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Honorable Status of Women in Islam

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Mother, Children & Family

Birth Control:
Muslim scholars have divergent views on the issue of choice of birth control. However according to modern scholars, birth control, is permissible, from the Islamic point of view, as a legitimate step, to give the mother a better, standard of health and good care of children, provided it is safe and involve nothing harmful to the woman or to the fetus. 
Different methods may be employed to prevent conception. The authority to forbid anything belongs only to Allah. No one can declare anything forbidden without clear evidence from the Qur'an or the Sunnah. Contemporary scholars do not find any evidence from the Qur'an or the Sunnah against birth control. During the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), some of his companions tried to reduce the chances of conception and pregnancy, because they did not want more children. The Prophet (peace be upon him), was aware of that. Some referred to him while some relied on the fact that no edict was given concerning the question of preventing pregnancy. The general rule is that "everything is permissible unless pronounced otherwise." There are statements by some of the companions of Prophet (peace be upon him), such as: "We resorted to contraception at the time when the Qur'an was being revealed", and "We resorted to contraception and the Prophet (peace be upon him), was aware of that but he did not stop us, however the Prophet (peace be upon him), said clearly that no method of contraception would stop the creation of a child, should Allah will that the child be born. As such, no method of contraception can stop Allah's will being fulfilled." 

If the companions of Prophet (peace be upon him) had been doing something unacceptable to Islam, Allah would have either revealed a prohibition in the Qur'an or the Prophet (peace be upon him), would have given an order in a Hadith. On the basis of these reports, contemporary scholars have given a verdict that new methods of birth control are permissible, provided that they are absolutely safe. However, this permissibility applies in individual cases. Sterilization of either the man or the woman is not considered permissible except when it is made absolutely necessary for medical reasons.

There is certainly a very strong order to all Muslims and indeed all people, not to kill their children for any reason, particularly poverty. This is followed by a clear statement that Allah will provide for all. Yet this has nothing to do with family planning because the latter is not concerned with children already in existence. Family planning seeks to prevent conception. In other words, it tries to avoid pregnancy. When a woman does not get pregnant, the verse that forbids the killing of children is not applicable to her. 

However it may be appropriate to state that abortion is included in this prohibition. Abortion is forbidden, however some scholars of old times mentioned that it is permissible on medical grounds within the first 120 days of conception. They base their opinion on Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith,9.546,  wherein the Prophet (peace be upon him), speaks of three stages of forty days each before spirit is blown into the embryo. It is on this basis that some scholars consider that abortion on medical grounds is permissible at this stage. But as medical knowledge advanced, modern scholars are increasingly leaning to the view that abortion is forbidden from the very first day of conception. 

Some people refer that; Allah provides sustenance for everyone of His creation, so the family planning is not permissible. It is mentioned in Qur’an; “There is no moving creature on Earth whose sustenance is not provided by Allah. He knows its living and its resting place, and all that is recorded in a glorious Book.”(Qur’an;11:6). It is evident that nothing happens in Creation except by the Word of Allah and with the knowledge of Allah. Not a leaf stirs but by His Will. Its maintenance in every sense is dependent on His Will. But human beings have to work in order to get what Allah has provided for them. Allah has set in operation certain laws like, the law of ‘cause and effect’. If one does not work, he cannot earn his living. The breadwinner has to work as a part of his efforts to sustain his family. When the Prophet (peace be upon him), was told of a man spending more of his time in voluntary worship, he asked who fed him. Upon learning that the man's brother provided him with food and drink, the Prophet (peace be upon him), commented that his brother was a better Muslim than he was. When people work, they rely on Allah to make their efforts successful. This is the proper type of reliance. The family planning is by choice, available for the good health of mother and children.

Expenses of Fostering of Child – Father’s Responsibility: 

The interest of women is well protected in up bringing of child by Qur’an: “The mothers shall breast-feed their offspring for two whole years if the father wishes the breast-feeding to be completed. The reasonable cost of their maintenance and clothing will be the responsibility of the child's father. No one should be charged with more than they can afford. Neither a mother should be made to suffer on account of her child nor a father on account of his child. The father's heirs are under the same obligation. But if with mutual agreement they both decide to wean the child there is no blame on them. 
If you decide to have a foster-mother for your offspring there is no blame on you provided you pay what you have promised to pay in an honorable manner. Fear Allah and beware that Allah observes your actions.” (Qur’an;2:233). This verse comes in the midst of the regulations on divorce, it applies primarily to the cases of divorce, where some definite rule is necessary, as the father and mother would not, on account of the divorce, probably be on good terms, and the interests of the children must be safeguarded.  As, however, the wording is perfectly general, it has been held that the principle applies equally to the father and mother in wedlock: each must fulfill his or her part in the fostering of the child.  On the other hand, it is provided that the child shall not be used as an excuse for driving a hard bargain on either side.  By mutual consent they can agree to some source that is reasonable and equitable, both as regards the period before weaning (the maximum being two years) and the engagement of a wet-nurse, or (by analogy) for artificial feeding.  But the mother's privileges must not be curtailed simply because by mutual consent she does not nurse the baby. In a matter of this kind the ultimate appeal must be to godliness, for all legal remedies are imperfect and may be misused.

Right over Children: 

Women have been granted right for the custody of children in case of divorce. She forfeits her right only if she marries someone other than the child's father. The Prophet (peace be upon him), told a woman who asked him about her right to her child's custody: “You have this right as long as you do not marry again.” One school of thought rules that custody is over at the age of 7 for a boy and 9 for a girl, but a judge may extend custody beyond that if he determined that such an extension is in the child's interest. When custody is over, the child is given a choice to join either his father or mother, unless they agree to some arrangement among themselves. When a woman complained to the Prophet (peace be upon him), that her husband wanted to take their child away, the Prophet (peace be upon him), said to the child: "This is your father and this is your mother: You may take the hand of either of them." The child took his mother's hand. This was the Prophet's ruling which was followed by the early Muslim rulers and judges like Omar, Ali and Shareeh, may Allah be pleased with them. It is also endorsed by the Shaf'ie and Hanbali schools of thought. 


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