You may be reading this as you have recently suffered a miscarriage or still birth and you aren’t sure what your next steps should be according to Islam. ILWIR for the loss of your child and we extend our deepest sympathies.
A miscarriage (early-term pregnancy loss) occurs in ¼ of all pregnant women and occurs before 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is most common in the first trimester. After 20 weeks, the loss is considered a stillbirth which happens to 1 in 250 women. Either of these can be extremely taxing on a woman – physically and mentally – and you can find yourself feeling quite lonely and at a loss of what to do next.
Disclaimer: This post has been written based on our research regarding this topic and should be taken as a general guide. Please be sure to do your own research with regards to the rules of the sect of Islam that you follow.
Related: What NOT to say to someone who has had a miscarriage
Should I Bury My Child? What About Aqeeqah/Janazah/Naming of the Child?
There are differing views amongst scholars about the rites and rituals that are carried out for the child who has passed. The general consensus is that if the child was showing discernible features like fingernails and toes and also showed signs of life like kicking in the womb etc. before it passed then the child should be shrouded and buried Islamically. The child should also be named and aqeeqah is to be carried out. Whether janazah prayers should be carried out for this child is dependent on your school of faith.
If your child was born and cried before passing, then the child must be named, wrapped in a kafn, aqeeqah carried out and an Islamic burial with ghusl and janazah prayers should be fulfilled.
Al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said,
“The rider should travel behind the funeral procession, and those on foot should walk behind it, in front, to the right or to the left, near to it. The funeral prayer should be offered over the miscarried fetus, and supplications for forgiveness and mercy should be made for the parents.”
Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 3180
If the child is less than 4 months old, then it does not need to be named and no Islamic burial, prayers or aqeeqah is required. It is recommended to wrap the foetus in a cloth and bury it if you are reasonably able to but it is not an obligation.
If you’re wondering what the significance of the 4 month mark is, it is narrated that the soul is breathed into him or her in the womb at 4 months. Therefore it is best to refrain from carrying out funeral prayers for the foetus that is less than 4 months of gestational age as it is not a soul/life yet.
This is based on the following hadith:
“Each one of you is constituted in the womb of the mother for forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into him…”
Source: Sahih al-Bukhari no: 3036
What are Rules Regarding Post-Pregnancy Bleeding?
If the foetus has discernible features like eyes, mouth and nose etc. then this counts as a baby and the bleeding that you will experience is counted as nifas (post-natal bleeding). You should not fast, touch the Quran, pray or have sex in this instance until the bleeding has stopped. Ghusl will then be required.
If the physical features have not developed on the embryo yet then the bleeding will be considered as hayd (menstrual period) or istihaza (discharge) if:
- There was a period of 15 days or more where you did not bleed between your last menstrual period and now AND if this current bleeding has lasted for at least 3 full days. This is considered as hayd and the same rules apply: no sex, fasting, praying or touching the Quran. Ghusl-ul-hayz is required.
- There was a period of less than 15 days where you did not bleed between your last menstrual period and now OR if this current bleeding has lasted less than 3 days. This is considered to be istihaza (discharge).
If you have had a D&C procedure to remove the miscarriage, the above rules must be followed.
Hadiths and Quranic Verses about Baby Loss
Turning to Islam has always been the best way to heal emotionally after any loss. Here are some hadiths that may offer some solace:
- Know that this is a huge test from Allah as stated in Surah Al-Baqarah [2:155-157]:
“…but give glad tidings to As‑Saabiroon (the patient ones). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’ They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones.”
- And Allah knows who to test which is mentioned in Surah Al Baqarah [2:286]:
“Allah does not burden a soul beyond his capacity”
- It has been narrated by Ahmad and Ibn Maajah, that the Prophet (SAW) said,
“By the One in Whose hands is my soul, the miscarried fetus will drag his mother to paradise by his [umbilical] cord if she was patient [with the miscarriage], hoping to be rewarded.”
- As narrated by Sahih Bukhari, one of the daughters of the Prophet (SAW) informed him that her child was dying, so he consoled her by saying,
“To Allah belongs whatever He takes and whatever He gives. Everything (in this world) has a limited fixed time with Him. So be patient and (sincerely) seek and hope for reward from Him.”
- Al-Nawawi has also said:
“The death of one’s children is a screen against the Fire, and the same applies to miscarriage, and Allah knows best.”
If you are really struggling to cope with your loss, please do get in touch with the following helplines:
- Children of Jannah: https://www.childrenofjannah.com/
- Muslim Women’s Helpline: https://www.mwnhelpline.co.uk/
- The Miscarriage Association: https://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/