Thursday, February 17, 2011

Infertility: Islamic Perspective – 1

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you would do anything to get it? Would you spend all of your time and money just to get that one thing? Have you ever felt a yearning that would never go away? Would you pray so often and so intense that tears would come to your eyes? Read the following story to find out the struggles that some couples face:

Imaan's story

“I always knew I wanted children – maybe because I come from a large family. When I was looking for a husband, how he dealt with children was very important to me. In fact, seeing how my husband handled someone's newborn baby was what made me interested in talking to him about marriage. After being married about two years we started trying to have children. We tried for about one year to get me pregnant. With no success, we went to a reproductive health clinic so my husband and I could get tested. (It is normal to take that long to conceive, so, unless there is an obvious problem, most clinics will not test before the couple has tried for one year). Many different tests were done. The doctors only found a minor problem that they assumed would be easy to deal with. We thought that I would get pregnant quickly and were very hopeful.

At this time, we decided to go with a procedure called Intra-Uterine Insemination or IUI. After one trial of IUI in the United States, we moved to Kuwait. It was at this time that I saw a picture above the steps to that clinic in Kuwait. On it was the following Quranic verses which mean: "To Allaah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows female (offspring) upon whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He wills. Or He bestows both males and females and He renders barren whomever He wills. Verily, He is the all-Knower and is Able to do all things." [Quran 42:49-50]

It was a reminder that whatever was to happen would be the will of Allaah and that I would accept whatever he had planned for me. After two more IUIs I was pregnant. With my doctor's permission, I went to Makkah for `Umrah. While there, I began bleeding and was told that I'd had a miscarriage. However, after returning to Kuwait, I experienced spotting and pains on my right side. While it was thought that I'd had a miscarriage, it turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy. Surgery was carried out and they were able to save the tube since they had caught the pregnancy early enough. I was grateful they saved my tube, but was becoming disappointed. I think I had not yet really accepted Allaah's will or learned to appreciate all the things I was able to do because I did not have children (help start an Islamic school, study in an intensive Arabic program, go for `Umrah at the last minute, etc).

We went back to the states for a consultation and then returned to Kuwait where we completed 2 more IUIs and then a trial of IVF or In-Vitro Fertilization. Al-Hamdulillaah, I got pregnant from the IVF trial. Sadly though, after six weeks we lost the baby through miscarriage. It was after this trial that I really started to be more accepting of Allaah's will. I found ways to cope with the many side effects of the drugs used in the procedures (moodiness, night sweats, and sadness). I realized that getting pregnant may take a while. (Not getting pregnant ever was still kept in the back of my mind.) With the acceptance of Allaah's will came the ability to consider more seriously what my life would be like without children, to focus on the positive possibilities of this outcome, and what I would be able to contribute to the community with the available time. We went back to the States again and did 4 more trials of IUI. At one point during the IUIs we were faced with the issue of Multi-Fetal Reduction, as my ovaries had produced too many eggs so there was a slight possibility of multiples if I were to get pregnant. We spoke with a scholar in the field and he related that the scholars disagree on this topic. We were told that we needed to make our own decision. This was a difficult issue to deal with, but I knew if I had multiples there was no way I could do it. (I didn't get pregnant, so we never had to make that choice). We then did a trial of IVF with ICSI. This too was unsuccessful. More sadness and disappointment; then again, acceptance. And, while others didn't like to hear us say it, we were beginning to accept the fact that we may not ever have our own children. We still kept trying, but had accepted Allaah's will - whatever it may be. We then moved to another state and found a clinic that was well-known for its pioneering work in the field of infertility. We did one IVF trial there with different drug combinations and I became pregnant. Al-Hamdulillaah! After four years and lots of prayer we had finally obtained what we wanted. Al-Hamdulillaah, the pregnancy went well and we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy.

My advice to anyone trying: be informed about the drugs and the procedures, be prepared to have this as a big part of your life (for a while anyway), know that there will be ups and downs, be patient with "fertile" people's advice (especially when they try not to think about it, but every is structured around shots or ultrasounds), try and appreciate of gifts/opportunities Allaah has given you, and most of all know that Allaah is with you and He is the best planner your life."

Islamic lessons to be learned

Gratitude: For those who are able to have children and enjoy them, it is important to remember that they are gifts from Allaah. We should always be grateful for what Allaah has given to us and not take these things for granted.  The sight of a newborn baby should make us awe at Allaah's Power and how to His Generosity. How many times have we looked at our children and really thanked Allaah for them? How many times have people complimented us on our children and we have said Al-Hamdulillaah rather than feeling pride. Gratefulness is an important characteristic of a believer. There are many verses in the Quran of this nature. Allaah Says (what means): "So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny me." [Quran 2:152]

Patience: Mankind is tested in many ways. The believers are those who are steadfast during times of trial and adversity. The Prophet said: "Wonderful is the case of a believer - there is good for him in everything, and this is only for the believer. If he experiences a blessing, he is grateful to Allaah - which is good for him; and if he experiences an adversity, he is patient - which is also good for him." [Muslim] 

Infertility is obviously a burdensome trial given to certain men and women, and those who remain patient and steadfast in faith will be the successful. "Indeed, Allaah is with those who are patient."

Remembrance of Allaah's Will:

The verses from the chapter of Ash-Shoora summarize this point. Allaah Almighty Says what means: "He creates what He wills. He bestows female (offspring) upon whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He wills. Or He bestows both males and females, and He renders barren whom He wills." [Quran 42: 50]

All that happens in this life emanates from the will of Allaah. Oftentimes we have to accept this even if we find it difficult and are unaware of the wisdom behind such happening. This also means that others should not shun, shame, or ostracize a woman or man who is experiencing infertility. This is something, in particular, that husbands should remember in relation to their wives as demonstrated in the stories of Ibraaheem and Zakariyya (outlined below). This is the will of Allaah and we are not in a position to judge others, particularly for something over which they have no control. Allaah Knows what is best for His creation.

