I was wondering, is it haraam to not have children in a marriage if both people can?? I have met women who didn't really want children, but from what I have read in the Qur'an, even the use of birth control can be haraam unless there are good reasons for it. I am not being judgmental in my question. I wasn't sure I wanted children, but three very reliable methods of birth control failed and I figured it was meant to be.
Salaam, that's a good question. Firstly, we need to make a distinction between 'haraam' (which means sinful, i.e. you gain sin for it), and mukrooh (which means the activity is disliked, it's better you avoid it, but you're not sinful for it).
From my understanding (and I am only a student, not a sheikh by any means), it's mukrooh because:
1) The Prophet (saw) commanded men to marry the fertile and the loving, because he will compete with the number of our children (i.e. the size of his ummah) on the Last Day. This shows that having children is recommended and encouraged in Islam, but doesn't give an indication that it's sinful to avoid.
2) The Prophet (saw) commanded men not to withdraw from their wives before climax, because it robs her of her satisfaction too. When questioned as to whether this can be used as a method of birth control, he said that no-one can prevent the decree of Allah from occuring (i.e. if you're meant to have kids, you can't prevent that, and vice-versa). This again shows that the matter of children isn't in your hands, but there's no clear indication that it's forbidden/sinful to prevent yourself from having any.
Because both of these proofs (and I'm sure there are many more) indicate it's better to have children, scholars lean towards this idea that couples should aim to have children. This is also one of the purposes of marriage, and is part of the point of life. Why does marriage make up half of our deen? Because it leads to other things, such as children (i.e. raising them, supporting them, teaching them, etc). By denying this, you're denying a huge part of your purpose.
Scholars also lean away from using birth-control because of the hadith I mentioned in (2) because they take it as an evidence against birth-control, whereas I lean towards the other opinion (as do some scholars) that it's actually an evidence to be fair to the wife whilst engaged in the act of intimacy... men can be quite selfish in this regard, and critical readings of other hadith highlight the advice of the Prophet (saw) in this manner too. It's just hard to recognise because the Prophet (saw) was sublime in the way he explained things.
In short though, I'm not aware of any proof that shows it's sinful to not have children. There may be proof, but nothing springs to mind in everything I've come across as yet.
And of course, Allah (swt) knows best