Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt
I would like to ask a question about mental health. If a parent or both were mentally ill, for example depressed, bipolar, etc. on medication and had a history childhood sexual abuse and history of incest, would it be Islamically permissible for them to have an abortion? What would the implications be on the individuals, health, morality and finding repentance for the decision to have an abortion? I run a charity for adult survivors of child abuse and was interested in knowing how to address this.
Jazāk Allāh Khayr/ Thank you for your question.
May Allāh accept your good work.
In general circumstances, abortion is not permissible since abortion constitutes murder.
The Qur’ān states,
“Whosoever has spared the life of a soul, it is as though they have spared the life of all people. Whosoever has killed a soul, it is as though they have murdered all mankind.” (Qur’ān 5:32)
The Qur’ān summons its readers,
“And do not kill your children out of fear of poverty; We shall provide for them and for you. Truly, the killing of them is a great sin”. (Qur’ān 17:31)
In a dire situation of absolute necessity, abortion may become permissible provided the foetus is less than 120 days. Qādhī Mujāhid-al-Islam in his book ‘Family Planning and Abortion’ has stated abortion within the period of the foetus being less than 120 days is permissible due some excruciation situations, such as:
- Rape and incest
- Proven abnormalities or dangers for either the baby or the mother (attested by an experienced medical expert), e.g. anencephaly (no brain), downs syndrome, trisomy, congenital rubella health etc.
“Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother’s belly for forty days in the form of a seed, then he is a clot of blood for a like period, then an angel is sent to him who blows the breath of life into him…” (Bukhārī and Muslim)
Some Islamic jurists are of the view, that since abortion equates to murder, one should never resort to that. If one is unable to take care or raise the child, one can always give up the child to someone who will, such as through adoption or social services organizations who provide care for children with disabilities or challenges.
And Allāh Knows Best