Understanding: The Prophet said: Whatever trouble, illness, anxiety, grief, pain or sorrow afflicts a Muslim even if it is the pricking of a thorn - Allaah removes in its places some of his sins." 

The first understanding to have is that through pain, sadness, and struggle comes the reward from Allaah, The Exalted, and expiation for sins. The struggle itself then becomes a blessing from Allaah, although we may not be aware of this and it may be difficult for us to comprehend. The second understanding is that Allaah has a plan and a reason for all things. One example is that of `Aa`ishah RA the wife of the Prophet . `Aa`ishah was young, but she did not have children.

The wisdom behind this may be that Allaah had another purpose for her. One only needs to look at the numerous Hadeeths that she transmitted and the knowledge that she shared throughout her lifetime to understand what this purpose may have been. There are other areas of life beyond child-rearing where a person can share his or her talents and skills.

Hopefulness and Reliance upon Allaah: It is important to never despair of the Mercy of Allaah and to always remain hopeful that Allaah will change the situation. Making Du`aa` (supplication) is essential in relation to this. There are several stories in the Quran that present beautiful lessons for mankind. The first is about Ibraaheem and his wife Saarah, may Allaah exalt their mention: "And his wife was standing (there) and she laughed: But we gave her glad tidings of Isaac and after him, of Jacob. She said "Alas for me! Shall I bear a child, seeing I am an old woman, and my husband here, is an old man? That indeed would be a wonderful thing!" They said: "Do you wonder at Allaah's decree? The grace of Allaah and His blessings on you, O you people of the house! For He is indeed worthy of all praise, full of Glory!" [Quran 11:71-73]

The second is of Zakariyya and his wife, may Allaah exalt their mention: "There did Zakariyya pray to his Lord, saying: "O my Lord! Grant unto me from You a progeny that is pure: for You are He that hears prayer! While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: "Allaah gives thee glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a Word from Allaah, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a prophet,-of the (goodly) company of the righteous." He said: "O my Lord! How shall I have son, seeing I am very old, and my wife is barren?" "Thus," was the answer, "Does Allaah accomplish what He wills." [Quran 3:38-40]  "[This is] a recital of the Mercy of your Lord to His servant Zakariyya. Behold! He cried to his Lord in secret, Praying: "O my Lord! Infirm indeed are my bones, and the hair of my head does glisten with gray: but never am I unblest, O my Lord, in my prayer to You!" [Quran 19:2-4]

"And (remember) Zakariyya, when he cried to his Lord: "O my Lord! Leave me not without offspring, though thou art the best of inheritors." So We listened to him: and We granted him Yahya: We cured his wife's (Barrenness) for him. These (three) were ever quick in emulation in good works; they used to call on Us with love and reverence, and humble themselves before Us." [Quran 21:89-90]

There are several lessons to be learned from these stories, but the main one is that even in the seemingly most impossible circumstances, Allaah may answer our prayers and bless us from his bounty. Both Saarah and Ishba were barren for many years, but nothing is beyond Allaah's Power to control. We should obviously not obsess ourselves about having children to the point where it is harmful for ourselves and others, but we should continue to accept Allaah's Destiny, remain firm in our faith, and maintain hopefulness. If Allaah does not bless us with children in this life, we have the next life to look forward to. It is important to remember that our goal in this life is to obtain Paradise in the Hereafter. This life is but a fleeting moment in the cycle of existence.

The Prophet said: "Surely I know a verse (from the Quran) which, if people would have followed it, would have sufficed for them concerning everything (in life): `For those who fear Allaah, He provides a way out for them (for everything, and) He also provides them provisions from (sources) that they could never have imagined." [(65:2-3); Ahmad and Ibn Maajah]

Note: Reading this really gives peace of mind... Allah doesnt give child to Aisyah RA too... how come i forgot that all this while? She has other things to concentrate and help Prophet instead raising a child. But as far as i know, she does babysit her niece :)

4 their rebelling minds:

Rehana~ said...

its a wonderful article...sometimes, its a message from Allah to us..to you...:)

DOUBLE LIKE :)

~S~ said...

sgt tepat.

selagi mana DIA kata belum, selagi tu la belum. my husband always said that when i started arguing about fate.

Mrs.ShiZni said...

Subhanallah. Great article.

Anonymous said...

, I have no words to express my gratitude, Eka the great priest of Eka kingdom...I have fought with infertility issues for more than a decade. My Gyn told a year ago that one of my tubes was blocked, and had insisted that IVF was the only option left for me. I was desperate and terrified due to my relatively advanced age (I was 38 a year ago) and the 2 ovarian cysts that were giving me hell, that I would be childless. My husband and I decided we will keep on fighting as I have read many awful stories about the side effects, the low success rates and pain involved with the IVF procedure so we kept looking for a way out to have a child of our own. We almost gave up and then I found the email of priest Eka (dreka14demons@gmail.com) and I emailed he for help and he told me all what I will do for him to cast me a pregnancy and pregnancy protection spell. And kindly I immediately ordered him to do all the needful for me to get pregnant and I did everything Eka said along with my husband who had poor sperm motility. After two months of trying I got pregnant with my first baby boy. With one blocked tube and 2 ovarian cysts, I think this is nothing short of a miracle! I will thank Eka for everything, Contact him (dreka14demons@gmail.com)