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Ruling on Tubal Ligation

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
This question was sent from the Committee of Medical Conduct at the Islamic Hospital, Amman. It is about tubal ligation in which a woman`s Fallopian tubes are surgically cut or blocked off to prevent pregnancy. In fact, this procedure prevents future pregnancies permanently. What is the ruling of Sharia on that?

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

In principle, Sharia-approved evidence forbid using methods of permanent contraception because this leads to not having children at all, which contradicts what was related by Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet(PBUH) forbade self castration. By analogy, whatever leads to permanent contraception and removal of sexual desire, even because of poverty or not wanting to have children, is forbidden as well.

However, there are some exclusions to this ruling; especially in situations of medical necessity where doctors establish that the pregnancy of a certain woman at a certain age will put her life at risk or bring harm to her health, only then, it is permissible to perform "Tubal ligation".

Accordingly, Resolutions of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy confirm the above ruling and in a variety of contexts:
-Resolution No.(65) states: "Scholars have unanimously agreed that it is forbidden to use methods of permanent contraception or to undergo any procedure that stops having children for ever, such as tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men, and the like."

-Resolution No.(39) states: "It is forbidden for men and women to undergo sterilization, unless there is a necessity for it."

-Resolution No.(9) states: "The International Islamic Fiqh Academy has unanimously determined what follows: "It is absolutely impermissible to limit birth, and it is also impermissible to use contraceptives for fear of poverty for God is He Who gives (all) Sustenance,- Lord of Power,- Steadfast (for ever) and there is no moving creature on earth but its sustenance dependent on God. This is also not permissible for other invalid excuses. However, using contraceptives or delaying pregnancy in individual cases in which harm is well-established-such as unnatural delivery where the fetus is taken out by surgery-there is no prohibition in Sharia with regard to that. The same goes for other legal or health reasons approved by an honorable Muslim doctor. Rather, sometimes pregnancy must be stopped if it was confirmed that the mother`s life is at risk; especially if this is backed by a report of a group of trustworthy Muslim doctors ." And Allah knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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