Miscarriage of a foetus and the rulings related to the mother and child: Ibn Bāz and Ibn Uthaimeen.
I was pregnant – then during the third month and a week, I miscarried. I don’t know which stage the foetus was in. Some people told me: “You should give the foetus a name, and sacrifice an animal for it (‘aqeeqah).” I did not know the correct ruling at the time – and I did nothing of what they suggested. So was the naming an obligation in the state mentioned, and likewise the sacrifice?
Shaikhul-Islām Abdul-Azeez Ibn Bāz (رحمه الله) answered:
If the foetus miscarries before four months (i.e. before 120 days), then it is not given a name nor is an ‘aqeeqah carried out. The ‘aqeeqah and naming is for the foetus that is miscarried in the fifth month or thereafter, (i.e. after 120 days) and this is after the soul is blown into it – because at this stage it is considered a person, which carries the rulings of a person. So [in this case] an animal is sacrificed and the child is named. As for a foetus that is miscarried in the fourth month (before 120 days) or the third month, then it does not carry the ruling of person. However, if the miscarried foetus (before 120 days) had a defined body that is clear, i.e. it has the attributes of a person: a head, hands, legs, and so on, then the mother’s bleeding is considered as post-natal blood (nifās). So she does not pray or fast [until the bleeding ceases or the forty days expire after miscarriage – whichever of the two comes first]. As for the foetus itself [that miscarries before 120 days], then it does not take the ruling of being a deceased person, or the ruling of a baby. It is buried in any location, and that is sufficient for it. There no washing, [shrouding] or funeral prayer for it because it is not considered a person, and therefore does not carry the same rulings as the deceased, except if the soul has been blown into it, which is in the fifth month (i.e. at 120 days).
So if it is miscarried in the fourth month (prior to 120 days) or the third month, then it is flesh – and maybe the limbs are distinct such as a head and legs and so on; in this case the mother does not pray or fast during her post-natal bleeding of forty days or less [if she stops bleeding]. So when she becomes pure at forty days, she resumes prayer and fasting. And if she completes forty days, but continues to bleed, she must bathe and start praying. That is due to the fact that bleeding beyond forty days is due to a bleeding vein and not due to post-natal bleeding (nifās). So with that bleeding, which is not post-natal (nifās), she can pray and fast – but she must perform wudoo (ablution) before each prayer, just like a woman who has continual non-menstrual bleeding (a mustahādah).
However if she is pure at forty days, then she can pray, fast and have sexual relations with her husband. On the other hand, if the miscarried foetus is not discernable, meaning: it is morsel of flesh or a clot of congealed blood, not having any distinguishing limbs, then the mother’s subsequent bleeding is not post-natal bleeding (i.e. it is not nifās). She does not stop praying, or fasting or withhold from sexual relations with her husband. So that is when there are no distinct human limbs: no head, no legs, no hands – so in this situation, her bleeding is not considered as preventative. It is upon her to pray, fast and have sexual relations – and she makes wudoo for every prayer if she is bleeding just as the woman who has continuous non-menstrual bleeding.
Source and audio: binbaz.org.sa/
The Shaikh, the Imām and Jurist, Muhammad Ibn Sālih Al-‘Uthaimeen (رحمه الله) said:
If the foetus is miscarried before the completion of 120 days, there is no janāzah prayer to be prayed for it. Rather it is taken and buried in the earth in any place without a funeral. However if the 120 days are completed, i.e. four months, then it is considered to be a person. So if the foetus is miscarried after that point, then it is washed and shrouded, and it is given a funeral prayer. Even if it is only the size of a hand, it is prayed over, and buried in the graveyard of the Muslims, if it was counted amongst the Muslims. However, if it was a child of the Christians, meaning that it’s parents were Christians, then the child is not buried in the graveyard of the Muslims. It is merely buried without the ritual bath and shrouding. That is the case even for a baby, due to the fact that when the Prophet (ﷺ) was asked about the children of the polytheists, he responded: “They are from them.”
