Aborting a Fetus Resulting from Rape

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Details of Fatwa
Title of FatwaAborting a Fetus Resulting from Rape
Date of Reply13/May/2004
Topic Of FatwaMischief, Pregnancy & newborns
Country Applied Canada
Question of FatwaAs-Salamu `alaykum! I am a Muslim guy from Toronto -Canada. I have a question. If a 14-16 year old girl is raped, she can't raise herself, she doesn't have parents and relatives who can support her and as a result of the rape she gets pregnant. So should she go for an abortion or not ? According to Islam, abortion is wrong; it is prohibited. However if the girl does not go for an abortion she will give birth to a haram (an illegal) child. Keep in mind, the girl is poor, given no money and totally screwed. Will abortion still be considered wrong according to Islamic teachings? Moreover, what should be done with child who is born as a result of rape in the light of Islamic teachings? Please answer this inquiry as soon as possible. This is a very critical issue.
Name of Mufti Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
Content of Reply

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

(This fatwa was issued concerning the rape cases of Bosnian Muslim Women and was given on February 2, 2002).

Dear brother in Islam, first of all, we'd like to voice our appreciation for the great confidence you repose in us. Our utmost wish is to have our efforts come up to your expectation. May Allah help us all keep firm on the Straight Path, Amen!

In the first place, any woman who is raped is not guilty of any sin, for the situation is beyond her control.

Young Muslim men should hasten to marry women such as these who have been tormented, so as to reduce their suffering and console them, to compensate them for the loss of the most precious thing that they possess, which is their virginity.

Pertaining to abortion, the basic principle concerning it is that it is unlawful. But, undoubtedly, raping a Muslim woman by an evil enemy is a strong reason for the victim to have an abortion. Moreover, there is nothing wrong with a Muslim woman who has suffered this disaster to keep the fetus without getting rid of it.

As regards your question, the following is the fatwa issued by the prominent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi:

“Many Muslim women have become a target for the scavenging wolves of humanity, who do not fear Allah or any deterrent.

Any woman who, despite doing her utmost to resist these thugs and their ilk, is raped is not guilty of any sin, for the situation is beyond her control, and anyone who is forced to do something is not guilty of sin, even in case of kufr, which is worse than adultery, as Allah says: 'Except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with Faith…' (An-Nahl: 106)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: 'Allah has forgiven for my Ummah their mistakes, what they forget and what they are forced to do.' (Reported by Ibn Majah)

Any Muslim woman who has fallen prey to a rapist will be rewarded for bearing this calamity with patience, if she seeks Allah’s reward for the harm that has befallen her. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said 'No stress or exhaustion befalls the Muslim, nor worry or distress, even a thorn which pricks him, but Allah will expiate for his sins because of that.' (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

Young Muslim men should hasten to marry women such as these who have been tormented, so as to reduce their suffering and console them, to compensate them for the loss of the most precious thing that they possess, which is their virginity.

With regard to abortion, the basic principle concerning abortion is that it is unlawful (haram), as I have clarified in previous fatwas; it is not allowed from the moment of conception when it becomes a new being and is placed in a place of safety, i.e., the womb, even if this being is the result of an unlawful relationship such as adultery. In the case of the Ghamidi woman who had confessed to adultery and thus the punishment of stoning became obligatory, the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) told her to go away until after she had given birth; then after she had given birth, he told her to go away until the child was weaned.

The above is the trend I follow in my fatwas on this issue in normal cases. But there are some jurists who think that it is permissible to have an abortion within the first forty days of pregnancy. Some of them even permit it until before the soul is breathed into the embryo.

Despite the above-mentioned view which I follow, there are some exceptional cases in which one may adopt one of the latter views, and the stronger the excuse, the clearer the reason for the dispensation is, and if that is within the first forty days, it means that the dispensation is more appropriate.

Undoubtedly raping a Muslim woman by an evil enemy is a strong reason for the victim and for her family to have an abortion, for she will hate this fetus, the result of this iniquitous attack, and she will want to get rid of it. So this dispensation is to be given because of necessity, especially in the first days of the pregnancy. But this case of necessity should be determined by religious scholars, doctors and people of wide experience and wisdom. Otherwise, the original rule (of prohibition) should be applied.

Moreover, there is nothing wrong with a Muslim woman who has suffered this disaster to keep the fetus without getting rid of it. If it is decreed that it should remain in her womb for the usual term and she gives birth to it, then it will be a Muslim child, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: 'Every child is born with a true faith (i.e., to worship none but Allah alone).' (Reported by al-Bukhari) It has been stated in the books Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) that if the parents have different religions, the child should follow the parent who has the best religion. This is in cases where the father is known, but what about the child who has no father? He is a Muslim child, no doubt, and the Muslim society is obliged to take care of his upbringing, to spend on him and to bring him up well. They should not leave the burden to his poor, suffering mother.”

Allah Almighty knows best.





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