Is it permissible for a Muslim family to practice family planning using various methods of birth control?
The Council of Senior Scholars has previously examined this question and issued the following Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified Muslim scholar): (Part No. 19; Page No. 297) The Shari`ah (Islamic law) encourages Muslims to have many children. Having children is regarded as a great bounty that Allah (Exalted be He) bestows upon His Servants. There are many Nusus (plural of Nas: Islamic text from the Qur’an or the Sunnah) affirming this; and they are stated by the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' in the research submitted to the Council. There is a view that birth control or contraception goes against the Shari`ah, which Allah (Exalted be He) has revealed to His Servants, and is against the Fitrah (natural disposition) of humans. Those who advocates the idea of birth control or contraception are no more but a group whose aim is to devise evil plots for Muslims in general and the Muslim Arab Ummah (nation based on one creed) in particular so as to be able to occupy these countries and overrule Muslims. Furthermore, practicing birth control or contraception is an act of ignorance signifying mistrust of Allah (Exalted be He) and a means that leads to weakening the Islamic entity. Accordingly, the Council has decided that birth control is impermissible in general. Contraception is impermissible when done because of fearing poverty, as Allah is the All-Provider and Possessor of Strength and there is no creature on earth but Allah grants its provision. On the other hand, it is permissible in cases of necessity, such as if the pregnant woman will have to give birth in a manner other than that which is usual, and she will have to undergo surgery to deliver the child. In cases where there is a benefit for the couple from delaying pregnancy for a period of time, contraception is also permitted. (Part No. 19; Page No. 298) This conforms with the Hadith Sahih (authentic Hadith) and reports narrated by the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet - may Allah be pleased with them) that permitted the practice of coitus interruptus. Additionally, some Fuqaha' (Muslim jurists) stated that it is permissible to take medicines that cause abortion before the fetus reaches forty days of age. In fact, contraception might be a must in cases of certain necessity. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.