A man assisting a woman during the birth process

Reference: Fataawa Muhimmah li-Nisaa. al-Ummah – Page 240

Question: What is the ruling regarding a man assisting a woman whilst she is giving birth?

Response: In principle, it is not permissible to say the admitting of a woman to hospital to give birth is outright permissible, rather it is imperative to define the constraints [within which it is permissible].

So if the female doctor is of the opinion, based upon her knowledge, that this pregnant woman will not be having a natural birth, and she could quite possibly require a caesarean, then in this case she is to be transferred to the hospital. As for a natural birth, then it is not permissible for her to leave her home and be admitted to the hospital simply to have a natural birth.

If the woman is in [genuine] need of being admitted to the hospital, then it is obligatory that a male doctor is not appointed to assist her in the birth process. However, if one [female doctor] is not present, then there is no harm, or rather, if she is in a dangerous state and a female doctor is not present, then it is obligatory that a male doctor assist her [during the birth process].

And this response is derived from two principles from the principles of usool al-fiqh (fundamentals of Islaamic jurisprudence), and they are:

1) Necessities permit the forbidden.

2) A necessity is assessed in accordance to its extent.

So if the woman is able to give birth in her home, then it is not permissible for her to go to the hospital; [and] if she is in need – such as there being no-one to assist her in the birth process – then a female doctor can be appointed, and if there is none present, then a male doctor can be appointed [in her place].

So in principle, it is not permissible for a woman to leave her home except where necessary, as is mentioned in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, when the [following] statement of Allaah was revealed:

{And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance}, [Soorah al-Ahzaab, Aayah 33]

And he ﷺ said:

«And Allaah has permitted you to go out for your needs/necessities», [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree – Volume 1, Hadeeth Reference 40; Saheeh Muslim – Volume 4, Hadeeth Reference 1709]

He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2004. He currently resides in Birmingham, UK.

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