sexuality


Cross posted at Muslimah Media Watch

Single Muslim mothers must be the new “it” topic for the Western media. There has been a lot of coverage of Rachida Dati, the French minister of Moroccan and Algerian heritage, who just recently had a baby while still being single. Now, the BBC has done a piece on single mothers in Morocco. The story looks at the struggles that single mother face in Morocco and also looks at the efforts of a group called Feminine Solidarity Association that seeks to assist single mothers.

Honestly, I liked this story (I know in the past I have often been critical of the BBC’s coverage of Muslim women). There was no comparison of the treatment of single mothers in Morocco versus the treatment of single mothers in Britain and other Western societies. The article was pretty straight forward. There were only a couple of statements which I thought added absolutely nothing to the story. “Khadija [Noha], whose pretty face regularly breaks into a slow but frank smile, was also cast out by her family [emphasis added].” I thought this statement was particularly sexist. A lot of news stories that focus on women make comments on their looks, and articles on Muslim women always seem to have comments about how we look. A description of Ms. Noha’s looks is really unnecessary and adds nothing to the actual story.

Besides that one line, I found the article to be a welcome look at how hard life for single mothers can be not only in Morocco, but in conservative Muslim circles in many parts of the world, including the West. The double standard for men and women is discussed. Khadija Noha discusses how she went out with a man who promised to marry her but left her when he found out that she was pregnant. There is also discussion of how single mother advocates, such as Aicha Ech Chana, the head of the Feminine Solidarity Association and Jamilah Bargach, an anthropologist, are pushing to make fathers of children born outside marriage more accountable for their children.

I think this is particularly necessary because I think too often Muslims forget that it takes two to tango. We criticize and ostracize single mothers while forgetting that fathers are being let off the hook. We should help single mothers and commend them for taking care of their responsibilities. Fathers who forget their children are the ones who should be ostracized for taking the easy way out and not taking care of their children. This is a problem that hasn’t been addressed adequately by Muslims, but needs to be.

The efforts of the Feminine Solidarity Association are especially noteworthy. They teach single mothers various skills so that they can work. They also help single mothers in Morocco find housing and provide childcare services for mothers while they work. Ech Chana, who founded the organization, seems driven by the desire to empower single mothers. In the article, she speaks of the rights that single mothers have in the Qur’an and is critical of the way that single mothers are treated in Morocco. She along with with advocates like Jamilah Bargach are working to highlight the plight of single mothers, a plight that has been ignored by many Muslims for too long.

Advertisements

If you have any fleeting knowledge of the Bible, you know exactly what the title of the post refers to. Often, this phrase is quoted by some Christian when discussing why they will not marry anyone else but another Christian. I wanted to discuss this issue in relation to Muslims, well specifically Muslim women, since this never seems to be an issue for Muslim men.

One of the first things I learned when I started to get of that age when I started to “mature” was that Muslim women do not marry non-Muslim men, doesn’t matter if they’re “people of the book” (i.e. Christians, Jews, Zorastians, among some scholars Hindus). There were no ifs, ands or buts about this. Muslim men, I was told, did not have to follow this same rule. They could marry women of the book and I saw some who did. Being the thinking girl that I was, I wondered why. One of the first answers I was given was that men are the head of the household and responsible for the religion of the children. If children had Muslim fathers, they were automatically Muslim, duh! But if they have non-Muslim fathers and Muslim mothers, they were automatically non-Muslims. This answer may have sounded ok in theory but then I saw that it wasn’t playing out in reality, at least not where I was. I saw children of Muslim fathers and Christian mothers who weren’t Muslim at all. I couldn’t even tell you about the opposite side of the coin because I rarely saw it and the Muslim women who “dared” to marry non-Muslims were usually run out of the community so I couldn’t tell you how their children ended up.

So if having a Muslim father didn’t ensure more Muslim children, there had to be another reason for not allowing Muslim women to marry out but allowing Muslim men to do so. There’s a verse in the Qur’an that addresses interfaith marriage.

5:5 Today, all the good things of life have been made lawful to you. And the food of those who have been vouchsafed revelation aforetime is lawful to you, and your food is lawful to them. And [lawful to you are], in wedlock, women from among those who believe [in this divine writ], and, in wedlock, women from among those who have been vouchsafed revelation before your time -provided that you give them their dowers, taking them in honest wedlock, not in fornication, nor as secret love-companions. But as for him who rejects belief [in God] – in vain will be all his works: for in the life to come he shall be among the lost.

