Rule 1: In general, it is permissible to use birth control to prevent pregnancy, and it is (also) permitted to use the (various) forms of birth control.
Rule 2: If becoming pregnant would lead to a danger or hazard to the woman’s life, then the woman is permitted – for as long as there is a probability of her life being in danger – to employ the methods of birth control and it does not make any difference if the danger (to her life) is immediate or if it would come about later on.
Rule 3: The religiously approved methods which one may make use of to prevent pregnancy include:
a) Birth control by using devices such as an I.U.D. (Intrauterine Device), condoms or the injection of a drug (to prevent pregnancy) and other things such as these.
b) Natural methods of birth control: This would include Coitus Interruptus or ejaculating outside of the wife. However if this method of birth control leads to other forms of physical or mental illness for the woman and man, then it would not be permissible.
c) Conditional Birth Control: What is mean by this is that at the time of reciting the marriage contract, the woman makes a condition that for a certain period of time or for as long as they are married, she would use birth control and her husband also accepts this condition.
Rule 4: It is permissible to have one’s tubes tied (Tubal Ligation - Tubectomy) to prevent pregnancy as long as this procedure is temporary (reversible) and would not lead to a woman being permanently unable to conceive nor would this act cause any sort of life-threatening conditions. In addition, once the tubes have been re-opened, she would once again have the ability to conceive. In other than this scenario, it would not be permissible to perform the Tubectomy.
Rule 5: The ruling on having one’s tubes tied (Tubectomy or Vasectomy) is the same for both men and women (as has been mentioned above).
Rule 6: In using any of the methods of birth control that are available, it is essential for the woman to have the consent of her husband and the wife is not permitted to go forth and use any of the methods without first taking the approval of her husband.
It is permitted to employ birth control methods, keeping in mind the following three conditions:
1) The procedure does not damage the (sexual) organ nor would it lead to permanent sterilization.
2) The husband approves of the use of birth control.
3) The procedures that would be employed for birth control and placing the device related to it (inside the person) would not involve the performance of a forbidden (haram) act.
Controlling the number of children and regulating ones’ family can be examined from two different aspects:
1) The steps which are employed before conception (birth control).
2) The steps which are employed after conception (abortion).
According to the fatwa of the late Imam Khumayni (may Allah be pleased with him), the first method (of birth control) is permissible as long as no forbidden acts are performed in order to achieve it.
As for the second method (abortion), it is forbidden (haram) except if necessity expedites that it be done however this act must be performed before the soul is infused into the fetus – meaning before the fetus has reached to the age of four months – in which case it is permissible.
The Noble Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) has said: “The best of you is the person who acts in the best way with his family and I am the best of you in relation to my family.”
Wasa`il ash-Shi`a, Volume 14, Page 122, Hadith 8
Enquiries from the Religious Authorities in Regards to Birth Control
Question 1: Generally speaking, is Islam is favour of birth control? In addition, is it permissible to make use of the various means to prevent pregnancy - such as medications – which are available?
Question 2: In relation to making use of the various forms of birth control, is it necessary to have the consent of the wife and husband?
Question 3: Are we permitted – keeping in mind that we have knowledge concerning the health and cultural problems, etc… that result from an increase in population (and also keeping in mind that this task is also one of our responsibilities as specialists in the field of public and family health) – to disseminate information to others in relation to prevention of pregnancy, even if this is not requested (from us)?
Answer 3: First and foremost, it behooves the Administration in charge of the affairs of the Islamic land to use all means possible in increasing life expectancy – which is something that is desired by the holy law – and in the case where (such) correct management is put in place and if (still) we reach a point where it is not possible to manage a greater population, then birth control (information) should be disseminated.
Question 4: Just as it is customary in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortion of the fetus when the woman’s life is in danger, with the permission of their husband, women make use of medicines and things such as an I.U.D.s (Intrauterine Device) (an item that is placed inside the womb), a galea, the diaphragm, creams, jells and injections – all of which prevent fertilization of the egg. Through this act, the men, with the consent of their wives, are spared from needing to use condoms (a rubber cover over the penis) and from practicing Coitus Interruptus (ejaculating outside of the woman).
We request you to please put in writing the Islamic injunction in relation to what has been mentioned (above).
Question 5: Is the woman and her husband - who from the point of view of the society and culture (that they live in) and by keeping in the mind conditions that exist within their surroundings and who know that they do not have the ability to bring up their children - permitted to provisionally not have any children?
