Knowledge

Abortion – on grounds of mental instability

Question:

I would like to ask a question out of curiosity about mental health. If a parent or both were mentally ill, for example depressed, bipolar, etc. On medication and had a history childhood sexual abuse and history of incest, would it be Islamically permissible for them to have an abortion? What would the implications be on the individuals, health, morality and finding repentance for the decision to have an abortion? I run a charity for adult survivors of child abuse and was interesting on how to address this.

Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

Thank you for your question.

May Allah accept you good work.

In general circumstances, abortion is not permissible since abortion constitutes murder.

The Qur’an states, “Whosoever has spared the life of a soul, it is as though he has spared the life of all people. Whosoever has killed a soul, it is as though he has murdered all of mankind.” (Qur’an 5: 32)

The Qur’an summons its readers, “And do not kill your children out of fear of poverty; We shall provide for them and for you. Truly, the killing of them is a great sin”. (Qur’an 17:31)

In a dire situation of absolute necessity, abortion may become permissible provided the foetus is less than 120 days. Qaadhi Mujahidul Islam in his book ‘Family Planning and Abortion’ has stated abortion within the period of the foetus being less than 120 days is permissible due some excruciation situations, such as:

• Rape and incest
• Proven abnormalities or dangers for either the baby or the mother (attested by an experienced medical expert), e.g. anencephaly (no brain), downs syndrome, trisomy, congenital rubella health etc.

“Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother’s belly for forty days in the form of a seed, then he is a clot of blood for a like period, then an angel is sent to him who blows the breath of life into him…” (Bukhari and Muslim)

And Allah knows best.

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
Hadith of the Day Imam
Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah Institute

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