- To understand family planning services and different contraceptive methods
- To understand Islamic perspective of family Planning
Family is the foundation of any society. This foundation is laid by taking into account the human nature. Every society comes into existence on the basis of family, which means that family is the basic unit of society.
Planning for any thing that matters in life is necessary and so is planning for family life, which is called ‘family planning’. When a man and a woman marry and lay the foundation of a family, they should keep balance in their resources and expenditures. Within this strategy comes the decision as to when should a couple have their first baby and the next one. They should also plan for providing basic needs, education, health care, entertainment and other needs of the children. Therefore family planning as commonly misunderstood, does not only mean having a specific number of children.
Pakistan is facing great socio-economic challenges. Rapid growth rate is a major concern. Many factors have contributed to the high growth rate, important among which are low literacy, low status of women in the society, social cultural taboos/ low male participation and poor access to quality family planning services:
Pakistan, the sixth most populas country in the world currently with a population of over 157 million and a growth rate of around 1.9 percent per annum. The population of Pakistan grows by 3 million annually, due to this annual addition, Pakistan is facing great challenges to attain socio-economic development and break the vicious cycle of poverty. This annual addition to the population not only dilutes the results of development efforts but also creates unbearable demand on limited resources. It is estimated that at current growth rate, the population of Pakistan will touch 217 million by 2020. Based on these growth patterns and trends, the economy will be unable to sustain the growing population, with hardly any scope for improvement in the quality of life even under most favorable circumstances. This situation is, therefore, a matter of deep concern and becomes a central issue in the overall planning perspective as well as poverty alleviation strategy of the country..
Planning in Islam
For nations, communities and individuals, planning is essential in their growth and ultimate success. For a Muslim, planning is a Sunnah that will help establish him or her firmly in their work thereby yielding its blessed and successful fruit.The setting of goals, making plans and designing strategies to assure the accomplishment of objectives are all Islamic Sunnah. This is according to the Qur'an and the practice of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Planning, therefore, must be at the center of a Muslim's life, in all his or her moral, political, social and economic activities. Unfortunately, this precious Sunnah, however, is not apparent in the lives and activities of the Muslims today. It is the absence of this Sunnah that has contributed much to our failures and suffering.
Planning in the Holy Qur'an
The Holy Qur'an teaches the Muslims to be strategists and planners in their affairs. It shows this in a number of ways: through the stories of the prophets, the law of Allah in nature, and in praising the people of vision and foresight.
An illustration of this can be seen in the story of Prophet Moses (p) and his strategies in approaching the Pharaoh of Egypt. When Allah commanded Moses to go to Egypt and call the Pharaoh to God, Moses accepted the order and spelled out his plans as can be seen in Surah Taha, Verses 25-32.
"Moses said: Oh my Lord! Expand my chest (with faith, knowledge and affection); ease my task for me; and remove the impediment from my speech, so they may understand what I say: and give me a minister of my family, Aaron, my brother; add to my strength through him, and make him share my task."Qur'an, 20:25-32
The structure and life cycle of a typical plan is very much similar to the example of the "goodly word" given in the above verses. In fact a plan functions just like a tree in many ways. First of all, an action is based on a plan, just as are the roots for a tree. Then, a plan in its results is like a tree and its fruits. Some plans are design to yield short-term results, while others are made for the long-term. Finally, like the branches of a tree reaching to heavens, a well-thought-out and properly-executed plan can bring about a successful conclusion with far-reaching consequences.
On the other hand actions taking without proper planning or little or no planning at all are as useless as an uprooted tree. It will fail to yield any fruit, just as unplanned, directionless and "unstable" work will fail to achieve its objectives. But the truth is that Allah (swt) establishes in strength those who believe in the "goodly word", or "plan" that stands "firmly fixed" or "based on vision and insight." This is the truth here in this world and in the Hereafter.
For nations, communities and individuals, planning is essential in their growth and ultimate success. For a Muslim, planning is a Sunnah that will help establish him or her firmly in their work thereby yielding its blessed and successful fruit. Muslim councils supported by research institutions and think-tanks must be established to resolve crisis, draw and design plans for all Muslims to follow. In the book, The Solution to the Muslim Crisis, the concept of Islamic research institutions, think-tanks, the Sunnah of Preparation, Consistency, Prerequisite, Maturity, and Punctuality are studied as indivisible parts of Muslim prosperity and success.