Question 6: In the event that the permission of the husband is necessary however he will in no way permit (any form of birth control), then what should be done?
Question 7: In order to control population growth – according to the teachings of Islam - is it permitted for a woman to make use of the new methods of birth control such as the I.U.D., to have one’s tubes tied or birth control pills which would result in the prevention of pregnancy?
Answer 7: Temporary birth control methods such as the birth control pill and other things such as this - if they do not pose any imminent danger - are not a problem. However if the tying of the tubes of the womb of the woman is done for a logical reason and will protect the woman from an imminent physical or mental danger, then with the permission of the husband, this act in itself is not a problem.
Question 8: There are various methods and means of preventing pregnancy and population control. Can a person who has information regarding these (various means and methods of birth control) voluntarily pick one of them (to use)?
Question 9: Is it permissible for women to employ means of birth control to avoid pregnancy or not?
Answer 9: It is not a problem with the consent of her husband.
Question 9b: Assuming that it is permissible, what is the ruling of each of the following forms?
1) Through the use of birth control pills and other things like this?
Answer: It is not a problem.
2) Placing an instrument inside the womb to prevent pregnancy?
Question 10: Is temporary birth control permitted for a healthy person through the use of the means and methods (available) which would prevent the fertilization (of the egg) from taking place?
Are the methods that are being propagated and recommended by the administrators
within the sacred establishment of the Islamic Republic (of
Answer 11: Simply having a method (of birth control) in vogue within the society does not constitute a religious confirmation that it is allowed or permissible according to the Islamic regulations.
Question 12: If a temporary method of birth control hinges Interruptus on performing a forbidden act such as the doctor looking (at the private parts) of the patient of the same sex (woman doctor looking at a female patient and a man doctor looking at a male patient) or a male doctor treating a female patient, or the opposite (female treating a male), then in what instances is the impermissibility of this act revoked?
Answer 12: It is not permissible to look at and touch (the private parts of) another person – even if it is a doctor of the same sex and this act is forbidden except in cases of necessity which shares the same ruling as other acts of necessity (in the religion).
Question 13: Is the religion of Islam in agreement with the (population) growth of the society?
Answer 13: Islam is in agreement with the growth of the society since with the growth in the number of Muslims, this is proof of the greatness and strength of them (the Muslims). However in some specific circumstances, (Islam) is not in favour of a (population) growth within the society.
Question 14: Is it permissible for a woman – without the permission or consent of her husband - to exercise birth control so as to not get pregnant, such as using birth control pills?
Question 15: In order to prevent pregnancy, many Muslim women take birth control pills and other medications, have injections or place an instrument inside themselves so that the fertilization does not take place and thus, they do not become pregnant. Is it permissible or not to stop the fertilization through the ways mentioned?
In addition, at the time of ejaculation, some men discharge outside of the woman or use a condom so that the sperm does not enter into the womb, rather, it stays inside the condom. From the Islamic point of view, is this act permissible or not?
And also, does the woman being healthy or sick change the ruling in this issue?
Answer 15: In the stated question, if any of the methods used for preventing pregnancy would result in a defect to the sexual organ and would result in infertility, then it is not permissible. However if these do not result in the defect of the sexual organ, rather, they temporarily prevent fertilization, then it is not a problem as long as it does not result in any other complications to the body. Nevertheless, this act should not be prolonged since it is preferable to have a large number of Muslims.
However if the pregnancy poses a physical danger or risk to the woman, then she is fully permitted to use birth control for as long as the danger persists.
Enquiries from the Religious Authorities in Regards to Semen Testing
Question 1: In order to know if a man is able to father a child or not, in some hospitals they require the man to masturbate so that the semen can be sent to the laboratory for examination. Is this act permissible or not?
Question 2: Examination of a man’s sperm necessitates masturbation, however not performing this test is not of vital importance – is it permissible to perform this act?
Answer 2: If it not necessary (to do this test) to cure an illness, then it is not permissible. However in the case of necessity, the ruling of this act is the same as the ruling of other forbidden acts.
Imam al-Ridha (peace be upon him) has said: “The person who struggles through the permitted means to provide for his family is similar to the combatant who fights in the way of Allah.”
