When Is Abortion Permitted in Islam?
The Islamic authorities consider abortion as a violation of the sanctity of life and a crime against God. Different Islamic schools have differing views of abortion. The Hanafi school, which was the dominant body of law during the Ottoman Empire, views abortion as a sin. The Arabic term for abortion is ‘iskat-i cenin,’ which literally means ‘expulsion of the fetus’.
Shafie school allows abortion up to day 120
The Shafie school is one of the four most important Islamic schools, and its rulings on abortion vary greatly. Some imams allowed abortion up to 120 days before conception, while others allowed it only after the fifth or sixth month. In other words, it depends on the imam’s personal preference.
The Shafie school is influenced by Islamic jurisprudence, but it has been updated over time to address changing concerns. In the late eighteenth century, the Ottoman Empire had a new pro-natalist agenda, with the Hanafi school offering relative “free medium.” The Ottomans were inspired by the reformation in Europe and hoped to achieve breakthrough through vast reformation.
This is a complex issue, and it should be further debated. A foetus with severe defects is a serious case, and the parents should be given a chance to save their child. The authors urge Muslim law makers to consider such cases when considering the rulings on abortion.
However, the issue of when an embryo becomes viable is still unclear. While the Shafie school allows abortions up to day 120, Hanafi school prohibits it before that point. According to this view, the fetus’s soul enters the body at 120 days.
Modern Islamic scholars have supported abortion for social and medical reasons
While the majority of Islamic jurists have condemned abortion, many modern Islamic scholars have argued for its legality for medical and social reasons. They argue that it protects women’s rights and promotes equity in society. In particular, they argue that abortion should be permitted under certain circumstances, such as poverty or overpopulation.
The legal and social frameworks of many Muslim-majority countries prohibit abortion, in direct conflict with classical jurisprudence. However, such legal and social frameworks have been adopted in the context of expanding populations and health budgets. In Egypt and the Ottoman Empire, for example, abortion was widely available and was socially acceptable.
Modern Islamic scholars have consistently supported abortion, as long as the child is viable. Although the stance on abortion has changed, the basic tenet of Islamic law remains the same: that a woman can choose to terminate a pregnancy if it is necessary for the mother’s life. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, however, legislation has added two additional criteria: fetal viability and social hardship. These reasons may make therapeutic abortion more accessible and may ease the burden of religion on individuals and families.
In developing countries, the number of abortions is relatively high, with 56 percent of the total number of abortions being unsafe. This disparity is largely due to the disparity in population. The number of abortions in the developed world was only six million in 2008, while a total of 38 million were performed in developing countries.
Abortion after 120 days amounts to murder
According to the Islamic religious code, abortion is prohibited after 120 days, unless the fetus has a defect that poses a risk to the life of the mother. However, a fatwa from Ayatollah Ali Khameni permits abortions up to the 10th week of pregnancy in case of thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder. Such cases must be proven through medical examinations by a committee of competent and trustworthy physicians. Additionally, the parents of the child must have consented to the abortion.
While some Islamic scholars consider abortion to be murder, most of them view the procedure as permissible as long as it does not result in the death of the mother. The Hanafi school of Islam, for example, allows abortions up to 120 days after conception, while the Maliki school allows them up to 40 days of pregnancy with both parents’ consent.
The Islamic jurisprudence on abortion has influenced the development of legislation pertaining to the practice. As a result, abortion laws in various countries have evolved as new concerns arise. In the eighteenth century, the Ottoman Empire embraced a pro-natalist agenda based on the Hanafi school. It was an era of declining culture and the Ottomans looked to modernization to restore stability to their empire.
Some doctors perform illegal abortions in order to avoid legal punishment. This has led to a number of deaths. Legal assessments on abortion have also been published, although they are not legally binding.