[Editor's Note: This is a reply to an article by Mr Edip Yuksel called "Abortion is Murder if......" in which the author expressed his opinion that abortion should be permitted in the first three months of pregnancy.]
[4:60] Have you noted those who claim that they believe in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you, then uphold the unjust laws of their idols? They were commanded to reject such laws. Indeed, it is the devil's wish to lead them far astray.
The abortion issue has always been a hot topic. For the last 1400 years, the majority of the Muslims were misled by their scholars into believing that abortion in the first three months of pregnancy is permissible. While disregarding the clear orders in the Quran, these Muslims built their conclusion on fabricated hadiths. Some of these hadiths claimed that the soul of the fetus does not enter the body until the fourth month of gestation and therefore killing the fetus is permissible.
It was God’s blessing that we were guided back to the Quran by the messenger of the covenant who strongly refused the fabricated hadiths and clearly indicated that the Quran certainly condemns the killing of both the born and the unborn children.
As we learned from history, after the departure of every messenger, some people will distort the message and confuse the others. Now we hear the call to go back to the laws of ignorance and allow the killing of the unborn children during the first three months of pregnancy. This call comes from those who are confused, misled, misinformed and misguided.
[6:140] Losers indeed are those who killed their children foolishly, due to their lack of knowledge, and prohibited what God has provided for them, and followed innovations attributed to God. They have gone astray; they are not guided.
Abortion, what is it?
Webster’s dictionary defines abortion as the expulsion of a non-viable fetus during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Remember that, in the abortion performed today, the abortionists induce the expulsion of a viable fetus, or in other terms kill the living fetus to bring him/her down. What is the stand of the Quran on the abortion issue? Let us find out.
Quran, the first revelation:
The believers know that every word, letter, name, number and gesture in the Quran is chosen deliberately. It should not surprise us to find out that the name God chose for the first revelation of the Quran, was not Muhammed, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, The Sun, the Moon, the Iron, the winds, the stars, the night, the people, or the Jinn..etc. The name God chose for His first revelation was "The hanging embryo", Sura 96. This hanging embryo stage starts about 6 days after the fertilization of the ovum, not after three months of pregnancy. How significant or insignificant is this choice, it is up to you to ponder. Let us keep this in mind while studying the rest of the Quran that deals with this issue.
Killing the soul or the body!!
Some argued, on no basis but fabricated hadiths, that the fetus in the first four months do not have a soul yet and therefore it is permissible to kill him/her. They do not realize that the soul has nothing to do with abortion. In abortion you are dealing with the physical body and its life, you are destroying the physical body of the fetus not the soul. We cannot kill the soul even if we try. Whether the soul entered the fetus body in the first minute of life or after four months of pregnancy is irrelevant to the abortion issue.
Killing any person is strongly condemned in the Quran. God has made life sacred. Killing the children is specifically condemned as they are the helpless victims in every society.
[17:33] You shall not kill any person - for God has made life sacred - except in the course of justice. If one is killed unjustly, then we give his heir authority to enforce justice. Thus, he shall not exceed the limits in avenging the murder, he will be helped.
[17:31] You shall not kill your children due to fear of poverty. We provide for them, as well as for you. Killing them is a gross offense.
[6:151] Say, "Come let me tell you what your Lord has really prohibited for you: You shall not set up idols besides Him. You shall honor your parents. You shall not kill your children from fear of poverty - we provide for you and for them. You shall not commit gross sins, obvious or hidden. You shall not kill - God has made life sacred - except in the course of justice. These are His commandments to you, that you may understand."
What does the word "Children" in the verse include ?. This word "Children" is the translation of the Arabic word "Awlad". "Do not kill your (Awlad) children..".
One author of an abortion article claims that, the Webster’s dictionary defines a child as "Young human being" which is true but is also half the truth. The dictionary also defines a child as " the unborn or recently born person". That author used this half truth to support his opinion that killing the unborn children is not covered by these verse, 17:33 and 6:151
Again the same author has been misinforming the reader by claiming that the word "Awlad (Children)" and "Walad (Child)" in Arabic are used ONLY for the born children. He concludes that the order in 71:31 and 6:151 applies only to the killing of born children.
The truth of the matter is that both the words, Children in English and Awlad in Arabic are used for both the born and unborn children in their prospective languages. The order in 17:33 and 6:151 applies to both born and unborn children.