This verse mentions only who is lawful for men and not women. So one question that could be asked is “doesn’t this verse apply to women too?” This is what Khaled Abou El-Fadl says:

Surprising to me, all schools of thought prohibited a Muslim woman from marrying a man who is a kitabi (among the people of the book). I am not aware of a single dissenting opinion on this, which is rather unusual for Islamic jurisprudence because Muslim jurists often disagreed on many issues, but this is not one of them.

All jurists agreed that a Muslim man or woman may not marry a mushrik [one who associates partners with God–there is a complex and multi-layered discourse on who is to be considered a mushrik, but we will leave this for a separate discussion]. However, because of al-Ma’ida verse 5, there is an exception in the case of a Muslim man marrying a kitabiyya. There is no express prohibition in the Qur’an or elsewhere about a Muslim woman marrying a kitabi. However, the jurists argued that since express permission was given to men, by implication women must be prohibited from doing the same. The argument goes: If men needed to be given express permission to marry a kitabiyya, women needed to be given express permission as well, but since they were not given any such permission then they must be barred from marrying a kitabi.

The justification for this rule was two-fold: 1) Technically, children are given the religion of their father, and so legally speaking, the offspring of a union between a Muslim male and a kitabiyya would still be Muslim; 2)It was argued that Muslim men are Islamically prohibited from forcing their wives to become Muslim. Religious coercion is prohibited in Islam. However, in Christianity and Judaism a similar prohibition against coercion does not exist. According to their own religious law, Muslim jurists argued, Christian men may force their Muslim wives to convert to their (the husbands’) religion. Put differently, it was argued, Islam recognizes Christianity and Judaism as valid religions, but Judaism and Christianity do not recognize the validity of Islam as a religion. Since it was assumed that the man is the stronger party in a marriage, it was argued that Christian and Jewish men will be able to compel their Muslim wives to abandon Islam. (If a Muslim man would do the same, he would be violating Islamic law and committing a grave sin).

This is the law as it exists or the legal legacy as we inherited it. In all honesty, personally, I am not convinced that the evidence prohibiting Muslim women from marrying a kitabi is very strong. Muslim jurists took a very strong position on this matter–many of them going as far as saying if a Muslim woman marries a kitabi she is as good as an apostate. I think, and God knows best, that this position is not reasonable and the evidence supporting it is not very strong. However, I must confess that in my humble opinion, I strongly sympathize with the jurists that argued that in non-Muslim countries it is reprehensible (makruh) for a Muslim to marry a non-Muslim.

http://www.scholarofthehouse.org/oninma.html

Now, I have to be honest and say that this issue doesn’t affect me because I am married to a Muslim and I honestly didn’t want to be in an interfaith marriage. However, it does affect a lot of Muslim women in Western countries. Some women have actually left the deen (religion) because of this issue. I have also met a couple of older sisters who converted while their husbands did not and remained married to their husbands. So I’m opening up the floor and asking what do you think?

The NY Times published an article today titled “In Europe, Debate Over Islam and Virginity”. The article discusses how some Muslim women are surgically reconstructing their hymens before marriage to give the illusion that they’re virgins. The reason why their virginity is connected to their honor has nothing to do with Islam however but rather with culture (even in various Muslim cultures, the degree to which this is the case varies among different classes, political affliations, etc.). Also, Muslims are not the only people to connect sexuality to honor or to do this procedure (anyone heard of born again virgins doing the same thing?). That is why the title of the article is so misleading. Of course the Qur’an commands chasity from women but what is often missing from these conversations is that the Qur’an also commands chasity from men. This is an incredibly important point that the Times never asserts. I think this shows that chasity from the Qur’anic POV is not connected to honor and control of women’s sexuality.

An even more important point is that the Qur’an unequivocaly speaks out against connecting women’s honor with their sexuality. As was previously discussed on the blog, the Qur’an makes it difficult, if not impossible, to even prosecute for zina since most people do not have intercourse in front of four witnesses. In addition, the Qur’an also forbids speculating on a woman’s sexuality. So you can even start spreading rumors about it. Thus, a woman’s virginity should be a non-issue for Muslims just as a man’s virginity is never an issue. Which is why it is so disturbing that these women have to prove to their spouses and their families that they are still virgins.