The point is that if the four months are completed (120 days) and then the foetus is miscarried: it is washed, shrouded, and the janāzah is prayed for it, and then buried in a Muslim graveyard – it is also named and an ‘aqeeqah performed, in the most correct opinion of the scholars, so that it will intercede for its parents on the Day of Resurrection. (1/751)
(Source: Fawā’id ‘ala Riyādhis-Sāliheen, Dar Ibn Atheer, no. 75, pg. 132)
Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Sālih Al-‘Uthaimeen also said:
Abdullāh Ibn Mas’ood narrates from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) the three stages of darkness: “Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother’s womb for forty days in the form of a nutfah (a drop)…”
So when a man and woman have sexual relations, he plants in her womb a watery liquid that remains there for forty days as a nutfah – in that state. It is a watery liquid – however it changes, slowly but surely, becoming gradually redder in colour until the forty days are complete. So when it reaches forty days, its redness becomes complete, and it becomes a red clot of blood, an ‘alaqah – and it remains as such for further forty days, meaning as clot of blood that is a congealed substance. It then thickens gradually over time, slowly but surely, until eighty days are completed. When eighty days have been completed, it is then a mudghah, which is a morsel of flesh. Allah, the Most High said: “A lump of flesh, some formed and some unformed.” [Al-Hajj: 5] So it remains as such for forty days. So [the foetus with limbs] is formed from day eighty-one through to day one hundred and twenty, and its distinct form is not apparent and clear until ninety days in most cases. (1/750)
(Source: Fawā’id ‘ala Riyādhis-Sāliheen, Dar Ibn Atheer, no. 74, pg. 130 – slightly abridged for brevity and ease of reading)
Here is the hadeeth that Shaikh Ibn Bāz and Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen were referring to in their rulings:
عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم -وَهُوَ الصَّادِقُ الْمَصْدُوقُ-: “إنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ يُجْمَعُ خَلْقُهُ فِي بَطْنِ أُمِّهِ أَرْبَعِينَ يَوْمًا نُطْفَةً، ثُمَّ يَكُونُ عَلَقَةً مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ، ثُمَّ يَكُونُ مُضْغَةً مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ، ثُمَّ يُرْسَلُ إلَيْهِ الْمَلَكُ فَيَنْفُخُ فِيهِ الرُّوحَ، وَيُؤْمَرُ بِأَرْبَعِ كَلِمَاتٍ: بِكَتْبِ رِزْقِهِ، وَأَجَلِهِ، وَعَمَلِهِ، وَشَقِيٍّ أَمْ سَعِيدٍ؛ فَوَاَللَّهِ الَّذِي لَا إلَهَ غَيْرُهُ إنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ حَتَّى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا إلَّا ذِرَاعٌ فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيْهِ الْكِتَابُ فَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ النَّارِ فَيَدْخُلُهَا. وَإِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ النَّارِ حَتَّى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا إلَّا ذِرَاعٌ فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيْهِ الْكِتَابُ فَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ فَيَدْخُلُهَا”.
On the authority of Abdullāh ibn Masood, who said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and he is the truthful, the believed, narrated to us, “Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother’s womb for forty days in the form of a nutfah (a drop), then he becomes an `alaqah (clot of blood) for a like period, then a mudghah (morsel of flesh) for a like period, then there is sent to him the angel who blows his soul into him and who is commanded with four matters: to write down his rizq (sustenance), his life span, his actions, and whether he will be happy or unhappy (i.e., whether or not he will enter Paradise). By the One, other than Whom there is no deity, verily one of you performs the actions of the people of Paradise until there is but an arms length between him and it, and that which has been written overtakes him, and so he acts with the actions of the people of the Hellfire and thus enters it; and verily one of you performs the actions of the people of the Hellfire, until there is but an arms length between him and it, and that which has been written overtakes him and so he acts with the actions of the people of Paradise and thus he enters it.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
My daughter died in the womb after seven months of pregnancy. Should we have offered ‘aqeeqah for her? Because ‘aqeeqah was not done for her. Should she have been given a name? Because she was not given a name.
My husband only washed her and shrouded her, and offered the funeral prayer for her and buried her. Is what he did correct?
But now my husband has divorced me. Can I offer ‘aqeeqah for her if it is obligatory?.
Praise be to Allah.
You should note that patience in acceptance the divine will and decree is one of the attitudes of the righteous, and acceptance of Allaah’s decree is one of the characteristics of those who are close to Him. The best way in which a person can respond to calamity is to say, “Al-hamdu Lillaah, innaa Lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon (Praise be to Allaah, verily we belong to Allaah and unto Him is our return).”
