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Practicing Coitus Interruptus
Question#1105


When is it allowed for a woman to use birth control pills? Is there a clear text or opinion of the jurists on birth control? Is it allowed for a Muslim to practice coitus interruptus for no reason?


Muslims must increase their numbers to the best of their ability. This is the command that the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave to the Muslims when he said,

"Marry the child-bearing, loving woman for I shall outnumber the peoples by you."

Having more children means the Muslim nation will be larger. This is an honor for the Muslim Nation. Allah stated while talking about His blessings on the Tribes of Israel,

"We made you more numerous in man-power" (al-lsra 6).

And Shuaib said to his people,

"And remember when you were but few and He multiplied you" (al-Araf 86).

No one can deny that the larger the Nation, the greater its hone and strength. This is the opposite of those who falsely and wrongfully claim that large population is a cause for poverty and hunger. If the Nation becomes larger, relies upon Allah and believes in the promise Allah has made in the verse,

"And no moving (living) creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah" (Hud 6).

Allah will make their affairs easy for them and enrich them from His bounty. Based on that comes the answer to the question. A woman should not use birth control unless two conditions are met:

The first condition is that she is in need of such a practice. For example, she may be ill and cannot sustain bearing a child every year, her body might be weak or other causes that may make it difficult for her to be pregnant every year.

The second condition is that the husband gives his permission for the practice. This is because it is the right of the husband to have children. Furthermore, they must consult with a doctor concerning those pills. They have to see if taking them or not taking them could be hazardous to her health.

If these two conditions are met, there is no harm in her using those pills. But such procedures as pills or other forms must not be of a permanent nature. That is, one cannot use a form of birth control that is of a permanent nature as that will cut off the possibility of procreation.

As for the second part of the question, the answer is that, in reality, birth control is something that is not possible. This is because pregnancy and non-pregnancy are both in the hand of Allah. If humans try to limit their children to a specific number, it is possible that all of them may die in one year due to some cause and they will be left with no children at all. Birth control is something that is not considered acceptable by the Shariah. However, temporary limitation of pregnancy due to necessity, as was mentioned above, is permissible. As for coitus interruptus that is done for no sanctioning cause, according to the correct opinion among the scholars, it is permissible. This is based on the hadith of Jabir who said, "We used to perform coitus interruptus during the time that the Quran was being revealed," that is, during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

If that act were forbidden, Allah would have forbidden them from it. However, the scholars say that coitus interruptus must not be done with a free [non-slave] wife except with her permission. This is because she also has the right to have children. It also reduces her sexual pleasure. The pleasure of the woman is not complete until after the male ejaculation. Therefore, for these two causes just mentioned, it is not allowed to perform coitus interruptus with one's free wife except with her consent.

Shaikh ibn Uthaimin

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Footnote

1. This hadith is recorded by Abu Dawud, al-Nasal, ibn Hibban, Ahmad, al-Tabarani and others. According to al-Albani, it is an authentic hadith due to its supporting chains, as was discussed earlier. Al-Albani, Irwa, vol. 6, p. 195.--JZ