Sexual and Reproductive Rights from Qur'anic Perspective: A Quantitative Content Analysis

By Janghorban, Roksana; Roudsari, Robab Latifnejad et al. | Asian Social Science, February 2015 | Go to article overview

Sexual and Reproductive Rights from Qur'anic Perspective: A Quantitative Content Analysis


Janghorban, Roksana, Roudsari, Robab Latifnejad, Taghipour, Ali, Abbasi, Mahmoud, Asian Social Science


Abstract

The Qur'an, as the primary and main source of Islamic rules, provides a rich variety of human rights including women's rights. These rules are not static; they are dynamic and flexible in character. The flexibility of the rules in Islam is intentional, as Islam was revealed for all people and for all millennia. It is an essential aspect of Qur'anic philosophy. Consequently, its jurisprudence must be capable of responding to widely diverse needs and problems. To understand the Islamic stance on sexual and reproductive health rights, it is necessary to search the verses of the Qur'an more carefully. This study has provided an understanding of women's sexual and reproductive rights in Qur'an from a human rights perspective.

This study was conducted using quantitative content analysis of all verses of the Qur'an. After creating a coding scheme of Qur'an's verses, four categories related to the main areas of women's sexual and reproductive rights including sexual relationships, reproductive choice, prohibition of violence against women, and gender equity were determined and their presence and frequency were identified. The MAXqda software, version 2007, was used for organizing and managing the data. Descriptive analysis was used to summarize and describe data.

More than 30 surahs and 93 verses of the Qur'an had various concepts in relation to sexual and reproductive rights. In general, concepts related to the women's sexual and reproductive rights have been appeared 98 times in the Qur'an. The most frequently reported categories were related to sexual relationships (31 times) and reproductive choice (27 times) and the least reported one was prohibition of violence against women (16 times).

This study showed that the concepts related to sexual and reproductive rights have extensively appeared in the Qur'an. Based on Qur'anic perspective, women in addition to autonomy have reproductive and sexual rights in order to actualize of their human capacity.

Keywords: Qur'an, reproductive rights, sexual rights

1. Introduction

Sexual and reproductive rights are one of the basic human rights. The concept of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) was first declared as a human right at the International Conference in Population and Development (ICPD), in Cairo, Egypt, 1994 (United Nations Population Information Network [POPIN], 1994). The definition of reproductive health agreed upon by World Health Organization (WHO) also represented sexual health (World Health Organization [WHO], 2004).

WHO has defined sexual health as a condition of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being with regard to sexuality, not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires an optimistic and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, which include the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence (WHO, 2004). To attain and maintain sexual health, the sexual rights of each and every individual must be respected, protected, and realized. WHO has also defined sexual rights as human rights that are recognized in both national laws and international human right documents, as well as many other consensus documents. They comprise the notion of an individual's right to the highest possible standard of health with respect to sexuality without bias, discrimination, and violent behavior up to and including access to sexual and reproductive health care services; to appeal for, receive and convey information with regard to sexuality; sexual education; respect for bodily integrity; choice of partner; to choose to become sexually active or not; to mutually consent to take part in the sexual act; marriage by consent; to freely choose whether or not to have children besides the right to decide the suitable time and circumstances in which to do so; and moreover, to engage in a satisfying, secure, and enjoyable sexual life (WHO, 2002). …

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