Date : 21-07-2019

Question :

My mother was five-months pregnant. One day, she had colon problems and so we called the doctor. He did ask her about being pregnant or not, but she said that she wasn`t, so he gave her three injections. At dawn, she had a miscarriage. What is she liable for from an Islamic perspective?

The Answer :

Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds.

In principle, it is forbidden to abort a fetus, in any way, if life was breathed into it. The evidence on this is that Allah the Almighty says, "And that ye slay not the life which Allah hath made sacred, save in the course of justice"{Al-An`am, 151}. However, if the fetus represents an acknowledged risk factor to the mother`s life, then aborting it is permitted.

If the aggression against the fetus took place after it became one hundred and twenty days old, the aggressor is required to pay Al-Ghorah (The blood money for killing a fetus) and observe fast for two continuous months, in addition to having made sincere repentance to Almighty Allah for this grave sin. This is whether the aggressor was the mother herself or someone else and whether the abortion happened with or without her approval. In principle, the person doing the act of abortion is required to pay the Kafarah (Expiation).

However, since the mother framed the doctor by not disclosing her pregnancy, she is more liable than he is. Actually, concealing her pregnancy is tantamount to her approving the abortion. Therefore, the doctor is cleared from liability, but the mother is obligated to pay both the expiation and the blood money. Nevertheless, if the father waived his right to the blood money, then the mother isn`t liable for it, but she remains liable for the expiation.

The Hanafie book "Ad-Durr Al-Mokhtar Wa Hashiyat Ibn Abdeen, 6/591, states, " If the pregnant ordered a woman to hit her to make her abort the fetus, then that woman isn`t liable for the blood money nor the expiation." And Allah the Almighty knows best.