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Basilan Mufti reminds Muslim couples on birth spacing



ISABELA CITY, Basilan – The Grand Mufti of Basilan has reminded Muslim couples on responsible parenthood and family planning methods that is appropriate and accepted by Islam and its religious authorities of the province.

In a radio interview, Ustadz Abdullah Hamja pointed out the Islamic belief on family planning as indicated in a fatwa that provided the teachings and guidance on family planning in the context of Islam. A fatwa is a legal pronouncement in Islam, issued by a religious law specialist on a specific issue.

Hamja was guest at Philippine Information Agency-Basilan’s radio program Noticias, Informaccion con Musica (News-Information with Music) over DXNO-FM Radyo Komunidad in Isabela City, Basilan.

The Mufti said that the fatwa stated that the general concept of family planning is exceptionally recognized as compatible with the Islamic doctrine and even encouraged under Islamic law. “It is acceptable to control the timing of births with the objective of spacing pregnancy or delay it for a specific amount of time,” the fatwa noted.

Hamja added that there is a precondition, however, that family planning will not lead to any harm or will do nothing to terminate an existing pregnancy.

He advised Muslim couples to seek full information about methods before deciding on the most appropriate contraception for them. He, moreover, stressed the important role of both husband and wife in the decision-making process of family planning.

It may be observed that in most Muslim communities, the man in the house usually possesses the decision-making power. But Mufti Hamja, however, stressed that women or the wife also share in this decision-making process as they are basically responsible in the house. The wives are managing the house and taking care of the children. He said that Islam does not forbid women to work to help the husband in raising and supporting the family, economically.

Basilan Family Planning Coordinator of the Provincial Health Office Nida Salain concurs with Mufti Hamja on the role and presence of the husband most especially when the wife visits the health center during pregnancy and other health consultations.

For birth spacing, Salain said Muslim couples may use the following natural methods as indicated in the fatwa: 1) Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM), 2) Basal Body Temperature (BBT), 3) Cervical Mucus or Ovulation Method, and 4) Sympto-thermal Method.

Modern methods that are acceptable to Islam, according to the fatwa, are pills, the Depo-Medroxy Progesterone Acetate (DMPA), and the use of condom.

Based on information gathered from the communities, Salain said that there are mothers and wives who would conceal the use of contraceptives because most often the husband disapproves.

Salain also corrected the notion that family planning is “controlling”, she stressed that birth spacing is crucial in the healthy relationship between husband and wife at one hand, and the readiness of women for child bearing on the other.

“Birth spacing provides women the opportunity to recover from the last birth delivery physically and psychologically,” she said.

The fatwa, moreover, stressed that it is haram or forbidden in Islam, to end a man’s or woman’s ability to bear children through any permanent family planning method. “Unless exceptionally necessary, the finality of these method is seen interfering with the Divine will,” the fatwa said referring to vasectomy for men and tubal ligation for women.

The Mufti, further, encourages future couples to undergo a pre-marriage counseling at least three days before the marriage ceremony.



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