If a couple wishes not to have a child, is it permissible to use contraceptives such as condoms or birth control pills?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Before we discuss the rulings of contraceptives, one must bear in mind that parenthood and children are indeed a great blessing from Allah. Couples should not consider having children as a financial or physical burden, as each soul’s sustenance is in the Hand’s of Allah. The decree of Allah is ultimate and cannot be stopped, if He so wills.
لِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ يَهَبُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ إِنَاثًا وَيَهَبُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ الذُّكُورَ.
To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows female (offspring) upon whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He wills.(Ash-Shūraá 49-50)
One of the objectives of marriage is to have children. Rasulullah Sallalahu Alahi Wa Sallam said regarding the blessing of having children,
تَزَوَّجُوا الْوَدُودَ الْوَلُودَ فَإِنِّى مُكَاثِرٌ بِكُمُ الأُمَمَ
“Marry the one who is fertile and affectionate, for verily I will be proud of your great number before (other) nations on the Day of Judgment.(Abu Dawood 2052)
If the parents raised their children upon righteousness and Imaan, they would be a means of benefit and great reward for them in both worlds,
إن الرجل لترفع درجته في الجنة فيقول أنى هذا؟ فيقال باستغفار ولدك لك
“A servant will have his rank raised and will say, ‘O my Lord how has this come about for me?’ He says, ‘through your offspring which were seeking forgiveness for you'” (Ibn Maajah 3660)
Fear of poverty, or social trends, or for the sake of pursuing a career are not valid reasons for contraception. It is not permissible to practice contraception on account of a fear of not being able to provide for a family. Such a fear, or following modern day trends is against the belief of a Muslim. Contraceptives (reversible) should only be used in where there is a valid reason.
The Fuqaha (jurists) have mentioned usage of contraceptives (reversible) will be permissible due to reasons such as:
- A woman has become sickly and ill, by falling pregnant and carrying the weight of the foetus it would adversely affect her life and wellbeing
- Due to health complications of the mother, the health of the child will likely be affected.
- If one feels that pregnancy will adversely affect the health of another child (that is being breastfed etc.) or due to the baby, the care and upbringing of the child or other young siblings will be severely affected.
Permanent contraception is permissible only if the woman’s life is in danger or her health is seriously threatened.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Arshad Ali
Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)
 وَيُكْرَهُ لِلزَّوْجِ أَنْ يَعْزِلَ عَنْ امْرَأَتِهِ الْحُرَّةِ بِغَيْرِ رِضَاهَا؛ لِأَنَّ الْوَطْءَ عَنْ إنْزَالٍ سَبَبٌ لِحُصُولِ الْوَلَدِ، وَلَهَا فِي الْوَلَدِ حَقٌّ، وَبِالْعَزْلِ يَفُوتُ الْوَلَدُ، فَكَأَنَّهُ سَبَبًا لِفَوَاتِ حَقِّهَا، وَإِنْ كَانَ الْعَزْلُ بِرِضَاهَا لَا يُكْرَهُ؛ لِأَنَّهَا رَضِيَتْ بِفَوَاتِ حَقِّهَا (ج 2 ص 334 دار الكتب العلمية)
عَنْ جَابِرٍ، قَالَ: «كُنَّا نَعْزِلُ عَلَى عَهْدِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَالقُرْآنُ يَنْزِلُ»البخاري رقم الحديث 5209)