There are medical procedures available today that enable parents to determine the ender of the child they wish to have. This is achieved by way of a surgically placed implant which is now widely available in the United States, Great Britain, and a number of other countries. It does not entail an abortion or the elimination of an unwanted foetus and does not cause any harm to any child that is conceived in the womb.
Is this acceptable in Islam?
Initially, it would seem that the idea of choosing the gender of the foetus – whether it should be male or female – runs up against religious sensibilities. This is for two reasons:Al-Qaradâwî then goes on to say:
First, knowledge of what is in the wombs is the domain of the creator, not that of created beings. Allah says: “Allah knows what each female bears, by how much the wombs fall short or extend beyond (their appointed time or number)…” [Sûrah al-Ra`d: 8]
Knowledge of what is in the wombs is one of the five keys of the unseen mentioned in the Qur’an: “Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah. It is He who sends down the rain, and He who knows what is in the wombs…” [Sûrah Luqmân: 34]
So how can a human being know the gender of the foetus and make decisions about it?
Secondly, claiming to be able to make determinations about the gender of the foetus can seem like an attempt to presume against Allah’s will, for it is by Allah’s will that the two genders are distributed with wisdom and precision, with the balance being maintained for countless ages. This is even considered to be one of the evidences for Allah’s existence, His concern for his creatures, and His governance of His dominion.
Allah says: “To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the Earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows male or female (children) according to His will. Or He bestows both males and females, nd leaves barren whom he will. For He is full of knowledge and power.” [Sūrah al-Shūrū: 49-50]
Why, however, do they not explain “knowledge of what is in the wombs” with particular knowledge of all that relates to the foetus. Allah knows, for instance, whether it will live or die. If it is delivered alive, will it be intelligent or feebleminded? Weak or strong? Prosperous or wretched? As for us humans, the most we can determine is whether it is going to be a boy or a girl.Al-Qaradâwî then makes it clear that Islamic Law could permit a medical procedure for the determining the gender of the child.
In the same way we can describe the activities of the human being with respect to choosing the gender of the child. Those human activities do not fall outside the domain of Allah’s wills. Quite the contrary, they are an example of His will being carried out. Everything that a human being does takes place by Allah’s power and determination. Whatever a human being wills, he does so by Allah’s will. Allah says: “And they do not will except that He wills.”
However, it must only be a concession to be resorted to in cases of necessity or need. What is safer and better is to leave the matter to Allah’s discretion and wisdom. “And your Lord creates what He wills and chooses. They have no option.” And Allah knows best.The Islamic Law Council of the Muslim World League arrived at the following ruling:
If the intended purpose is to acquire a male child out of dislike for a female child or if the intent is to know the gender of the embryo in order to abort it, then this is impermissible. If, on the other hand, if the intent is to predetermine the gender of the embryo from the start in a situation where there is a history of heritable illness in the family, especially those illnesses that are passes along with the sex chromosomes, then this is possible. It is best to avoid resorting to this method except in the most extenuating of circumstances.Dr. Muhammad Ra’fat `Uthman, speaking on behalf of the Islamic Legal Research Committee of the Islamic Research Council of Azhar University, pronounced the ruling that it is permissible to utilize genetic engineering technologies in order to choose the gender of the fetus. He emphasized that choosing the gender of the foetus is permissible in Islamic Law because it is an activity that falls within the domain of what is permissible, since there is no evidence from the Qur’ân or Sunnah to prohibit it. The legal axiom governing the matter is that the default ruling assumed for something is that it is permissible except where prohibition is stated by Islamic Law.