Is It Obligatory to Try to Have Children?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I don’t want children in the future. I am very sure about it. But I heard from a lot of people that this isn’t Islamic correct. I don’t get it. Maybe it is mustahab to have children but you can’t make a women put in such a pressure and let feeling her bad for her choice. What is the truth about this matter?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

Thank you for your question.

One of the noble objectives of marriage is offspring. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in surah al-Baqarah, “So now have relations with them, and seek that which Allah has decreed for you”. Many of the scholars stated that, “that which Allah has decreed for you.” refers to children.

The right to having children is a right of both husband and wife. Your question does not mention your specific circumstance. Are you married? Does your husband want children? Whose criticizing you and making you feel bad?

If it is that you are married and individuals outside your marriage are criticizing you, then you should ignore them. However, if it is your husband that desires children, then, unless you have a valid reason or excuse, you should not be stripping him of this right. Similarly, had it been the wife that desires children, the husband, unless he has a valid reason or excuse, should not deprive his wife from her rights. The Messenger sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam in a narration, indicating to the wife’s right to have children, prohibited the husband from practicing coitus interruptus without the permission of his wife.

Further, it’s important for husband and wife to discuss these matters prior to marriage. When both parties agree not have children then there is no problem in that.

Finally, psychiatrists mention a number of reasons why certain women may be completely deterred from having children, many of them relating to her youth or upbringing. This is a worthy avenue to explore as it may present solutions to a challenging situation.

And Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.