Imam `Ali (peace be upon him) has said, “Always be a companion with your wife and always deal with her in a pleasant manner so that you may have a pleasant life.”
Makarimul Akhlaq, Page 218
Enquiries from the Religious Authorities in Regards to Preventing Pregnancy
Question 1: Is it permissible for the husband to employ methods of birth control to prevent his wife from becoming pregnant? If it is permissible, then what is the ruling on using the methods listed below?
Answer 1: It is not a problem.
Question 1a: Ejaculating outside of the woman without her approval?
Answer 1a: It is permissible.
Question 1b: Ejaculating outside of the woman with her approval?
Answer 1b: It is permissible.
Question 1c: Using a condom or special medication to prevent pregnancy?
Question 2: Is it permissible to use the method of coitus interruptus to prevent pregnancy?
Question 3: What is the ruling on coitus interruptus utside of the woman – and is it necessary to have the approval of one’ spouse for this?
Muhammad ibn Salam has said that Imam as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) was asked concerning coitus interruptus to which the Imam replied, “This is up to the man and he is permitted to act in any way which he sees fit.”
Wasa`il ash-Shi`a, Volume 14, Section 750, Hadith 1051
`Ata has narrated from Jabir that during the time of the Prophet, they used to practice coitus interruptus and then the verse of the Qur`an was revealed that did not prevent them from continuing in this way.
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Section on Coitus Interruptus (94)
Enquiries from the Religious Authorities in Regards to Norplant and Injections (to Prevent Pregnancy)
Question 1: Of the ways that is used to prevent pregnancy is in relation to controlling the hormones of the woman in which the prevention of the fertilized egg being placed in the womb is achieved (which is almost similar to the birth control pills that are used).
In relation to this, there are two methods employed – to have a Norplant implant and the other is through the injection (of certain drugs). The Norplant implant goes under the skin of the shoulder (of the woman) and after implant, it prevents pregnancy for up to three months from the time that it is given.
We would request you to please provide us with your opinion is in regards to using these forms of birth control.
In addition, since using these forms of birth control in some women may result in spotting or a prolonged monthly period, in relation to their religious responsibility, must they follow the ruling of irregular bleeding (Istihadha)?
This issue has the same ruling as the previous question (Question number
The Noble Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) has said, “Accept my advice to you that you must do good to your women.”
Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, Volume 14, Page 250, Hadith 6
Imam al-Baqir (peace be upon him) has said, “In the same way that a man love to see items of beautification on his wife, the women too love to see items of beautification on their husbands.”
Makarimul Akhlaq, Section 5, page 80
Enquiries from the Religious Authorities in Regards to Prevention of Fertilization after Intercourse
Question 1: If after the act of intercourse, the husband and wife then decide to prevent a pregnancy from occurring or in instances such as if the condom rips and thus, the sperm of the husband unintentionally goes into the vagina of the woman, in the books of medicine, it has been advised that one can take a special hormone pill three days after intercourse.
The way that these hormone pills work is that:
1) If they are taken before the egg is released, then they prevent the egg from being released.
2) If they are taken after the egg is embedded in the womb, then the following two scenarios come up:
a) The medication has an effect on the movements inside the womb of the woman to prevent the sperm from reaching to the egg.
b) It prevents the fertilized egg from attaching itself to the wall of the womb and thus, prevents the woman from becoming pregnant.
We would appreciate it if you could explain to us the Islamic ruling on the use of this medication.
Question 2: If the couple had made the intention of using one of the methods of protection to prevent pregnancy and in the event that a problem comes up in the method of usage such as the ripping of the condom at the time of intercourse, is it then necessary to use another method to prevent an unwanted pregnancy which would not have negative psychological, societal or economical effects?
According to the medical books it can be deduced that it has been recommended that a special hormonal medicine should be taken in the first three days after intercourse, and the way that this medicine works – up until now – has remained unknown.
Answer 2: Even though the original question remains ambiguous, however there is no problem in birth control – in and of itself - however the forbidden acts that may be related to it such as the forbidden touching or looking or an imminent danger (to the woman) must be observed. One must refrain from all of these things, and in addition, the woman must have the consent of her husband for these things.
Question 3: The medication that prevents pregnancy which is taken in the first week following intercourse results in the fetus being aborted if one was pregnant. If one is not pregnant, then it has no effect. What is the ruling on the use of such medication?