A simple and extra effort by that author would have saved him and those who believed him the big confusion. The Arabic dictionaries describe the unborn child as "Walad in the mother’s womb". The born child in Arabic is called "Maolood". "Walad" in Arabic like the word child in English can be used for both the born and the unborn. Although the word "Walad" is derived from the root "Walada" (to give birth), it does not mean that "Walad" has to be born but rather related to the process of birth. The word "Walid" in Arabic is used for father, only because he was a partner in causing this birth to happen and not because he was born or gives birth. God used the word Maolood in the Quran, (31:33). Had God willed, he could have said, "Do not kill your Maoloods" (born children) to specify this category of children.
In 17:31 and 6:151, God is ordering us, not to kill the born or the unborn children.
God cares about the first three months of pregnancy:
The sincere student of the Quran will find out that God is telling us in 2:226 and 65:4 that the first three months of pregnancy are so important that a divorced woman will have to change her life plan if she found herself pregnant. The matter is no more of her own concern, but it is God’s concern. God’s concern is for the pregnancy and specifically for these first few months of pregnancy. Women who get divorced have an interim of three months before getting married again. This is done MAINLY to see if they are pregnant or not. God then orders them to forget their own wishes and plans and respect the new life created in their wombs. If the first three months of pregnancy were not important God would have told these women not to wait and to have abortion and keep their life plans as they wish. If a married woman get divorced before having a full marital relationship with her husband, she dose not have to wait for three months, 33:49. She would have no interim. Since there is no chance of her being pregnant , the matter is only of her concern.
God cares about the whole three months of early pregnancy as much as we can see from the Quran’s treatment of the divorce cases. God named his first revelation after the hanging embryo, not by accident. This hanging embryo, is a stage that starts in 6 days after the fertilization of the ovum.
The New Creature:
[23:14] Then we developed the drop into a hanging (embryo), then developed the hanging (embryo) into a bite-size (fetus), then created the bite-size (fetus) into bones, then covered the bones with flesh. We thus produce a new creature. Most blessed is God, the best Creator.
In verse 23:14, God described the creation of the human being from a tiny drop until he produced a new creature. The advocates of abortion in the first three months of pregnancy, consider the way God described the production of a new creature in this verse (by using the Arabic word Anshaa`) as their proof of the time when the soul joins the body of the fetus. On this basis, they claim that it is OK to kill the fetus before that, since he/she does not have a soul. They are missing many points here. First, abortion has nothing to do with the soul as we explained before. In abortion you kill the physical body of the fetus. You do not and cannot kill the soul. Therefore the time the soul joins the physical body is not important and irrelevant, and God never elaborated on it in the Quran. Second, the word (Anshaa`), in 23:14, is used exclusively in the Quran for the production or construction of a physical being, human or non-human, e.g. the humans, the trees, the clouds, communities..etc. Please see 23:14,19,31,42; 6:141; 11:61 and 53:32. This word (Anshaa`) or its derivatives have never been used by God in the Quran to describe anything that has to do with the soul. To assure the believers, God used another word (Nafakha) repeatedly to describe the joining of the soul and the physical body. See 3:49, 5:110. 15:29, 21:91, 32:9, 39:72 and 66:12.
The use of the word (Anshaa`) to describe the new creature is referring to the physical body of the developing fetus and not to the soul. The fetus will look completely different then, compared with the way it started as a tiny drop. Check any embryology book to appreciate this vast difference.
Note also that God used the word (Anshaa`) four times in sura 23, to give the sincere believer the clue he/she needs.
Abusing the Quran and the Mathematics:
Abusing verses 31:14, 46:15 and 2:233, the author of an article about abortion claims that the last six months of pregnancy are the only important months in the life of the unborn child and therefore it should be permissible to kill the child in the first three months of pregnancy.
Let us study these two verses. Verse 46:15 tells us that the total period for both pregnancy and nursing is 30 months. We know that this is an average estimate and the verse does not define which part of these 30 month is the pregnancy and which is the nursing time. Verse 2:233 tells us that nursing the newborn can be extended as long as two years for those who want to continue nursing. It does not define nursing as obligatory 24 months. It does not say nursing for two months, three months or 20 months is not permitted. In other words the period of nursing is maximum of 24 months but can be as short as one day.
Making an equation from these numbers, the author of the abortion article claimed:
He concluded that only 6 months of the pregnancy period are important and they have to be the last 6 months.
Any one who does not realize that the two numbers in the above equation are variables will be easily deceived. You cannot deduct one variable from another and come up with a fixed number. To make such a serious conclusion from this false equation is a sign of misguidance.
