Deoband's latest fatwa: Abortion only on hakeem's advice

The Islamic seminary has ruled, "If a holy Muslim doctor advises that a woman is unable to bear birth pangs, then a less than three months old pregnancy can be terminated but if it is more than three months old, the abortion is absolutely unlawful".

The Deoband has issued this fatwa in response to the question of a Muslim couple who sought its permission to abort their third child, after a doctor had advised them to wait for at least thirty months before the birth of another child.

However, the medical fraternity does not endorse this fatwa.

"Terminating a more than three months old pregnancy can certainly be dangerous but why should one seek a hakeem's advice if the pregnancy is less than three months old?", asks Dr Fauzia Khanam, a gynaecologist, adding, that it is always better to refer to a professional doctor.

Believing that only a professionally qualified doctor is best suited to deal with the complications of pregnancy, Dr Anjum Ansari, another gynaecologist, says, "a lot of people who prefer to approach a hakeem only harm themselves".

In an earlier fatwa, the Deoband had said that it is lawful to use contraceptive methods only on the permission of a hakeem.

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