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Aborting a Fetus Based on Scanning Results

Question and answer details
Muhammad
Aborting a Fetus Based on Scanning Results
2006-12-03
In some countries, some families do scanning on fetuses, particularly within the first three months, in an attempt to see whether the fetus is diseased or not. Sometimes, families discover that the fetus is afflicted with a disease that is NOT life threatening, but they want to have a baby that is free from all diseases. The question now is, does the family have the right to abort the fetus in such a case, especially when the law of the country doesn't consider abortion to be a crime in such an instance? Does Islam allow abortion in the case in point?
`Abdul-Majeed Subh
Muhammad Nur Abdullah
Salah Sultan
Answer
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, thanks for your question. We implore Allah to guide us to understand the teachings of Islam in the best way.

Muslim scholars state that aborting the fetus according to the information given in the question has to be avoided, as the results of the scanning are not certain and the disease itself is not life threatening.

Responding to the question, Sheikh `Abdul-Majeed Subh, a prominent Al-Azhar scholar, states the following:

I would like first to state that the results of fetal scanning are not certain, and the current realities bear witness to that. Sometimes, scanning to discover the number of fetuses, for example, doesn't give a precise result, in spite of modern, sophisticated medical technology.

Thus, the final results of fetal scanning are not decisive and according to Islamic Shari`ah, certainty cannot be warded off by the occurrence of doubt. For this, I see that aborting a child, as far as the case in point is concerned, has to be avoided, because the results of scanning are not reliable and, above all, the disease is NOT life threatening.

Moreover, Sheikh Muhammed Nur Abdullah, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and member of the Fiqh Council of North America, adds:

If the fetus is proven to have a disease that is not life threatening, diabetes or genetic diseases for example, then it is not allowed for the parents to abort it; doing so would be tantamount to killing what Allah has granted.

Moreover, Dr. Salah Sultan, President of the American Center for Islamic Research, Columbus, Ohio, and Member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, concludes:

According to the consensus of Muslim scholars, if the fetus has reached 120 days, that is, the breath of life has been blown into it and therefore it becomes ensouled, then it is absolutely haram to abort it even if it has some serious disease. If this is the case with serious diseases, what would be the case for diseases that are not life threatening.

Therefore, I do not find any warrant for aborting the child in these cases at all. Doing this would be equal to killing a soul that Allah has created.

People who find out before birth that their babies would be suffering from a certain disease should know that Allah can afflict any children with fatal diseases even though they have been proven free of all diseases. So accepting Allah's destiny should take place here and people should not be worried too much about the future of their children.

Therefore, it is not allowed to abort a fetus under this circumstance as long as it has reached 120 days.

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