By : Nur Achmad


Our world now is inhabited by around 7 billion people. China become the first rank in the number of population which is 1,5 billion people, and it is followed by India, Unites States of America, and then Indonesia. In addition to be the winner in some specific areas, such as Physics and Math Olympic, Badminton, wealth of natural resources, in fact Indonesia also become the winner in the area of population number, as the 4th rank of population number in the world. If the potention on the high number of human resources can be maintained well and full with responsibility, so it will be amazing and become state power which can be relied in many aspects. Here, the sayings of our ancestor, many children a lot of luck will find its significant context. This proverb can be also means that by having many human resources so that so many works can be finished and will bring benefit as a kind of fortune. 

On the contrary, if the high number of population can’t be maintained smartly and responsibly, it will become a serious problem for life. Here proverb ‘many children a lot of problems’ applied. Poverty, unemployment, the high number of criminality, the rampant of children and teenage bum in the street and terminals, and the widespread of bum and beggars ‘association’ are problems that came from human resources and natural resources mismanagement that happened in a country. Therefore , while repairing the human resource management and its influencing factors, the strategic steps to control population number through Family Planning are needed. 

The problem, Family Planning is a new term of human cultural activity which in the era of the Prophet in the past had not been discussed directly. In another words, at that time the number of population should not be worried, even though it was considered as necessary that a human (citizen) have a lot of children to defend for their social/country existence or became independent human resources to manage the extensive garden or  agricultural  land etc. And also having many children was needed because war which took many victims often happen. The such condition enforced the birth of new generation as replacement of their predecessors who passed away in the battle field. This situation was not so much different with Indonesian situation during the early independent era. 

Thus a policies came because the situation and condition demanded the such thing. Similarly Islam perceived the contemporary problems regarding muamalah (social life) such as Family Planning,  test-tube baby, insurance, banking, and etc. related to the contextual backround. So far to achieve the maslahat  (universal benefit) there or to prevent from mafsadat (loss), then Islam give a solution. Therefore, an ijtihad is needed in thinking about the problem solving.

Maintaining Continuity of Generations

The Islamic mission for the benefit and blessing for the universe become the basic mission of the prophets sent, especially Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Therefore, it is reasonable that Imam Ghazali (d. 505 H/1111 M.), al-Syatibi (d. 790 H.) and Ibn Khaldun (d. 808 H./1406 M.) concluded that the purpose of the Shariah of Islami is to protect 5 basic things, those are soul (al-nafs), reason (al-‘aql), descendant (al-nasl), religion (al-din), and properties (al-maal).  Remember that the purpose of the syariah is the achievement of al-mashalih al-‘ammah (general  benefit of the people), so to protect and to struggle for those five basic things are a good deed so that should be affirmed. On the contrary, all actions which are against those five basic things are evils (bad things) so that must be avoided. 

All teaching (both in term of obligation or suggestion to do or prohibition to do that) in Islam, is also connected with one or some of those five basic religious principle as mentioned above. For example, the obligation to take care of healthy and prohibition to kill other people in order to protect human soul, command to eat and drink the halal and good/healthy food, also prohibition to consume the khamr (alcoholic drinking) and its derivation in order to protect physical and mind healthy, command to get marry and prohibition of zina (adultery or fornication) in order to protect human dignity and the next generation,  command to work and prohibition to steal in order to protect human property, and command to worship Allah The Almighty and  prohibition to associate other with Him in order to protect the religion and to achieve good life in the world and hereafter. 

In the one of ushul fiqh principal, it is said nahyun ‘an syai’in amrun bi zhiddihi (a prohition on something means a command of the vice versa). It means that in the religion there is a prohibition to kill means a command to maintain life, healthy and continuity of the generation. If there is a prohibition to destroy the descendants, it means a command to sustaim the generation well and wisely. This example can be developed in other examples. 

One of the effort to continue the sustainable generation is through Family Planning. Family Planning can be defined as the human efforts consciously to plan a prosperous and happy family with the enough number of family member, suit with the condition and human capability both in the short time and long time period. By this definition, basically Family Planning means manage the heirs, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Therefore, in the situation that the population number in a country experienced a tremendous surge, Family Planning should be done to stop or to slow the rate of population growth. While, in the situation a country lack of population or experience a population crisis, Family Planning is done to regulate or to fast the rate of population growth. 

In the context of Indonesia which become the big four of highest number of population in the world after China, India and the United States, Family Planning can be understood as an effort to the rate of population growth in order to be in the normal, not too high but not too low number of population either. Yes of course, a balance and harmonious of population growth.Therefore , in the name of balance and sustainability, the number of population in a country should not too many, so that it can’t be maintained by the state government and trigger the social problems; or on the contrary it should not be too small numbers which can threaten the country defense because of the absent of the next generation. 

