Post natal depression and pregnancy

Asalamu alaykum. Me and my wife have been blessed with 3 boys Alhamdulillah. The youngest is around 9 months old and my wife is breastfeeding as she has done so with the others. After having our 3rd child my wife has been very ill and been diagnosed with post natal depression. It has been very severe and included attempts at self harm and intentional overdose. She may now be pregnant has not been confirmed yet. But due to the circumstances I am not sure how she will cope should she be pregnant and worried about her health with her current condition. Under these circumstances will a termination be allowed? Alhamdulillah we have no concerns over raising another child, costs etc ... I am just really worried about the health of my wife.


بسم الله والحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

Wa 'alaykumus Salâm

Firstly, it is important to realise and appreciate the sanctity of life and how each human has been honoured and has a status:

"And We have certainly honoured the children of Adam ... and preferred them over much of what We have created, with preference." [1]

To kill a human is an abominable act and akin to killing the entire mankind:

"...whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption in the land - it is as if he had killed the entire mankind" [2]

The soul/life is entered into the foetus after 120 days, therefore it is a live, human being after that period of time.

"Each one of you collected in the womb of his mother for forty days, and then turns into a clot for an equal/similar period (of forty days) and turns into a piece of flesh for a similar period (of forty days) and then Allah sends an angel and the soul is breathed into him" [3]

Abortion is, therefore, not permissible under any circumstance after 120 days. It would be equivalent to infanticide which was prevalent in pre-Islam Arabia:

"And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked for what sin she was killed" [4]

It is also not permissible within 120 days except in extreme circumstances. In your case, it would require diagnosis from a reliable, competent, practising Muslim doctor to determine and be certain or almost certain of irreversible, incurable damage to your wife's mental health[5]. In that scenario, it would be permissible to terminate within 120 days, otherwise not.

If your wife is indeed pregnant and is not diagnosed in the manner described above, here are some suggestions:

  • Reduce/replace breastfeeding or have someone else breastfeed the youngest child
  • Make her free from any/all housework to make things easier for her
  • Offer plenty of moral support/help and be patient with her

May Allâh make it easy for you and grant 'âfiyah

And Allâh knows best

Answered by (Abu Yousuf) M. Suhail

[1] ولقد كرمنا بنى اٰدم وحملنٰهم فى البر والبحر ورزقنٰهم من الطيبٰت وفضلنٰهم علىٰ كثير ممن خلقنا تفضيلا Qur-ân 17:70
[2] من قتل نفسا بغير نفس أو فساد فى الأرض فكأنما قتل الناس جميعا Qur-ân 5:32
[3] إِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ يُجْمَعُ خَلْقُهُ فِي بَطْنِ أُمِّهِ أَرْبَعِينَ يَوْمًا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ فِي ذَلِكَ عَلَقَةً مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ ثُمَّ يَكُونُ فِي ذَلِكَ مُضْغَةً مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ ثُمَّ يُرْسَلُ الْمَلَكُ فَيَنْفُخُ فِيهِ الرُّوحَ [Bukhari, Muslim]
[4] وإذا الموؤدة سئلت بأى ذنب قتلت Qur-ân 81:8-9
[5](فاباحة الاسقاط محمولة على حالة العذر (رد المحتار, مطلب في اسقاط الحمل

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