The best that we can tell you is that which was narrated from Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari (may Allaah be pleased with him), that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“When the child of a person dies, Allaah says to His angels: ‘You have taken the soul of the child of My slave?’
They say: ‘Yes.’
He says: ‘You have taken the apple of his eye?’
They say: ‘Yes.’
He says: ‘What did My slave say?’
They say: ‘He praised You and said innaa Lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon.’
And Allaah says: ‘Build for My slave a house in Paradise, and call it the house of praise.’”
Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1021; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The death of one of one’s children is a screen against the Fire, and the same applies to miscarriage, and Allaah knows best.
Al-Majmoo’, 5/287; see also Haashiyat Ibn ‘Aabideen, 2/228
It was narrated from Mu’aadh ibn Jabal that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“By the One in Whose hand is my soul, the miscarried foetus will drag his mother by his umbilical cord to Paradise, if she (was patient and) sought reward (for her loss).” Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 1609; classed as da’eef by al-Nawawi in al-Khulaasah (2/1066) and al-Boosayri, but classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah.
The scholars are unanimously agreed that if the child is known to have lived and he made a sound, then he should be washed and shrouded and the funeral prayer offered for him.
Consensus on this point was narrated by Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Qudaamah in al-Mughni (2/328) and al-Kaasaani in Bidaa’i’ al-Sanaa’i’, 1/302.
Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo’ (5/210): He should be shrouded like an adult, with three pieces of cloth.
But if the child did not make a sound, then in the answer to questions no. 13198 and 13985 we have explained that what matters in this case is whether the soul had been breathed into the foetus or not, which happens after four months of pregnancy. If the soul has been breathed into him then he should be washed and shrouded, and the funeral prayer should be offered for him, but if the soul has not been breathed into him, then he should not be washed and the funeral prayer should not be offered for him.
See: al-Mughni, 2/328; al-Insaaf, 2/504.
With regard to offering ‘aqeeqah for a miscarried foetus if he had reached the age of four months gestation, the scholars differed as to whether this is prescribed in Islam. In the answer to questions no. 12475 and 50106, we stated that the scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas, and Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, favoured the view that it is prescribed and is mustahabb. They are also of the view that the child should be given a name.
The one who is commanded to do the ‘aqeeqah is the one who is obliged to spend on the child, namely the father if he is present; if he refuses to do that then there is nothing wrong with someone else doing it, such as the mother.
It says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (30/279):
The Shaafa’is are of the view that the ‘aqeeqah is required from the one who is obliged to spend on the child, and he should pay for it from his own wealth, not the child’s wealth. No one who is not obliged to spend on the child should do it, except with permission from the one who is obliged to spend on him.
The Hanbalis stated that no one should do the ‘aqeeqah except the father, unless he cannot do it because he is deceased or he is refusing to do it. If someone other than the father does it, that is not makrooh, but it is not an ‘aqeeqah. The only reason why the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did the ‘aqeeqah for al-Hasan and al-Husayn was because he is closer to the believers than their own selves. End quote.
If the father is alive and can afford it, then he is advised to offer the ‘aqeeqah on behalf of the child. If he refuses or he gives the mother permission to do the ‘aqeeqah, then that is Islamically acceptable.
Conclusion: what your husband did, washing and shrouding her and offering the funeral prayer for her is correct and is prescribed in Islam, but you still have to give her a name and offer the ‘aqeeqah on her behalf.
And Allaah knows best.
Rulings to do with abortion
I would like to know the rulings that have to do with abortion of the foetus at various stages.
Praise be to Allah.
We have already stated in the answer to question no. 42321 the ruling on abortion. Please refer to this information.
With regard to the rulings following an abortion, they vary according to the time of the abortion, and fall into four categories, as follows:
1 – If the pregnancy is aborted within the first two stages (the nutfah (drop) stage which results from the mixing of the “two waters” which is the first forty days after the embryo attaches itself in the womb, and the ‘alaqah (clot) stage where it turns into solid blood during the second forty days), which add up to a total of eighty days, then in this case if it is aborted as a nutfah or ‘alaqah, there are no rulings to be followed, and there is no scholarly dispute on this point. The woman should continue to fast and pray as if she had not had an abortion, but she has to do wudoo’ for each prayer if she has any bleeding, as in the case of a woman suffering from istihaadah (non-menstrual vaginal bleeding).
