From a Muslim Q & A column:
Atonement for Abortion
Q. Please inform us on what should be done in the case of abortion already done, knowingly or unknowingly, within the first few weeks of pregnancy.
A. I do not understand how abortion can be done unknowingly. Abortion requires the intervention of a doctor or someone else to terminate a pregnancy. The pregnant woman would know that her pregnancy is being terminated. If she does not know and her husband or someone else arranges for it, then that person is guilty. The woman in this case is blameless.
Abortion is forbidden. Some scholars of old times mentioned that it is permissible within the first 120 days of conception. But as medical knowledge advanced, contemporary scholars are increasingly leaning to the view that abortion is forbidden from the very first day of conception. As a forbidden act, its commitment requires repentance and seeking God’s forgiveness. The repentance must be genuine, coupled with a resolve not to do it again. It also incurs the payment of blood money, which in this case is known as ghurrah, which varies according to the age of the pregnancy.
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