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In Vitro Fertilization in Islam

In Vitro Fertilization

In Vitro Fertilization

Ruling on in vitro fertilization, or egg donation, in Islam

Reprinted from IslamOnline.net

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

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, thank you very much for having confidence in us, and we hope our efforts, which are purely for Allah’s Sake, meet your expectations.

In the first place, we would like to stress that in vitro fertilization is permissible as long as the semen and ovum are from a husband and wife who are legally married and the fertilization takes place during their marriage, not after divorce or the death of the husband.

Responding to the question, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states the following:

“In vitro fertilization is a new biomedical method to help couples who are otherwise not able to have a child through normal husband/wife relationship.

Modern Muslim jurists did research on this method and in the light of the Shari`ah principles have given their opinions. In the following, I am going to give a summary of their modern ijtihad on this subject.

First of all let me explain briefly what is in vitro fertilization. It is a biomedical method that is generally used when, due to some obstruction, the sperm of the husband cannot reach the ovum. In this case the ovum is removed from her ovary at the time of ovulation.

This ovum is then exposed to the husband’s sperm in vitro in the hope that it will be fertilized. The fertilized ovum is then maintained in a test tube and at a later stage when it becomes an embryo it is deposited in the woman’s uterus. Thus, a woman who would otherwise not be able to conceive a baby is able to have a normal pregnancy and the couple enjoys the child.

Based on the principle that the Shari`ah came to protect and preserve the lineage or nasab of the people and thus it is haram to marry a woman during her `iddah or to have an intercourse with a woman who is carrying another person’s pregnancy, the Muslim jurists have allowed the use of in vitro fertilization only between legally married couples during their marriage.

Thus in vitro fertilization is permissible as long as the semen and ovum are from the couple who are legally married and the fertilization takes place during their marriage, not after divorce or the death of the husband.

A divorced woman is not allowed to receive the fertilized ovum (embryo) from her ex-husband. Similarly, a widow is not allowed to take it after the death of her husband. Surrogacy, i.e., giving the embryo to another woman to carry on the pregnancy in her womb is also not permissible in Islam. It also not permissible for a Muslim woman to act as a surrogate mother.”

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Divorce While Pregnant?

Muslim woman and baby on beach

Question:

My husband divorced me while I was pregnant. Then before I gave birth to my child he came back and said that we are not divorced since pregnant women can’t be divorced. So I would like to know am I really divorced or not? My husband and I love each other very much and now we have a baby son. Please do reply to me as soon as possible.

Answer:

Praise be to Allaah.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked whether a woman may be divorced by talaaq when she is pregnant. He said:

This is an idea which is common among some people. Some of the people think that a pregnant woman cannot be divorced by talaaq. I do not know where they get this idea from, for it has no basis in the words of the scholars. Rather the view of all the scholars is that a pregnant woman can be divorced by talaaq. There is consensus on this point among the scholars, and there is no dispute. Talaaq according to the Sunnah means that a woman may be divorced in two cases:

1 – She may be divorced when she is pregnant; this is a Sunnah divorce and is not bid’ah.

2 – She should be taahir (pure, i.e., not menstruating) and her husband should not have touched her (i.e., had intercourse with her), i.e., she should have become taahir following menstruation or nifaas (post-natal bleeding) and before he has intercourse with her. Talaaq in this case is in accordance with the Sunnah.

Fataawa al-Talaaq by Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 1/45-46

So long as he took her back during the ‘iddah, then she is still his wife, because the ‘iddah of a woman who is pregnant ends when she gives birth, and her husband took her back before she gave birth. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And for those who are pregnant (whether they are divorced or their husbands are dead), their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is until they lay down their burden.”

[al-Talaaq 65:4]

This is the ‘iddah of the pregnant woman whether she is divorced or widowed. The husband should count this as one talaaq. And Allaah knows best.

Source: Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

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Are Ultrasound Scans Allowed in Islam?

Fetus in the womb sucking its thumb

Are ultrasound scans allowed in Islam?

I received this question on the IslamicAnswers.com website and I am reprinting the question and my answer here:

Question:

I am four months pregnant and soon i will have my second scan.

Is it haraam to ask what’s in my tummy?

And if it’s not haram plz could i have a hadeeth or ayaa in da quran?

thank u

- marya

Wael’s Answer:

Dear sister Marya, As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

Getting an ultrasound scan is not haram. I have never seen any ruling by any scholar that it is forbidden, but I have read many opinions that say it’s acceptable.

I was actually surprised that this is even an issue.

In fact it’s a good idea to determine if the fetus is suffering from any health problems, as doctors nowadays may be able to treat such problems even before the child is born.

It’s also very helpful to know the position of the baby in the womb, as a baby that is positioned incorrectly could endanger itself and the mother at delivery. Historically, many women have died from such problems.

