Sunday, 12 March 2017

On Abortion

Adding detail to commentary on the fourth hadith of Imam an-Nawawi's collection


My wife discovered that she was pregnant after forty days had passed since conception. The X-ray examination showed that the foetus (janīn) had by and large been subjected to deformity, or indeed to different kinds of it. My wife aborted the foetus as a result, so what is the ruling and does she owe any expiation (kaffārah)?

Answer (Imam Muammad Saʿīd Ramaān al-Būī):

First of all, there is nothing wrong with an abortion that takes place within the first forty days following conception, because it is permissible if both the husband and wife agree, even though it is disliked (makrūh tanzīhī).[1] Secondly, the Ḥanafī jurists have an opinion that many of them rely upon, which is that an abortion is not unlawful within the first 120 days following conception.

I say: it is possible to follow this opinion in cases of necessity (arūrah), such as what you have described in your letter,[2] and based on that there is nothing wrong with the matter and the abortion will not have any consequences.

[Translated from Istiftāʾāt an-Nās lil-Imām ash-Shahīd al-Būī ʿalā Mawqiʿ Nasīm ash-Shām, p.175]

[1] (tn): i.e. it is disliked in the sense that one is rewarded for leaving it and not liable to be punished for doing it, as opposed to makrūh tarīmī, in which one is liable to be punished for doing it but not at the level of that which is unlawful (arām).
[2] (tn): The full letter can be read here.

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