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A law has been passed in South Africa giving women the rights of resorting to the practice of abortion, should they feel unable to support the child for some "valid" reason like tough economic circumstances. This they call - "abortion on demand."

By definition, abortion is the termination of pregnancy. It can be caused by physical injury to the expectant mother or by deliberate human intervention. Abortion occurring as a result of internal biomedical factors is commonly known as a miscarriage. This, is not a matter of controversy.

As for the abortion by human intervention, it can and may be practised in Islam is when it has been ascertained by a pious Muslim doctor that there is a definite fear of the mother's life being in jeopardy as a result of the pregnancy.

As you can see, Islam upholds the sanctity of life and definitely opposed to abortion on demand. There are a number of verses in the Holy Quran which testify to this. For example, "And kill not your children for fear of want (poverty): it is We Who shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you." (17:31) and "Do not take another human being's life - (the life) which Allah has willed to be sacred - otherwise than in (the pursuit of) justice." (17:33)

From the general teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, it has clearly been established that life, in whatever form, is to be preserved and not destroyed, except for a valid cause or reason.

Many countries which adopt family planning methods and have national campaigns to encourage women to limit the number of children in their families have only one main objective in mind, that is, curbing the human population so that citizens may live in more extravagance. This results in a higher standard of living so that the government can use this opportunity of exploiting the masses. By re-directing funds from wasteful projects to uplift the socio-economic conditions of the people, the principle of abortion on demand will be unnecessary.

Muslims should place their faith and trust in Almighty Allah and His beloved Rasool (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and should not resort to the cruel practise of abortion on demand.It is interesting to note that since abortions were legalised in the United States in 1973, the number of reported cases of child abuse has increased from 167 000 in 1973 to 2.5 million 1991. (U.S. Department of Health & Human Resources).