Q. The question arises as to whether the use of the loop (Intra-uterine device – IUD), which is inserted in the uterus of the woman, is permitted as a means of birth control. The effect of the use of the loop is summarised in the letter of Dr A E Suliman, an experienced and qualified gynaecologist.
In some cases, the sperm and ovum are destroyed prior to fertilization. In other cases, fertilization takes place but the resultant fertilized ovum which takes the form of cellular material is prevented from becoming implanted in the inner wall of the uterus. it the time of such expulsion of the fertilized ovum. Mufti Jaleel Qasmi Sahib has expressed the view that the use of the loop in such circumstances is permissible although not encouraged, such view being based on the analogy of AZAL. A general medical practitioner has raised an objection to the effect that the cellular material which is so expelled contains life but then, in answer, the sperm and the infertilized ovum also contains life. Your considered FATWA on the matter would be greatly appreciated as soon as possible, and is requ- ired by the Jamiatul Ulema, Natal.
(M.S. Omar, South Africa)
A. It appears from your question as well as the enclosed explanation given by the expert that the use of loop may bring either of the two results :
1. It may prevent fertilization by destroying sperm and the ovum prior to their intraction.
2. If the fertilization takes place, the fertilized ovum is expelled from the uterus by the loop. This expulsion takes place within one or two weeks after the fertilization.
In the first case where the loops acts as a preventive measure against fertilization, it is similar to any other contraceptive and the rules regarding ‘AZAL’ (coitus interruptus) may be applied to the loop also, i.e. its use is permissible in Shariah in cases of individual needs, like the sickness or the weakness of the woman where pregnancy may endanger her health.
In the second case, however, the rules of ‘AZAL’ cannot be applied, because in that case it is not merely a preventive measure, but it expels the fertilized ovum from the uterus after conception. Therefore, it acts as a device to effect an abortion. Hence, the rules of abortion shall aply.
According to the Islamic rules, an abortion is totally prohibited, if it is effeted after the completion of 12 weeks after conc- eption. But at an earlier stage, abotion is permissible only for medical reasons and other genuine needs.
As the loop expels the fertilized ovum within two weeks, its use cannot be held as prohibited totally. However, being a device of abortion, its use is not advisable and it should be restricted to the cases of the real medical needs only.