My experience with my daughter

When my daughter Salma was in her mother’s womb, an ultrasound scan showed us two potentially serious problems. The first was that the baby was breach (turned the wrong way). The second was that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. The doctor said that ordinarily with a breach baby he might try to turn it manually, but in my daughter’s case such a maneuver might tighten the cord around her neck and choke her. He recommended a cesarean section, and he said that we should not delay.

So we agreed, and Alhamdulillah my daughter is a healthy, lovely girl. If we had not performed the scan, we would not have known about the cord, and we might have lost the baby and endangered her mother as well.

Sometimes Muslims worry that an ultrasound might be haram because it might be taken as probing into Al-Ghayb or the unseen things that only Allah knows about. Here is an opinion on that subject:

***

Dr. Hatem al-Haj , associate professor of Fiqh at Shari`ah Academy of America and Islamic University of Minnesota, stated:

There are two different types of the unseen, absolute and relative. The absolute unseen belongs only to Almighty Allah, such as knowledge of the future that He did not disclose to any of His creation. While the relative unseen is like what is taking place in a different country at this time, but we do not know. It is part of the unseen because of our limited capacities and lack of encompassing knowledge, but it is not part of the absolute unseen.

The sex of the fetus in the womb is part of the relative knowledge of the unseen that is kept from some of Almighty Allah’s creation and disclosed to others. It is not in the latter stages of absolute knowledge of the unseen that belongs only to Him.

The reason why the question is asked – I think – and some Muslims may hesitate about this issue, is the following verse:

Almighty Allah says, (Verily, Allah! With Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All Knower, All Aware (of things).) (Luqman 31: 34)

That which is in the wombs here does not apply to the sex of the fetus, even though the sex may be at some earlier stage of the knowledge of the absolute unseen. It refers to everything about this creature and its future.

The proof of this is that we were told that there is an angel who knows the sex of the fetus. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“After the nutfah [drop (of semen)] is in the womb for forty or forty five nights, the angel enters and says: My Lord, will he be good or evil? Both will be written. Then he says, My Lord, would he be male or female? Both will be written. In addition, his deeds, actions, death and livelihood will be recorded. Then his document of destiny is rolled and there shall be no addition to it or subtraction from it.” (Muslim)

Since the angel knows the sex, it is not part of the absolute knowledge of the unseen from which all creatures are barred. Based on this, the earlier scholars did not reprimand physicians who attempted, through their rather primitive means, to guess the sex of a fetus.

Given the above, there is no harm in trying to know the sex of the baby before its birth through fetal ultrasound.

***

Mufti Ebrahim Desai has also answered a question on this subject:

Question:

How does one reconcile what a scan shows (of a baby in the mother’s womb, its sex, etc.) with the Qur’aanic verse that says that Allah Ta’ala Knows what is in the wombs?

Answer
:

The verse of the Quran in reference is “And Allah knows what is in the wombs.” There are two key words in this verse, Ya’lamu which means that Allah knows. The other key word is Arhaam which means wombs. The knowledge of Allah is absolute in every sense. Absolute knowledge is without any medium or source. That is the case with the knowledge of Allah. He does not require any means or source for His knowledge as knowledge is His attribute. The information on scanning machines is not knowledge as that is through a source, the machine. At most it is a reflection of that which is in the womb.

Secondly, the knowledge of Allah is error-proof. He knows exactly what is the gender of the child. There can be no mistake about that. Errors in scan machines are well known and common.

Thirdly, the knowledge of Allah about what is in the wombs is not confined to the gender of the child. It is far beyond that. Allah knows everything about the child, every blood cell, every blood vessel, every tissue, every bone, the marrow in the bone, the life span, the feature and conduct of the child. Allah even knows what the child will do and whether the child will be a successful slave of Allah or not. Surely, no machine, rather all the machines of the world, cannot detect an iota of all this.

The second key word in the verse in Arhaam which means wombs. Allah claims to know all that which is in the wombs. A scan machine may scan one woman at a time. Allah knows at once everything of every womb of every woman that came in the past that is present and that which will come in the future. Can there be any such machine. Subhanallah, the knowledge of Allah is supreme and greatest. Allahu Akbar. Allah is the greatest.

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

***

A Warning About an Ugly Practice:

I should mention that some parents in certain countries sometimes perform an ultrasound scan in order to find out the sex (the gender) of the baby, and if it is a girl they might abort her. This is absolutely haram.

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani says about this:

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

1. It is in itself permitted to find out the gender of the baby; there is nothing, in itself, to deem it prohibited or disliked.

2. If, however, it is linked with ignorant ideas of gender preference, it would be disliked, and haram when this would lead to unlawful abortion.

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

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