Family Planning in the Light of Islam
What does family planning mean? It means to jointly decide how many children to have and when to have them through mutual consultation, cooperation and joint decision making between the husband and wife. The decision making process about when and how many children to have requires physical and mental preparation, taking into consideration the family economic situation and the family maturity in being able to take care of child adequately.
A FAMILY IN THE LIGHT OF ISLAM
In Islam a family is a very important institution where parents play a vital role and they establish the foundation for a family. In Islam it is not sufficient to ensure that the basic needs of family members such as food, clothing, education, accommodation, and health care are met. Islam also advocates that with in the families both husband and wife should maintain good physical and mental health and ensure a close and intimate relation ship between them. All discrimination and distances between them should be eliminated. They should make sure that their family is not larger then they can handle.
We can now understand that a model family means:
A family which has been formed is a planed way
A family in which its members are granted their basic human rights.
A family where rights, prestige and position of the member are established without discrimination.
A family where the development of individual family members and the family as a
Whole is encouraged and facilities for such developments are provided readily.
Where basic demands, and rights of children adolescents, adult’s man and woman are consider with the importance regardless of the nature of the issue.
Environment of a family
Cleanliness is the first and foremost issue regarding a family environment. A neat and clean family environment directly affects the mentality of the family members. Peace of mind is also very important for a peaceful and happy family life.
Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Cleanliness is half of the Iman”. (Tirmizi)
A husband and wife’s relationship can influence the family environment:
Husband are directed to play there roles with care.
ALLAH (SWT) said:
“(Consort) with them in kindness, for if you hate it may happen that you hate a thing where is Allah has placed much good.”
In this verse we can see how Allah tells couples to take care of their relationship.The father has to provide his children and there mother with sustenance. Allah says “father has to provide them (child and mother) with sustenance and clothing in a decent manner” (2:233)
Holy Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Childs right upon his father is to be taught well behavior and to be given a fine name”
Young children need to be taught lessons on what to do and what not to do.
In this regards Our Prophet (PBUH) said”
“Children right upon the father is to be taught about how to write, how to swim and how to throw arrow and not being fed but good food”
A healthy family environment, cleanliness, peaceful living and a responsible life style are essential for welfare of the family and society.
Family Planning in Islam
Birth control is permissible according to Islam, which recognizes that the sexual act is more than just a means of procreation.
During the time of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the most commonly practiced method of birth control was'azl or the withdrawal method If repeated pregnancies have weakened the woman's body or becoming pregnant would threaten her life, such birth control may be construed as a necessity, Modern scholar Shaykh Ahmad al-Sharabassi of Egypt has pronounced the following as genuine reasons for practicing contraception:
- So that the woman may rest between pregnancies.
- If either partner has a transmittable disease.
- For the sake of the woman's health. For example if she is already breast-feeding a child it would be damaging for both her and the child to have another pregnancy.
- If the husband can not afford to support any more children.
Since most "modern" methods of birth control have the same aim as the withdrawal method --- to frustrate the attempt of the sperm to fertilize the egg --- we can by analogy assume that modern birth control is also permissible.
A Muslim has two sources of knowledge to obtain answers to the questions pertaining to various aspects of human life. These sources are:
- The Holy Qur'an;
- Sayings (hadith)and acts (Sunnah)of the Holy Prophet (pbuh); and
The Holy Qur'an
No Qur'anic text forbids prevention of conception. There are, however, some Qur'anic verses which prohibit infanticide and these are used by some Muslims to discourage birth control.
But contraception does not amount to killing a human being. These verses in fact were revealed to forbid the pre-Islamic Arab practice of killing or burying alive a newborn child (particularly a girl) on account of the parents' poverty or to refrain from having a female child. Perhaps in those days, people did not know safe methods of contraception and early abortion.
The principle of preventing conception was accepted in those sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) which allowed some of his followers to practice 'azl or coitus interruptus. These ahadith embodied the earliest legal reasoning of Muslims on contraception and were essential instruments of argument in later Islamic thought on contraception. There is a sufficient number of ahadith on contraception. The most commonly quoted ones are the following.
