In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
لِّلَّهِ مُلۡكُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۚ يَخۡلُقُ مَا يَشَآءُۚ يَہَبُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ إِنَـٰثً۬ا وَيَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ ٱلذُّكُورَ
أَوۡ يُزَوِّجُهُمۡ ذُكۡرَانً۬ا وَإِنَـٰثً۬اۖ وَيَجۡعَلُ مَن يَشَآءُ عَقِيمًاۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ عَلِيمٌ۬ قَدِيرٌ۬
To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows female (offspring) upon whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He wills. Or He bestows both males and females, and He renders barren whom He wills. Verily, He is the All-Knower and is Able to do all things. [Surah Ash-Shurah. Verses 49-50]
Indeed, every year countries assess their fertility rate to find out whether there has been a decline or an increase- below or above the standard replacement level depending on the size of the population. Besides war, genocide and infertility, people may decide not to ever have children or postpone having children due to preoccupation with some commitments. Consider, for instance a country might experience a steady decrease in child births due to urbanization when many young men and women either decide not to get married whilst pursuing higher education or delay having children whilst in higher education. There is no doubt that this is an affair young people must discuss with their elders before making a final decision. Therefore, let us look at two statements of the scholars regarding this affair. Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah preserve him] said, “If you are able to exercise patience and seek knowledge, then exercise patience- meaning, study before getting married, just as Umar [may Allaah be pleased with him] said that “Some people might be prevented from (seeking) knowledge due to marriage”. So, when he gets married, he abandons seeking knowledge and becomes relaxed, and tires himself (i.e. it becomes difficult for him to combine family responsibilities and seeking knowledge at the same time). But if he has the ability to combine the Maslahatayn (i.e. the benefits of marriage and seeking knowledge), then that is good, (as long as) he does not consider himself one who will commit wicked deeds and fornicate. If this is the case (i.e. fears falling into evil), then -by Allaah- it becomes more obligatory on him to get married to protect himself and guard his chastity”.(1)
Question to Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him]: “If a young man delays marriage until he reaches 30 years of age whilst having the ability (to get married), is there anything obligated on him, because (first and foremost) he wants to build his future and complete his education?
Response: Yes, something is obligated on him and it is that he did not follow the guidance of the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him], “O young people! Whoever from among you is able to get married, then you should do so for verily it is the most effective in keeping the gazes lowered and maintaining chastity. [Saheeh Muslim, Number 1400]
So the Prophet commanded the youth to get married and clarified its benefits. The statement [i.e. the reason given] that he is preoccupied with studies and building his future is a false. How many people were not at ease during their studies until after getting married! They found ease and enough provision, and restraint from looking at what Allaah has forbidden, such as women, (forbidden) pictures etc Therefore, my advice to the youth in general is that they should get married at the earliest opportunity by following the command of the Messenger of Allaah [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] and seek provision, because the married individual desires chastity and modesty, so Allaah aids him, as it has been been stated in the narration, ‘It is a right on Allaah to aid three (types of people)… and one of them is ‘The man who marries wanting chastity'”. (2)
The above statements are enough to remind young men and women that they should consult elders and that safeguarding their religion and chastity is of paramount importance.