Imam as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) has said, “It is enough of a sin for a person that he does not pay attention to the rights of his family and that he does not provide for them their needs.”
Wasa`il ash-Shi`a, Volume 15, Page 250, Hadith 4
Enquiries from the Religious Authorities in Regards to Fulfilling the Religious Obligations after Menopause
Question 1: Keeping in mind that for many women who are non-Sayyid, once they reach to the age of fifty lunar years (48 years, 7 months and 15 days according to the solar calendar), just as they naturally have their monthly period, in the examinations that are performed in the laboratories, it has been proven that their sexual hormones are no different than before they reached to the age of fifty.
We would be grateful if you would please explain to us - does this group of women have to follow the rules of irregular bleeding (Istihadha)?
If the answer is positive, since it is difficult to act according to the Islamic injunctions in regards to irregular bleeding (Istihadha), there are some women who request an operation to have their womb removed. In this event, is the Physician obliged to carry out the operation?
Answer 1: Such a woman would apply the rulings of irregular bleeding (Istihadha) and the act mentioned (removal of the womb), in and of itself is not a problem however one must make sure that no forbidden touching or looking is done and that it is carried out with the permission of the husband.
Imam as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) has said, “Whoever acts in a kind way with his family will have years added to his life by Allah.”
Enquiries from the Religious Authorities in Regards to taking Birth Control Pills
Question 1: What is the ruling on a person using birth control methods when they know or there is a possibility that it may have some harm related to it (for example the birth control pills which clearly harm the heart and the blood vessels)?
Question 2: In order for women who have from five to twelve children to not become pregnant again, they request that they be given birth control pills or that an instrument is placed inside the womb (to prevent pregnancy) – is this permitted or not?
Answer 2: If the prevention of the pregnancy does not harm the private parts nor is the woman made permanently sterile and it is done with the consent of her husband, then it is not a problem however the forbidden touching or looking (at the private parts) must be avoided.
Question 3: Women who would like to prevent their monthly period take a medication. However when they take it, then they see spotting (however it does not continue) and even during the time of their monthly period (this spotting occurs).
Is this spotting part of the menstrual cycle (hayd) or not?
Sometimes, when they take these pills, they still have their menstrual cycle however through taking an injection, they are able to stop it once again.
Does preventing the menstrual cycle through the injection result in the ritual purity (taharah) of the woman from the menstrual cycle (haidh) and thus, is she permitted to perform those actions which demand ritual purity?
Once she has stopped the monthly period, under what intention must she perform her Ghusl (ritual bath)?
Answer 4: If she does not see blood for three straight days, then the ruling of her monthly menstrual cycle (haidh) would not apply to her and her Salat and fasting are correct and any blood seen for less than three days has the ruling of irregular bleeding (Istihadha).
Question 5: During the period of the hajj, a woman takes some medication so that she will not have her monthly menstrual cycle so that she can perform the rites (of the hajj).
However from the time that she takes this medication, she continuously sees discharge which is yellow in color and which she thinks may be blood.
Since it was the time that she normally had her menstrual discharge, she doubts if this is Istihadha or not.
Seeing as how she does not have the ability to carefully deduce this, thus, she takes it as not being the blood of irregular bleeding (Istihadha) and thus, she does not follow the rulings related to this condition and performs the Salat and Tawaf (circumambulation).
In this state, are her actions correct or not?
Answer 5: If she has doubt as to the discharge as has been mentioned if it was blood or not, then it does not have the ruling of irregular bleeding (Istihadha), and all of her actions are correct.
Question 6: Is it correct for the woman who normally sees the blood of her monthly cycle (haidh) however has taken medication to stop the blood so that she is able to fast to act in this way?
Question 7: Is a woman permitted to take birth control pills without the consent of her husband? Or, for example, is she permitted to make use of the I.U.D. (without his consent)?
Question 8: Is there any problem with taking medication to stop the monthly menstrual cycle during the Hajj period or the Month of Ramadhan?
Question 9: Any time that a woman uses birth control methods without the permission of her husband such as birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, keeping in mind that these are all temporary methods and will not result in her become sterile, what is the opinion on this?
Imam Ridha (peace be upon him) has said, “Nobody has brought any good to himself which is better than a righteous spouse such that when he looks at her, he is filled with pleasure, and when he is separate from her, she protects her chastity and guards over his wealth.”
