Question: Assalam alaykum
My husband has changed his mind about having kids. It has been a very traumatic experience for me as I love him dearly and I want to have a family with him.
1. My husband argues that there is nothing in Islam that says that a married couple must try to have children. Is it true?
2. If I am unable to convince him, is it haram for me to go off birth control without his permission and pretend to have an accidental pregnancy?
Answer: Assalamu alaykum
1. Having children is certainly something encouraged by our religion as evidenced in the Qur’an and sunna. The Qur’an, for example, describes the Prophet Ibrahim (blessings be upon him) as supplicating to God, “My Lord, grant me a child from the righteous.” (37:100)
Similarly, the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) instructed some of his companions to marry those who would bear them children stating, “I will be proud of your great numbers.” [Abu Dawud]
Having children is not only following in the footsteps of past prophetic figures, such as Ibrahim and our Messenger (blessings be upon them), but it is also a blessing in a number of ways. Children are a means for one’s salvation, they are a source of sustenance, and also a form of continual charity for parents. Importantly, having children can be an expression of one’s love for the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) when done with the intention of making him proud of his communities size in the next life.
2. The majority of scholars have stated that a wife’s consent is necessary for any form of birth control – even simple acts of withdrawal (i.e. coitus interruptus). One of the reasons for this is clear: a wife has a right to have children. This is, in fact, one of the main purposes of marriage and for a husband to deny his wife this right is potentially a sin.
As such, your choosing not to carry on with birth control is your decision. With this said, I cannot give any specific advice regarding whether you should simply cease taking birth control without telling your husband. A healthy marriage is based on mutual respect and an openness that is conducive to a healthy relationship. You should speak to your husband openly and stress that having a family is both something the shariah encourages and is a right of yours. He also needs to understand how you feel and the manner in which this will effect the future of your marriage. A third party, such as a reliable marriage counselor and scholar, may also prove helpful in this situation.
If things do not change then you will have to decide what course of action you wish to take. Keep making du`a to God to bless your marriage and facilitate matters for you. You should also perform the istikhara prayer given the seriousness of your situation.
[Ustadh] Salman Younas
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani