For Muslims, birth control is a moral issue

Birth control is a moral issue. Not because the God who created the universe in all its glory and complexity … Continued

Birth control is a moral issue. Not because the God who created the universe in all its glory and complexity might be flummoxed by a paper-thin piece of rubber when He wants to bring a child into existence. Nor because it might promote promiscuity or other forms of immorality. Not even because it ensures fundamental human rights to have agency over our own lives. It is a moral issue because it is a necessity for continued human existence.

Birth control is wrapped up with morality, Taylor writes, but not in the way conservatives typically argue.

If we, as a species, continue to expand our population we will eventually reach the point that feeding us, housing us, clothing us, and entertaining us uses up so much of the Earth’s irreplaceable resources and pollutes the land, air and water so badly that vast majority of mankind will necessarily live in utter poverty as natural resources become increasingly scarce, countless species will be driven into extinction, and — if overpopulation becomes severe enough — the sheer volume of pollution will threaten the viability of continued life on Earth. Fouling the home God gave us so badly that it could no longer support life is immoral. The easiest, and perhaps the only, way to prevent the ills of overpopulation is widespread birth control.

As a Muslim, I believe the God sent us to Earth as His “khalifa,” as His vicegerents. Yes, that means we have dominion over the natural world and the right use it for our purposes, but it also means we have the responsibility to care for that world, maintain it and keep it safe. We are both partakers and caretakers of the Earth. Just as we would expect children to enjoy a playground we built for them, but not to steal the chains off the swings, uproot the slide, and chop up the climber for firewood, so too we should use, not abuse the Earth. At this point in human history, that means taking full advantage of the means Allah gave us to control our own population.

We are also caretakers of one another. I will gladly pay slightly higher premiums for insurance that provides birth control to everyone. Safeguarding the earth is both a personal and a societal responsibility, one we should and must shoulder together. There will always be those who cannot afford birth control, whether due to having a low wage job, or the inability to find work, lack of funds while in high school or college, the financial constraints of just starting out in a career with student debt, or other circumstances. It is be the height of arrogance to turn a blind eye to this reality. It would be the height of stupidity to fail to provide for the species most fundamental needs because of personal avarice. And it would be the height of callousness to deny the many other personal benefits of birth control, especially the ability to get one’s family out of poverty and to provide for what children you do have in a decent manner, simply due to greed.

Taylor is co-founder of Muslims for Progressive Values, former director of the Islamic Writers Alliance and strong supporter of the woman imam movement.

  • SODDI

    You expect to be commended for what is only common sense and personal choice?

  • Catken1

    Well, given that it seems to be so rare for certain other religious types to show respect for common sense and personal choice…

  • Kingofkings1

    Ms Taylor,
    Some of your reasoning is theologically faulty. And when a part of a structure is faulty, often the entire structure is faulty as a result and falls. In the Islamic faith, first of all, God is the one who is able to provide without any measure, and is the Best Provider. When you question God’s ability to provide what He created , you question His omnipotence, and this is an entirely different view of God than is relayed to us by prophet Muhammad. Second, in the holy quran, God says, “do not kill your children due to fear of want; We provide for them” . This means before the children or born, or afterwards. In the end, birth control practice may not be sinful in itself, but questioning God’s ability to provide for His creation, is a fundamental breach of the Islamic faith

  • JohnSeager

    As with other faiths including Christianity, Islam has been interpreted in widely, even wildly, divergent ways when it comes to the rights of women and access to birth control. There are examples of predominantly Moslem nations with excellent support for voluntary family planning as well as those where it is not welcomed.
    Jumping to conclusions is not a healthy form of exercise.

    John Seager
    President
    Population Connection

  • Kingofkings1

    Alan 1618,
    Is Daniel Pipes so generous that he lets you spend so much time creating islamophobic postings instead of spending that time inculcating the fine mysteries of hatred? Or do you have a double job with Alan Dershowitz on the side? Isn’t it time to replace that dual poster of Netanyahu and Avigdor lieberman from your bedroom wall also that causes you to have a special rush whenever you see those 2 and cannot control yourself?

  • Kingofkings1

    Glad to oblige Alan, start your day thanking God that you are not a woman. Then go out and take advantage of all the Goyim that you encounter because they are like cattle anyways, and they were made for your benefit.

  • SODDI

    And the anti_Semitic contingent chimes in.

    No newspapers in Naziland, knuckle-dragger?

  • Kingofkings1

    Reporting from Warsaw … I mean Gaza.
    A semite is a person who comes from the middle region, of which the current faiths include about 7 million jews and over 100 million arabs. So technically, jews are the worst anti-semites because they hate arabs. There needs to be a change for the term used by soddi as “anti-semite” – it’s more appropriate to say judo-phobic. As for naziland, that’s correct. Israel is the current naziland, which controls Gaza

  • erick1

    If Pamela Taylor religious internpretaion was a wieldly held belief in Muslim countries then how come almost all Muslim countries is bulging with overpopulation from Indonesia, Nigeria, Palistine, Tunesia, Eygpt heck every country that has a large muslim sector. Opting that more children is a blessing! Not one Muslim goverment has ever initiated or enacted human reproductive rights legislation or any policy to reduce births.

  • SODDI

    Pakistan is going to starve one day. Bangladesh starves on a regular basis.

    Overpopulation,

    Will the imams of radical islam push for a program of population control, or control the population by sending their young men out on terrorist suicide missions?

    Rqadical islam will opt for terrorism, I’m afraid.

  • Secular1

    KOK1, your sky daddy provides for his creation? Really? Tell that to all those teeming millions in all of those 47 islamic paradises, who are starving. Your crap isn’t worth a spittoon full of warm spittle. Where do you guys come from? Is there a special rock that you crawlout of under?

  • Kingofkings1

    Secular1,
    My, my…. so much hatred for a view other than your own. Are you sure, you wou would not like to change your pen name to “fascist1″.
    Some of the muslim majority nations are not developed – but that is not to say that all of the undeveloped nations have muslim majorities. Politics and economy is a complex mixture. If your measureof success is material wealth, you still disprove yourself – because if you want to barter 10 million dollars to delay someone’s death, you cannot do that at will. If you correlate material wealth with a sense of joy, you will be surprised with the findings. My secular friends are so much more logical than your rant suggests: “everyone starving”, “spittoon”, “crawl under a rock” – there seem more like words from a hateful individual than a secular skeptic.

    PS: faith is a strange thing. It makes some people think an individual was once able to walk on water, parted a river with the help of a suprnatural Being, received revelations from a supernatural Being, believing in God’s wife surviving after being thrown in fire as a sign of her innocence, or your cup of tea, i.e. that perfect order arising from chaos as a result of chance

  • IHate66

    Interesting how the writer feels that God can overcome birth control but somehow loses control over the earth He created if people are allowed to procreate as they see fit.

  • Rongoklunk

    I was talking to Allah the other night and mentioned some of your concerns regarding using up all earth’s resources, and He said “Well that’s what they’re there for. Go ahead and use them up. I will provide. That’s what I’m here for. Providing.”
    He also said that He would consider it a personal favour if you could wear a darker headscarf and show less hair. He finds it personally offensive, and to remember – no lipstick.

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