Success in the battle of Infertility
Success in our battles against infertility will be different for all couples. While the most common measure of success would be pregnancy and having our own biological children, this is not always feasible. As Muslims our offspring or lack thereof does not define our ultimate measure of success. It is important to remember our duties to Allah and our responsibilities as Muslims before anything. We should not continually define Muslim women by pregnancy; offspring, mothering and other womb related issues. However we should define Muslims (men and women) in the terms of success in which Allah has defined for us and call to mind what Allah has determined for those who are to prosper.
This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off (evil). Who believe in the Unseen, and establish worship, and spend of that We have bestowed upon them; And who believe in that which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) and that which was revealed before thee, and arecertain of the Hereafter. These depend on guidance from their Lord. These are the successful.
<Al Baqarah 2:2-5>
And hold fast, all of you together, to the cable of Allah, and do not separate. And remember Allah's favour unto you:How ye were enemies and He made friendship between your hearts so that ye became as brothers by His grace; and (how) ye were upon the brink of an abyss of fire, and He did save you from it. Thus Allah maketh clear His revelations unto you, that haply ye may be guided, And there may spring from you a nation who invite to goodness, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency. Such are they who are successful.
< Al Imran 3:103-104>
Yes, for thousands of infertile couples success comes with pregnancy and childbirth. A long haul for most of us, but well worth all the pain, emotional trauma, expenses and spiritual battles. Having children does not mean it is easy street, for we know that our children are a test (fitnah) for us:
O ye who believe! Lo! among your mates and your children there are enemies for you, therefor beware of them. And if ye efface and overlook and forgive, then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Your wealth and your children are only a temptation, whereas Allah! with Him is an immense reward.
<At Taghabun 64: 14-15>
We have rights over our children as they to have rights over us. It is important as Muslims that we start on the right foot when it comes to raising our children. This means from pregnancy, breast feeding, and on through adulthood. The following links may help couples having children or who have had children.
We have already discussed the Islamic way of adoption and it being a means for infertile couples to raise children. Like families with biological children adopted children do stand to be a source of trial for the couple. Adopted families face unique situations which biological families do not face. There are little to no Muslim resources available to aid the families who choose to adopt, which can be an extremely frustrating aspect for Muslim families. Until we become aware of such resources (please Email us with any that you may know) there are several Non Muslim resources, which can aid families who choose to adopt.
Yes for some Muslim families the new addition does not come in the form of a child, but an additional adult. And as with any monogamous family polygynous families have their own shares of ups and downs. While many families work through these issues and grow to be a great addition to our ummah it does wonders to network along the way. Many polygynous families face ill-intended criticism from their own Muslim brethren, which is one tremendous set back on our part. But insha'Allah we as a ummah will come to outgrow our shortcomings and learn to accept families who may be a bit different than our own personal choices. For those who choose such a maritial relationship some of these links may be useful
For many couples success comes in the form of accepting a life with no children. At some point in our battle of infertility we will make choices that we have to live with. And many couples come to terms with the qadr of Allah and have rich fulfilling lives without children. This makes them no less a valid couple, the woman no less a valid woman, nor the man no less a valid man. There are many things that such a couple can contribute to our ummah and should not in any way be shunned, shamed or felt sorry for. Believe it or not the world does not revolve around having children. And one is not measured by their offspring, wealth, or spouses, rather our success is measured by Allah, far be it for us mere humans to redefine the Islamic definition of success. We should be more worried about our own levels of success rather than defining others.
Whatever the outcome for all the Muslim families battling infertility I pray that Allah eases your hardship and helps you find peace ane enjoyment with whatever decision that you make.