I first want to tell you a little story before I come to what I want to speak to you about.  About two years ago [2004] there was a big meeting in the Railway Institute in Salt River.  It was an anti-drug meeting.  One of the drug-lords from Salt River was there.  And at the end of the meeting he went onto the stage and he told the people that he sells drugs but he doesn’t tell people to come and buy them from him.  He insisted that the people could not blame him for the fact that there is a drug problem in Salt River.  This story is very important for our understanding of what I’m going to speak about.

   Let me first of all take you back, right back to the time when Allah created the cosmos, the whole universe.  He created the cosmos with the word  كُنْ  (Kun: Be!),  فَيَكُوْنُ  (fa yakun: and it came into existence). In another verse Allah says:

إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَنْ يَقُوْلَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُوْنُ

Verily when He intends a thing, His Command is, Be! And it is (xxxvi: 82).

   This verse is interpreted as meaning that Allah Almighty brought everything into existence just through His desire.  Some scholars say that the cosmos came into existence between the kaf and the nun of Kun.  But no matter what the explanations are, the fact of the matter remains that Allah Almighty brought the universe into existence, or all the universes, whatever the case might be.  Then Allah Almighty “decided” that He was going to create a very special creature. Man!  He was so special that he was not going to be created through Kun only.

He was firstly going to be fashioned from clay. Allah says:

خَلَقَهُ مِنْ تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُوْنُ

He created him from clay, then He said, ‘Be! And he was’ (iii: 59).

The rest of the cosmos, everything was created through Kun only but not man.  Allah Almighty sent an angel down to the earth to fetch some clay and this clay was brought into the Divine Presence.

Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an:

ثُمَّ سَوَّاهُ وَ نَفَخَ فِيْهِ مِنْ رُّوْحِهِ

Then He fashioned him and blew in him of His Spirit (xxxii: 9).

Allah Almighty fashioned the first man.  He was not created the way the rest of the cosmos was created.  He was special to Allah Almighty and because he was so special, Allah Almighty created him in this particular way.

   Because the destination of the first man was going to be this world, the clay was taken from this world and not any of the other worlds.  Allah Almighty then fashioned him and blew into him of His Spirit.  Listen to this, Allah says in the Qur’an: “I blew into Adam of My Spirit.”  Allah had placed in Nabi Adam (a.s.) a Divine spark, a part of His Spirit.  So honoured this new creation was.  Then Allah Almighty created for Nabi Adam (a.s.) a mate, Sayyidatuna Hawa (r.a.).  She was created very differently from her future husband or from her husband, very differently.  Allah Almighty gave her a rahim, a womb.  This word rahim, if you look at it very closely, and you also look at the words rahman and rahim, you will see that all have the same origin.  The words rahman and rahim have to do with mercy.  The Names Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim, the Most Merciful, the Most Good or the Most Beneficient are of Allah’s Names.  And so the rahim of Sayyidatuna Hawa (r.a.) was named after two of the Names of Allah Almighty.  In other words, this rahim was to be an important sacred place of mercy.  In this sacred place Allah Almighty was going to continue the process of the creation of all future human beings.  We must understand that.

   When Nabi Adam (a.s.) and his wife transgressed in the Hereafter, Allah Almighty sent them to this world.  The first two human beings to come into this world, came like that.  They were the beginning of the migration from the heavens to this world.  They were the first people to come.  From that time onwards, Allah Almighty did not send human beings in that way to the earth again.  Not like that!  He sent them in a different way.  Allah Almighty had created in the heavens the souls of all future generations.  In fact, He had spoken to them.  He had spoken to those souls.

   He took all the descendants of Nabi Adam (a.s.) from out of his loins, and addressed them.  The Qur’an says:

أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوا بَلٰى شَهِدْنَا

“Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yes truly. We do testify!” (vii: 172).

We all bore witness in this very first gathering to the fact that Allah Almighty is Lord and we are the creation.  Now that is what I want to talk to you about.

   In any case, Nabi Adam (a.s.) and Sayyidatuna Hawa (r.a.) came to this world.  All future human beings from that time onwards would come to this world through the wombs of mothers. This is why the rahim is so important because inside the rahims Allah Almighty continues the process of creation of human beings.  When a man wants to plant his seed into that womb, he must first declare

قَبِلْتُ نِكَاحَهَا لِنَفْسِي بِذَالِكَ

(Qabiltu nikakhaha linafsi bi dhalik).  He must first say: “I have accepted being married to her for the dowry as indicated.” He must say that. Although he says it to the imam, he makes that declaration to Allah Almighty: “I declare, O my Lord that I have taken, I have accepted this lady in marriage.”

   Before he can enter the womb, he says بِسْمِ اللهِ (Bismillah: In the Name of Allah).  It is recommended that he says this.  And so before he enters he must call the Name of Allah.  He must say: “In the Name of Allah, I enter you,” and then he plants his seed inside the womb.  His sperm and the ovum of his wife melt together and it starts multiplying and growing.  And Allah Almighty sends angels to look after that process.  At 120 days Allah Almighty informs an angel to take the soul of that new human being and plant it in the womb of the mother of that new human being.  The angel brings the soul and plants it into the womb.  At the same time, the angel records in the womb a number of important things.  It records the time of birth, the time of death, the sustenance and the way of life; all are recorded there.  The Divine Rule, and I’m going to say this slowly to you, the Divine Rule with regards to what was happening in that womb is: Do not interfere.  The Divine Rule is that.  The Divine Rule is: “I am busy with an important process of creation, do not interfere”.  That is what Allah Almighty says.  This is what Islam says.  Do not interfere, unless it is religiously-sanctioned, with the processes that are taking place in the womb because those processes have an important link with Allah Almighty.  At that time the mother has an important link with the Divine.  Allah is busy in her womb.  She also has an angelic link.  The angels are there.

   We can now understand why Allah Almighty named the womb the rahim.  This is because His two important names Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim are operating.  In addition His Name of Al-Khaliq (The Creator) is operating.  And so He says, through His heavenly rules: “Do not interfere with My process of creation.  Do not interfere with My application of My Names of Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim.  It’s not your business.  Do not interfere”.  But of course we are human beings, you see.  We have very satanic things going on in our minds all the time.  And so we say: “NO!  How dare Thou sayest we must not interfere.  We will just interfere.  We interfere by means of indiscriminate abortions.  We abort as we wish. We abort!”

   In this country there is an Abortions Act (Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act 92 of 1996).  At the time when the Bill was under discussion in parliament not a single Muslim member of the ANC objected to the Bill on religious grounds.  Not a single one said: “No!”  Not a single one.  I want to repeat that to you because this is important for us to know.  Not a single one had the religious backbone to say that as a Muslim he objects to indiscriminate abortions as proposed in the Bill.  And when the Bill was voted on a prominent imam (a member of both the ANC and the MJC) stayed away from parliament on that day.  When this Act was applied here in the Western Cape, the Minister of Health was a Muslim.  Today he is the premier of the Western Cape, and is the favourite of the Muslim Judicial Council and the Voice of the Cape.  So the person that implemented that law, the Abortion Act, in the Western Cape is a Muslim.  My word!

   It is estimated that between 36 and 53 million abortions are done worldwide every year.  In the United States of America there are approximately 1.3 million abortions every year.  Now multiply that by ten, it will tell you how many abortions have taken place in the last ten years in the USA.  In this country, the last time I looked at the figure, which was around three or four years ago, it was 350 000.  It might be half a million already.  So half a million small human beings have been killed off in the wombs by law in this country (See statistics at the end of this talk).  And every foetus that is aborted has the stamp: “Approved by the government of this country.”  Don’t say it’s not so. It is so.  It doesn’t matter how you argue, the fact of the matter is that it is so.  It is approved by them.  Not a single Muslim member of parliament of the provincial government has ever stood up and said: “I don’t agree with this.  This is against my religion.  This is against God.  This is against Islam.  This is against Nabi Muhammad ().”  Not a single one had said that indiscriminate abortions are a major crime against God.

   Allah Almighty says don’t interfere and the politicians say: “How dare Thou sayest we must not interfere.  We will just interfere.”  Man! Man! Man is an arrogant creature.  He will do what he thinks, not what God says.  Man is a great arrogant creature.  There is a film at the Islamic library that you must see.  It is called “The Silent Cry”.  It shows how abortions take place.  I’m going to tell you a little bit about that now.  One way they abort is to put an instrument into the womb and cut up the foetus, and they bring out the pieces.  When they put the instrument in, the little human being cringes trying to get away from the instrument.  There is evidence today that at this early stage the little being already feels pain.  One can see the mouth of the little being opening, crying in fear.  It is called the silent cry.  Nobody hears the cry.  No sound comes, just fear, just fear when the instrument comes in.  Another way the abortion is done is to poison the foetus, and then bring it out.  There is also other ways.  And what happens to the dead foetuses or pieces of them?  They are burnt up.  Politicians and their handmaidens in the medical profession at work!  (See Appendix B at the end of this talk).

