FATWA: I am 23 weeks pregnant, discovered my baby has a heart defect that requires surgery. There may be other defects that need further testing; this may lead

Assalam o alaikum,



I would like to ask you question about the abortion. I am 23 weeks pregnant and few days ago, I found out that my baby has a heart defect that would be fix through an open heart surgery. However, there could be other abnormalities too and for that I have to do another but doing this test, I could lose my pregnancy. Please advise if I could do that test despite my all other tests are clear. Can I terminate my pregnancy at this stage if Allah forbid there is any baby disability. Please guide me in the light of Islam. 


[Name Withheld for Privacy]




Al salamu alaykum,


May Allah (SWT) grant you and your family peace, blessings, and grace in all you do.


If I understand your question correctly, at the time you wrote me, you were 23 weeks pregnant and discovered your baby had a heart defect that requires surgery, but there may be other defects that need further testing to uncover. And this further testing may lead to the loss of the pregnancy, but your question is about the permissibility of terminating your pregnancy.


First, I must refer you to my other responses regarding Shari'ah and pregnancy as it is important to read what I have previously written on this matter. In general, as I am sure you know, Islam takes the preservation of life very seriously and Allah (SWT) explicitly instructs us in the Qur’an not to terminate pregnancies in fear of misfortune or poverty. The gift of life is a great blessing from our Lord. Further, Allah (SWT) reminds us that you may fear something and it turns out to be the best thing that could have ever happened, or you may desire something and it could turn out to be the worst thing that could have ever happened. The termination of pregnancy is generally allowed when the life or health of the mother would be at stake or when there would be undue hardship for the family.


Having said all of this, in regards to your specific situation, I believe – and God knows best – that you should perform the additional testing that would better inform you as to the condition and health of the child, and also, the possible risks to you and your family. If a qualified medical doctor recommends further testing, then I believe that you should follow this recommendation. I pray that Allah (SWT) protects the child during these tests and that the life of the child is preserved. If it turns out that the child suffers from additional health problems, please write and update me on the results of these tests at that point. In my view, and Allah (SWT) knows best, considering that you are well beyond the first trimester, a possible heart defect that requires surgery in and of itself would not justify the termination of the pregnancy absent a risk to the health or life of the mother. If there are further defects, then this matter should be considered in light of such information. At this point, simply terminating the pregnancy instead of undertaking further medical testing would, in my opinion, be ill-advised. My opinion is based on the jurisprudence and general consensus found in Shari'ah sources and in all cases, Allah (SWT) knows best.


May God protect, bless, and guide you towards what is always righteous and beautiful.


Al salamu alaykum, 


Shaykh Abou El Fadl