Al-Hāfidh Ibn Hajr (rahimahullah) stated in Bulūgh A-Marām (969) from Anas b. Mālik (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) that he said: Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) commanded us to get married and he severely forbade celibacy and he would say:
“Marry women who are loving and prolific (will give you many children) for indeed, through you, I shall outnumber the other Prophets on the Day of Resurrection.” (Reported by Ahmad, 10/512-513, Ibn Hibbān, 4028, Abu Dawūd, 2050, An-Nasā’i, 3227, graded sahīh by Al-Albāni in Al-Irwā, 1784)
So this hadeeth informs us of the characteristics which are chosen in a woman—she should be loving towards her husband because that is a powerful reason for the continuation of a happy marriage.
Likewise, we see here an encouragement in marrying women who are able, willing and pleased to have many children because children are a blessing from Allah, and a cause of joy and of benefit to their parents, rather than marrying a woman who is not able (infertile) or unwilling. A man should choose the woman who is prolific in giving birth and having children. That is because the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) emphasised his hope for this Ummah, so it may be the greatest in number on the Day of Resurrection, and that he will vie with the other Prophets (‘alaihimus-salām).
In this hadeeth is a refutation of those affected by the corrupt ideology of the West which calls to “family planning”, i.e. to having fewer children, or to place limits on the number of offspring. They think that by having many children their sustenance and wealth is depleted and that they will lose out in their worldly possessions as if they are the ones who give provision to mankind! Rather, the One who created them is the One who provides for them, the Most Perfect and Most High—provision and sustenance is from Allah.
And this behaviour of some people in their attempt to stop having children, and to permanently limit the size of their families without a valid Sharī’ah reason resembles the behaviour of the people of jāhiliyyah before Islam who would kill their children out of fear of poverty.
So, those who call for the limitation of offspring or refuse to have children, then this is due to their fear of poverty, and their thinking is the same (as the people of jāhiliyyah)—it is rooted in having evil suspicion towards Allah, they think that He will not provide for them, or that spending from the wealth that He provided on their children is a waste of resources that they could use elsewhere.
(The above article was based primarily on the work Tas-heel Al-Ilmām bi Fiqhil-Ahādeeth min Bulooghil-Marām of the Scholar, Jurist and ‘Allāmah: Dr Sāih ibn Fawzān ibn Abdillāh Al-Fawzān (vol. 4).)
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