Prophet’s Hadith on Family Planning

Before we connect the Family Planning with the Prophet’s hadith, I want to introduce some verses which is related to the topic, in order to be more complete and we don’t lose its context. At least, there are 3 verses which become the basic value in concluding the Islamic view on Family Plannling. Those are : 

It means :

“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire”…  (QS. At Tahrim : 6) 

It means : 

“And let those [executors and guardians] fear [injustice] as if they [themselves] had left weak offspring behind and feared for them. So let them fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice.” (QS. An Nisa’ : 9)

It means :

“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (QS. Ai Isra’/17 : 31) 

The verses mentioned above explained the message on the necessary of self and family protection, and especially the next generation, from the Fire (Hell) which also can be understood as suffer in the world and hereafter. The suffer can be happened in many kind such as poverty, folly,  backwardness, and immorality. The verse will lead the believers to think about the safety and sustainability of generation inner and outer, in the world and in the hereafter. 

Generally, it can be concluded that Allah The Almighty required the born (or the design) of next strong, smart, and faithful generation who have many excellence. To achive those exellences, several steps are needed. Among them are by taking into consideration to the birth aspects and all processes around it such as marriage, relation between husband and wife in marriage, maternal age,  baby and family nutrition,  education from early age, and etc. Including the management of quality and quantity of childbirth. Here is the urgency of discussing Family Planning,  namely taking care and protection of the next generation in order to have some competitive advantages, physically, mentally, intellectually, and socio-culturally. 

Back to the hadith, Prophet Muhammad never discuss about Family Planning textual directly, as understood by the recent community nowadays. Some hadiths here are often mentioned by the ulama when talk about Family Planning in the Islamic perspective. Such as hadith as translated below :

Narrated Jabir: “We used to practice ‘azl (coitus interruptus) during the lifetime of Prophet of Allah .” (HR. Bukhari No. 5207)

‘Amr said that Ata’ narrated to me that according to Jabir he said, “We used to practise ‘azl in the Prophet’s (PBUH) lifetime while the Qur’an was being revealed.” (HR. Bukhari, no. 5209).

From Jabir, he said, “”We used to practice azl (coitus interruptus) during the Prophet’s (PBUH) lifetime. News of this reached him and he did not forbid us.” (HR. Muslim, no. 3634).

The hadith above affirmed the reality of ‘azl (coitus interruptus) practices during the Prophet’s PBUH lifetime by some Prophe’s companisons. The ‘azl practices was not prohibited by the Prophet. It means  that if it is necessary or containing a more benefit, so ‘azl that had been practiced by a husband to his wife can be accepted. 

In addition to the hadith above, Imam Abu Dawud narrated several hadiths on ‘azl by explaining problematical context around it. Namely : 

Narrated Abu Sa’id al-Khudri: A man said: Apostle of Allah, I have a slave-girl and I did ‘azl from her (while having intercourse), and I dislike that she becomes pregnant. I intend (by intercourse) what the men intend by it. The Jews say that doing ‘azl is burying the living girls on a small scale. He (the Prophet) said: The Jews told a lie. If Allah intends to create it, you cannot turn it away. (HR. Abu Dawud, no. 2173).

“Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) reported that a man came to Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: I have a slave-girl who is our servant and she carries water for us and I have intercourse with her, but I do not want her to conceive. He said: Practise ‘azl, if you so like, but what is decreed for her will come to her. The person stayed back (for some time) and then came and said: The girl has become pregnant, whereupon he said: I told you what was decreed for her would come to her.” (HR. Abu Dawud, no. 2175). 

The hadith above showed information and background of classical method probelsm in preventing the pregnancy, namely ‘azl method. This method can be done if a husband and a wife committed to have sexual intercourse, but not or have not intended a pregnancy or to have a baby. The method had been practiced by several Prophet’s companion in the past and it had been revelation time of the Quran. In principal, the ‘azl practices was not prohibited by the Prophet and none of Quranic verses which revealed to reprimand it. Furthermore, when there was an opinion of Jews that ‘azl including the little killing, the Prophet disputed it and affirmed that the Jew’s opinion was not true or inappropriate. 

Even though, based on the hadith narrated by Abu Dawud above, Nabi suggested to a man from Anshar groups who asked him whether he is allowed or not for doing azl. He affirmed him he wanted to do so, but still it can’t influence what Allah wish, when he did practiced ‘azl  and in fact, out of his efforts, his woman slave still got pregnant. Considering to this case, the Prophet said , “I told you what was decreed for her would come to her.”