One Muslim born in Macedonia said she opted for the operation to avoid being punished by her father after an eight-year relationship with her boyfriend.
“I was afraid that my father would take me to a doctor and see whether I was still a virgin,” said the woman, 32, who owns a small business and lives on her own in Frankfurt. “He told me, ‘I will forgive everything but not if you have thrown dirt on my honor.’ I wasn’t afraid he would kill me, but I was sure he would have beaten me.”


Her father doesn’t even have the right to do this. Unforunately, Muslim clerics and leaders haven’t done much to inform Muslims of this. This was seen in the last quote of the article about the French Muslim couple who had their marriage annulled because the wife was not a virgin:

The lives of the French couple whose marriage was annulled are on hold. The Justice Ministry has sought an appeal, arguing that the decision has “provoked a heated social debate” that “touched all citizens of our country and especially women.” At the Islamic Center of Roubaix, the Lille suburb where the wedding took place, there is sympathy for the woman. “The man is the biggest of all the donkeys,” said Abdelkibir Errami, the center’s vice president. “Even if the woman was no longer a virgin, he had no right to expose her honor. This is not what Islam teaches. It teaches forgiveness.” (emphasis mine)


The vice president got it right but got it wrong at the same time. Yeah, her husband shouldn’t have put her on blast but her honor isn’t not connected to her virginity or lack thereof nor is it the husband place to forgive her. We need more scholars and more Muslim leaders to emphasize this point! One, a woman’s sexuality is no one’s business! Two, it has no bearing on her honor or her worthiness as a spouse or a person.

Of course, it was disappointing that the Times did not delve into the theological issues surrounding this issue. Frankly, they had an obligation to since they linked Islam to this issue in the article. The paper, especially with its prestige, had the obligation to consult Muslim scholars, especially jurists, on this issue yet they took the easy road and just connected Islam to women’s sexuality simply because the women in the article are Muslim. There was no examination of culture in this practice. Islam is just assumed to be the variable causing this practice. This article also exoticizes Muslim women once more by constantly comparing their “liberation” in Western circle vs. their “sexual repression” in Muslim circles. As mentioned earlier, this phenomena isn’t limited to Muslim women nor is it limited to women from non- Western backgrounds. Women in all patriarchal societies have to deal with their sexuality being linked to their honor. It’s a horrible double standard and one that the Qur’an certainly does not support.

The NY Times published an article today titled “In Europe, Debate Over Islam and Virginity”. The article discusses how some Muslim women are surgically reconstructing their hymens before marriage to give the illusion that they’re virgins. The reason why their virginity is connected to their honor has nothing to do with Islam however but rather with culture (even in various Muslim cultures, the degree to which this is the case varies among different classes, political affliations, etc.). Also, Muslims are not the only people to connect sexuality to honor or to do this procedure (anyone heard of born again virgins doing the same thing?). That is why the title of the article is so misleading. Of course the Qur’an commands chasity from women but what is often missing from these conversations is that the Qur’an also commands chasity from men. This is an incredibly important point that the Times never asserts. I think this shows that chasity from the Qur’anic POV is not connected to honor and control of women’s sexuality.

An even more important point is that the Qur’an unequivocaly speaks out against connecting women’s honor with their sexuality. As was previously discussed on the blog, the Qur’an makes it difficult, if not impossible, to even prosecute for zina since most people do not have intercourse in front of four witnesses. In addition, the Qur’an also forbids speculating on a woman’s sexuality. So you can even start spreading rumors about it. Thus, a woman’s virginity should be a non-issue for Muslims just as a man’s virginity is never an issue. Which is why it is so disturbing that these women have to prove to their spouses and their families that they are still virgins.

One Muslim born in Macedonia said she opted for the operation to avoid being punished by her father after an eight-year relationship with her boyfriend.
“I was afraid that my father would take me to a doctor and see whether I was still a virgin,” said the woman, 32, who owns a small business and lives on her own in Frankfurt. “He told me, ‘I will forgive everything but not if you have thrown dirt on my honor.’ I wasn’t afraid he would kill me, but I was sure he would have beaten me.”


