In a YouTube video by Islam On Demand, Are Women Deficient? - Hamza Yusuf, we have the following quote:

There's some aspect of the group, or of the, uh, individual, or in this case of the gender, that does not enable them to fully participate in something. So there's a type of [nux?] there, and that's how it's defined, but it's actually related to the fact that pregnancy is seen, you know, in sharia, for instance, as actually like an illness. And later, late-term pregnancy is considered a, uh, an actual possible terminal illness. Right? I mean it's literally seen as an illness in which the person could very well die from. Now that's been less then certainly in this culture where you have a technological means for, uh, for that, but still it's a very serious problem around the world. -- Hamza Yusuf

Needless to say, this is quite a perplexing thing to hear someone say. This was said during a question and answer session, and it may be that the scope of this sentence was meant in terms of life-threatening cases (e.g. ectopic pregnancy), or perhaps "illness" should have instead been "medical condition", but the wording does not seem to imply this.

Question: Is it true that "pregnancy is seen in sharia as like an illness"?

  • 1
    It's seen as a laboring rewarding blessing. I've never heard of it spoken that way. Maybe in a specific context it has meaning
    – Thaqalain
    Feb 25, 2017 at 16:13
  • i've added a reference and a pointer as an answer. Plz comment if you have further confusions; i'll try to address, inshaAllah.
    – kmonsoor
    Feb 26, 2017 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


here the word "illness" is in different connotation than what usually comes to mind of a native English-speaker.

This mentioned consideration of illness give the pregnant women some relaxing "discount" from obligatory duties e.g. fasting, marital obligation. NOT in the negative senses like crazy-ess or untouchable like smallpox or something like that.

And the process of labor is considered as "terminal" as during this it's very easy to see death. Don't only consider the first world moms; rather think all ladies including who are in Sahara or in remote villages in 3rd-world countries or from the past before the medical advancement.

Islam has been gifted to all of the mankind, past and future. Our own context usually tunnel-vision our connotation of words.

And, if died during labor, a Muslim woman will to be considered as a martyr. Ref: Abu Dawud (sahih)

How negative is that?

For more discussion on how Islam sees a pregnant woman, check here.

  • Could you add a reference for dying during labor making you a martyr?
    – G. Bach
    Feb 25, 2017 at 17:38
  • Answer lacks reference, but I faintly remember having studied something like it. +1.
    – NVZ
    Feb 25, 2017 at 17:47
  • @G.Bach, NVZ : reference added.
    – kmonsoor
    Feb 26, 2017 at 23:16

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