Refraining From Having Children: It is not permissible to refrain from having children. Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] was asked about a husband and a wife who agreed not to have children and whether this is allowed? So, he responded, “This agreement of theirs is not permissible. As long as the woman is able (to bear children), then it is not permissible for them to do this because the Islamic legislation requires that the people give concern to bearing children and make the Ummah numerous. The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, ‘Marry the childbearing, loving woman for I shall outnumber the peoples by you on the Day of Resurrection’. In another wording (of this narration the Prophet said), ‘Outnumber (i.e. the followers of the other) Prophets on the Day of Judgement’. This is because by way of this (i.e. having many children) those who worship Allaah among the Muslims will be numerous, the Ummah will be numerous and strong in opposing their enemies. It is not permissible for a man to abandon having children out of fear of either tiredness in seeking after a livelihood or due to difficulty, or due to expenditure, or due to a desire to enjoy one’s wife and other than that. It also not permissible for a woman to do this, rather it is obligated on both of them to pursue the means of having offspring -be eager to seek the means to having children so that the Ummah becomes numerous and to fulfil what the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] stated. However, if the woman either suffers a lot of pain due to an illness of the womb or she cannot give birth except by way of surgical operation, then this is an excuse to not have children. If the surgical operation [or caesarean] will harm her- it is feared that something will happen to her, and also if the children are many- born at close intervals and bringing them up becomes difficult upon her, then there is nothing to prevent her from taking some pills [or contraception] or some preventative measures for a year or two – the period of breastfeeding- so that she becomes strong enough to nurture the children and able to nurture the other newly born”. (3)
Shaikh Abdul Waahid – Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him] stated:
According to scientists, another cause of poverty is population growth in countries that cannot afford to feed the extra mouths. Most rich countries have a stable population with roughly as much babies born as people dying. However, in poor countries, the populations seem to be increasing. Muslims, as rule, are not allowed to use contraception due to fear of not being able to provide for their children – they learn from the Quran that Allah will enrich them from Himself from ways and means that He provides. Population control measures are not from the Islamically legislated means to remove poverty – this is proven by the fact that there is sufficient food and resources in the world to feed the poor many times over daily! Added to that is the reality that large populations are a tremendous resource for a nation. Countries with large populations are quite often the wealthiest, and have the fastest growing economies. Note: In certain situations contraception is permitted and I have discussed that elsewhere. https://www.abukhadeejah.com/fertility-issues-and-contraception-in-islam-the-choice-to-have-children-ethics-1-6/
Islam teaches that poor people must be helped with education, skills, charity, better infrastructure and better health care. In this way the poor are not neglected and the wealth of the rich is purified in the sight of Allāh through the giving of charity. People have large families because the family unit helps each other and they care for their elders. Death of young children is much higher in poorer countries due to sicknesses and disease. So the Muslims have a duty to help the poor, even if they are non-Muslims. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Give charity to people of other Religions.” (Shaikh Al-Albānī said it was an authentic Hadīth, in As-Saheehah). https://www.abukhadeejah.com/the-causes-of-poverty-in-light-of-climate-change-population-growth-and-other-factors-part-ii-ethics-2-4/
Also read: https://www.abukhadeejah.com/abortion-and-its-ruling-in-islam-redstone-academy-ethics-1-4/ Miscarriage of a foetus and the rulings related to the mother and child: Ibn Bāz and Ibn Uthaimeen: https://www.abukhadeejah.com/miscarriage-of-a-foetus-and-the-rulings-related-to-the-mother-and-child-ibn-baz-and-ibn-uthaimeen/
Can a Woman Work, Even If She Is Not In Need of Money
Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] was asked whether a woman is considered to be following her whims and desires if she works without being in need of money? So, he responded that “Such a woman is not considered to be following her whims/desires. Her engagement in work is not tantamount to following desires/whims if it is a noble and safe occupation- carried out amongst women, without free mixing with men, works amongst women without any injustice and hostility and with the permission of her husband”. The Imaam also said that “there are different kinds of work, and if the work includes disobedience to Allah, then it is obligated on her to abandon it. If it includes free mixing between men and women and showing her beauty, then this is also evil. But if it is work that is allowed or legislated by Islamic law amongst her Muslim sisters, such as teaching girls, or working as a nurse, or working as a doctor for women, then there is no harm in this and all praise is due to Allaah”. The questioner then asked the Imaam, “What if the woman is not in need of money”, so the Imaam replied saying that “Even if she is not in need of money, it is still allowed because she might want more money, or need it to give away in charity and so on”. (4)
First, regardless what a woman earns, the husband is still fully responsible for the clothing, food and housing of the wife. Listen here 9mins onwards: https://www.salafisounds.com/men-must-uphold-the-rights-of-their-wives-by-abu-khadeejah/
Second, Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] mentioned something very important above that “The woman’s engagement in work is not tantamount to following desires/whims if it is a noble and safe occupation- carried out amongst women, without free mixing with men, works amongst women without any injustice and hostility and with the permission of her husband”.