Then another question will come, how to deal with many hadith that affirmed that Prophet Muhammad PBUH will be happy because of a lot of number of his followers in the dooms day. The hadith said : 

Means : 

Narrated that Ma’qil ibn Yasaar said: A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, “I have found a woman who is of good lineage and is beautiful, but she does not children. Should I marry her?” He said, “No.” Then he came again with the same question and he told him not to marry her. Then he came a third time with the same question and he said: “Marry those who are loving and fertile, for I will be proud of your great numbers before the other nations.” (HR. Abu Dawud,  Number 2052) 

To understand this hadith, of course the context of the problem must be find, namely if somebody wants to marry, he/she is suggested to choose a lovely spouse, have compassion (wadud) and potential to have descendants (walud). If the alternative is choosing the spouse who is strongly suspected will not have children, so he/she is suggested to look for a spouse whose potentiality to have children to sustain generation quantitatively and qualitatively, and have physical and spiritual strength. This suggestion is shown in spirit of other verse or hadith text. One of them in the following hadith : 

Abû Hurayrah (ra) reports that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allâh than the weak believer, while there is good in both. Guard over that which benefits you, seek Allâh’s Assistance, and don’t lend yourself to things devoid of benefit, and if something befalls you, then don’t say ‘If I only would have done such and such,’ rather say ‘Allâh ordained this and He does what He wills’ [Qaddarallâhu wa mâ shâ’ fa’al], for verily the phrase ‘If I would have’ makes way for the work of the Devil.” (HR. Muslim, no. 6945).

From the hadith above that Allah and His messenger love more the strong ummah (believer) in many aspects, rather than the believers who have some weaknesses, whether physically, mentally, and socio-economically. The hadith also affirmed about the necessary of the important of the quality of the generation. Specifically, the strong generation whether physically and spiritually, morally, intellectually, and socio-economically are more preferred rather than merely big in numbers but lack of capacity which is needed in the real life. While, to deliver the next excellence generation several steps are needed, one of them by the adjustment of balance and safe birth spacing. If the birth spacing is imbalance and unsafe, for example too fast or too short between the older child and the younger child that will be delivered, it will also influence the health quality of the mother and children. The parents’ attention became too little because should be divided according to the number of children. This situation become harder if it is added with lack of economic situation, lack of education, and limited  time of the parents to assist the development and growth process of their children.


Based on the numbers of verses and hadith as mentioned above, it can be said that human effort to regulate the number of ancestries through Family Planning practices are not contradictory with the principle of Islamic teaching. Therefore, Family Planning is part of the social relation activities which  is allowed as long as  not creating disadvantages and mafsadat (danger), for the person themselves, their spouses, and also the future human generation. Therefore, the mature and healthy thoughts are still needed to decide whether the couple of husband and wife will do Family Planning or not. What kind of Family Planning and contraceptive method which will be chosen? Is the choice safe or dangerous, of course it should be consulted to the trusted experts. Likewise, about the appropriate time to do the Family Planning. How many ideal numbers of children which potential to achieve the purpose of Sakinah (harmonious and tranquil) family? On that kind of issues, the spouse of husband and wife surely will more understand about their situation. Wallahu a’lam. Allah knows best!  {}


* The author is a Lecture in Islamic Studies subject in STIE Ahmad Dahlan Jakarta dan  Board Member of Rahima Association. Email address :

Refferences : 

Al-Quran al-Karim.

‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Khallaf, ‘Ilmu Usul al-Fiqh, Kairo: Dar al-Hadis, 2003.

Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud: Syarh wa Tahqiq ‘Abd al-Qadir ‘Abd al-Khair wa Sayyid Muhammad Sayyid wa Sayyid Ibrahim, Kairo: Dar al-Hadiś, 1420 H./1999 M.

Al-Ghazali, al-Mustasyfa min ‘ilmi al-ushul, Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyah.
Al-Syatibi, al-Muwaffaqat, Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyah, 2005. 

Bukhari, Muhammad ibn Isma‘il ibn Ibrahim al-, Sahih al-Bukhari, Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1425 H/2004 M.

Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddimah, translated by Ahmadie Thaha, with the title Muqaddimah Ibn Khaldun, Jakarta: Pustaka Firdaus, 2006.

Muslim ibn Hajjaj al-Qusyairi al-Naisaburi, al-Imam Abu al-Hasan, Sahih Muslim, Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1424 H./2003 M.


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