Islam On Family Planning
Thomas Robert Malthus in 1798 in his work “An Essay on the Principle of Population” discussed relationship between population and resources. He argued that human population is increasing by a rate double than that of natural resources. If population growth rate remained the same, according to Malthus, a time will come when human race will consumed all resources of the world. To prevent this disaster, as per Malthus, human race will have to keep its growth rate according to resources’ availability and their growth rate.
Family planning is in one way or another way the result of Malthusian population growth theory. As per western concept of economic development, government’s control on its population growth rate is a must. Pakistan is a developing country which faces many challenges in its way to rapid economic development. Some of these challenges, according to prominent economists of the state and west, are due to the rapid population growth rate of the country. To discuss challenges in the implementation of an effective population control policy in the country and to get responses of experts from different fields of life, a conference was held on 5th December this year in Islamabad in which both Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar participated. Though all participants of the symposium stressed on the need of implementation of an effective population control policy in the country, Islamic Scholars of the country however on the basis of Islamic teachings have a different opinion.
Islam in no way has encouraged and permitted the killing of infants and children due to the fear of scarcity of resources. Religion Islam is very clear on this topic and it says Allah is the Creator and Lord of every living beings and He is responsible for the provision of food, shelter, cloth and all other necessities of life to every human being. Religious scholars of Pakistan on the basis of Islamic principles have the following opinions in this regard.
Maulana Ishaq, a prominent religious scholar of Pakistan, says that we do not need any population control policy as Islam has already given us one but most of us due to the lack of religious knowledge do not know. According to Maulana Ishaq the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has strongly discouraged (but not prohibited) husband mating with his wife during the first two years of delivery. There are two major reasons of this rule of the Prophet (PBUH) of Islam. If husband mate his wife during this time and if she gets pregnant, then it is possible that the first child may not get enough milk and care of parents. Similarly in case of successive delivery, wife may also get sick due to the loss of blood and other reasons. These are the two reasons for which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) strongly discouraged Muslims from creating conjugal relations with their wives but He (PBUH) did not stopped Muslims in explicit words because of the fear that Muslims may not move towards other prohibited ways for the satisfaction of their sensual desires. Science today shows that during this time, in some women, menstruating stopped and so their tendency of pregnancy naturally stopped which is called lactational amenorrhea.
As per Maulana Tariq Jameel, another prominent Religious scholar of Pakistan says that the government of Pakistan should focus on the provision of education to public. According to him when people will know Islamic teachings and their responsibilities being parents, population of the country will be automatically controlled.
Dr. Zakir Naik, a prominent Indian scholar of comparative religions says that family planning in all its form, either temporary or permanent, is prohibited in Islam. As per Dr. Zakir Naik it is allowed only in that case if there are high chances that mother’s life will come under danger and she may die due to delivery or she has any other disease in which pregnancy is dangerous for her life. According to Zakir Naik, failure of the government to utilize population effectively is a problem and not the population growth rate.
Doctor Javed Ahmad Ghamdi, another very prominent Religious Scholar of Pakistan, has a totally different view on the matter of family planning in Islam. As per Dr. Javed Ghamdi, events in world occur in two ways that is either directly or indirectly. In direct case Allah makes event happen through His angles and in second case Allah makes it happen through His humans. According to Javed Ghamdi, Allah has bestowed intelligence on human beings. Now it is the duty of man that in those functions, which are partially under his control, he must work with rationality. If a person has limited resources and he knew that in case of more kids he would not be able to provide them sufficient food, cloth, shelter and care, he must follow family planning.