Third, this reminds of sexual abused or harassment as a result of free mixing in work places. Even though there’s no need to start a movement “Me Too Movement” etc.. to raise awareness, however none can dispute the fact that free-mixing in the work place is recipe for disaster! Shaikh Saaleh Aala Ash-Shaikh [may Allaah preserve him] stated, “It is neither permissible for a man to be in seclusion with a woman in a house, a car or another place, nor is it permissible for a woman to be in seclusion with a strange man in a house, a car or another place. This is due to the saying of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), ‘Let not any of you be in seclusion with a woman, except in the presence of a male relative of hers’ (i.e. a relative she is not allowed to marry, such as her father, husband, brother, uncle, grandfather etc ). [Bukhaari and Muslim] And also in (Bukhaari and Muslim) the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘A man is not secluded with a woman, except that shaytaan is the third of them'”. (5)
Al-Allaamah Saaleh al Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said, “Safety from the fitnah of women is by way of lowering the gaze, distancing oneself from paying attention to them and [distancing oneself from] following them. Allaah [The Most High] said:
قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ
Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts from (illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allaah is All-Aware of what you do. [Surah An-Noor. Verse 30] So, lower your gaze from that which Allaah has made forbidden and do not enter places of fitnah so that you are safeguarded. This is one of the means to safety from fitnah. (6)
Saudi Committee of Senior Scholars stated, “The reason behind the prohibition against free mixing between men and women is due to fear of falling into fitnah, lest it becomes a means to committing lewd acts; (a means) to violating the honour of women and corrupting the society. And indeed these affairs can become a greater reality through free mixing in education. Therefore, it (free mixing in education) is forbidden”. (7)
Finally, the woman should also be treated fairly in employment. Who amongst us can say that the man and woman doing the same job should not be paid the same wage, rather the woman should be paid more if she is more qualified. Therefore, as Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz stated, there should be no injustice or hostility! There are many narrations regarding fair dealings, but we’ll suffice with the one in which the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “Whoever would love to be delivered from Hellfire and admitted into Paradise, let him meet his end whilst believing in Allaah and the Last Day, and let him treat people as he would love to be treated”. (8) Imaam An-Nawawi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “This is from the Jawaami al-Kalim of the Prophet [i.e. precise speech with a comprehensive meaning] and his amazing wisdom. It is obligatory to pay close attention to this important principle and that a person must not deal with the people except in a way he loves to be dealt with”. (9)
Women face different circumstances, so whoever finds herself in a different situation, especially single parents or women fleeing from domestic violence, they should seek advice from the upright Salafi scholars or elder students of knowledge. May Allaah facilitate ease Aameen.
[Ref 1: http://www.rabee.net/ar/questions.php?cat=51&id=623 paraphrased. Your feedback is welcome to improve the content of this article Baarakallaahu Feekum]
[Ref 2: Fataawaa Noor Alad Darb 728]
[Ref 3: Audio link with transcript http://www.binbaz.org.sa/noor/11853 [NB: This is a general Fatwa, therefore married should ask the scholars about their specific circumstances, in order to receive specific ruling related to their situation].
[Ref 4: https://binbaz.org.sa/fatwas/28863/%D9%87%D9%84-%D8%B9%D9%85%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A9-%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%BA%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D8%AD%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%A9-%D9%8A%D9%83%D9%88%D9%86-%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%87%D9%88%D9%89. paraphrased]
[Ref 5: Source: Al-Mindhaar Fee Bayaani Katheer Minal Akhtaa Ash-shaa’i’ah 112-113]
[Ref 6: Source: Sil-silatu Mu-allifaat Fadheelatus Sheikh No: 7. page: 43-44]
[Ref 7: Fataawaa Al-Lajnah Ad-Daa’imah 12/169]
[Ref 8: Ṣaḥeeh Muslim 1844]
[Ref 9: Sharh Saheeh Muslim Vol 12/196]