🔍 Understanding ISQĀT̤ (اسقاط‎): The 🕌 Islamic Perspectives on Abortion

Dive into the complex issue of Isqāṭ̤ (اسقاط‎), the Islamic term for abortion. Examine the theological, ethical, and cultural dimensions surrounding this topic within the framework of Islamic law and society.

🔍 Understanding ISQĀT̤ (اسقاط‎): The 🕌 Islamic Perspectives on Abortion

Comprehensive Definition

Isqāṭ̤ (Arabic: اسقاط‎) refers to the deliberate termination of a pregnancy, commonly known in English as abortion. In Islamic discourse, this term encompasses both spontaneous and induced terminations, with distinct ethical and legal implications for each scenario as per Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh).


The word Isqāṭ̤ derives from the Arabic root ‘س-ق-ط’ (s-q-ṭ), which generally means “to drop” or “to fall.” The usage of this term in Islamic theological texts underscores the concept of a “falling” or “dropping” of the pregnancy.


Discussions surrounding Isqāṭ̤ are deeply embedded within the Islamic ethical and legal framework known as Sharia. Islam’s principal sources, the Qurʾān and Hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad), guide the jurists in formulating rulings about the permissibility, conditions, and ethical considerations inherent in abortion. Opinions generally fall into the spectrum of strict prohibition to conditional permissibility depending on the gestational stages and circumstances.

Cultural Differences and Similarities


  • In many Islamic traditions, abortion is deeply interwoven with moral considerations similar to major world religions such as Christianity and Judaism, which also adopt various stances depending on interpretation.


  • Cultural nuances significantly impact the interpretation within different Islamic schools of thought. For instance, the Hanafi, Shafi’i, Hanbali, and Maliki schools may diverge in their rulings concerning the permissibility, conditions, and gestational limits of abortion.


  • Iṭlāaq (إطلاق)
  • Ifṭal (قتل)


  • Wilādat (ولادة) - Birth
  • Hayat (حياة) - Life


Islamic jurisprudence, crucial for understanding the legal discussions surrounding the permissibility and exceptions for Isqāṭ̤.


The broader Islamic legal and ethical framework encompassing rulings about abortion.

Exciting Facts

  1. Consensus and Divergence: While the general consensus emphasizes the sanctity of life, there is notable divergence concerning permitted exceptions, such as threats to the mother’s life or cases of severe fetal anomalies.
  2. Historical Insights: Islamic scholars as early as the Middle Ages fervently debated these issues, emphasizing a long history of nuanced legal and ethical thought.
  3. Modern Relevance: The discussions continue to evolve with advancements in medical science and shifts in societal values worldwide.

Quotations from Notable Writers

  • “Islamic law, as derived from divine revelation and the example of the Prophet, strives to weigh the moral complexities of abortion, reflecting respect for life while considering the nuances of mercy.” - Amina Wadud

Suggested Literature for Further Studies and Inspiration

  1. “Islamic Ethics: A Sourcebook” by Tariq Ramadan
    • A comprehensive guide to understanding the foundational ethical principles of Islam.
  2. “Contemporary Islamic Bioethics” by Abdulaziz Sachedina
    • Explores modern bioethical issues, including abortion, within an Islamic framework.
  3. “The Holy Qurʾān and Modern Science” by Maurice Bucaille
    • Provides insights into how modern scientific questions, including bioethics, are addressed by Islamic teachings.
### True or False: _Isqāṭ̤_ in Islam refers solely to induced abortion. - [ ] True - [x] False > **Explanation:** _Isqāṭ̤_ encompasses both spontaneous (miscarriage) and induced abortions. ### Which Islamic legal school is known for having the most restrictive views on abortion? - [x] Maliki - [ ] Hanafi - [ ] Shafi'i - [ ] Hanbali > **Explanation:** The Maliki school is typically the most restrictive, generally prohibiting abortion altogether. ### In which source can the permissibility and conditions of _Isqāṭ̤_ primarily be found? - [ ] The Torah - [x] The Qurʾān and Hadith - [ ] The Vedas - [ ] Tripitaka > **Explanation:** Islamic rulings on abortion are primarily derived from the Qurʾān and Hadith. ### Up to which gestational period do some schools of thought in Islam permit abortion under specific conditions? - [ ] 20 days - [ ] 50 days - [x] 120 days - [ ] 150 days > **Explanation:** Certain Islamic schools permit abortion up to 120 days under specific conditions, based on the concept of _ensoulment_. ### Under Islamic law, when is abortion generally deemed permissible? - [ ] When the mother wishes - [ ] Never under any circumstances - [x] If the mother's life is in danger - [ ] At any time before ensoulment > **Explanation:** Most Islamic schools permit it if continuing the pregnancy endangers the mother's life. ### True or False: The concept of _ensoulment_ plays no role in Islamic perspectives on abortion. - [ ] True - [x] False > **Explanation:** _Ensoulment_ (believed to occur at 120 days) plays a significant role in the ethical considerations by various scholars. ### The term _Isqāṭ̤_ (اسقاط‎) originates from which language? - [ ] Hebrew - [ ] Greek - [ ] Persian - [x] Arabic > **Explanation:** The term _Isqāṭ̤_ originates from the Arabic language. ### Abortion in Islam is: - [ ] Universally prohibited without exception - [x] Subject to different interpretations according to various schools of Islamic thought - [ ] Unconditionally allowed - [ ] Not addressed in Islamic texts > **Explanation:** Islamic law's perspective on abortion varies across different schools of thought, each providing specific conditions and limitations. ### Which profound principle is emphasized in Islamic rulings about abortion? - [] Individual autonomy - [] Financial implications - [x] Sanctity of life - [] Comfort and convenience > **Explanation:** The sanctity of life is a central principle emphasized in the Islamic ruling on abortion.

As you delve deeper into the complex etymology, cultural contexts, and ethical dimensions of Isqāṭ̤ (اسقاط‎), may your understanding enhance both your knowledge and empathy. This exploration not only broadens academic horizons but also cultivates a deeper appreciation of diverse human experiences and societal values.

Fatima Al-Mahdi
March 15, 2024

“The greatest wealth is to live content with little, for there is never want where the mind is satisfied.” - A rich thought to carry with you as you embark on your scholarly pursuits.

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Islamic Terms Lexicon

IslamicTermsLexicon.com is your ultimate resource for understanding the vast and intricate world of Islamic doctrines, rites, ceremonies, customs, and technical & theological terms. Our comprehensive dictionary provides thousands of terms in both English and Arabic, each with detailed definitions, authoritative references, and quizzes designed to sharpen your understanding and enhance your learning experience.

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