Not open for further replies.


Islamic Medicine
Staff member
By Prof. Hassan Hathout

Unfortunately some marriages are barren. Some cases of infertility do respond to medical treatment, while others are not, and remain infertile all in accordance with God's plan:

"To God belongs the dominion of heavens and earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows females upon whom He wills and bestows the males upon whom He wills. Or He couples them in males and females and He leaves barren whom He wills. For He is All-Knowledgeable All-Powerful." (42:49-50)

To have a progeny is a great blessing from God. The pursual of a remedy for infertility is therefore quite legitimate and should not be considered as rebellion against the fate decreed by God. Prophets of God who were childless encessantly asked their Lord to give rhem children, and the Quran tells us time and again about the keen prayers of Abraham and of Zakaria in this respect.

'This is a recital of the mercy of your Lord to His servant Zakariya. Behold! He cried to his Lord in secret praying: O my Lord infirm indeed are my bones and the hair of my head does glisten with whiteness but never am I unblest, my Lord, in my prayer to you. Now I fear what my relatives (and colleagues) (will do) after me: But my wife is barren so give me an heir as from yourself (One that) will (truly) represent me and represent the posterity of Jacob and make him, my Lord, one"with whom You are pleased (His prayer was answered). O, Zakariya We give you good news of a son: His name shall be Yahia. on none by that name have We conferred distinction before." (19:2-7)

In another verse the Quran makes another reference to Zakariya:

"And (remember) Zakariya, when he cried to his Lord: 0, my Lord! Leave me not without offspring though You are the best of inheritors. So We listened to him, and We granted him Yahya. We cured his wife's (barrenness) for him. These (three) were ever quick in emulation in good works. They used to call on Us with love and reverance, and humble themselves before Us." (21 :89-90).

Sarrah, the wife of Abraham, remained barren for a long time during which she convinced her husband to take Hagar who begot Ismail for him. When she was well into old age she was rewarded. The angels visiting them brought her in advance the happy news of she begetting Isaac and she was thrilled for the surprise:

"(When his angel guests did not eat), he (Abraham) conceived a fear of them. They said: fear not. And they gave him glad tidings of a son endowed with knowledge. But his wife came forward (laughing) aloud: she smote her forehead and said: a barren old woman! They said: Even though, has your Lord spoken and He is full of wisdom and knowledge." (51:28-39)

If it is legitimate to yearn for something and ask God for it, it is without doubt as legitimate to pursue every legitimate means that might fulfil it. Attempts to cure infertility are therefore not only permissible, but are even a duty so that a couple may contribute to the preservation of the race and supplying society with useful human elements to take their place in the future generation. But the treatment of infertility should by no means trespass outside legitimacy as ordained by God. Modern times, however, have witnessed a progressive degree of Godlessness and heedlessness of his prescribed ways. Large segments of humanity have prescribed to atheism, and those who acknowledge God deny him being in control of their lives. In our age of scientific growth and spiritual atrophy, science is inclined to be self-worshiping and scientists wish to send whatever can be done into the arena of widespread application, without scrutiny or heed to the far-reaching moral and spiritual consequences. Amongst the sequelae is a real threat to the very existence of the family institution. since it has become possible to remove sex out of marriage and to remove reproduction out of marriage. Modern reproductive techniques have been devised, and as far as they solve the problem of many barren marriages they have to be praised and saluted, but the expansion of their application put them in conflict with Isiamic principles in some situations as we hope to point out in this review.
Not open for further replies.