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I heard somewhere that you should never stop having children based on wealth. I.e. if you hardly have any money to provide for your family, you should not let this stop you from having more and more children.

Is this Islamic or cultural? I know people who have 10 children, husband and wife, and even grandparents all living, sleeping, and cooking in 1 room. And then they go and have even more children. Is that what we're supposed to do in Islam, is this right?

Is it wrong not to have any children, and/or is it wrong to have just 1 or 2 children?

Therefore, is it haram not to have lots and lots of children due to lack of wealth?

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    To be precise, do you mean "is it fard/wajib to have lots of children?" Or do you mean "is it haram to not have children because of lack of wealth?" – ashes999 Sep 23 '12 at 18:52
  • The second one, is it haraam not to have children because of lack of wealth. – nami Sep 23 '12 at 19:36
  • Your question is vague and filled with unnecessary details. To receive proper answers, please edit your question and try to stick to the point. – Noah Sep 24 '12 at 4:46
  • @Noah, How do I make the question clearer than this? is it haraam not to have lots and lots of children due to lack of wealth? – nami Sep 24 '12 at 9:13
  • how anybody even can continue to guaranteedly have more children? - they cannot. – qdinar Jan 5 '16 at 18:57
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No it is not, but Allah knows best.

Here is a discussion on contraceptives, which presents 4 hadith:

  1. Jabir (RA) narrates, "We used to practice 'azl (coitus interruptus) I the prophet's (SAWS) lifetime while the Qur'an was being revealed." Another version of the same hadith reads, 'We used to practise 'azl during the Prophet's lifetime and he was informed about this and he did not forbid us."
  2. Abu Sa'id (RA) narrates, "The Jews say that 'azl is minor infanticide, so the Prophet (SAWS) said, 'The Jews are wrong; for if Allah wanted to create something, no one can divert Him'."
  3. 'Umar ibn al Khattab (RA) narrates, "The Prophet (SAWS) forbade the practice of 'azl with a free woman except with her permission."
  4. Judhamah bint Wahb (RA) narrates, "I was there when the Prophet (SAWS) was with a group of people when he said, 'I was about to prohibit the ghila (the act of engaging in sexual intercourse with a woman in lactation), but I observed the Byzantines and the Persians, and saw them do it, and their children wee not harmed.' Then they asked him about 'azl and the Prophet said, 'it is minor infanticide'."

There is also some explanation:

In his famous commentary on Sahih al Bukhari, Fath al Bari, Ibn Hajar discusses the issue in depth. First, he points out that some scholars regard the hadith narrated by Judhamah as weak (da'if)....

Likewise another discussion backs up my summary.


In short:

I interpret this to mean, you should have children within your means i.e. up to what you can sustain, preferably at least one for the reasons given in other answers, but if the husband and wife agree and they have good reason to then it is allowed to use contraception.

A good analogy/hadith for this (and most of Islam you practice) is of the man and his camel:

Anas (radi Allahu anhu) reported that a person asked Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), “Should I tie my camel and have Tawakkul (trust in Allah for her protection) or should I leave her untied and have Tawakkul.” Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) replied, “Tie her and have Tawakkul.” (Hasan) [Jami At-Tirmidhi]

So tie your camel (try and prevent intercourse/conception if needed) but if Allah wishes you to have more children, you will.

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Quran says:

وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ نَّحْنُ نَرْ‌زُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرً‌ا

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. http://tanzil.net/#17:31

According to Shia Islam Fiqh, permanent pregnancy prevention, by disabling some organs of the body of a man or a woman is Haram (prohibited). But birth control methods that do not cause any disability or abortion of the fertilized ovum after its implantation [in the womb], is permitted.

Also having many children is recommended in different ahadith and mentioned as an honor of prophet (SAWW) at the day of judgement, but it is not obligatory. Preventing birth due to financial problems is discouraged and is kind of Hidden Shirk because such Muslims do not really believe that Allah provide food and needs for humans and not humans for themselves.

Just 1 or 2 children have no base in Islam.


References:

Q & A : Birth Control from Official website of Grand Ayatollah Sistani

Q & A : Birth Control from Official website of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

  • So, if you have 10 children, plus husband, plus, wife, plus grand parents in 1 room, you should continue to have more children with no regard for the hardship the existing family members are having? – nami Sep 24 '12 at 9:17
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    @nami as I said it is not obligatory and is recommended. if room is small they can prevent birth (temporarily) or buy a larger home. – Battle of Karbala Sep 24 '12 at 12:08
  • Thanks, so basically, if you can't buy a house and you end up staying in that small room all your life, you can prevent birth permanently? – nami Sep 24 '12 at 12:16
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    @nami about permanently the method is important. if it is by disabling any organ of body (for example Tubal ligation or Vasectomy that disables reproduce permanently) it is Haram. but if it is by a method without any disabling reproduce permanently (for example using IUD that can be taken out of body and reproduce again) it is permitted. you can not ensure you can not buy larger home in future. Quran says Allah provide them and you. – Battle of Karbala Sep 24 '12 at 12:32
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Islam is no different...

Your question is leaning towards regulating the number of children. Except for China (who adheres to the "one child policy"), there is no country I have heard that regulates the number of children. There is also no religion in the world that regulates the number of children. In this aspect, Islam is no different. ISLAM DOES NOT REGULATE THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN.

Correction: Not to "kill" children based on wealth

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. (Quran 17:31)

The verse many people quote is the above, where Allah is specifically talking about NOT KILLING children for fear of poverty. This would include abortion but does not say too many or too less.

Muslims have too many children??

Here is a list of 5 MOST POPULATED countries in the world and the percentage of world population each make up.

1) China - 19.12%

2) India - 17.17%

3) USA - 4.46%

4) Indonesia - 3.37%

5) Brazil - 2.75%

Source: Wiki: List of countries by population

The most populated Muslim country is INDONESIA BUT it makes up only 3.37% of world population.

Muslims have a long way to go before being a driving demographic. The claim that Muslims have TOO many children is an over exaggerated fear tactic by western politicians to win votes.

Why Muslims CHOOSE to have SLIGHTLY more children

Muslims CHOOSE to have slightly more children. They do this BY CHOICE because we firmly believe that the framework of Islam, will help us raise better individuals that can contribute to society and make this world a better place. Insha Allah.

The number of children should be driven by this vision of making the world a better place.

As human beings, we should be appreciative of those parents who raise their children DESPITE the poverty rather than despise these brave parents.

Freedom is a two way street

Some people choose to have fewer children some others choose to have many. One cannot walk into a rich man’s house and demand to know why he is having fewer children; similarly one cannot walk into a poor family’s house and demand to know why they are having more children. It’s unethical and against basic freedom in both cases.

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    Population is not just about the totals - when talking about births, the growth rate is more important. See here - Islam has plenty of representatives high up in the table – Marc Gravell Oct 25 '12 at 22:46
  • your answer is not an Islamic answer. there are many hadith about recommending for having many children. please support your claims with Quran and hadith. this is only a personal interpretation of Quran. do you have any problem with growth of Muslim population? – Battle of Karbala Oct 28 '12 at 13:30
  • I agree with @MarcGravell for example Tunesia which is the middle of the list has a birth rate of 19,3/1000 and a death rate 6,3/1000 while China has a birth rate of 12,37/1000 and a death rate of 7,16/1000 and indonesia also has a birth rate of 19,3/1000 and a death rate 7,3/1000. – Medi1Saif Sep 16 '15 at 9:36
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Can't find anything that says you should not stop having children or that it's encouraged to have more children. This is the closest I can find:

..and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them... (Al-'Anam 6:151)

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