Praying God to give us a son, is th...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

Praying God to give us a son, is this permissible?


Praying God to give us a son, is this permissible?


May I ask whether it is permissible to seek medical advice and assistance in order to get a baby son? My wife and I differ on this issue, to the extent that she says it is not necessary to pray to God to give us a son. Her argument is that God knows what is best for us and will therefore give us what is best.

Your wife’s attitude suggests total acceptance of whatever God determines. This reflects a high degree of faith for which she must be complemented. A person who accepts whatever comes from God is a good believer. May God make us all such good believers.

Having said that, I should add that there is nothing wrong with praying to God to accomplish whatever purpose we have, provided it does not constitute disobedience to Him. Indeed, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) described praying to God to accomplish what we wish for, desire or need as ‘the essence of worship.’ This is because when we supplicate God, seeking His help to achieve our purpose, we acknowledge our weakness and His power. He therefore promised to answer all sincere prayers. However, He either gives us what we ask for, what is better for us, defers granting our wish until the Day of Judgment when He will give us much more. He says in the Qur`an, “Your Lord says, ‘Pray Me and I will answer your prayers’ ” [Al-Mu`min: 60].
This means there is nothing wrong with asking God for a son or daughter, or whatever else we wish for and desire, provided we do not ask Him to give us anything He has forbidden. Nor is there anything wrong with taking measures to accomplish any legitimate purpose. Indeed, part of the system God has established in this life is to make effects dependent on their causes. He has made this a part of accomplishing His will. So, when we take measures to heat our home on a cold day, the results from such measures, i.e. heating the house, is done by God’s will, even though it is we who took the necessary measures, without which the house would have remained cold. If we give a newborn the full course of vaccinations recommended by the health authorities, we give the child immunity against childhood diseases. This is done by God’s will, although it is the mother who took the baby to the health center for vaccination, and a nurse gave it the necessary shots.

What we have to understand is that God’s will is free and although He has established the law of cause and effect, He is able to suspend it or bring about some other law that influences the results of any particular cause. Whether He chooses to do so or not is entirely up to Him.

To relate this principle to the reader’s question, we say that it is perfectly permissible to take measures to have another child and increase the chances of making it a boy, if such measures exist, provided they do not contravene Islamic principles, teachings and values. However, to the best of my knowledge, no technique has been established to be effective in embryo sex selection that takes place naturally. Genetic engineering scientists continue to work on perfecting different techniques in the field of human reproduction, but predetermining the sex of the embryo is still a long way off. Besides there are many ethical issues involved. Hence, a Muslim is advised not to resort to such techniques until sufficient information is known about them to enable scholars to issue a ruling of permissibility or otherwise. In the meantime, my advice to my reader is to accept what God has given him. If he wants more children, he may certainly pray to God to give him as many as he wants and of the gender he wishes, but apart from this he is advised to do nothing.

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