Wasa`il ash-Shi`a Volume 14, Page 22, Hadith 6
Enquiries from the Religious Authorities in Regards to Usage of the I.U.D.
Question 1: Keeping in mind that there is a difference of opinion amongst the Medical profession if the internal device placed in the womb (which prevents pregnancy) actually prevents the fertilization or if after fertilization has taken place (the joining together of the male and female cells) this device prevents the fertilized egg from attaching itself to the will of the womb, thus resulting in the removal of the fertilized egg:
a) What is the ruling on using this instrument if a person has certainty that it works in the second way mentioned (prevention and removal of the fertilized egg)?
Answer 1a: If it results in the abortion of the fetus, then it is not permitted.
b) What is the ruling on using this instrument if the person has a doubt between the two methods mentioned above?
Question 2: One of the ways to prevent the fertilization of the egg is that an instrument is fitted inside the opening of the womb of the woman after which, one of the side-effects is that the woman would see a discharge of blood.
In addition, it is possible that this blood may last for a long time.
Keeping in mind that this is natural blood, would it be classified as the monthly menstrual cycle?
In general, is this action permissible or not?
Answer 2: If the above mentioned action results in damage to the private parts, permanent sterility of the woman, result in the direct killing of the fetus in the womb or is accompanied by an external forbidden act such as a stranger looking at the private parts of the woman, then it is forbidden (haram).
In other than this, the example given in the question is not a problem and if the blood that comes out during the period of the woman’s monthly cycle lasts for three straight days, then it would have the ruling of her regular monthly discharge. If it lasts for more than her regular monthly cycle and is more than ten days, then it has the ruling of irregular bleeding (Istihadha).
Question 3: What is the ruling on using temporary methods of birth control such as the I.U.D. - which up until now, have not been determined as to exactly and precisely how it prevents pregnancy, however the belief of most people - according to the latest research that has come out - is that it prevents the fertilized egg from attaching itself to the wall of the womb?
Answer 3: If it has not been established that it aborts the fetus and it does not make the woman infertile and there is no damage to the private parts, then it is not a problem. However, if it does result in the abortion of the fetus, then it is not permissible and in any event, the Islamic rulings in relation to looking and touching (of the private parts) must be observed.
Question 4: Is it permissible to make temporary use of instruments like the I.U.D. to prevent pregnancy - keeping in mind that it is not exactly and positively known how this instrument prevents the pregnancy from taking form?
Question 5: It is not possible to place the I.U.D. inside the woman to prevent pregnancy without looking and touching the woman and thus in this case, is it permissible to have this instrument placed inside the woman by a male or female doctor?
Answer 5: It is not permissible to touch or look (at the private parts of another person) even though the actual act of placing and using the device is permissible with the permission of the husband.
Question 6: Through making use of the methods of birth control, the chances of having an unwanted pregnancy and the physical and psychological damage that result from such a pregnancy are reduced such that according to the world statistics, it has shown that through family planning and preventing pregnancies, we are able to reduce the death which would arise by 25-30%.
The I.U.D. is considered as one of the effective and successful methods of preventing pregnancy and according to the Islamic edict of your Eminence (the issue of placing the I.U.D. – Question 15882/1), we have been able to deduce that this is one of the permissible methods.
At present, there are close to half a million women in our country who are making use of this method and most of these women, for various reasons, are not able to make use of the other methods of birth control.
This item must be put into the womb of the woman by either a midwife or a gynecologist.
Keeping in mind that placing the I.U.D. inside the womb of the woman would necessitate directly looking at the reproductive organs of the woman, please let us know what the religious ruling is in this issue?
Question 7: In relation to using the I.U.D. which works by preventing the fertilized egg from implanting itself on the wall of the womb - is it permissible according to the Islamic regulations to use this method or not?
Question 8: With respect (to you). Through this letter we request your noble presence that: after releasing a ruling from the office of the Supreme Leader in relation to one of the methods of family planning, it was stated that it was prohibited to place an instrument (inside the woman) - even if this is done by a woman.
However the policies put forward by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education are based on propagating the use of this method for family planning.
Please clearly explain what your noble and blessed opinion is in relation to this and also let us know what the responsibility of those people who work in this field are.
Question 9: Is it permissible to use the I.U.D. in the womb of the woman to prevent pregnancy?
Answer 9: From the point of view of preventing pregnancy – as long as the wife and husband are both in agreement (with this method), then it is not a problem.
