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Ruling on aborting a foetus affected by thalassaemia

Question: 110492

I am pregnant; this is my first pregnancy and 103 days have passed. My husband and I are both carriers of a genetic disease affecting the blood, called beta thalassaemia, and we know that there is a twenty-five percent chance of the child being affected by the sickness and not being merely a carrier like us. I did a test to check on the condition of the foetus, and I received the result today. It is clear that the child is affected, and the doctors have advised us to have an abortion, because this disease is complicated and will ruin the child’s life and psychology. He may not be able to live. The doctors have advised us that the soul of the foetus (from a shar‘i point of view) will be breathed into him in his mother’s womb on day 120, and that there is nothing wrong with having an abortion before the soul is breathed into the foetus. My question is: what do you think about this matter? Is it true that the soul of the foetus is breathed into him on day 120? What do you advise me to do? Because we have no time to wait, as the days are passing and the foetus is growing, and this poses a danger to the mother’s life, and may lead to sterility in the case of a delayed abortion?

Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah and his family.

The saheeh Sunnah indicates that the soul is breathed into
the foetus after 120 days, as al-Bukhaari (3208) and Muslim (2643) narrated
that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The
Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him),
who is the most truthful one, told
us: “The creation of any one of you is put together in his mother’s womb for
forty days, then he becomes a ‘alaqah (a piece of thick coagulated
blood) for a similar period, then he becomes like a chewed piece of flesh (mudghah)
for a similar period, then Allah sends to him an angel who is commanded to
write down four things, and it is said to him: Write down his deeds, his
provision, his lifespan and whether he is wretched or blessed. Then the soul
is breathed into him.” 

Hence the scholars stated that it is not permissible to abort
the foetus after the soul is breathed into it, unless a group of
trustworthy, specialist doctors have determined that leaving the foetus in
the mother’s uterus will cause her death; this decision is only to be taken
after exhausting all possible means of saving the life of the foetus.

End quote from a statement by the Council of Senior

See also the answer to question no. 42321 

But before the soul is breathed into the foetus, if the
foetus is deformed or affected by this disease that you mention, namely
thalassaemia, and trustworthy doctors have confirmed that, then it is
permissible to abort it in that case. 

The Islamic Fiqh Council belonging to the Muslim World
League, in its twelfth session, held in Makkah al-Mukarramah from 15 Rajab
1410AH/10-2-1990 CE, stated the following: 

Before the passage of one hundred and twenty days from the
beginning of the pregnancy, if it is proven and confirmed by a medical
committee composed of trustworthy specialist doctors, and based on tests
with diagnostic equipment and methods, that the foetus is severely deformed
in a way that is not receptive to medical treatment, and that if the
pregnancy continues to term and the child is born, his life will be
difficult and painful for him and his family, then in that case it is
permissible to abort the pregnancy, in response to the parents’ wishes.
Having stated that, the committee advises doctors and parents to fear Allah
and base their decision on certain knowledge and verified facts. And Allah
is the source of strength. 

End quote from Fiqh an-Nawaazil (4/25) by Dr. Muhammad
Husayn al-Jeezaani 

We ask Allah, may He be exalted, to grant you healing,
well-being and righteous offspring. 

And Allah knows best.


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