    You ask any doctor or any nurse who works in a clinic or hospital where these indiscriminate abortions take place about who comes for these abortions.  Sorry about what I am going to tell you.  They have mentioned to me about the large number of Muslim girls who queue up at these clinics every single week for abortions.  One of the nurses who works at a clinic has refused to have anything to do with abortions.  Large numbers of doctors and nurses say they want to have nothing to do with it.  They rather put their jobs on the line but they will not do actions against God.  This is not the case with the politicians, of course.  They also have choices like the doctors have choices, like the nurses have choices.  The nurses and the doctors say we don’t want to have anything to do with this.  And the Muslim politicians?  They are following the ANC line rather than the Shari’ah line.  Because of the pressure from the medical personnel throughout the country, the government has allowed them to refrain from doing abortions if they have serious objections to it.

    Now let me come back to the other parts that I was speaking to you about.  A nurse told me about the young Muslim girls coming for abortions.  Sometimes they are accompanied by their mothers, and these mothers are in full Islamic dress.  They bring their daughters for abortions.  Of course, a girl can get an abortion without her parents knowing.  One doctor told the mother: “Do you know that this is haram?” Well, the mother told the doctor “his fortune!”

    What is going on in our community?  Does it mean that fornication is so rife that abortion has become so rife.  So they fornicate, already one major crime, and then they go for an abortion, another major sin!  Later many of these girls experience what is called “anniversary blues”, according to a nurse I had spoken to.  Every year on that day when the abortion took place, the young lady remembers.  She remembers what she had done a year before that, or two years before or three years, and then she goes into major depression.  So many of them come back after they have done this act with major depressions because of the crime they had committed.  They had killed! They had killed!

    Indiscriminate abortions that are taking place throughout the world are a silent form of extermination.  There is no other way to describe it.  This nurse told me that some of the girls come for second abortions.  These girls are in their teens.  I want to know, what is she going to tell her future husband one day when the husband discovers, sorry I’m going to say this to you but we speaking as adults, that she is not a virgin.  Is she going to tell some lie?  Is she going to start her marriage with a lie?  How is that young lady going to face matters as she grows older, and she becomes more conscious of her religion, and she now wants to love Islam, and serve Allah Almighty better?  How is she going to face the fact that a few years before that she had allowed her baby to be murdered in her body?  How is she going to face that?  She will not be able to face it.  Why am I telling you this?

    We live in what I call desperate times in this country because of the amount of corruption.  You know about it.  I needn’t explain this to you.  Every time you open the newspapers, you get a new form of corruption operating in this country.  South Africa is not unique.  It is just one bad example.  So many times, when we look at these forms of corruption you see a Muslim name associated with it.  Most of the time!  We form a small portion, I think 10%, if I’ve got my figures right, of the population in the Western Cape.  Why is it that more than 10% of young ladies going for abortions are from the Muslim community?  Surely on an average, there should be about one out of every 10 ladies that go for abortions.  Why are the figures so high for Muslims?  Why is this so, why?  What is going on?  Why so many Muslim girls?  There should be none.  What is going on in our community?

     I want to speak to the fathers because I’m a grandfather and a father. Look after your children.  Don’t allow them to go all over the place and you are not there.  If they want to go anywhere, you take them, you stay with them and you bring them home.  Don’t be irresponsible about this.  You would not even know that your daughter has had an abortion because it’s not legally necessary for you as the father to know.  The girl that is pregnant, she gives permission.  We as fathers would not even know, we would not even know because there is no law that says that we must know.  The girl can go to the clinic, have an abortion and that’s the end of it.  I’m appealing to you.  Many of you sitting here must be fathers of daughters.  Look after them.  Allah Almighty has given these children to us as a special responsibility.  Don’t allow the corruption to affect your children.  Take them to school in the morning and go fetch them in the afternoons.  Don’t allow them to go to school two hours before the time and go fetch them three or four hours after school.  Take them and go fetch them.  They get up to all kinds of things in the afternoons.  And don’t say my daughter won’t do it.  All those fathers whose daughters have gone for abortions also thought: “Our daughters won’t do it”.  And the young men who are here, please, you are young. If you feel that there is a need, tell your parents that you want to get married.  Rather get married young than enter into corruption.  In the United States of America, Muslim parents allow their 18 or 19 year old children to get married to keep them out of corruption.  I was in Cyprus some time back. There was a young man.  He was going to get married.  He is about 18.

