Intentionally aborted her baby

Fatwa no. 17576 All praise be to Allah Alone, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger, and his family and Companions. (Part No. 21; Page No. 435) To proceed,The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' reviewed the request submitted to his Eminence the Grand Mufty by his Excellence the General Manager of Hospitals in the Ministry of Health, which was referred to the Committee from the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars under no. (2768) dated 2/7/1415 AH. The following question was asked:Many enquiries have been sent to the Ministry of health from some health departments about the age above which the fetus is said to have been dead and below which it is said to have been aborted. Since this issue involves Islamic and legal aspects, I hope your Eminence would give us a Fatwa about the age of the fetus that distinguishes abortion from death, so that we can inform the health departments about it to act accordingly.

After considering the Fatwa request, the Committee gave the following answer: Firstly: The ruling on abortion:1. The basic rule states that abortion during any stage of pregnancy is not permissible according to Shari`ah (Islamic law).2- Abortion during the first stage of pregnancy, which is the first forty days, is not permissible except to prevent an imminent harm or to fulfill a Shar`y (Islamically lawful) benefit. Each case should be considered individually by specialists in Shari`ah and medicine. (Part No. 21; Page No. 436) It is not permissible to have an abortion during this stage due to a fear of facing difficulty in bringing up children, being unable to provide for them and for their education, having apprehensions about their future, or due to already having enough children.3- It is not permissible to have an abortion if the fetus is `Alaqah (a piece of thick coagulated blood) or Mudghah (small lump of flesh) unless a reliable medical committee decides that it jeopardizes the mother's safety and may lead to her death if it remains in her womb. If this is the committee's decision, it will be permissible to have an abortion but after sparing no efforts to prevent such dangers.4- After the third stage and with the completion of the fourth month of pregnancy, it is not lawful to have an abortion unless a group of reliable and specialized doctors determine that the fetus can cause the death of the mother if it remains in her womb. This decision must also be taken after sparing no effort to save its life. In fact, abortion is allowed according to these conditions to prevent the worst of the two bad alternatives and realize the best of the two benefits. Secondly: Rulings after abortion:These rulings differ according to the stage of pregnancy during which the abortion takes place. They are as follows: The first ruling: Abortion can take place during the first two stages, that is, (Part No. 21; Page No. 437) the Nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge) during the first forty days of pregnancy in which the fertilized ovum clings to the womb, and the `Alaqah in which the fertilized ovum becomes coagulated blood during the second forty days of pregnancy until the eightieth day of pregnancy. During these two stages, if an abortion takes place, no subsequent rulings will ensue without disagreement among scholars. Accordingly, the woman should not stop performing Salah (Prayer) or observing Sawm (Fast) as if she was subject to no abortion. She only has to perform Wudu' (ablution) for each Salah if there is blood, for this case is similar to Istihadah (abnormal vaginal bleeding outside the menstrual or postpartum period). The second ruling: Abortion may take place during the third stage, which is the stage of Mudghah, namely, a lump of flesh. During it the human features of the fetus begin to appear during the third forty days of pregnancy, from the eighty-first day of pregnancy until the hundred and twentieth day. This involves two cases:1- A Mudghah that has neither visible nor invisible traces of human features and the midwives testify that it does not mark the beginning of a human shape. In this case, the ruling on abortion is the same as when it takes place during the first two stages, which means that it entails no subsequent rulings.2- A Mudghah that has traces of complete human features, or a visible trace of a human feature, such as a hand, a leg, and so on, or even an invisible trace, or the midwives testify that it marks the beginning of a human shape. In this case, aborting a Mudghah will result in the subsequent rulings of (Part No. 21; Page No. 438) postpartum bleeding and finishing its prescribed waiting period. The third ruling: Abortion may take place during the fourth stage after the soul has been breathed into the fetus; this is from the beginning of the fifth month of pregnancy, from one hundred and twenty-one days of pregnancy onward. This involves two cases:1- The baby does not cry. In this case, it has the same ruling as the second case of Mudghah; but it must also be washed, shrouded, and given a name, in addition to offering Janazah (Funeral) Prayer and `Aqiqah (sacrifice for a newborn) for it.2- The baby cries. In this case, it has all the rulings of a newborn, which are the rulings stated in the previous case in addition to having the right to inherit, be inherited, and so on. And Allah knows best.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.