Permissible contraceptive methods in the Islam religion

Much debate has gone whether there are permissible contraceptive methods in the Islam religion or not. The short answer is yes, there are family planning methods allowed in Islam provided these ways are not going to interfere in the procreation process, that is, pregnancy is just postponed to a later or indefinite period. We take a look at methods sanctioned under Islamic secular laws and the Quran.

The principles

Contraceptive methods allowed in Islam are based on the shari’ah point of view. Shari'ah is the Islamic law based on the Quran and teachings of Prophets. There are no discussions on medical grounds or possible side effects. For this, the woman or husband must engage with a medical professional to talk about health concerns.

By definition, pregnancy starts at implantation, that is, when the woman’s egg is fertilised by the man’s sperm. That said, Islam allows the following types of contraceptive methods:

  • Birth control pills

Contraceptives taken through the oral route inhibit ovulation and thus, prevent conception. Birth control pills modify and suppress hormonal levels preventing pregnancies. However, side effectsshould be discussed with a medical doctor.

  • Contraceptive injections and patches

Like oral contraceptives, injections and patches inhibit ovulation by altering hormonal levels in women. They are injected or renewed at specific intervals, usually every three months.

  • Intrauterine devices (IUD)

IUDs are metal or plastic objects implanted in the woman’s uterus to prevent conception from taking place either by acting as a barrier for fertilisation or to prevent implantation on the uterus lining.

  • Barrier methods

The use of condom, diaphragm, vaginal sponge, cervical cap and spermicide prevents conception from taking place by restricting entry or killing of the sperm. These methods are all accepted under Islamic religion.

  • Natural family planning methods

Several options exist for couples who do not want to have children at a certain period. These include the ovulation method (abstinence during the most fertile moments), rhythm method (abstinence during the fertile days) and temperature (tracking of a woman’s body temperature). In addition, coitus interruptus or withdrawal before ejaculation is also allowed.

  • Sterilisation

Under Islam, sterilisation either by performing vasectomy on men or tubal ligation for women is not allowed unless there is an 80% rate of reversibility. Permanent sterilisation goes against the procreation process should couples decide to have children later on.

Women’s voice in using contraceptive methods

Women are accorded full rights to use contraceptive methods under Islam. The only restriction is women cannot enforce a method which encroaches on their husbands’ conjugal rights. Thus, condom or coitus interruptus cannot be forced on husbands as contraceptive methods in Islam. However, since child bearing is a personal decision, women are allowed to use contraceptive methods even without the permission of their husbands.

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