    We have the idea that our children must work so many years, or the children must be so old if they want to get married, rather than let them get married young to stop the corruption.  When I was much younger, there was a tradition in the Muslim community in terms of which people would get married and they would “go home” much later.  That has been dropped.  We must bring it back into our community.  Let them get married, and they can set up house later so that the corruption ceases.  Today we have fancy ideas which we have picked up from other communities. Islam says we must protect our children.  Please, you are fathers, take special precautions especially when it comes to your daughters.  Look after them.  Don’t allow them out of your sight.  Just recently we have had another case of a child being killed.  We read about these things all the time.  We are the parents.  We must not allow the children to go play freely on fields and on playgrounds.  We must not allow this.  Let them play in the yard.  We are living in times that are absolutely dangerous for our children and some of us don’t care.  Let me end off now with you.  At the beginning I told you a story.  I want to repeat that story for those who came late.

   About two or three years ago in Salt River there was a big meeting, an anti-drug meeting in the Railway Institute in Salt River.  At the meeting was a drug lord.  He went on to the stage and said that he is a drug lord and he was not ashamed of it.  He insisted that he doesn’t tell the young people in Salt River to come and buy drugs from him.  They have a choice.  Recently one of the local politicians was allowed to speak at one of the local mosques.  I do not know why they ask politicians to preach in our mosques.  I do not suppose that they will ask us to go to parliament and address the politicians there.  We allow politicians who approve of abortion to preach religion to us.  One of them said that they do not tell young girls to come for abortions.  People have a choice.  These are the same words that the drug lord used.

   Our first loyalty is to Allah Almighty.  We must be for Him.  If we are for Him, our hearts will be right.  If we are not for Him, we will talk this kind of rubbish.  Always be for Allah, for His religion, and for His Messenger ().  We must place Allah and His Messenger () first in our lives, then all the other things.  Don’t place all the other things first, and then Allah at the back of the queue.  Be careful of this.  On the Day of Reckoning we want Allah Almighty to be there for us.  What are we going say to Him about our activities.  The Muslims of the Cape and those all over the world must start making decisions about their relationships with Allah.  That is Islam.  We must always say: “O my Lord!  I am for Thee first!  Thou art for me first.  First Thou, then everything else.”  There must be a passion in our hearts for our Lord.  We must say: “O My Lord, I’m passionate about my love for Thee.  I’m passionate about my obedience to Thee.  I’m passionate about obeying what Thou sayest we must do.  I’m passionate about Nabi Muhammad ().”  The passion must vibrate in our hearts.  Our hearts must be for Allah, uncompromisingly.  And when we are for Him, He is for us.  Remember this, if we are for Allah Almighty, He is for us.  The reason why the Muslims are getting up to the things they are getting up to is because we have forgotten to be for Allah.  My appeal to you is this, please, you are my brothers and sisters in Islam.  If we walk this road, we must say:  “O my Lord, I am always for Thee.  My life and my death are for Thee”.  We ask for all of these with the blessings of Suratul Fatihah

And Allah knows best, and I ask forgiveness for any mistakes or distortions in what I have said, Amin.

 Selected Talks by Yusuf da Costa [Published 2008]




(A) Abortion today by Dr F. Pandie


Abortion remains a very controversial subject today, however, this position is nothing new, as the practice of abortion can be traced back to China in 2700 B.C.

Abortion is one of the oldest and most widely practiced methods of birth control.

Although logically, one would expect the rate of abortion to decrease commensurately with the increase in usage of contraceptives.  Statistics in the USA, Great Britain and South Africa have indicated that the rate of abortion is increasing. The unrestricted, availability of contraceptives insults in a vicious cycle facilitating promiscuity whilst abortion remains a way out should a pregnancy nevertheless occur.

Miscarriage is a synonymous term which is preferred by the laity who tend to regard the word abortion as implying the deliberate termination of pregnancy.

In order to stem the “tide” of backstreet abortions far reaching changes in legislation regarding termination of pregnancy (T.O.P.) in South Africa have been made since 1996.

Termination of pregnancy can be done upon request during
1) the first 12 weeks of pregnancy
2) 13th and 20th week of pregnancy
3) up until the 24th week of pregnancy.

Definition of abortion

Abortion denotes the termination of pregnancy; either spontaneously or induced, before the 24th week of pregnancy.

The frequency with which abortion occurs depends on the state of health of the individual and communities, the health facilities available and the ready access to these facilities.

5% of all pregnancies end up as an abortion, whether spontaneously or induced.

Clinical types of abortion

Pregnancy is divided into three stages or trimesters.
The 1st trimester is up to the first 12 weeks
The 2nd trimester between l3 and 28 weeks
The 3rd trimester between 29 weeks and 40 weeks.

