Current Legal Issues

Medical, Women and Reproduction

(Q.44) A physician examines a lady to determine whether or not she is infertile. He does not see any part of her body, apart from the position of inserting the instrument of examination, without touching her. Is this permissible, and is there a difference between the situation of "difficulty and necessity", on the part of the patient? Is it all right for the doctor to open a surgery for such purposes? And is the ruling different for examining a Muslim woman or an unbeliever?

The permissibility is the woman's prerogative. For instance, incapability of bearing children could lead to her facing haraj rafie' littakleef (an untenable situation that could waive the fulfilment of certain religious obligations). There may be a good reason forcing her to bear children. Should this be the case, it is permissible for the man-doctor and woman-doctor to gaze, only when the situation permits, though, it must be kept to the minimum. This is concerning Muslim women. As for the unbelievers, it is advisable to observe such detail in their case as a matter of Ihtiyat luzumi. Allah is All Knowing.

(Q.45) You mentioned in your risalah amaliyah (Articles of Islamic Acts - Manual) what could be summed up thus: it is not permissible for an alien man to look at the private parts of a woman and vice versa, even in situations of medical treatment, except when it is necessary. Does "necessity" cover the person, such as medical student who is on training?

It is not sufficient to lift [non-permissibility], unless, due to an emergency, even in the future, he could be required to save a Muslim from a grave danger.

(Q.46) Also, is the applicability of the definition of "necessity" sufficient to treat a psychological case? For example, a woman whose repeated pregnancy causes her to be psychologically unwell. The only way for her not to be pregnant is to install a coil in her womb. This sort of practice may require her to uncover her private parts to an alien man or woman.

It is not possible, unless pregnancy causes her psychological trauma which could lead to her experiencing haraj rafie' littakleef. It is, therefore permissible for her to uncover her private parts for the doctor (man or woman). That is, should there not be any other means of contraception that could do away with exposing the genitals.

(Q.47) Is it all right for an infertile woman [seeking medical treatment] to expose her genitals for treatment out of necessity?

A. It is all right if there was a necessity forcing her to beget children, or being infertile may lead her to fall into haraj rafie' littakleef.

(Q.48) In certain cases doctors advise that the foetus is so deformed that it could be very difficult to treat the born baby and, perhaps, it (the child) would live a very short time suffering pain and agony with his parents, then dies. Is it permissible for the would be mother to abort the foetus? Also, is there any difference between the foetus with a spirit and that which the spirit has not yet entered it? Assuming it is permissible, should compensation [or blood money] be payable? Who should pay it?

Abortion in this case is not permissible, even though the spirit has not entered the foetus, [let alone a foetus with a spirit].

(Q.49) Is it permissible for a woman or a husband to carry out an operation of birth control so much so that they will never be able to reproduce, after they have felt that the number of children they have had is enough? If it is not possible, will the ruling be different when both man and wife live in an Islamic state that encourages birth control for the public good?

It is not free from Ishkal;
it might, however, be permissible should it not constitute any danger, leading, for instance, to removing some organs like the ovaries of the woman. Allah is All Knowing.

(Q.50) For an infertile man, the doctor requires a specimen of his sperm to be tested to determine the cause of infertility. To obtain sperm, a special instrument is placed on the male organ. As a result of vibration, ejaculation is achieved. Does this constitute masturbation, which is not permissible, or is it permissible so that the test could be done? Also, is there a difference between the two situations of "difficulty and necessity" insofar as the patient is concerned?

Yes, it is akin to masturbation. Thus, it is not permissible, if the test can be carried out without it. The same goes for the test being contingent upon the specimen, except for the situations of (difficulty and necessity), as the question may suggest. Allah is All Knowing.

(Q.51) Sperm was taken from a husband to be implanted in his wife's womb. Afterwards the husband died. The sperm was implanted in the womb of his widow. A male baby was born to the widow. What is the ruling on the born child and inheritance?