The Noble Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) has said, “The best of women is that woman who when she gets upset, or when her husband gets upset with her, she says to her husband, ‘I am placing my hand in your hand, and I will not allow myself to go to sleep until you are happy with me (again).’”
Enquiries from the Religious Authorities in Regards to Tubal Ligation (Tubectomy) for Women
Question 1: I am a 31 year old woman who has four children. It has been some time now that I have been suffering from a sore back and other medical issues such that I am not able to do a lot of work and thus, I am forced to rest which is not always possible for me. The doctors have told me that I must do something so that I do not become pregnant again.
In my example and with the conditions given, is it permissible for me to have my tubes tied keeping in mind that my husband is content with this, or not?
Question 2: The act of tying the tubes of the womb results in the permanent sterilization (of the woman). The only way that it would be possible to once again become pregnant would involve delicate microscopic surgery which can be performed in well-equipped medical centers at which point, the possibility of once again becoming pregnant even in the best of medical centers of the world is 50%.
Keeping the above mentioned points in mind, is it permissible for a healthy woman to have her tubes tied?
Question 3: Are reasons such as: economic or social problems, (a large) number of children (in the family) or the age of the woman reasons for having a permanent form of birth control or for abortion?
Question 4: Is a permanent method of preventing a pregnancy in the case of illness in which pregnancy would be dangerous to the woman’s life and in which both the physical and mental welfare and well-being of the woman will - even in the future – not be favourable, permissible?
In other words, if the doctor has necessitated that the woman should never become pregnant (as far as he can tell from his research), then in this situation, is it permissible to have one’s tubes tied?
Answer 4: If this method to prevent an (unwanted) pregnancy is permanent, then it is not permissible however in other than this event, if it is due to a danger related to one’s life, then it is not a problem.
Question 5: Is it permissible to engage in permanent birth control for women who are likely to having physically deformed children or a hereditary physical or mental disease (especially those which have been made apparent through previous pregnancies)?
Question 6: Is it permissible to engage in permanent sterilization and to remove all chances to become pregnant for women who are healthy?
Is it permissible for a healthy woman to have her tubes tied which would result in permanent sterilization so as to prevent pregnancy?
Question 7: Are economic difficulties a reason for a person to go forth for permanent sterilization or for an abortion?
Answer 7: Simply having societal problems or other sorts of problems or due to having a (large) number of children and the age of the spouses and other things such as this are all not complete and logical criteria (for permanent sterilization or an abortion). And it is not permissible to abort a fetus for the excuses that have been mentioned.
Question 8: Is the permanent method of preventing a pregnancy in the case of illness in which pregnancy would be dangerous to the woman’s life and in which both the physical and mental welfare and well-being of the woman will not be favourable even in the future, permissible?
Question 9: Our question is in relation to women who suffer from psychotic illnesses or an intense form of insanity for whom it is not possible to make use of methods of birth control such as ejaculation outside of the woman or birth control pills and who if they were to become pregnant, they would not have the ability to take care of their child.
Is the doctor permitted to go forward and permanently sterilize such women?
Question 10: Is it permissible to engage in permanent birth control for women who are prone to having physically deformed children which has been made evident from their previous pregnancies?
Question 11: If several doctors tell a woman that in the event that she becomes pregnant, there is a danger to her life, then is the woman permitted to have her tubes tied even though this act would result in her permanent sterilization and would also necessitate a foreigner looking at her private parts? Are these examples of necessity?
Answer 11: If the doctor who is a specialist (in this field) tells this to the woman and she develops certainty from what he has told her, then it is not a problem and it is permissible for a foreigner to look (at the private parts of another person) in the case of a necessity and where there is no other option available.
Question 12: In relation to the issue of population control and managing a family, across the country there are some women and men who are volunteering to – with a written letter of consent of their spouse – have their tubes tied (and have a vasectomy) to prevent pregnancy. We would be grateful if you could provide us with the Islamic ruling regarding this.
Question 13: In the event that permission is given for a woman or man to have their tubes tied or for a vasectomy, which of these two has the right to go ahead with such an operation?
Answer 13: Which ever (of these two) has the right of their own selves – in which the Religion has permitted them to exercise that right. Yes, the woman is not permitted to do anything which would prevent her husband from having complete sexual pleasure from his wife without his permission. And as for having the tubes tied, it is better that the permission is taken, however as for who should go first in this (operation), it is not clear.