Abortions can occur in both 1st and 2nd trimester. The causes and management are different in each trimester.

1) Threatened abortion:    This can occur in the 1st and 2nd trimester. The symptoms are usually mild painless bleeding for a day or two. In 90% of cases the pregnancy continues to term.  Bedrest, sedation and no intercourse is recommended.

2)   Inevitable abortion:    This can either be complete or incomplete.  The patient presents with amenorrhoea, symptoms of pregnancy and then painful bleeding with passage of clots. On examination the cervical os is usually open 1-2cm.  In both complete and incomplete cases an evacuation (wombscrape) must be done and bleeding controlled or stopped.

3) Septic abortion:  This is usually inevitable caused by infection or criminally induced.

4) Missed abortion:   The patient initially present with emenorrhoea and symptoms of pregnancy whereafter the symptoms regress and occassionally spotting can take place, weeks or even months later.

5) Habitual abortion:    In this situation the patient can have three or more abortions occurring without progressing to term.  Most times the abortion occur in the 1st trimester.

The causes of abortion:
Many factors are responsible for women aborting.

  • Genetic or congenital: This may be due to a predisposed genetic abnormality in either the sperm or the female egg the union of which results in an abnormal fetus and hence incompatible with life. This is the common cause for most 1st trimester abortions and commonly present on ultrasound as blighted ovum.
  • Infections: Both acute and chronic infection including bacterial and viral infections. Syphilis and T.B. result in poor health and anaemia.  Viral infection including Toxoplasmosis, German measles, Herpes and H.I.V. are common causes.
  • Blood dyscrasias including aneamia, coagulation abnormalities and leukemia are known factors. The commonest cause for recurrent habitual abortion is an abnormality of coagulation known as the antithromboplastic antibody syndrome and defect or absence of protein C & S and which is corrected with use of Aspirin and Heparin during pregnancy.
  • Metabolic abnormalities: Diabetes is commonly associated with miscarriages and fetal abnormalities.
  • Congenital abnormalities:
    The abnormal formatin and developments of the uterus can lead to both the 1st and 2nd trimester abortions.


    1. The neck of uterus (cervix) can be incompetent and fail to keep the fetus in the uterus. This is the result of an inherent defect or absence of collagen tissue in neck of the uterus.
    2. The uterus can have a septium in the middle of the cavity dividing it into two smaller chambers, this restricting growth of the fetus.
  • Criminal abortion: This is usually an attempt at terminating a pregnancy by either non-medical personnel or medical practitioners themselves.  They are susually performed secretively under unsterile conditions.  Instruments including knitting needles, catheters, syringes and dilaters are used.  Solutions including soaps, potassium per manganate and quinine are commonly injected into the cervical canal.  Unsterile instruments are used to pry open the cervix and expel the uterine contents.

Many of the patients end up in hospital eventually in bacteraemic and septic shock.  Treatment is difficult and long.  Many of them die.  Those who survive complain of chronic pain, recurrent pelvic infection and infertility.

  • Multiple pregnancies:
    Twins and triplets or more, often lead to abortion of either one or all the fetuses.

Termination of pregnancy:
This is a very emotive issue creating two lobby groups; the pro abortionist and the anti abortion group.

With the introduction of liberal legislation in many western countries termination of pregnancy has become freely available.  In South Africa children 12yrs and older can have a termination of pregnancy without parental consent.

However, there are other valid reasons for terminating a pregnancy.  The presence of a grossly abnormal fetus incompatible with life can allow termination to take place.  An intrauterine death of the fetus can be terminated as well.  Where the fetus is abnormal but still alive a high concentrated solution of saline can be injected directly into the uterus or even the fetal heart.

With improved standards of sterility and the discovery of better drugs with fewer side effects, termination of pregnancy becomes easier but only in the properly supervised institutions and correct protocols.

For most 1st trimester termination misoprostol (a prostaglandin) is given, either orally or vaginally until bleeding takes place.  This is then followed by doing a womb scrape either under general aneasthetic or heavy sedation.

The French discovery of Mifepristone has allowed the combination of it and Misoprostol to be used in 2nd trimester although far greater risks are involved.  The process can be long, painful and traumatic.

Failure or any of the above methods may finally end in a hysterotomy being done.  This is like a caesarean section but the incision made into the uterus is smaller.

Abortion or termination of pregnancy remains controversial.  As Muslim physicians we are constantly confronted in making moral decisions but often coerced by parents of individuals to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.  The abortion clinics at G.S.H. and Tygerberg Hospital are filled by young Muslim girls seeking termination.


