There is so much pressure on women to have children, even when they are struggling with conceiving or seeing a pregnancy to full term. Many resort to artificial means, suffering for years and years from surgeries, hormone treatments, ill health etc, just to have one healthy child. This is a process that takes up tens of thousands of dollars, and can cause long term physical damage as well, not to mention broken marriages. Plus, not all treatments are successful, but instead leave devastating side effects on the wife.
Now the question is – if Allah has ordained you not to have a child, why do so many married couples refuse to accept Allah’s decree, and instead insist on all sorts of unnatural, expensive and painful means in order to have a child? Why does the rest of society place the couple under such intense pressure on something so private and personal? Why is the inability to have children considered to be a failure in so many cultures (usually society blames the wives, not the husbands)?
This begs the question – what is their purpose of having children?
Ibrahim AS yearned for a child to continue his mission of spreading Islam (remember, he and his family were the sole Muslim in the world at that time, and it was beyond his capability to continue educating the world about Islam after his death). For this, Allah granted him with Ismail AS and Ishaq AS in his old age. Zakariyya AS also yearned for a child to spread the message of Islam, and for this, Allah granted him Yahya AS in his old age, even though his wife was previously barren. The mother of Maryam AS wished for a child whom she could devote solely to Allah, and for this, Allah granted her Maryam AS, who led a pure life and later gave birth to Isa AS.
Today, Muslims have deviated from that purpose. Children are playthings, trophies of cuteness and legacies of dunia. People have children to keep up with others who have children. They have children to ensure that their wealth is passed down within the family. Their parents enter them into the competition of dunia from the moment they are born and they become a showcase of beauty, academic and dunia success. It is exceptionally rare for a parent to wish for a child solely to propagate the message of Islam.
This brings us to the pressure of pregnancy. If Allah has blessed a couple with multiple children, Alhamdhulillah, thank Allah and be grateful. But if Allah withholds, and gives a couple no child, or three children instead of four, does it make sense for the couple to spend decades in traumatic medical treatments, obsessing about the lack of children and crying in anguish for not having any progeny while being blind to all the other numerous blessings of Allah?
When Allah gives, we should accept gracefully, and when Allah withholds, we should also accept gracefully.
If the medical problem is something that can be rectified easily without causing harm to the potential mother, it is worth fixing the problem, but if it requires complicated, expensive and traumatic medical treatment, or if both husband and wife are physically fine but just unable to conceive, why not accept Allah’s divine will and accept that His plan for you is the best plan? Why not spend that same amount of money, time and effort on medical treatment to sponsor the countless orphans in your country so that these children can be witness for you in akhirah?
Having children is a wonderful blessing from Allah and is one of the reasons for marriage, but it does not mean that not having children makes you less of a person or a Muslim. Having children is a “bonus” in life, but it is not the purpose of life. In fact, Allah has warned us many times that children and wealth are our trials (or fitnah) which can cause us to deviate from His remembrance, so it places great responsibility on the parents as well. The blessed ones are those who successfully raise their children to be good and upright Muslims and members of society.
What if, after all this effort and refusing to accept the will of Allah, the child that you give birth to is the Qabeel, and not the Habeel, of the family? Each family has some elements of good and evil from Adam’s AS sons, and what if the child that you were determined on getting is the cause of you going to jahannam?
Consider even our Prophet’s SAW family – only two of his 11 wives bore him children. Not even his favourite surviving wife, Aishah RA, bore him a child. He did not pressure them, ask them to go for intensive medical treatments, love them any less, or threaten to divorce them. Yet, they are all considered to be the mothers of the Muslim ummah and promised Jannah! Isn’t this the real deal in Islam?
Keep things in perspective. Allah withholds for your own good. For some, He withholds money, for some He withholds beauty, for some, He withholds good health, and for some He withholds children. Accept Allah’s plan for you and if you are unable to have children, you can supplicate but don’t demand, don’t be angry and don’t be sad. There is a much higher reason for this, which only Allah knows. And who knows, if you accept Allah’s decision with a happy heart, He might grant you a beautiful and blessed child when the time and circumstances are right.