as salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,
I discussed this post with a graduate of a college of Shariah in Syria (who is also my brother
) and while he said that a proper ruling can not really be given unless the whole situation is understood with all of its details, he mentioned a few points that I found beneficial:
-- Shaykh Said Ramadan al-Bouti, hafidhahullah, said that life begins at the very moment of conception, though it is not completed until the soul is blown into it at four months time. So the hurmah
[prohibition] of taking the baby's life is from the time of conception, and the hurmah
increases as the pregnancy continues, and takes on the status of 'murder' once the soul is blown into the fetus. Therefore, except in extreme circumstances such as in cases of rape, or when it is established that there will be definitive harm to the mother, taking the life of a fetus is not permitted, for the same reason we are not permitted to take any individual's life.
-- An interesting point he mentioned was that even if such circumstances occur in which abortion becomes an option, there must be consent of *both* parents before it can be done (except in cases of rape of course). This is a right of both the mother and the father. This is even the case with the use of contraceptives - it must be agreed upon by both mother and father since it is dealing with the life of offspring.
-- Along with this right that the father has, he also has certain responsibilities, and he has to be reminded of his responsibilities. These include providing for and caring for his child, as well as the child's mother as long as she is breastfeeding even if there is divorce. If he is not doing so she has the right to go to the court and demand her rights (though how realistic this is depends upon the country she is in – however most Muslim countries, at least in their family laws, have some sort of shariah based law system). If this recourse is not successful, and the father cannot be relied upon to give the woman her due rights, then it is something upon him that he will be held accountable for on the Day of Judgment. Her family, especially her father and brothers, must step in and help take care of her and her children.
-- In two places in the Quran it states that one should not kill one’s children out of fear of poverty; “And do not kill your children for fear of poverty; We give them sustenance and yourselves (too); surely to kill them is a great wrong.”
“Say: Come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from: Join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want;- We provide sustenance for you and for them;- come not nigh to shameful deeds. Whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.”
This seems very applicable in this case. One must have tawakkul on Allah (swt) and remember His beautiful attributes as ar-Razzaq (The Provider), al-Kareem (The Most Generous), al-Mughni (The One who Enriches), and the One who satisfies all needs and takes care of His servants.
-- Also we as a community must understand that divorce is not anything to be ashamed of and that such women should be treated with equal respect and honor as anyone else. Many of the sahabiyaat were divorced and the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) himself married a woman who was divorced – Zainab (radiAllahu anhaa).
-- One final point from the fiqhi perspective: Yes it is true that “a fatwa may change according to time and circumstance”; but that is only the case with a fatwa that was originally established based on a particular social or environmental context. If the original ruling was not based on such things, then culture, environment or personal circumstances do not have an effect.
For example: if marriage was deemed impermissible for an individual because of his situation (not being able to provide for his wife, financially or otherwise); but in later times these issues were resolved, then the prohibition on his marrying may be changed to make it permissible.
However, if a man has four wives and wants to marry a fifth one, even if he is a particular circumstance which makes him want to marry a fifth due to temptations in the environment etc, it is not permissible for him because of the established texts that prohibit it.
--- Just wanted to add a nice point that Imam Suhaib Webb made on his blog a while back:
"Our history if filled with a number of very powerful, erudite SINGLE mothers:
2. Amina, the mother of the Prophet [sa]
3. Um Salaym [the mother of Anas would latter marry Talha]
4. Um Salama [would latter marry the Prophet [sa]
5. The mother of Imam al-Shafi
6. The mother of Imam Ahmed
7. The mother or Imam al-Bukhari
The list could go on forever.