More to our surprise, was that the author concluded that it is the last 6 months (not the first 6 months) of pregnancy that are the important ones. Without any equations or calculations, any intelligent human being can realize that children born after only 6 months of pregnancy can survive and live to be mature adults. Children born after 6 months only of pregnancy can be nursed up to 24 months to complete the 30 months if they need to. Children born after 7,8 or 9 months may need less nursing time as we all know. If we are to make any conclusion from the above numbers we should know that, God is showing us that the first and not the last six months of the pregnancy are the important months for the life of a healthy child. To have it backward is a clear sign of confusion. The above equation is wrong, misleading and inappropriate.
[31:14] We enjoined the human being to honor his parents. His mother bore him, and the load got heavier and heavier. It takes two years (of intensive care) until weaning. You shall be appreciative of Me, and of your parents. To Me is the ultimate destiny.
This expression "up to" (fee)(in Arabic) or "within" has been missed by those who do not understand Arabic. The word (fee) in Arabic can be used for place or time, if used for a place it will mean "in" and if used for time it will mean "within".
The confirmation of this period comes from God In 2:233 when God teaches us that mothers shall nurse their Infants two full years if the father so wishes. Which also means if the father has no objection, the mother can nurse them any period of time shorter than or longer than two years.
Which, What, Who, or Whom:
A question was raised about the use of the Arabic pronoun "Ma" in the Quran to describe the unborn child. The writer tried to imply that "Ma" which is translated as "What" or "which" as used in (2:228) and (3:35) signify that an unborn child is a non-person. While this typically demonstrates to us what God means in verse 3:7, it clearly reflects how God can control the teaching of the Quran as stated in 55:1-2. The use of the pronoun "Ma" has no significance regarding whether the unborn child is a real person or a nonperson. First in (2:228), God states that He knows what He created in the womb, and this covers the whole period of pregnancy, whether the unborn child is one month or nine months old. It does not make a difference, age wise. Second in (3:35) the use of the word "Ma" again carry the same meaning as in (2:228). God clarifies this more in the next verse (3:36) when God uses the same pronoun "Ma" for the born child "God was fully aware of what she bore". It is more interesting to see that verse (22:2) was used twice in arguing the abortion issue but the author failed twice to recognize the simple "Ma" that God used in that verse for the nursing infant. So, "Ma" has been used in the Quran for born and unborn child without discrimination. To imply that God used the word (MA) for the unborn child because of the insignificance of the fetus is naive and dangerous especially when added to the ignorance of the author with the proper Arabic language.
A question to produce confusion among the people is as innocent as the wolf denying his preying on the little lamb while his teeth are still stained with his blood.
No description of a misfortune surpasses God's revelation In (63:1-3).
[63:1] When the hypocrites come to you they say, "We bear witness that you are the messenger of God."* God knows that you are His messenger, and God bears witness that the hypocrites are liars.
[63:2] Under the guise of their apparent faith, they repel the people from the path of God. Miserable indeed is what they do.
[63:3] This is because they believed, then disbelieved. Hence, their minds are blocked; they do not understand.
The misfortunate person has to be the person who is following his own ego. In (45:23). God warns us:
[45:23] Have you noted the one whose god is his ego? Consequently, God sends him astray, despite his knowledge, seals his hearing and his mind, and places a veil on his eyes. Who then can guide him, after such a decision by God? Would you not take heed?
As we all know, every rule has an exception including the religious laws. After all attempts are made to save both the mother and the unborn child, and under unusual situations, abortion may be allowed to save the mother’s life. This is permitted, not only during the first three months of pregnancy, but during any time during the pregnancy. Cases of rape have no place in this discussion. Women who are victims of rape have enough time (as much as 6 days) to use available medical treatments to avoid any possible pregnancy. If the rape victim waited until she finds out that she is pregnant, it is too late and she has no excuse to kill the child created in her womb.
- Quran condemns the killing of born and unborn children (6:151, 17:31, 6:140, 60:12), i.e. abortion is murder.
- The messengers of God deliver the message, they do not distort it.(3:20, 5:92, 5:99….)
- History repeats itself. The followers of the messenger are the ones who usually distort the message. Their excuse has been, "our intentions were honorable and righteous". (61:4)
- All claims of religious knowledge should be subjected to the utmost scrutiny to avoid falling in the same trap of previous generations, (17:36).
- Knowledgeable people recognize their mistakes (7:23). ignorant people by mistake, recognize their knowledge (7:30, 19:104, 59:18).