Abortion due to low iron and blood disorder
If a pregnant woman has low iron and a blood disorder, is abortion permitted?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
Abortion is not permitted due to low iron and a blood disorder unless there is a serious risk to the mother’s life and the pregnancy has not exceeded the period in which the soul enters the fetus, which according to most jurists is 120 days. Low iron is common and blood disorders range from mild to severe. Any decision in this regard can only be made by a Mufti after considering all the relevant facts including the medical advice from doctors, the severity of the risk to life and the stage of the pregnancy.
قال الله تعالى: إن الله عنده علم الساعة وينزل الغيث ويعلم ما في الأرحام، الآية. وقال تعالى: ولا تقتلوا أنفسكم. وقال عبد الله بن مسعود: حدثنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو الصادق المصدوق، قال: إن أحدكم يجمع خلقه في بطن أمه أربعين يوما، ثم يكون علقة مثل ذلك، ثم يكون مضغة مثل ذلك، ثم يبعث الله ملكا فيؤمر بأربع كلمات، ويقال له: اكتب عمله، ورزقه، وأجله، وشقي أو سعيد، ثم ينفخ فيه الروح، الحديث، رواه البخاري (٣٢٠٨)۔
وقال عمر بن نجيم في النهر الفائق (٢/٢٧٦) وحكاه ابن عابدين في رد المحتار (٣/١٧٦): هل يباح الإسقاط بعد الحمل؟ نعم يباح ما لم يتخلق منه شيء ولم يكن ذلك إلا بعد مائة وعشرين يوما. وهذا يقتضي أنهم أرادوا بالتخليق نفخ الروح وإلا فهو غلط، لأن التخليق يتحقق بالمشاهدة قبل هذه المدة، كذا في الفتح. وإطلاقهم يفيد عدم توقف جواز إسقاطها قبل المدة المذكورة على إذن الزوج. وفي كراهة الخانية: ولا أقول بالحل إذ المحرم لو كسر بيض الصيد ضمنه لأنه أصل الصيد، فلما كان يؤاخذ بالجزاء فلا أقل من أن يلحقها إثم لهذا إذا أسقطت بغير عذر، انتهى. قال ابن وهبان: ومن الأعذار أن ينقطع لبنها بعد ظهور الحمل وليس لأب الصبي ما يستأجر به الظئر ويخاف هلاكه. ونقل عن الذخيرة: لو أرادت الإلقاء قبل مضي زمن ينفخ فيه الروح هل يباح لها ذلك أم لا؟ اختلف المشايخ فيه، وكان الفقيه علي بن موسى يقول: إنه يكره فإن الماء بعدما وقع في الرحم مآله الحياة، فيكون له حكم الحياة كما في بيضة صيد الحرم، ونحوه في الظهيرية. قال ابن وهبان: فإباحة الإسقاط محمولة على حالة العذر أو أنها لا تأثم إثم القتل، انتهى. وبما في الذخيرة تبين أنهم ما أرادوا بالتخليق إلا نفخ الروح وأن قاضي خان مسبوق بما مر من التفقه، انتهى. وراجع المحيط البرهاني (٨/٨٣، طبعة إدارة القرآن كراتشي) والفتاوى الهندية (٥/٣٥٦)۔
Allah knows best
30 Rajab 1440 / 5 April 2019
Approved by: Mufti Shabbir Ahmed and Mufti Muhammad Tahir
The writer wishes to highlight two important points:
First, 120 days is commonly understood to be the differentiator between the impermissibility of abortion and its permissibility if there is a need, and this is what is mentioned in many Fatwas. This, according to some, is based on the premise that the Rūḥ (soul) enters the foetus at 120 days, which in itself is not conclusive as outlined in the second point. According to others, it is based on the assumption that some of the limbs start to form (Istibānat al-Khalq) at 120 days. This, however, is not correct, despite being mentioned in some books, as outlined in two of our Fatwas entitled Bleeding during pregnancy and after miscarriage and Miscarriage at 100 days which conclude that some of the limbs of the foetus are formed within 7-8 weeks of conception, which is 9-10 weeks from the last menstrual period (LMP). Shaykh Salman Younas recently shared with me a draft of his detailed paper in English wherein he concludes that the ḥanafī position on the matter is the prohibition of abortion after Istibānat al-Khalq, which is when some of the limbs are formed. He further highlights that the misunderstanding has originated from the assumption of some scholars that Istibānat al-Khalq occurs at 120 days (which probably originated from the ḥadīth of ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd, refer to second point). This also corresponds with the detailed beneficial Arabic research authored by Mawlānā Ḥudhayfah Motālā of Durban, South Africa, entitled ‘Ījāz al-Kalām fī Marāḥil Khalq al-Insān’. This is also the more cautious position particularly when considering the second point along with the views of the other schools of jurisprudence. Respected Muftis are requested to give this research and viewpoint some consideration, because this is a serious issue and abortions are on the rise.
Second, the traditional understanding of most scholars is that the Rūḥ (soul) enters the foetus at 120 days. This is based on the famous ḥadīth of ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd (d. 32/653, may Allah be pleased with him) transmitted in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (3208, 3332, 6594, 7454) and other books, which outlines the stages of pregnancy. The prevalent understanding of the ḥadīth, based on the wording of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, is that the first stage is of Nuṭfah (semen) for forty days, ʿAlaqah (clot of thick blood) for the next forty days, and Muḍgah (piece of flesh) for the next forty days and thereafter the Rūḥ enters the foetus. However, this does not appear to correspond with what is known scientifically about the stages in the pregnancy, because some of the limbs start to form within 7-8 weeks as mentioned above. Mawlānā Ḥudhayfah’s detailed research on the matter sheds light on this matter. Some contemporary Arab doctors have also written on this subject. The apparent wording of the ḥadīth of Ḥudhayfah (d. 36/656, may Allah be pleased with him) transmitted in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (2645) also does not correspond with this, because it states, “When forty-two nights pass (after) the semen (gets into the womb), Allah sends to it the angel and then gives him shape, and creates his hearing, his sight, his skin, his flesh and his bones …” The apparent of this corresponds with what was mentioned above that some of the limbs start to form within 7-8 weeks, although some have given preference to the ḥadīth of ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd (may Allah be pleased with him), whilst some have interpreted the ḥadīth of Ḥudhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him) to mean that after the first forty days, the process for the shape, form and the limbs begins and ends at 120 days. However, the wording of the same ḥadīth of ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd (may Allah be pleased with him) in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (2643) indicates that all three stages occur within the first forty days, which would then reconcile it with the ḥadīth of Ḥudhayfah (may Allah be pleased with them). Scholars need to give consideration to this issue, because if this is established, then it would affirm the possibility of the Rūḥ (soul) entering the foetus before 120 days, and thereby conclusively affirm the first point, by negating the first premise. If the first premise is also removed, then from a Fiqh perspective, there would be no justification for the 120 days limit. It is true that the ḥadīths do not specify exactly when the Rūḥ (soul) enters the body, which is why Mawlānā Ḥudhyafah also has not provided a definitive verdict on the timing. However, even if it is established that the three stages (Nuṭfah, ʿAlaqah, Muḍgah) occur within the first forty days, this in itself would leave no justification for the 120 days limit, because it is generally agreed that the Rūḥ (soul) enters the foetus after the Muḍgah stage, as explicitly mentioned in the ḥadīth of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (3208, 3332, 6594, 7454). This combined with the first point necessitates a rethink on the 120-day limit for abortion.
Allah knows best
10 Rajab 1444 / 1 February 2023