therefore, he himself would normally insist that a particular verse means just one thing. I don't have any dispute with that except that the mortal who is presenting his views should tell people that what he himself suggests is, in the end, just his own view and he must offer arguments in support of his viewpoint. People should then decide on their own whether what the 'alim is saying is right or wrong.
Whether kufr is Pre-destined?
Question: What is the context of verses 6 and 7 of Surah Baqarah? What is the real meaning of innalla zinakafaru? Some translators translate these words as "those who reject faith" or as "disbelievers"; others suggest them to mean "those who are destined for disbelief". If disbelief or "kufr" is written for anyone, then why or how can he or she be held accountable for it?
Answer: My understanding of the verse is as follows. Those who choose to reject faith, despite knowing it to be the true message from God, because of their petty desires or ego (or both), are allowed by the Almighty to have more opportunities to acquire faith. However, if they persist with their attitude of deliberately rejecting faith, there comes a time when their hearts are sealed. It is only God Who decides when an individual's heart is to be sealed, because He is the one who knows and understands the real attitude of the people. The verse is actually consoling the Prophet (sws) not to be unnecessarily disturbed by the attitude of the disbelievers, because the Almighty has sealed the hearts of some of them, who have proven through their attitude that they don't deserve to get the "gift of faith".
They are going to be responsible for their lack of faith and the sealing of their hearts because it was primarily their own behaviour that led to this state of affairs.