ISLAMIC POSITION PAPER ON THE PROPOSED SAFE ABORTION BILL
January 26, 2016
DELIEVERED BY SHEIKH ABU BAKAR CONTEH CITY IMAM AND PRESIDENT OF THE INTER RELIGIOUS COUNCIL IN SIERRA LEONE @ THE ONE DAY INTER – FAITH SUMMIT ON BEHALF OF THE MUSLIM UMMAH AT THE ST. ANTHONY’S PARISH HALL, BROOK FIELDS FREETOWN SIERRA LEONE – WEST AFRICA ON THE 21st OF JANUARY 2016
All praise due to the ALMIGHTY Allah Lord of the Universe who guides His devoted and sincere servants to the pursuit of higher achievements. We thank you O Allah with the best of devotion for sparing our health and lives to enable us be here to participate in this historic forum of experience sharing on issues of health and the sanctity of the human life
Highlight of Islamic Position on the Safe Abortion Act 2015
PART II- CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH AND CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH ABORTION SERVICES MAY BE PROVIDED. (Page, No.3).
Caption: Abortion Services.
Article (2), subsection (1)(a) & (b).
- The clearest Qur’anic command on the issue of abortion is in (2:228) “If they believe in God and the Final Day, it is not permissible for them to suppress what God has created in their wombs”. On the basis of this verse, among other evidence, most Muslim scholars concluded that abortion is unlawful except in some very narrow exceptions. A clear majority of the scholars considered abortion to be a destruction of life and a serious offense against life, and therefore, a major sin.
- Deliberate termination of a human fetus in a surgical, chemical or by any other artificial method is intrinsically an unlawful act in Islam and its doer will be held liable both in here and in the hereafter.
- A pregnant woman from the Islamic point of view is not the owner of her fetus as parents are not the owners of their children. She is rather entrusted with a human being in its early stages of its life responsible for its nourishment and development. The likeness of a mother’s womb in Islam is the likeness of enriched tilt for cultivation.
- In Islam, ‘all life matters’. Killing an innocent human even in its early stages as in abortion is like killing the whole of mankind, and to save a single human even in its fetus or embryonic stage is like saving the life of the whole of mankind.
- Killing an innocent human is considered to be one of the mortal sins.
- A Prophetic tradition states that on the Day of Judgment the first case is about shedding innocent blood. The terminated fetus will confront its killer saying: “For what sin, was I killed?” (The Holy Quran, 81: 9).
- There are specified fiscal penalties for killing or aborting a fetus. Although there is no ethical difference between taking the life of an unborn child at 5 weeks gestation or at 24 weeks gestation, given that the same child is just 19 weeks more mature, there is a different fiscal penalty for them.
- In Islam, the age of the fetus is divided into five stages commencing from the very conception and the amount of the penalty varies accordingly.
- Some Islamic scholars, however, were of the opinion that abortion is permissible up to a certain point—some arguing that abortion is permissible up to 40 or 42 days (this is the position of some schools of taught) or up to 120 days . But most of the jurists who argued for the permissibility of abortion (whether under the 40, 42, or 120 day rule) also contended that unless justified by a health necessity, abortions are reprehensible or disfavored (makruh).
The crux of the matter for the jurists who did allow abortion centered on the issue of when or at what point the embryo becomes a human being or is endowed with a soul. Different jurists relied on or were persuaded by different kinds of evidence, but fundamentally, it is this belief about when an embryo or fetus becomes a human being—or can be said to possess life that justified the different time limits (whether 40, 42, or 120 days).
- Basically, it can be said that there is no any clear yardstick or solid basis upon which one can confidently conclude that life begins after 40 or 42 or 120 days. It seems to me that once conceived an embryo, fetus, or whatever it is at a particular stage of development, enjoys a right to life—-or more precisely, a right to the potential or opportunity of life, and that this right should not be interfered with unless there is a compelling necessity to do so. It does seem to me that the majority position banning abortions (except in a set of limited circumstances) is better supported and is more consistent with the Qur’an and the “Sunna” and Islamic ethics.
- The above verdicts are for the cases that abortion is done for selfish and personal not medical reasons. Abortion is permissible only if the life of the mother is at a serious risk, otherwise. The doer, however, will be still liable to pay the fiscal penalty.
Caption: Informed Consent to be Obtained (Page No.5)
Article (6), section (1,2,3)
- Whether below 18 years of age or not, a married pregnant female, in a lawful marital relationship cannot, according to Islamic teachings, undergo abortion services of any kind without obtaining the informed consent of her lawful husband. If it is proven that the husband is not willing to give such consent out of malice or deliberate intention to cause harm to the wife, the religious authorities may intervene to remedy the situation.
- If a mother aborted her fetus without the consent of her husband, he should be compensated and as the ‘killer’ of her child, she will be deprived of inheriting from her child. Similarly, if a man forces his wife to abort the fetus he is liable to compensate his wife and as the ‘killer’ of his child, he will be deprived of its inheritance.
PART III- MISCELLANOUS PROVISIONS (Page No.5)
Article (7), section (2).
Confidentiality shall not be limited solely to the Ministry and its partners for medical research only, rather the husband or the parents and guardians of the pregnant female shall be equally included as well in order to maintain love and trust and ensure proper counseling and understanding within the family.
ISLAMIC POSITION PAPER DELIEVERED BY SHEIKH ABU BAKAR CONTEH CITY IMAM AND PRESIDENT OF THE INTER RELIGIOUS COUNCIL IN SIERRA LEONE