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An Islamic legal ruling on abortion

Abortion is a controversial issue that continues to raise debates in different fields, including theology. In Islam, abortion may be allowed, or not due to a number of reasons. I refer to an online article “Abortion in Islam,” by Syed Ibrahim, president of Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc., in which he addresses the public on Islamic views on abortion.

In this article, Syed explains that the Qur’an does not condone the killing of human beings, except as capital punishment or for defense. However, Islam does not give a direct approval neither does it unanimously ban abortion. Application of Shari’ah knowledge is important in ruling of abortion. Conclusively, Islam does allow women to prevent pregnancy, but prohibits them to terminate the pregnancy once acquired, unless the life of the mother is in danger. This is in accordance to the principle of choosing the lesser evil.

The author mainly utilizes the Qur’an to back his views. For example, he uses Surah 17:31: “Kill not your children for fear of want. We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin.” He also quotes Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi book, “The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam” to explain the conditions that make abortion haram and a crime in Islam, as passed by the jurists.

The fact that Islamic ruling on abortion is flexible is what interested me most. Islam does not totally forbid abortion, but allows it when pregnancy poses a danger to the mother. A number of countries adopt this approach on the legality of abortion.

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