Her father doesn’t even have the right to do this. Unforunately, Muslim clerics and leaders haven’t done much to inform Muslims of this. This was seen in the last quote of the article about the French Muslim couple who had their marriage annulled because the wife was not a virgin:

The lives of the French couple whose marriage was annulled are on hold. The Justice Ministry has sought an appeal, arguing that the decision has “provoked a heated social debate” that “touched all citizens of our country and especially women.” At the Islamic Center of Roubaix, the Lille suburb where the wedding took place, there is sympathy for the woman. “The man is the biggest of all the donkeys,” said Abdelkibir Errami, the center’s vice president. “Even if the woman was no longer a virgin, he had no right to expose her honor. This is not what Islam teaches. It teaches forgiveness.” (emphasis mine)


The vice president got it right but got it wrong at the same time. Yeah, her husband shouldn’t have put her on blast but her honor isn’t not connected to her virginity or lack thereof nor is it the husband place to forgive her. We need more scholars and more Muslim leaders to emphasize this point! One, a woman’s sexuality is no one’s business! Two, it has no bearing on her honor or her worthiness as a spouse or a person.

Of course, it was disappointing that the Times did not delve into the theological issues surrounding this issue. Frankly, they had an obligation to since they linked Islam to this issue in the article. The paper, especially with its prestige, had the obligation to consult Muslim scholars, especially jurists, on this issue yet they took the easy road and just connected Islam to women’s sexuality simply because the women in the article are Muslim. There was no examination of culture in this practice. Islam is just assumed to be the variable causing this practice. This article also exoticizes Muslim women once more by constantly comparing their “liberation” in Western circle vs. their “sexual repression” in Muslim circles. As mentioned earlier, this phenomena isn’t limited to Muslim women nor is it limited to women from non- Western backgrounds. Women in all patriarchal societies have to deal with their sexuality being linked to their honor. It’s a horrible double standard and one that the Qur’an certainly does not support.

I found a link to a great article by Asifa Quraishi on Ali Eteraz’s blog last evening on zina and rape in Islamic law. The article is a critique of the rape laws in Pakistan. Quraishi makes a great point (and confirms a view I had) that the rigorous requirements put forth in the Qur’an to punish zina in effect makes zina something between God and the parties involved. It basically takes zina out of the public realm and into the private. Thus, it is as if Allah is saying that this is a private, spiritual matter.

Why so many evidentiary restrictions on a criminal offense prescribed by God? Islamic scholars posit that it is precisely to prevent carrying out punishment for this offense. By limiting conviction to only those cases where four individuals actually saw sexual penetration take place, the crime will realistically only be punishable if the two parties are committing the act in public, in the nude. The crime is therefore really one of public indecency rather than private sexual conduct.21 That is, even if four witnesses saw a couple having sex, but under a coverlet, for example, this testimony would not only fail to support a zina charge, but these witnesses would also be liable for slander.22 Thus, while the Qur’an condemns extramarital sex as an evil, it authorizes the Muslim legal system to prosecute someone for committing this crime only when it is performed so openly that four people see them without invading their privacy. As Cherif Bassiouni puts it, “[t]he requirement of proof and its exigencies lead to the conclusion that the policy of the harsh penalty is to deter public aspects of this form of sexual practice” (Bassiouni 1982, 6).23

She also looks at how women in patriarchal societies have long been seen as the gatekeepers of honors and morality and how current zina laws in Pakistan (and by extension honor killing in other countries as well as the recent Qatif ruling) are ways of keeping women in this position of honor maintainers. Quraishi argues, I think quite convincingly, that the Qur’an speaks out against this exploitation of women.

The Qur’an, however, has harsh words for the exploitation of women’s dignity in this way. As if anticipating the misogynistic tendency of society, the Qur’an first establishes that there is to be no speculation about a woman’s sexual conduct. No one may cast any doubt upon the character of a woman except by formal charges, with very specific, secure evidence (i.e. four eyewitnesses to actual intercourse) that the woman is disrupting public decency with her behavior.33 If such direct proof does not materialize, then anyone engaging in such a charge is subject to physical punishment for slander. (For even if the information is true, any witness who is not accompanied by another three will be punished for slander (Qur’an 24:11-17). As for the public at large, they must leave her alone, regardless of the outcome. Where the public refuses to perpetuate rumors, responding instead that: “it is not for us to speak of” (Qur’an 24: 16-17) the patriarchal tendency to invest the honor of society in women’s sexuality loses force. In the face of any hint of a woman’s sexual impropriety, the Qur’anic response is: walk away. Leave her alone. Leave her dignity intact. The honor of a woman is not a tool, it is her fundamental right.

I encourage you all to read the rest of the article.

My husband e-mailed me this really weird and uncritical position on the Qatif case . It’s actually a refutation of a previous and much harsher view about the case. So in the refutation, Ibn Al-Hashimi says that his previous position concerning the Qatif case was wrong and harsh. However, he then goes on to say

However, I now disagree with this ruling, because I think that the fact that the girl was raped serves as a great deterrence, and as such, there is no need to add any more punishment on top of that. For example, if a child keeps sticking his fingers in the socket, then the parents will punish him severely in order to prevent him from placing himself in harm’s way. However, if the child one day sticks his fingers in the socket and then gets electrocuted such that he is rushed to the hospital with severe burns, then I think at that point in time this experience itself will serve as a deterrence to the child such that he will never do it again. It will also serve as a deterrence to his siblings, who will see the result of what he did. Any punishment on top of this would, in my opinion, be unnecessary and redundant. Likewise, I believe that the Qatif girl was alone in a car with another man, and because of this, she placed herself in harm’s way and the result of that was that she was raped. This fact alone would serve as a deterrence to other women, who would then fear placing themselves in a similar situation. What I mean to say is that the lashing on top of that is not, in my opinion, necessary.

Ok, so he thinks that the lashings were harsh not because the whole punishment actually goes against Shari’ah but because her rape was punishment enough? In what psycho world is rape a punishment for being alone with a man? Oh, wait, in misogynist land. I forgot. Sorry. There are so many things wrong with his revised position. For one, being alone with a man in a car in a parking lot is not a crime! Did we suddenly forget the reason why verses 4-5 of Suratun Nur were revealed. ‘A’isha (ra) was alone with a man because she was left behind in the desert and the Prophet (saws) sent one of his men to get her. She was slandered with accusations of adultery. So basically, seeing a woman alone with a man is not ground to accuse of her anything.

And as for those who accuse chaste women [of adultery], and then are unable to produce four witnesses [in support of their accusation], flog them with eighty stripes and ever after refuse to accept from them any testimony – since it is they, they that are truly depraved!

The whole problem with Ibn Al-Hashmi’s opinion is that he assumes that the woman committed a crime that deserved to be punished. She didn’t commit a crime. She didn’t commit a crime according to the Qur’an, so why is punishment even brought up in the same breath with this woman’s name? That’s why I also take issue with the woman being pardoned. Again, this action assumes that she did a crime when she didn’t!

Also, if we were to take the bizaare opinion that her rape was a punishment, what was it a punishment for? She wasn’t raped by the man she was in the car with. She was raped by a group of complete strangers. I mean if we really follow Al-Hashmi’s view to it’s logical conclusion, then simply going out in public puts women in harm’s way since she was raped by strangers. The rape simply reinforced the idea that it’s dangerous for a woman to go out in public at all. Of course, he would see this position as irrational and thus, his position is quite irrational as well. However, at least he did soften his position and come to the conclusion that the lashes were wrong. *sigh* It’s something.

Contraception is an extremely important issue for Muslim women. Women’s access to contraception affects women’s quality of life and their ability to control their bodies. Contraception is halal in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (saws) allowed for its use. During his time, the form of contraception used was ‘azl or coitus interruptus:

According to Jabir, “We used to practise ‘azl in the Prophet’s (pbuh) lifetime while the Qur’an was being revealed.” There is another version of the same hadith, “We used to practise coitus interruptus during the Prophet’s (pbuh) lifetime. News of this reached him and he did not forbid us.”

Despite this hadeeth and others which attest that the Prophet clearly had no issue with it-in fact he is reported to have said “You do not have to hesitate, for God has predestined what is to be created until the judgement day” in regards to ‘azl-there seems to be more reluctance to endorse birth control by some Muslims. As evidenced in this fatwa, this fatwa, this article, and this fatwa, there seems to be a trend among Muslim scholars to allow birth control with conditions. There was even this bizarre fatwa issued by an Indian Mufti prohibiting contraception. The view espoused in these fatwas is that birth control is ok as long as there are some strings attached. Birth control is ok with many of the scholars as long as it doesn’t interfere with populating the ummah and making the ummah as big as possible. Saving the mother’s life is also seen as a valid reason for birth control. Using birth control to delay children simply because one is not ready to have children is seen as denying the view that children are a gift. Sheikh Ahmed Kutty said:

Islam encourages us to marry and procreate. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Marry and procreate.” Procreation is definitely one of the stated purposes of marriage in Islam. Children are Allah’s gifts, which we must welcome and cherish as a divine gift.