1. According to Jabir, "We used to practice 'azl in the Prophet's (pbuh) lifetime while the Qur'an was being revealed." There is another version of the same hadith, "We used to practice coitus interruptus during the Prophet's (pbuh) lifetime. News of this reached him and he did not forbid us."
- According to Jabir, "A man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said, 'I have a slave girl, and we need her as a servant and around the palm groves. I have sex with her, but I am afraid of her becoming pregnant.' The Prophet (pbuh) said, 'Practice 'azlwith her if you so wish, for she will receive what has been predestined for her.'"
- According to Abu Sa'id, "We rode out with the Prophet (pbuh) to raid Banu al-Mustaliq and captured some female prisoners . . . we desired women and abstinence became hard. [But] we wanted to practice 'azl; and asked the Prophet (pbuh) about it. He said, 'You do not have to hesitate, for God has predestined what is to be created until the judgment day.'"
- According to Abu Sa'id, "The Jews say that coitus interruptus is minor infanticide, and the Prophet (pbuh) answered, 'The Jews lie, for if God wanted to create something, no one can avert it (or divert Him).'"
- According to 'Umar Ibn Khattab, "The Prophet (pbuh) forbade the practice of 'azlwith a free woman except with her permission."
- According to Anas, "A man asked the Prophet (pbuh) about 'azland the Prophet (pbuh) said, 'Even if you spill a seed from which a child was meant to be born on a rock, God will bring forth from that rock a child.'"
These ahadith reflect two points: first that the Prophet (pbuh) knew about the practice and did not prohibit it (no. 1), and second, that the Prophet (pbuh) himself permitted the practice (no. 2 & 3).
The hadith from Judhamah (no.7) was an approximation to the homicide traditions of the Jewish and Christian traditions. This hadith provided support for Ibn Hazm's minority view that 'azl was prohibited by the Prophet (pbuh). But medieval jurists used the hadith about the Jews (no. 4) to refute the argument for prohibition. They claimed that how the Prophet (pbuh) could have maintained that the Jews lied by calling 'azl akin to infanticide and then have maintained the same opinion himself.
Two of these (Qur'an and Sunnah) are religious sources.
The most detailed analysis of Islamic permission of contraception was made by the great leader of the Shafi'i School of jurism, al-Ghazzali (1058-1111). He Al-Ghazzali stated that there was no basis for prohibiting 'azl. For prohibition in Islam was possible only by adducing an original text (nass, an explicit provision in the Qur'an orhadith) or by analogy with a given text. In the case of contraception, there was no such text, nor was there any principle on which to base prohibition.
In his view, coitus interruptus was permitted absolutely (mubah) and this permission could be ratified by analogical reasoning. A man could refrain from marriage; or marry but abstain from mating or have sexual mating but abstain from ejaculation inside the vagina--'azl. Although it was better to marry, have intercourse, and have ejaculation inside the vagina, abstention from these was by no means forbidden or unlawful.
Al-Ghazzali made a distinction between infanticide and contraception. He said that a child could not be formed merely by the emission of the spermatic fluid, but by the settling of semen in the woman's womb; for children were not created by the man's semen alone but of both parents together. So contraception could not be compared with infanticide which was the killing of an existing being while contraception was different.
In the process of contraception, the two (male and female) emissions are analogous to two elements, 'offer'(ijab) and 'acceptance' (qabul) which are components of a legal contract in Islamic law. Someone who submits an offer and then withdraws it before the other party accepts it is not guilty of any violation, for a contract does not come into existence before acceptance. In the same manner, there is no real difference between the man's emission or retention of the semen unless it actually mixes with the woman's 'semen'.
Al-Ghazzali accepts prevention or contraception if the motive for the act is any of these: (1) a desire to preserve a woman's beauty or her health, or save her life; (2) desire to avoid financial hardship and embarrassment; (3) avoidance of other domestic problems caused by a large family. He did not accept avoidance of female birth as a legitimate motive for contraception.
Some other scholars of the Prophet's (pbuh) tradition, like Ibn Majah and Ahmad, agreed that coitus interruptus was permitted by the Prophet (pbuh).
This in brief is the review of juristic opinion about contraception. There is no doubt that the earliest followers of the Prophet (pbuh) practised 'azl. This practice was within his knowledge and he did not forbid it.