Question: I am 30 and decided not to have kids because of the abysmal state of my mental health. I do not have anything to offer and do not want them to become emotionally/spiritually void like me or suffer neglect. My husband is nice and primarily does all the work, but he is not an intellectual or logical planning type, so he cannot raise them himself. He says is okay with the decision, but says “Ameen” to relatives making dua for kids. Am I sinning and being selfish?
Thank you for your question. The short answer is yes. You are being selfish and potentially sinning by refusing to give your husband children. He has every right to leave you, and this is valid grounds for divorce.
The benefits of having children are plentiful, some of them being: they give you a new perspective on your priorities, they teach you about yourself, they help bond your marriage, they bring out the best (and worst) in you, and generally things change and improve in one’s life from the blessing of a child.
The religious virtues of having children are great, including the fact that a child who prays for you after you are gone will be a continual charity for you. Please see those details here:
The Prophetic command was to have many children so that he, Allah bless him and grant him peace, could boast about our numbers on the Day of Judgment. Raising a child to believe in Allah and His Messenger is no light matter and it should be the goal of every logical or intellectual Muslim parent.
As for your feelings of inadequacy, rest assured that we are all in the same boat. None of us is perfect, and most parents pray to Allah that He guides them to be the best people they can be and to protect them from every harm. If you feel that your mental health should be diagnosed or if you need medication, please consult a medical professional. It is important to deal with that in the correct way.
The situation that you describe with your husband seems to me to be the perfect fit for parenthood. You can be the logical one that leads the way and sets their goals, and your husband can be the one who does the heavy lifting of their physical care. If you are both happy with this arrangement and agree to it, then I feel that you should proceed.
Pray and Learn
As usual with any big decision, pray Istikhara and ask Allah to open your heart to this idea if that is what He really wants from you. Communicate to Him about your shortcomings and ask him to help you overcome them and send you that which will make your family whole and committed to Allah’s pleasure.
Please take a course on raising children and basic fiqh to ensure that you are proceeding with full knowledge of your responsibilities and the rights of children. May Allah grant you children that will be the coolness of your eyes, a means of continual charity, and a reason for your eternal happiness.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.