What Are the Rules Regarding Abortion During the First 40 Days of Pregnancy?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

My wife is pregnant with her second child. She does not want another one now because she fears she will be unjust to him and she feels she won’t survive the pregnancy.

What are the rules regarding abortion during the first 40 days of pregnancy?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

Thank you for reaching out to SeekersGuidance.

Take a moment to reflect that Allah is in control. Nothing in the heavens and earth happens without His Will, Power and Knowledge. He knows you and your wife, He knows your situation better than you do. Have faith in Him, present your concerns to Him, and have no doubt that He listens and will assist you.

What is undoubtedly preferred according to the scholars, is that as long as there is no dire need or necessity to abort the child, it is preferred to place your trust in Allah and have the child. Allah spoke to certain Arabs that would have their children killed fearing poverty, “And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed their killing is a great sin.” [Isra: 31]

Nonetheless, if your situation is really dire then you may act upon one of the opinions stated below:

1. Permissible with a valid excuse

The preponderant view in the Hanafi school permits abortion prior to four months, if a valid excuse exist. An example of a valid excuse in the school would be when a lady’s breast milk dries out and the father of the child will not be able to afford to purchase any milk replacement. [Hashiyah Radd al-Muhtar]

2. Permissible

Two views exist in the Shafi’i school regarding abortion prior to four months. One view – which is also considered preponderant – holds that it is permissible. [Nihayah al-Muhtaj]

Other schools, such as the Maliki school, considers it impermissible irrespective.

Again, please reflect on your situation. Many a times, what appears to be scary and stressful at first, may turn out to be your greatest blessing. May Allah bless and guide you both, Amin.

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.