Question 14: What is the ruling on having one’s tubes tied to prevent a pregnancy?
Question 15: What is the opinion of the sacred teachings of the religion of Islam in relation to having the tubes tied to prevent various sorts of sicknesses?
Answer 15: Any time that there is no possibility of reversal (of this operation), it is not permissible. In the event that it is reversible, then it is permissible (with the condition that there is some individual or societal needed that compels one to go through with this operation.)
Question 16: In those instances in which as a result of having twins there is a chance of their being physical defects in the child or a genetic illness – is it permissible for the woman to have her tubes tied or for the man to have a vasectomy to prevent future pregnancies?
Question 17: Is the woman permitted to go ahead with having her tubes tied without her husband’s permission?
Question 18: Keeping in mind that according to the most authentic sources in relation to those mothers who have been pregnant more than five times and who are also getting up in age and are 35 years old, if they become pregnant again, then there will be a physical danger to them (dangerous pregnancy). Is such a woman permitted to have her tubes tied?
Imam `Ali (peace be upon him) has said, “Women are a trust from Allah in your hands thus, do not permit any danger from reaching them and do not be strict with them.”
Mustadrak al-Wasa`il, Volume 1, Page 251, Hadith 7
Enquiries from the Religious Authorities in Regards to Vasectomies for Men
Question 1: Lately, a medical procedure has come around for men in which they tie a knot in the tube which brings forth the sperm such that when they have intercourse with their wife, the sticky liquid (that always comes out with the sperm) is the only thing released. Please explain to us what the ruling is for the nocturnal emission that such a man would have in which no sperm is released?
Answer 1: If without any relations, some wetness comes out of a man during his sleep or when awake and it does not have the characteristics of sperm, then he will not have the ruling of being in a state of Ritual Impurity (Janabat) except if he has certainty that it was indeed sperm that came out of him.
Question 2: One of the ways being used within the society at present and which is even being done free of charge by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education and is done at the cost of the government is the medical operation known as the Vasectomy (tying the tubes that carry the sperm in men).
According to the research that has been done on this procedure, the specialists have stated that if this operation is done, there is a 10% to 15% chance of it being reversible.
Thus, keeping this point in mind, what is the religious ruling of having this operation (vasectomy)?
One of the other methods that is also being used for family planning and to control the population is for the woman to have her tubes tied. What is the religious ruling on this act as well?
Answer 2: It is permissible to tie the tubes that carry the sperm in the man and to also tie the woman’s tubes – if it is done for a logical reason, is not permanent and does not lead to any dangers. There is no religious prohibition for the woman - with the permission of her husband - to have her tubes tied.
Question 3: Is there any problem with a man, on his own will, having a vasectomy which would result in him being sterile and which has been said to be irreversible? Is it necessary to have the wife’s approval before it is done?
Answer 3: In and of itself, this act is not a problem, however one must make sure that no forbidden touching or looking is done. Also, it is not necessary for the man to have the approval of his wife.
Question 4: Is the religious permissibility to have a vasectomy or to have one’s tubes tied in order to maintain population control and to prevent an uncontrollable population growth based on the principle of “Hukm-e-Thanawiyyiah” (Islamic Government) and if the necessity (population control) is lifted, does this permissibility become void?
Question 5: What is the ruling on men having vasectomies to control the population (growth)? Keeping in mind that a percentage of those people who go through this operation are once again (with another operation) able to have children due to the advances in medicine and this percentage is on the increase.
Question 6: In the event that it is permissible for either the man or woman to have their tubes tied, which of these has the right to go forth first (for this operation)?
Answer 6: In the event that they (the spouces) are equal in the circumstances (the man has the ability to have the operation and he has also given his wife the permission), then it is not improbable that the man would take precedence.
Question 7: What is the ruling on men having vasectomies to control the population? Keeping in mind that a percentage of those people who go through this operation are once again (with another operation) able to have children due to the advances in medicine and this percentage is on the increase.
 The term Hukm-e-Thanawiyyiah is a term used in Islamic
Jurisprudence which can be translated as the “secondary ruling” which basically
means the “except to the rule” or a ruling that can – for various reasons –
overrule the primary ruling. In this
question, that which acts as the secondary ruling is the formation and
establishment of an Islamic Government (