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How Should Muslim Physicians Deal With The Issue of Abortion With Their Patients?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Daruliftaa.com

If I am a practicing physician and a patient comes to me telling me she is going to get an abortion, what would be the advice in this situation? Should I discourage it? Should I still tell her the place where she can get a safe one, since it may endanger her life if she is not able to get a proper, medically safe abortion?

How should physicians deal with the issue of abortion with their patients?


In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

The position of Muslim doctors, physicians, and medical experts is very delicate indeed, because they frequently find themselves in situations where critical decisions have to be made and it is very easy for them to fall into sin. A patient’s decision is sometimes based purely on the advice and counselling of the doctor.

With regards to having an abortion, normally and generally it is unlawful (haram) and a grave crime. However, there are certain extreme situations of need and necessity when terminating a pregnancy is allowed. As such, doctors and physicians will have to adhere to the rulings of the Shariah concerning abortion, in that if abortion is Islamically justified, there is no bar in performing an abortion on a patient. If, however, the case is such that, it is unlawful from an Islamic perspective to have an abortion, then it would not be permitted for a Muslim doctor to perform an abortion, for that will be considered assisting another in sin. Allah Most High says:

“And help one another in virtue and piety, and do not help one another in sin and oppression.” (Surat al-Ma’idah)

Therefore, a Muslim doctor must first verify the reason behind the patient’s decision to have an abortion and then act accordingly. It is also extremely important for a Muslim doctor and physician to learn the fiqh of that which relates to their profession; otherwise they will not be able to make the correct decision. For more details concerning when abortion may be permitted, search for previous relevant answers available on this website. I have also compiled a short but comprehensive work on the issue titled “Birth Control & Abortion: An Islamic Perspective” soon to be published, Insha Allah, by White Thread Press (USA).

In the general case where abortion is not permitted, in addition to performing an abortion on a patient being unlawful, it will not be permitted for a physician to forward any advice with regards to terminating the pregnancy. You should refrain from providing any guidance to the patient on how to get an abortion. However, it will be permitted for you to refer the patient to someone else saying that you are unable to perform an abortion and hence please see another physician. If you can, try and discourage the patient from having an abortion, and in fact, you will be rewarded for doing so, for you are trying to prevent a sinful act (munkar).

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

This answer was collected from Daruliftaa.com, which is headed by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam Al-Kawthari. He’s based in the United Kingdom.

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