The born child is the offspring of the husband, from whom the sperm was taken. As for the inheritance, the child shall not inherit the father.

(Q.52) Some women use certain pills to delay the onset of their monthly period so that they be able to perform their religious obligations, such as fasting and hajj rituals. These pills upset the equilibrium of hormones in the body, which in turn affect the period, rendering it irregular, so much so that the duration, when the woman is tahir, is some ten days or more or slightly less. It is worth noting that the type of blood, of menstruation during this time, is identical to that which the woman witnesses during her regular period. What is the ruling on this matter?

If the number of days of her being tahir is ten days or more, the blood that appears before this duration and that which follows it should be treated as two separate haydh (menstruation). Should the duration of being tahir be less than ten days, and the total of the two bloods and the intervening tahir duration are more than ten days, the blood that coincides with the days of the period, not the other one, is considered haydh, the other istihadha (undue menses), as a matter of course, except when that which is in the period is ahead, and the second blood bears the characteristics of haydh. In this case the part which is not exceeding ten days is allotted to the first haydh, even if it does not coincide with the days of period and the woman not being of an irregular period. If any one of them fulfils the conditions of period, she must consider the one that does as haydh and the other, that does not, istihadha. If both are equal, the inclination is to make the first haydh, irrespective whether or not the two demonstrate the signs of haydh. Allah is All Knowing.

(Q.53) Some women take certain medication to delay their monthly period, especially during Ramadhan and hajj. However, in some cases intermittent blood appears during their period time. This blood does not have the same characteristics of haydh. It is noteworthy that if they abandon taking such medication, haydh will ensure some three days after its usual time; what is the ruling in this case?

As the question goes, haydh rules do not cover such intermittent blood. Allah is All Knowing.

(Q.54) If a woman has a slight or medium istihadha, would it be necessary that she renews her (wudhu) ablution between the two prayers, even though blood did not appear during the said period? Also what is the ruling on tawaf and its prayer?

Wudhu is not compulsory, assuming the discharge has stopped, so much so that it does not soil the towel.

(Q.55) A woman has an irregular monthly period. Intermittent blood appeared, that had no resemblance to haydh blood for two or three days at the time of her period. Then she saw blood, that has the characteristics of haydh, for five days, making a total of seven days. What is the ruling in her case?

The intermittent blood should not count as haydh, for the minimum period of haydh is three days. As for the blood, she had, in the five days, it is haydh.

(Q.56) A woman has regular monthly period and the menstrual discharge had ended and she became tahir in the seventh day. Her husband went to bed with her. Afterwards discharge reappeared and continued until the tenth day. Is she sinful? If so, is kaffarah due?

No sin shall be upon her and no kaffarah is required. Allah is All Knowing.

(Q.57) Is it permissible for the husband to go to bed with his wife after the expiration of her nifas (bleeding that occurs after childbirth, miscarriage, or abortion), which is ten days, and the continuation of discharge of an istihadha type, noting that bleeding continued for some eighteen days?

It is permissible. It is advisable, though, to observe ihtiyat for the period in excess of ten days to eighteen days.

(Q.58) Is the definition of nifas applicable to the woman going into labour and eventually giving birth to her full blown baby? Does it cover other kinds of childbirth, such as premature babies and foetal (including clot and lump of flesh) miscarriage, irrespective of whether or not the spirit has entered the foetus?

There is no difference in applying nifas rules between giving birth to mature or immature baby, provided that it can be said that the woman went into labour and eventually gave birth to the baby. As for blood accompanying the embryo or lump of flesh, there is ishkal in applying the rules of nifas to it, rather objection.

(Q.59) Does any secretion of a woman resulting from sexual arousal require ghusl (obligatory ceremonial bathing that is required after certain acts or occurrences)? Does it have certain qualities as described by some ulema. If so, would her ghusl make up for wudhu?

Ghusl is obligatory when secretion is produced as a result of sexual arousal only, and not for any other reasons. Such ghusl would compensate for wudhu. Allah is All Knowing.