The following narration reports the Prophet SAW denying the Jewish stance of coitus interruptus being likened to burying infants

Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri: A man said: Messenger of Allah, I have a slave-girl and I withdraw the penis 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 withdrawing the penis (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. (Sunan Abi Dawud 2171)

However one report in Sahih Muslim shows the Prophet SAW affirming it

Judama daughter of Wahb, sister of Ukkasha (Allah be pleased with her). reported: I went to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) along with some persons and he was saying: I intended to prohibit cohabitation with the suckling women, but I considered the Greeks and Persians, and saw that they suckle their children and this thing (cohabitation) does not do any harm to them (to the suckling women). Then they asked him about 'azl, whereupon he said. That is the secret (way of) burying alive, and Ubaidullah has made this addition in the hadith transmitted by al-Muqri and that is: " When the one buried alive is asked." (Sahih Muslim 1442b)

Could this be a case of the Prophet SAW conveying his own personal view which was later divinely admonished or is there a contradiction? Obviously a hadith from Muslim holds more credence. Could the report from Abu Dawud be a mistake?

  • In the first case the topic must be considered in the context of slavery. While the second is more general.
    – Medi1Saif
    Sep 30, 2022 at 9:52

1 Answer 1


In the event of an apparent contradiction, there are usually three choices:

  1. Jam' (Harmonization)

  2. Naskh (Abrogation)

  3. Tarjeeh (Preference)

1. Harmonization: Two Ways

There are two ways to combine between the two ahadith.

First and best: The Jews said azl is haram in all cases due to it being like burying your children alive. The Prophet disagreed with them in the case of concubines because they do not have the right to have children. He agreed with them in the case of wives because wives have the right to children and doing azl with them (especially without their permission) is like burying your children alive and avoiding the point of the marriage.

Second: In the first hadith, the Jews said it is like azl to mean it is sinful like azl. In the second hadith, the Prophet is comparing it to azl to show it is disliked. So, the Prophet said the Jews lied in saying it is sinful like burying children alive. But, the Prophet also compared them to point to it being disliked.

Third: The second hadith is about doing it out of fear of poverty which is forbidden by Allah because He said: ⟪And do not kill your children fearing poverty.⟫ So, it is like burying your children if done with that intention.

2. Abrogation

This could be understood two ways:

  1. The first is abrogated by the second.

  2. The second is abrogated by the first.

Since there are too many ahadith on the permissibility of azl (at least with concubines), the second is the only sensible option.

The Prophet (SAW) was given a previous nation's law by Allah until it was abrogated. When he was given a new law, he conveyed it to people and said the Jews are now wrong to follow their previous law and lying if they say it is correct.

3. Tarjeeh

It is possible the first hadith is weak and the second is the correct one. So, it is correct to compare between azl and burying children alive.

(But, that doesn't itself necessitate azl is either haram or halal because there are plenty of other ahadith on the topic.)


I think the first harmonization makes most sense in this case. But, the second harmonization and abrogation are sensible options as well.

It is not possible there was divine admonishment for a mistake because admonishment is usually more clear. Allah revealed a whole Surah in the Quran to admonish a frown of the Prophet (SAW). I find it hard to believe saying something false about the law would not get something as clear.

  • The companions differ amongst themselves whether it was permissible or not. Some interpret the hadith involving the ghazwa of Banu Mustaliq as a prohibition altogether. As for the hadith of seeking a free woman's permission it is graded weak due to Abdullah ibn Lahee'ah and may perhaps be a view belonging to Umar RA.
    – Afiq
    Sep 30, 2022 at 15:31

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