Not Wanting to Have Children
I’ve been noticing lately that a lot of people dislike having children. There are all types of excuses that people give for not wanting children.
Some argue that our planet is becoming overpopulated; therefore, people should try not have any more children. Some say that the people in this world are getting more and more corrupt and evil; therefore, there is no point in bringing children into this cruel and evil world.
Many people simply say they just can’t afford to have children; meaning, they’re afraid they won’t be able to provide for children if they ever have any.
And finally, there are those people who say having children is just not for them—they want to enjoy a children-free life so they can be able to do what they want and not have to worry about caring or being responsible for children.
But Muslims don’t think like that…right?
I used to think these types of feelings and ideas were exclusive to non-Muslims, however, it’s not. There are a lot of Muslim couples and families who don’t want to have children at all or if they do, only want one child or at most two children and that’s it.
It’s unfortunate that Muslims, too, have been brainwashed into believing that children are burdensome and “too” much to handle and difficult to raise these days.
What many people fail to understand, especially Muslims, is that having or not having children is ultimately out of our control. Many people think they have control over if they can “bring” a child into this world or not just because there are many different types of birth control methods out there.
Children, just like all other blessings in our lives are in the control of Allah. Allah is the one who decides who will become parents and who will never become parents. Allah decides if He will bless a family with one, two, seven or 11 or more children.
Allah decides if He will bless a family with all boys or all girls, or both.
It doesn’t matter what type of birth-control method is used, if Allah’s decree is to give any family a child, that child will come whether they like it or not. All we have control over is our efforts. Some people put in a lot of effort to not have children and Allah being the Merciful accepts a lot of our efforts and wishes.
Instead of being thankful, some of us start to think we are in control which is a big mistake.
There is nothing wrong with using birth-control methods that are harmless in order to try (“try” being the keyword here) space out the years between children so they can all be given enough attention and the mother can find some relief from pregnancy etc.
However, trying to stop having children permanently by sterilization for both men and women is not permissible in Islam for healthy couples.
Coming back to my original topic—people disliking to have children these days—I believe the many excuses people give for not wanting children is irrational. As Muslims, we should ask Allah to bless us with many children.
The Prophet (PBUH) encouraged Muslims to have children. It was narrated that the Prophet said,
Marry the child-bearing, loving woman for I shall outnumber the peoples by you.
We really shouldn’t fear poverty
That is not the Islamic way of thinking. Allah has already promised to take care of every living thing on this earth by providing for it. There are various verses in the Quran where Allah tells us not to kill our children for fear of poverty.
If we had tawakul (trust) in Allah, no one would ever fear poverty or anything else for that matter. Unfortunately, many of us dislike, even hate the idea of ever having children because we think we won’t be able to provide for them.
As far as this whole new idea about overpopulating and overcrowding of the earth is concerned, let’s just say I have a really hard time believing this concept or idea. No scientist can tell me that he or she has gone all over the world and measured every land out there.
How can anyone possibly know if planet Earth is overpopulated? They can’t. It’s impossible.
Furthermore, didn’t Allah say in the Quran:
And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many [alternative] locations and abundance…
Sura An-Nisa: 69
Allah tells us that His earth is vast. That’s enough for me. I don’t think there’s an overpopulation of any kind and I don’t think there will ever be one. The sad and unfortunate truth is many of us will believe whatever that is popular to believe.
We have a guide for how we should live our lives: The Quran and the Sunnah. If someone tells me something, I try to be open-minded but at the same time, I have to go back to my main source, the Quran and hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH).
Children are a blessing and should not be looked at as a burden. The benefits of having children are many and great. There are a lot of couples who will do anything and have done everything they can possibly do to even have one child but can’t.
Those of us who are blessed again and again with child after child should really be thankful and happy, not sad or worried or fearful of poverty or “overpopulating” the Earth.
May Allah help us to love what He loves and hate what He hates. May He give us the knowledge to not follow blindly every new trend and false concept.
Sister Um Ibrahim Ali is a regular contributor on Islamic Learning Materials. You can follow Sister Um Ibrahim Ali and her adventures as a Muslim mother on her blog Sweet Mama Loves You.