Contraception in Islam: ‘Azl – The lesser known Approved Sunnah

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Contraception in Islam: ‘Azl – The lesser known Approved Sunnah

‘Azl, or ‘Coitus Interruptus’, or ‘The Withdrawal Method’, or ‘The Pull-out Method’ is a form of contraception.

Islam allows a couple to use contraceptives if they want to maintain a gap among their children.

‘Azl is a recommended form of the birth control technique. It means that a man withdraws his organ just before ejaculation, so as to prevent his liquid from entering into the vagina, in order to prevent fertilisation.

وَحَدَّثَنِي أَبُو غَسَّانَ الْمِسْمَعِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا مُعَاذٌ، – يَعْنِي ابْنَ هِشَامٍ – حَدَّثَنِي أَبِي، عَنْ أَبِي الزُّبَيْرِ، عَنْ جَابِرٍ، قَالَ كُنَّا نَعْزِلُ عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَبَلَغَ ذَلِكَ نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَلَمْ يَنْهَنَا ‏.‏

Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) reported:
We used to practise ‘azl during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (S). This (the news of this practise) reached Allah’s Apostle (S), and he did not forbid us. [Sahih Muslim: 1440]

Just like any other kind of contraceptive, it requires mutual consent of both the partners, especially the woman as it prevents her from achieving an orgasm. Moreover, both the husband and wife have the right to pleasure and the right to have children.

Enlisted below are the pros and cons of ‘Azl.

1. No side effects.
2. No risk to health.
3. No hormonal disturbances.
4. No need to keep a track of the monthly cycle.
5. Will not disturb the monthly cycle.
6. Free. Doesn’t require any tool.
7. Requires no pre-planning.
8. Can be practised without a prescription or medical consultation.
9. Provides no barrier to stimulation, unlike condoms.
10. Can be more effective if combined with the calendar method (FAM -Fertility Awareness method).

1. Requires self-control and strong willpower.
2. Not 100% effective (as there can be a discharge just before pulling out).
3. The man needs to be conscious and alert for withdrawal.
4. Reduces the pleasure of woman as the climax is not reached.
5. Will not be acknowledged in the initial years of marriage.
6. Can lead to frustration.
7. Recommended for the woman to get up and immediately wash out her vagina well, to remove traces, if any.
8. Not effective if a man suffers from premature ejaculation.
9. No role of the woman as she needs to trust the man completely.
10. Cannot be practised for longer periods of time.

Our jurists allow us to adopt this method based on the Hadith mentioned above.
But we all should keep in mind that Allah SWT has given us methods to approach (tadbeer) but surely the final decision (takbeer) is destined by Him alone.

It should, however, be kept in mind that, if Allah decrees that a child should be born, conception will take place despite human efforts in trying to stop the same.

Hence we can plan, but whenever our planning fails, we should learn to trust and accept Allah’s decision.

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