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Abortion in Muslim Countries 2024

There are over two billion Muslims in the world. Over half of the Muslim population are women. Religious and cultural views dictate how Muslim women carry themselves daily. A dilemma for many is the Muslim perspective on abortion.

Muslim Views on Abortion

Legal commentators, religious experts, and the Hadith shape the Muslim outlook on abortion.

The Quran, however, remains impartial on the topic. Ironically, there’s no known information where the Muslim holy book addresses abortion. Therefore, individual Muslim countries are free to create discreet laws on abortion.

No Muslim country openly supports abortion. However, there are isolated instances where abortion is permitted in Islam.

When Abortion is Allowed

While there are varying opinions from one Muslim country to another, there’s a set of considerations that Islam women across the board can be allowed to have an abortion. They include:

Before Ensoulment

Muslims believe that the soul does not enter the body of a fetus until 120 days are over. Therefore, this is when ensoulment occurs.

If the woman has been pregnant for over four months, abortion is not permitted. Aborting a fetus that has passed the four-month gestational period is shied upon in Islam and is viewed as murder. One that attracts a penalty in this life and the afterlife.

Abortion, in this case, should only happen if there’s a valid reason why the woman must terminate the pregnancy.

If the Mother’s Life is at Risk

Owing to varying medical reasons, pregnancy can pose a serious threat to the mother’s life. If the mother is diagnosed with health issues such as gestational diabetes, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, genital tract infections, etc., abortion is permitted.

All Muslims agree that the mother’s life is far more important than the fetus’. She is the source of life. Therefore, when the decision has to be made to either keep the child or the mother alive, the mother’s life is saved.

While death is generally considered evil, Muslims view a mother’s death as a greater evil than an unborn child. If it’s medically proven that the mother’s life is at risk, abortion is allowed.


Muslim scholars are vocal about whether abortion is sinful if the woman has conceived after rape. Some say that a child conceived through rape remains legitimate, and their life shouldn’t be cut short.

A child conceived after rape is unplanned and unwanted. Some Muslim countries deem it unlawful should one or both parents vote to abort the pregnancy. However, most Muslim countries understand the disgrace and torment that awaits a mother who conceived from rape and thus permit abortion. A child born from rape is the same as a child born from adultery, better known in Islam as ‘Walad zina.’ If the child is born, they’ll become low members of society.

Fetal Deformity

Sunni Muslims agree that abortion is allowed if the newborn is sick or shows signs of mental handicap and extensive deformities. Most Muslim countries understand the mother's burden to bear caring for that child.

If there’s medical proof that the fetus has an untreatable condition or is grossly malformed, abortion is allowed. The sole decision to terminate the pregnancy, in this case, is left to the mother and a committee of physicians. Note that according to Muslim laws, this decision can only be made if the fetus is less than four months old.

  • Table codes are as follows:
  • F = In case of fetal impairement
  • L = To save the life of the mother
  • I/R = In case of incest or rape
  • MH = To preserve the mother's mental health
  • PH = To preserve the mother's physical health
  • UR = Upon request

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Does Islam allow birth control?

Birth control is allowed in Islam, but it cannot be used as a permanent way to prevent someone from having children.

Frequently Asked Questions