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Is family planning allowed in Islam?

Is family planning allowed in Islam? If yes then can the reason be financial difficulties or is that not allowed because every child brings his/her own ‘rizq’?


I have already answered a similar question question and my answer can be viewed in the Family Issues section in the Question and Answer archive. I have undergone some change in opinion on the issue since I wrote that answer though. Also look at what I have written in response to a question on Islamic stance on abortion (March 2, 2004).
The following is the basic verse which is normally employed to come to an understanding on the issue:
“You shall not kill your children for fear of want, for it is We Who provide sustenance for them as well as for you; surely killing them is a great blunder.” (17:31)
I think what this verse is basically saying is that although killing anyone is a big crime, killing one’s own children is an even bigger crime and if that has been done for fear of poverty then it is indeed a matter of big shame. However, what we can infer from this verse in regard to the question of family planning are the following points as well:
1. It is not a good idea for Muslims to restrict their number of children for economic reasons. However, reasons other than economic can be good enough for restricting the number, like the consideration that children are brought up well and that the mother remains in good health. Also, I now believe that if children are restricted for economic reasons alone, it is undesirable (Makruh) but not prohibited (Haraam). And Allah knows the best.
2. Although abortion in the first four months of a child may not be technically killing a child, it too should be avoided to as much extent as could be possible.
3. One should concentrate on doing one’s part of the obligation in looking for economic sustenance, the Almighty would do His part in satisfying needs through His own gracious means. That is what a good Muslim’s approach should be while looking at the question of family planning purely from an economic point of view.
One should not forget that fact that the economic problems of today, at least in so far as they are concerned with the supply of food, have got all to do with distribution and not with production. What I am saying is that even today the production of foodstuff (along with transportation facilities) is good enough for all peoples of the world to be fed with it properly if what is produced is properly distributed. God Almighty has always stuck to His promise of providing enough for every soul to sustain a decent living. It is humans who has failed in enabling each other to benefit from the available food resources.