Q&A (Fatwa)

#1163: When A Couple Differ On The Number Of Children To Have

“Assalamualaikum brothers and sisters.

I need an answer to this question.
If a husband said he is ok with two kids and the wife wants to have four?
Please, how do we resolve this matter islamically?
Jazakum-Allahul khairian”

ANSWER:

Wa Alaykum Salam Warahmatullah Wabarakaatuh.

Alhamdulillah.

Firstly, it is imperative to know that having many children is a requirement and a recommendation of the Shar’iah and one of the reasons for which marriage is legislated in Islam.

The Rasul salallahu alayhi wasallam said:

تَزَوَّجُوا الْوَدُودَ الْوَلُودَ فَإِنِّي مُكَاثِرٌ بِكُمْ الأُمَمَ

“Marry from among you women who are loving and very fertile for child bearing, for indeed I will outnumber other nations by you (on the Day of Qiyaamah)”

This was recorded by Imam Abu Daawud As-Sijistaani rahimahullah from Ma’aqal bn Yassaar radiyallahu anhu

The idea of not wanting children or wanting to truncate this great blessing that Allah has bestowed on us of having our offspring, increasing the blessings of the Ummah, multiplying our progeny and increasing the strength and number of the Servants of Allah on earth is not in accordance with the Spirit of Islam.

Most of the calls to stifle the number of children born in this generation and Era of ours are borne from a wrong perception of Allah and a false understanding of ours. Many of us think that the bearing and training of children is our doing or of our means, forgetting that Allah is the Doer who created and provides sustenance and provision for us all.

Second, the Shar’iah permits planning of childbirth and what is known today as family planning but it is considered Makruh (disliked) by some of the Fuqahaa due to the aforementioned reasons and The Less Good by others. By less good is meant that it is permissible but it is better not to practice it.

However, it is not permissible and it is Haraam completely to use means that are permanent in family planning. The evidence for the permissibility of family planning that does not harm or is permanent is the Hadith of Jaabir bn Abdillah radiyallahu anhu as was recorded by both Imam Al-Bukhari and Muslim that he said:

كُنَّا نَعْزِلُ وَالقُرْآنُ يَنْزِلُ

“We used to practice the Withdrawal and (in the Era that) the Qur’an was being sent down”

What is meant by ‘Withdrawal’ is the ejaculation of Semen outside the wife and not inside her.

Third, it is not permissible to practice the Withdrawal without the permission of the wife. This is due to the Hadith of Umar bn Al-Khattaab radiyallahu anhu that was recorded by Imam Ahmad bn Hanbal in his Musnad and Imam Abu Abdillah Muhammad bn Yazid Ibn Maajah Al-Qazwini in his Sunan rahimahumullaah where he said:
نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أن يعزل عن الحرة إلا بإذنها.

“The Rasul salallahu alayhi wasallam forbade that Withdrawal be made from a Free Woman (wife) unless with her Permission”

Commenting on this, Imaam Maalik bn Anas said:

“Withdrawal must not be practiced when having sexual relations with a wife who is a freewoman unless with her Permission. Likewise must not be made from a Slave wife unless with the permission of her family”

Imaam Abu Umar Yusuf bn Abdillah bn Abdilbarr An-Namari rahimahullah in his book At-Tamhid quoted Imaam Ash-Shaafi’i as saying about this:

“It is not permissible for him to practice the Withdrawal from a wife who is a Freewoman unless with her Permission and it has been narrated a Hadith on this matter that is Marfu’ (from the Rasul – salallahu alayhi wasallam) in whose Chain there is Weakness. However the consensus (of the Ummah) is Proof on the authenticity of the rightness of its meaning.”

In this quotation, Ash-Shaafi’i holds that the Hadith is weak but the Ulamaa are consensed that its meaning is Sound and Correct. This was echoed by Ibn Qudaamah in Al-Mughni rahimahullah.

The reason for which her Permission is mandatory is because in Withdrawal is a shortening of the Pleasure of Intercourse and a truncating of the possibility of getting pregnant. These two are of her rights and for that reason, he must seek her permission to withhold these rights from her.

Fourth, if a man wants to limit the number of children that he has, he may only practice that with the permission of his wife and she has to agree to that. He does not unilaterally have the right to limit the number of children he wants to have from her to 2 if she wants more. It is solely a matter of agreement. If she insists she wants more children, it is her right to have more and for him to give her all the means that leads to that. His persistence on not giving her that is sufficient grounds to seek for a Divorce in the Shar’iah

And Allah knows best.

What we advise, and Allah knows best, is that couples discuss within themselves and agree on what works for them both and what they’d like to do.

Neither of them has the right to prevent the other from having legitimate Children or the Pleasure of Sexual Intercourse.

Barakallahu fikum.
Jazakumullahu Khayran.

Abū Asim

7th Jumadal Ūla, 1443AH.

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