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The demography of Islam.

Authors
  • Roudi, N
Type
Published Article
Journal
Population today
Publication Date
Mar 01, 1988
Volume
16
Issue
3
Pages
6–9
Identifiers
PMID: 12341836
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Moslems comprise the majority of the population in 40 countries and 28 countries have populations that are more than 90% Moslem. As a result of high fertility among its adherents, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Total fertility rates among Moslems range from a low 3.3 children/woman in Albania to 8/woman in North Yemen. Numerous studies have shown that Moslems have larger families than other religious groups in the same national population. The Koran, a source of Islamic law, makes no references to contraception and many Islamic jurists have sanctioned contraception as long as the method is not harmful or affects the person's future fertility. Abortion, on the other hand, is generally prohibited after 120 days of gestation--the point at which the fetus is believed to become a human being. The contradiction between permissive Islamic teachings on fertility control and low levels of contraceptive use among Moslem women is attributable to the subordinate status of women in Islamic society. Lack of education for women remains widespread in the Moslem world and is certainly a contributor to high fertility. In addition, the ease with which a wife can be divorced under Moslem law places her in an insecure position and makes a high number of sons seem an economic necessity. Despite the patriarchal nature of Moslem society, a number of countries have instituted active national family planning programs and have achieved contraceptive prevalence rates as high as 53% (Lebanon).

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