2 – If the pregnancy is aborted in the third stage, the mudghah (chewed piece of flesh) stage, when the embryo looks like a piece of meat with the limbs and features beginning to appear, which lasts for forty days from the eighty-first to the one hundred and twentieth day, then there are two scenarios:
(i)This embryo does not have any human features and the midwives or other attendants did not testify that this was the beginning of a human being. In this case the ruling on abortion of this mudghah is the same as the ruling on abortion in the first two stages, and there are no rulings to be followed.
(ii)The embryo has complete human features or some human features such as a hand or foot, etc, or there are features but they are indistinct, or the midwives or other attendants testified that this was the beginning of a human being. In this case the rulings on nifaas are to be followed, and this signals the end of ‘iddah (waiting period following divorce or death of the husband, if applicable).
3 – If the pregnancy is aborted in the fourth stage, i.e., after the soul has been breathed into the foetus, which is after the beginning of the fifth month or after one hundred and twenty days of pregnancy have passed. Here there are two scenarios:
(i)If the foetus did not cry after birth, then the rulings mentioned with regard to the second stage of the mudghah are to be followed, but in addition the foetus should be washed, shrouded and the funeral prayer offered for him; he should be given a name and the ‘aqeeqah offered for him.
(ii)If the foetus cried after birth, then the rulings concerning a full-term baby apply, as mentioned above; in addition the child may take possession of wealth bequeathed or inherited; he may inherit or be inherited from, etc.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 21/434-438.
Ruling on aborting a pregnancy in the early stages no. 42321
What is the ruling on aborting a pregnancy in the early months (1-3) before the soul is breathed into the foetus?.
Praise be to Allah.
The Council of Senior Scholars issued the following statement:
1 – It is not permissible to abort a pregnancy at any stage unless there is a legitimate reason, and within very precise limits.
2 – If the pregnancy is in the first stage, which is a period of forty days, and aborting it serves a legitimate purpose or will ward off harm, then it is permissible to abort it. But aborting it at this stage for fear of the difficulty of raising children or of being unable to bear the costs of maintaining and educating them, or for fear for their future or because the couple feel that they have enough children – this is not permissible.
3 – It is not permissible to abort a pregnancy when it is an ‘alaqah (clot) or mudghah (chewed lump of flesh) (which are the second and third periods of forty days each) until a trustworthy medical committee has decided that continuing the pregnancy poses a threat to the mother’s wellbeing, in that there is the fear that she will die if the pregnancy continues. It is permissible to abort it once all means of warding off that danger have been exhausted.
4 – After the third stage, and after four months have passed, it is not permissible to abort the pregnancy unless a group of trustworthy medical specialists decide that keeping the foetus in his mother’s womb will cause her death, and that should only be done after all means of keeping the foetus alive have been exhausted. A concession is made allowing abortion in this case so as to ward off the greater of two evils and to serve the greater of two interests.
When should we offer the funeral prayer for the miscarried foetus?
What should we do with the foetus when it is miscarried? Should we offer the funeral prayer for it and wash it, and should we give it a name, or leave it without a name? Please advise us.
Praise be to Allah.
If the foetus comes out alive and its cry is heard, then it dies, it should be washed and the funeral prayer offered for it; there is no scholarly dispute concerning this. It says in al-Mughni: “The scholars are unanimously agreed that if it is known to have lived and its cry has been heard, the prayer should be offered for it. But if its cry is not heard, Imaam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “If it has completed four months [gestation], then it should be washed and the funeral prayer offered. This is the view of Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib, Ibn Seereen and Ishaaq. Ibn ‘Umar offered the funeral prayer for the son of his daughter who was born dead.” (al-Mughni, 2/328)
It says in Masaa’il al-Imaam Ahmad, which (contains reports that) were narrated by his son ‘Abd-Allaah: “I heard my father being asked about the newborn, when should the funeral prayer be offered for him? He said: if he was miscarried after four months [gestation], the funeral prayer should be offered for him. He was asked, should the funeral prayer be offered for him even if his cry was not heard? He said, Yes.” (Masaa’il al-Imaam Ahmad allati rawaahaa ibnuhu ‘Abd-Allaah, 2/482, mas’alah no. 673)
The author of al-Mughni explained the reason why the funeral prayer may be offered for one concerning whom there is doubt that he lived at all, “The prayer offered for him is a kind of du’aa’ for him and his parents … so there is no need to be certain and sure that he lived at all, unlike matters of inheritance.”
