Please can you explain the Islamic ruling on sterilizing oneself? I have read that it is against the Shari’ah to sterilize oneself, except for health reasons, as it in conflict with the power of Allah.
I tend to agree with those who consider sterilization as something that should be avoided, except for reasons of health. However, your stated basis of the opinion (i.e. “such an act conflicts with the power of Allah”) is quite strange. I really do not think that any thing or any action of a creation of God, whether in the earth or anywhere else in the vast universe, is, or can be, in conflict with God’s powers. As I see it, God – the Omnipotent – has the power to stop all such things, which, in any way, conflict with His powers.
My basis of not approving sterilization is that such an act is an interference in and an alteration of the physical and biological nature of man. Such interference and alteration in nature is not recommended by the Shari’ah. The Shari’ah directs man to conformity with his physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual nature. This conformity with one’s divinely induced nature is, in fact, one of the basic requirements in the cleansing of his mind, body and soul, which, in turn, is an essential requirement for qualifying for the everlasting bliss of paradise. It is for this reason that I hold all such acts, which amount to an interference in and an alteration of the nature of man to be against the spirit of the directives of the Shari’ah and should, therefore, be avoided, except under such circumstances where it becomes necessary and unavoidable.
Sterilization is, generally resorted to for avoiding conception of a child. I would recommend that for avoiding conception of a child, any other method, which does not entail permanent incapacitation of a man (or a woman) from the biological potential of conceiving and giving birth to a child may be adopted. Furthermore, in view of the absolute lack of knowledge about the unknown future, it would seem more prudent that a person should avoid all such actions, which permanently incapacitate him from any of his natural powers and abilities. We do not know what future has in store for us. Our actions today may permanently deprive us of the ability to fulfill our, yet unknown, desires in the future1.
However, it should remain clear that the above is not an explanation of any express directive of the Shari’ah. My opinion, in this regard, is a derivation, based on my understanding of the spirit entailed in the directives of the Shari’ah, rather than on any of its express directives with particular reference to sterilization. In fact, there is not express directive regarding the allowance or the prohibition of sterilization in the Shari’ah.
September 21, 2000
- The Encyclopedia Britannica writes:
Because a sterilized individual may at some point desire restored fertility, the chief drawback of sterilization as a contraceptive means has been its irreversibility. Using microsurgical techniques developed in the 1970s, some tubal closures have been reversed, but the procedure is difficult and expensive. It has had only limited success at restoring fertility, because other damage associated with the original sterilization may prevent successful conception. Surgical reversal of vasectomy has been somewhat more successful, achieving success about 80 percent of the time, but the conception rate following such reversal remains low (Sterilization). [↩]