Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: My friend’s sister is 3 months pregnant and has just been diagnosed with the Zika virus. Babies are born with severe disabilities, shrunken brain, etc. Is abortion in this case allowed? What is your advice to the pregnant woman?
Answer: Walaikum assalam,
I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.
The issue of pregnancy during when affected by the zika virus is a sensitive one.
The general ruling of abortion is that it is impermissible, unless there is a genuine harm—to the mother or the unborn—in which case it is permitted before 120 days. Given what the Qur’an and Sunnna affirm about the soul entering the unborn’s body at 120 days, abortion after 120 days is generally not permitted, unless there is genuine fear for the mother, or in very exceptional cases requiring specific consultation. [ref: Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Islamic Fiqh Council’s related declarations]
Zika and Abortion
Leading contemporary scholars and fiqh authorities have given permission for abortion in this case before 120 days. After 120 days, it is only permitted if there is danger to the mother’s life; or, in the case of major likely disabilities affecting the child, one should consult a reliable scholar about the specifics of the situation.
And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and translator of several Arabic works to the English language. After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersGuidance to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner.