Speakers at a discussion called for birth spacing but opposed ‘permanent contraceptive’ means to control the high rate of mother and child mortality as well as the rapid population growth to cope with the socio-economic challenges. They also stressed the need for dialogue between ulema and health professionals on crucial matters. The discussion on family well being and health of mother and child was held here on Monday.
They termed the irreversible surgical procedures for birth control as ‘unIslamic’ unless carried out to save the mother’s life. They also stressed for creating awareness among couples to make sure that they are able to give quality life, including proper education, health, food and shelter to their children.
Speaking on the occasion Mufti Ibrahim Qadri, member Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), said Islam does not prohibit adoption of non-permanent contraceptive means to control birth. He, however, made it clear that permanent birth controlling is not at all allowed for both men and women, unless there is any danger to their life, in which they lose their capability to produce children.
He said, earlier the government failed to convey the birth spacing message in a positive manner and did not explain it well. This gave rise to many misconceptions and the term ‘family planning’ became a stigma. Head of Tanzimul Madaris Raghib Naeemi said it was the responsibility of the parents to explain to their children, all the changes that take place in them, both physically and psychologically, when they enter into puberty. “The term, ‘family planning’ gave an impression to the people that government wanted them to stop giving birth to children,” he remarked.
“The main reason behind the failure in running the birth-spacing programme in Pakistan was not involving ulemas in it. However, in all other Muslim countries this programme has been a big success as religious scholars were actively involved it in,” he added.
However, after taking religious scholars into confidence and by educating them about the importance of mother and child health and birth spacing, they have become a good source of communicating this message to people without opposition.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Tauseef Ahmed, Country Representative Pathfinder International said after consultation with religious scholars, a draft of sermons has been formulated, which will soon be published and distributed among all seminaries affiliated with Wafaqul Madaris at local and district levels. These sermons contain 10 topics, including planning in family welfare in Islam, relationship between husband and wife, importance of nikkah and related issues, reproductive health, safe motherhood, breastfeeding and teachings rights of children in Islam among others.
He further said that there are many doctors who do not provide correct information to their patients on birth spacing and use of contraceptives. These sermons will be a big help for them, he added. Ahmad urged media to play a positive role in this regard and educate people in a proper manner.
He earlier said that when the family planning programme was initiated in the country, there were many misconceptions among the couples and they were reluctant to adopt it. However after involving ulemas in this programme, the situation has changed and now they are communicating these messages through sermons, during nikkah.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2011.