(B) Abortions: Statistics

* According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, approximately 22 million legal abortions were reported in 1987.
* It is estimated that between four and nine million were not reported, for a possible total of 26-31 million legal abortions.
* Add to that an estimated 10 to 22 million “clandestine” abortions, and the total worldwide figure is between 36 and 53 million abortions.
* China reports the highest number of abortions, with 10,394,500 abortions reported in 1987.
* Women in the former Soviet Union have a high rate of abortion, 181 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 1987, or roughly 60 percent of all pregnancies ending in abortion.
* The average Russian woman has three to eight abortions in her lifetime. The rate of abortion in Russia is four times higher than that of the U.S.
* Since the fall of Communism in Romania, 78 percent of all pregnancies are aborted.

What these statistics in fact mean is that, let us say, the average number of abortions worldwide was 30 million per annum, then for the last ten years the number of abortions throughout the world would have been 300 million. And this is a very conservative figure. No small wonder that the previous Pope had referred to abortions as extermination.

South Africa
South Africa Abortions on the Rise, Number on Teenagers Has Doubled by Steven Ertelt – LifeNews.com Editor
September 19, 2007 Pretoria, South Africa (LifeNews.com)The number of abortions in South Africa is on the rise and some of the figures have more than doubled in the ten years since the nation legalized abortion in 1997. Abortions on adult women are increasing but the figures for teenagers have doubled in the last five years alone.
Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang released new figures on Wednesday showing that 9,895 teenagers 18 and young got abortions in 2006 compared with 4,423 in 2001. She said the number of abortions on adult women has jumped from 32,679 to 71,856 during the same time period. The new figures also show that teen pregnancies are on the rise as well.
A 2006 General Household Survey conducted by Statistics South Africa showed 71,000 teenage girls said their pregnancy was the reason they had not been attending school recently.
South Africa introduced new abortion laws in 1997 and … since then, 500,000 women there have had abortions. Professor Eddie Mhlanga, the head of obstetrics and gynecology at Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu Natal, … said statistics show there were 529,410 women having abortions since the law.   And 256,808 of the abortions happened in the last three years, showing the number of abortions is on the rise.


(C) Methods of Abortions

The abortionist first paralyzes the cervix (womb opening).  He then inserts a hollow plastic tube with a knife-like tip into the uterus.  The tube is connected to a powerful pump with a suction force 29 times more powerful than a home vacuum cleaner.  The procedure tears the baby’s body into pieces and the hose frequently jerks as pieces of the baby become lodged.  The placenta is then cut from the inner wall of the uterus and the scraps are sucked out into a bottle.

* Menstrual extraction
A very early suction abortion, often done before the pregnancy test is positive.

*Dilatation & Curettage (D&C)
Uncommon today and used during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.  This is similar to the suction procedure except that the abortionist inserts a curette, a loop-shaped steel knife up into the uterus.  He then cuts the placenta and baby into pieces and scrapes them out into a basin.  Bleeding is usually profuse.

* Dilatation & Evacuation (D&E)
Performed during the second trimester (4-6 months) of pregnancy.  This method has largely replaced saline and chemical abortions, which too frequently resulted in live births, a complication from the abortionist’s perspective!  A pliers-like instrument is needed because the baby’s bones are calcified, as is the skull.  There is no anesthetic for the baby. The abortionist inserts the instrument into the uterus, seizes a leg or other part of the body and, with a twisting motion, tears it from the baby’s body.   This is repeated again and again.  The spine must be snapped, and the skull crushed to remove them.  The nurse’s job is to reassemble the body parts to be sure that all are removed

* D & X (Partial Birth)
Also used for advanced pregnancies.  The cervix is dilated to allow passage of a ring forceps.  A foot or lower leg is located and pulled into the vagina.   The baby is extracted in breech fashion until the head is just inside the cervix. The baby’s legs hang outside the woman’s body.  With the baby face-down, scissors are plunged into the baby’s head at the nape of the neck and spread open to enlarge the wound.  A suction tip is inserted and the baby’s brain is removed. The skull collapses and the baby is delivered.  Sharp and suction curettage is continued until the walls of the womb are clean.

* Hysterotomy
This method is usually used late in pregnancy and is likened to an “early” Caesarian section.  The mother’s abdomen and uterus are surgically opened and the baby is lifted out.  Unfortunately, many of these babies are very much alive when removed.  To kill the babies, some abortionists have been known to plunge them into buckets of water or smother them with the placentas.  Still others cut the cord while the baby is still inside the uterus depriving the baby of oxygen.