Islam is opposed to ways of life which consider children as a burden; the unfortunate outcome of such hedonistic philosophies is to prefer pets such as dogs and cats over children. Muslims must never be carried away by such materialistic philosophies; they can immunize themselves against such negative influences by strictly conforming to the Qur’anic teachings on marriage and procreation.

Viewed from this perspective, Islam does not look favorably at family planning if it is carried out for the simple reason of enjoyment and unwillingness to take on the responsibility of parenting.

However, this view of contraception was not always the norm for Muslim scholars. In Sex and Society in Medieval Islam and Women and Gender in Islam, classical Muslim scholars held very liberal views on contraception and abortion as well. This because in medieval Muslim societies, men had a vested interest in preventing pregnancy. If a concubine had children, she couldn’t be sold, she became free after the man’s death and her children became heirs to the father in the same way that his wives children would be. Even preventing wives from having children presented an economic advantage to men:

Given this system, it was evidently economically to men’s advantage that wives not bear many children and that concubines in particular not bear any children, for if they did, they ceased to be a profitable investment. And, in a system that permitted polygamy and unrestricted divorce and concubinage, a wife who did not give birth would present no hardship for the man, because he had the options of divorcing her, taking another wife without divorving her, or taking a concubine. (Ahmed, 1990)

Ahmed goes on further to explain that during this period, sexual services were considered a wife’s duty but not necessarily procreation and that it was actually to a woman’s advantage to have children. My point in bringing up historical views on birth control is to show that Muslims’ views on contraception are shaped just as much by our social context as much as it is by the Qur’an and Sunnah. We interpret the Qur’an and Sunnah in light of our circumstances. The current emphasis on using birth control only to space children or for health reasons fall in line with the the current view that children are a blessing and more importantly a blessing for the ummah.I put emphasis on ummah because the current view on contraception and the former view on contraception both seemed to be based, not on women’s autonomy, but on what is perceived as best for the community. Many Muslims see the high birth rates in Muslim countries as one of the things that distinguishes Muslims. It is something that distinguishes us from the “hedonistic West”. There is also the tradition from the Prophet which states that his ummah will be the largest ummah on the day of judgment. Thus, there is this “need” among some Muslims to have many children in order to fulfill this prophecy. However, this doesn’t take into account factors such as born Muslim apostatizing from Islam or not practicing Islam.

We need to recognize that there are a variety of reasons for the use of contraception and that they are valid. Marriage in Islam has never been solely for procreation. Companionship and a legal outlet for sexual activity are two reasons for marriage. Thus, using contraception until a couple feels that they are ready to have children should not be an issue. Also, we need to be more considerate of women’s health and well being. Not only their physical health but their mental health as well. There are many sisters who have many children who are having a hard time coping in terms of their own spiritual and mental well being. There’s little time for these women to focus on bettering themselves personally and as Muslimahs because they have so many little ones to care for. Additionally, we need to give Muslim women more autonomy in choosing what they want their family to be like. We shouldn’t guilt trip women into having children that they may not want. If a woman wants to have two children, we should respect her decision.

While family planning may help women, it may also be in the best interest of the ummah as a whole. Controlling population growth leads to better standards of living. In Iran, the higher education rates and family planning efforts have alleviated pressure on their water supply and arable land supply. Iran is now seen as a model for other developing nations. As Muslims, we have to be more considerate of resources. Yes, Allah will take care of us. However, we cannot take the naive view that because Allah takes care of us that we have no responsibility in providing for our welfare. “Theologian Fazlur Rahman says that using the Qur’anic references to God’s power and promise to sustain all creation to argue “for an unlimited population out of proportion to the economic resources is infantile. The Qur’an certainly does not mean to say that God provides every living creature with sustenance whether that creature is capable of procuring sustenance for itself or not”” (taken from this site).

We need to be more critical in our views towards contraception. Muslim women need to have the choice to decide whether they want to engage in family planning. She should not be made to feel guilty or that she lacks faith in Allah.