Citation for Abortion

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"Abortion." In The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Ed. John L. Esposito. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. Apr 13, 2021. <>.


"Abortion." In The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. , edited by John L. Esposito. Oxford Islamic Studies Online, (accessed Apr 13, 2021).


Muslim jurists uniformly hold abortion to be blameworthy but permissible under certain conditions. Ensoulment of the fetus is understood to occur 120 days after conception; after ensoulment, abortion constitutes homicide and requires a juridical punishment. The four Sunni schools of law provide certain rights to the ensouled fetus: the right to be born and live as long as God permits, a right to inheritance, and a right to burial. When a pregnant woman dies, the Shafii tradition mandates that the unborn child be removed in an attempt to save that life. If a pregnant woman is condemned to die, the death sentence must be postponed until after she has given birth. An unborn child cannot inherit while in the womb; the inheritance is held until after the birth. Miscarried and stillborn children are given a name, placed in a white cloth, and buried.

See also Birth Control/Contraception

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