* Salt Poisoning a.k.a. “Candy Apple Babies”
   Most often used after the first trimester (first three months).  The abortionist injects a strong salt solution directly into the amniotic sac (fluid surrounding the baby).  The baby breathes and swallows it, is poisoned, struggles, and sometimes convulses. It takes over an hour to kill the baby.  The mother delivers the dead baby in a day or two (sometimes alive!).  Why “candy apple” babies?   The corrosive effect of the salt solution often burns and strips away the outer layer of the baby’s skin.  This exposes the raw, red, glazed-looking subcutaneous layer of tissue.   The baby’s head sometimes looks like a candy apple.  Some have also likened this method to the effect of napalm on innocent war victims.  This technique was originally developed in the concentration camps in Nazi Germany. (source: Abortion and Social Justice, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1972).  (Source: http://www.abortiontv.com/Methods/themanyways.htm)

 The following methods are used by the Marie Stopes Clinics well-known in South Africa (as recommended by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, United Kingdom):

Early medical abortion – up to 9 weeks of pregnancy
Medical abortion is the most effective method for women who are less than 7 weeks pregnant. It is also a possible choice at any stage of pregnancy.  You will need to attend the hospital or clinic twice, on 2 separate days. On the first visit you take tablets of mifepristone to block the hormones that help a pregnancy to continue. On the second visit you will be given prostaglandin, either as tablets or as vaginal pessaries. Prostaglandin is a hormone that makes your womb expel the pregnancy, usually within 4 to 6 hours.
The RCOG guideline recommends a number of drug combinations for medical abortion. Some of them include a drug called misoprostol (a type of prostaglandin) which is not yet licensed for use in abortion but has been shown to be safe and effective. Your doctor or nurse should tell you if you are being prescribed an unlicensed but recommended treatment.

Medical abortion – after 9 weeks of pregnancy
You take the same drugs as you would for an early medical abortion. At this stage, however, abortion takes longer and you may need to have more than one dose of prostaglandin. If you have a medical abortion between 12 and 24 weeks of pregnancy you should be cared for by a midwife or nurse who has appropriate experience. You should ideally have a single room.

Suction termination– usually from 7 to 12 or 15 weeks
Some services offer suction termination up to the 12th week of pregnancy, while others offer it up to the 15th week. It can sometimes be used if you are less than 7 weeks pregnant.
Suction termination can be carried out with a local or general anaesthetic. A local anaesthetic is safest. The suction device may be electric or operated by hand. Electric suction is quicker.
The entrance to your womb (known as the cervix) is gently stretched and opened until it is wide enough for the contents of the womb to be removed with a suction tube. The extent to which the cervix needs to be opened depends on the size of the pregnancy. To make this safer, there are a number of effective ways to soften the cervix beforehand, for example by inserting tablets containing misoprostol (a type of prostaglandin hormone) into your vagina.

Surgical dilatation and evacuation (D& E) – from about 15 weeks of pregnancy
The cervix is gently stretched and opened (this is known as dilatation) so that the pregnancy can be removed in fragments with a suction tube and forceps. You usually need a general anaesthetic.   (Source: (www.rcog.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=649))


(D) Abortion: A synopsis of the four Madh-habs (Schools of Thought) according to az-Zuhayli (Al-Fiqhul Islamiyyah wa Adillatuh, pp. 556-558)

The ulama (renowned Islamic scholars) are agreed that abortion is haram (what is punishable when committed and rewarded when not done) in the absence of a legitimate reason beyond a period of four months viz. 120 days from the day of conception.  Beyond this, abortion is a crime that necessitates a penalty for it would now be regarded as destroying a soul or killing a person.
My (az-Zuhayli’s) personal, preferred opinion is that abortion is not permissible from the moment of conception for the reason that life is established at this point and that the formation of the embryo has already been set in motion.  In the case of necessity (darurah), however, certain exceptions may be made. These exceptions may occur, for example, in the case of chronic diseases, or life threatening illnesses such as tuberculosis or cancer, or any other legitimate reason, such as when the milk of the mother becomes depleted during her pregnancy while she still has another suckling infant – for whose life they would now fear – and her husband is unable to afford a wet-nurse.  In this preference of mine I share a strong affinity with the opinion of al-Ghazali who regards abortion – from the very first day – as equivalent to the live burial of the infant girls (considered) a crime against tangible existent.
Having said this I now present the opinions of the fuqaha (the jurists) on the question of abortion:

  1. The Hanafi Madh-hab: Abortion is permissible after conception for as long as the embryo is not fully formed; and that does not occur before the passage of one hundred and twenty days for the reason that (before that) the embryo is not yet considered human.
    This view necessitates that they (the Hanafis) intend by “formation” (takhliq) the “breathing in of the spirit (ruh)”.
    A less widely-held view amongst the Hanafis is that abortion without a legitimate reason (before the lapse of 120 days) is makruh (reprehensible but not punishable).  In this case the pregnant woman would be guilty of a sin.
    Amongst the acceptable reasons are: that it becomes evident that she would be incapable of breastfeeding her child after birth, while the father of the child is unable to hire a wet-nurse, and, through this circumstance, fear the demise of the child.
    Others, again, have interpreted the absolute right to abortion within this period as nonetheless contingent on certain conditions, for the reason that the consequence of the sperm entering the womb leads to a conception that eventually leads to life – therefore the act of conception must be accorded the same ruling as life itself.  This latter interpretation is a sensible and necessary one.
  2. The Maliki Madh-hab: The authoritative (mu’tamad) ruling is that abortion is haram the moment the embryo is formed, even if that occurs before the lapse of forty days. A less widely-held view is that abortion is makruh (reprehensible but not punishable) before the lapse of forty days.  But when the soul is breathed into the foetus then abortion is prohibited by consensus.  This is also the view of the al-Ghazali and the Dhahiris (the legal school of Imam Abu Dawud adh-Dhahiri).
  3. The Shafi’ Madh-hab:  Abortion is permissible within a period of forty days (40 or 42 or 45 days) from the time of conception.  The further conditions for this are the agreement of both spouses and that no harm comes to the pregnant woman.  After forty days abortion is absolutely prohibited.
    The preferred opinion of ar-Ramli is that abortion is permissible before the soul is breathed into the foetus and completely prohibited after that.  His view coincides with the Hanafi view.
    Al-Ghazali has declared abortion absolutely haram (what is punishable when committed and rewarded when not done) for the reason that abortion is a crime against a tangible existent.
  4. The Hanbali Madh-hab: This (madh-hab) is identical to that of the The most authoritative legal opinion of this madh-hab is that abortion is permissible during the first four months viz for a period of 120 days starting from the day of conception and before the soul is breathed into the foetus.  After this it is absolutely haram, viz. with the first volitional movement within the foetus.
    (This translation was kindly done for me by Shaykh Seraj Hendricks of the Azzawiyyah Masjid, Cape Town.)


(E) Abortion (Al-Qardawi, Y. undated. The lawful and the prohibited in Islam. Indinapolis: American Trust Publications, pp. 201-202)

While Islam permits preventing pregnancy for valid reasons, it does not allow doing violence to the pregnancy once it occurs.
Muslim jurists agree unanimously that after the foetus is completely formed and has been given a soul, aborting it is haram.  It is also a crime, the commission of which is prohibited to the Muslim because it constitutes an offense against a complete, live human being.  Jurists insist that the payment of blood money (diya) becomes incumbent if the baby was aborted alive and then died, while a fine of lesser amount is to be paid if it was aborted dead.
However, there is one exceptional situation.  If, say the jurists, after the baby is completely formed, it is reliably established that the continuation of the pregnancy would necessarily result in the death of the mother, then, in accordance with the general principle of the Shari’ah, that of choosing the lesser of two evils, abortion must be performed.

          For the mother is the origin of the foetus; moreover, she is established in life, with duties and responsibilities, and she is also a pillar of the family.  It would not be possible to sacrifice her life for the life of a feotus which has not yet acquired a personality and which has no responsibilities or obligations to fulfill.¹

Imam al-Ghazzali makes a clear distinction between contraception and abortion, saying,

Contraception is not like abortion.  Abortion is a crime against an existing being.  Now, existence has stages.  The first stages of existence are the settling of the semen in the womb.² It is then ready to receive life.  Disturbing it is a crime.  When it develops further and becomes a lump, aborting it is a greater crime.  When it acquires a soul and its creation is completed, the crime becomes more grevious.  The crime reaches a maximum seriousness when it is committed after it (the foetus) is separated (from the mother) alive.³

¹Al-Fatawa by Shaikh Shaltut, p.164.
²It was then believed that the mingling of the semen with the secretions of the woman in the uterus caused pregnancy.(Trans.)
³Al-Ihya, book of  “Al-Nikah” (Marriage), p.74.

Selected Talks by Yusuf da Costa [Published 2008]


NB: 2020 stats

According to the World Health Organisation [WHO], every year in the world there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions.

This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day.

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