Generally speaking, we’d like to state that abortion is forbidden in Islam whether it be in the early or late stages of pregnancy. The degree of sin incurred varies according to the stage of pregnancy, so that less sin would be incurred if the abortion took place during the early stages, while it becomes increasingly haram (forbidden) as the pregnancy advances. When the pregnancy reaches the 120th day, abortion becomes totally forbidden and is deemed a form of murder that results in compensation becoming liable.

In this regard, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following: Abortion or termination of pregnancy is generally considered abominable, and therefore is haram since it involves interfering with the life process once it has started. There are, however, differences of opinion about the permissibility of abortion in special circumstances depending on the stage of pregnancy.
1. There is a unanimous consensus among scholars that abortion is absolutely forbidden after 120 days from conception. This is the point when ensoulment (breathing of the soul into the embryo) takes place. To abort pregnancy from this point onwards is akin to committing infanticide, which has been condemned in the Qur’an. Scholars, however, have made a single exception to this rule: If continuation of the pregnancy and carrying it through to full term proves to be a risk to the mother’s life, abortion shall be considered permissible.
2. Abortion after the end of the first 40 days from conception is considered haram except in the following exceptional cases: a) If carrying the pregnancy to full term exposes the mother to unbearable health problems during or after delivery; 2) if, as determined by reliable medical practitioners, the child will be born with such physical and mental deformity as would deprive him or her a normal life. This decision must be based on the opinion of at least two reliable medical experts in the field.
3. While many scholars consider abortion before the end of the first 40 days of conception as haram, a number of them, however, consider it as either permissible or at least not as haram.
In conclusion, as Imam Al-Ghazali has observed, one is discouraged from tampering with the life process once it has started; the intensity of sin, however, varies according to how advanced the pregnancy is. Thus, while it may be considered as less sinful in the very early days, it is considered as absolutely haram after the ensoulment.
Coming to the case of close pregnancies and the mother being unable to withstand close pregnancies, if there is no medical necessity (The medical necessity is usually determined after making consultation with a trustworthy specialised physician) that compels a lady to seek an abortion, then they are best advised to carry it through to full term. Meanwhile, pregnant women in such situation should turn earnestly and sincerely to Allah to ease their burden and pain and grant them patience and strength to surrender to His will. Allah has certainly promised to bring relief to all those who turn to Him for assistance. “Whoever remains conscious of Allah, He will grant him ease in his affair.” (At-Talaq: 4) The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever consistently asks forgiveness of Allah, Allah will appoint for him a way out of every conceivable trouble and provide for him sustenance in ways he can never foresee.”