Undoubtedly this is a good understanding, because inheritance has to do with the rights of others, whereas a prayer has to do with the relationship between a person and his Lord.
With regard to a foetus of less than four months gestation, it should not be washed and the funeral prayer should not be offered for it, but it should be wrapped in a cloth and buried. That is because the soul is not breathed into it until after four moths of gestation; before that it is not a soul so the funeral prayer cannot be offered over it; it is like inanimate objects or blood.
The evidence for that is the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “The miscarried foetus should be prayed over (the funeral prayer), and supplication for forgiveness and mercy for his parents should be offered.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3525).
In the case of a miscarried foetus whose sex cannot be determined, it should be given a name which is suitable for both males and females, such as Salamah, Qutaadah, Sa’aadah, Hind, ‘Utbah or Hibbat-Allaah.
My wife was pregnant, and at four months and three weeks of pregnancy the foetus died in his mother’s womb. What should we do? Should he be named and the ‘aqeeqah sacrificed for him? If anything else needs to be done, I hope that you can help us with that. May Allaah reward you with good.
Praise be to Allah.
There is a difference of opinion among the scholars regarding a miscarriage that happens after four months. That which is stated in the fatwas of our shaykhs is that the foetus should be named, washed and shrouded, and the funeral prayer offered for him, and he should be buried with the Muslims, and the ‘aqeeqah should be done for him.
The scholars of the Standing Committee were asked:
Please advise me concerning my wife; before she died she miscarried a foetus, at four months of pregnancy. She took him and buried him without offering the funeral prayer. Please advise me as to whether I should have done anything.
He should have been washed and shrouded, and the funeral prayer offered for him, according to the correct scholarly opinion, so long as the age of four months had been reached, because of the general meaning of the report narrated by Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi from al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah (may Allaah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The funeral prayer should be offered for the miscarried foetus.” But this was not done, and you do not have to do anything now.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 8/406.
And they said:
If the age of four months has not been reached, then the funeral prayer should not be offered, and he should not be named or the ‘aqeeqah offered, because the soul had not been breathed into him.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 8/408.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked:
If a foetus is miscarried before four months should the ‘aqeeqah be done for him or not?
If the foetus is miscarried before four months of pregnancy, then no ‘aqeeqah should be done, and he should not be named or the funeral prayer offered for him, and he may be buried anywhere.
But after four months the soul has been breathed into him, so he should be named and shrouded and the funeral prayer should be offered for him, and he should be buried with the Muslims, and the ‘aqeeqah should be done for him in our view. Some of the scholars said that the ‘aqeeqah should not be done unless he lived for seven days, but the correct view is that the ‘aqeeqah should be offered for him because he will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection, and he will intercede for his parents.
As’ilat al-Baab il-Maftooh, Q. 653.
The blood which comes out when the foetus is miscarried at this stage is nifaas, so the woman should not pray or fast, and it is haraam for her husband to have intercourse with her. This blood is regarded as nifaas if the woman miscarries a foetus in which human features can be seen.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said:
The scholars said: If the foetus comes out and human features can be seen in it, then the blood that comes after that is nifaas, so she should stop praying and fasting, and her husband should avoid intercourse with her until she becomes pure. If the embryo comes out unformed, then the bleeding is not regarded as nifaas, rather it is irregular bleeding which does not prevent her from praying, fasting etc.
The scholars said: The minimum period after which features appears is eighty-one days.
Fataawa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, 1/304, 305.
And Allaah knows best.
Mu’adh ibn Jabal reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “By the One in whose hand is my soul, the miscarried fetus will carry his mother by his umbilical cord into Paradise, if she was seeking its reward.”
Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 1609
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani
عَنْ مُعَاذِ بْنِ جَبَلٍ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ إِنَّ السِّقْطَ لَيَجُرُّ أُمَّهُ بِسَرَرِهِ إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ إِذَا احْتَسَبَتْهُ
1609 سنن ابن ماجه كتاب الجنائز باب ما جاء فيمن أصيب بسقط
1315 المحدث الألباني خلاصة حكم المحدث صحيح في صحيح ابن ماجه