Sex Education Book for Muslims Incites Anger in Pakistan

In his attempts to promote sex education in his home country of Pakistan, Dr. Mobin Akhtar has created a serious controversy.  His new book, “Sex Education for Muslims,” is intended to teach people about sex in a way that is in keeping with Islamic precepts and theology.  He wrote it in response to concern over the way that sex is taught and discussed in Pakistan.  Among other things, his book discusses masturbation, marital issues, and how men should ritually wash themselves after sex so that they are sufficiently clean to perform prayers.

A psychiatrist by trade, Dr. Akhtar says that the stigma around sex education leads to depression and even suicide in teens.  He says that this is because even doctors are unwilling to talk about sex openly, much less parents and teachers.  There is no sex education in government-run Pakistani schools, partially because of anxieties about sex education that might be “un-Islamic.”

“When I started to study what the Koran, Islamic law and religious scholars had to say about it, I realised there is so much discussion about sex in Islam. One would be surprised,” explained Dr. Akhtar.  “There are sayings from the Prophet Muhammad about sexual matters, and historical sources tell us he answered detailed queries on the subject from both men and women.”

The book is not proving to be particularly popular, however.  Dr. Akhtar is having trouble finding bookstores that will carry it, or newspapers that will print advertisements for it.  Other doctors have called him a “quack,” and he was even accused of peddling pornography by a provincial politician.

Overall, the book’s negative reception doesn’t seem particularly surprising – Pakistan is a conservative country, and mixing sex and religion is a tried and true formula for making people angry.  But Dr. Akhtar is a brave man for speaking out about the lack of sex education in his country, and he’s right to point out that the stigma isn’t helping anyone.  

The concept of a religiously based sex education book is interesting, although I would want to read it before I judged whether it seemed effective or accurate.  But the book seems to be doing two valuable things: raising awareness about the total lack of sex education and emphasizing the need for open dialogue about sex.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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Lindsey DTSW
.4 years ago

And you also use as justification for women getting less than men are the primary bread-winners of the family. However, that makes it even more important that women receive equal inheritances - since the women don't have, on average, the same ability for self-support that men do - and let's try not to pretend that there aren't single/widowed/divorced women in dire poverty in Islamic nations just as there are in Western nations - women whose families either don't support them or are unable to support them (or who have no living families.)

Lindsey DTSW
.4 years ago

Noor, you state that men don't receive an inheritance from their deceased wives. From what I've read, that's incorrect - they get half if there are no children of the marriage and one-fourth if there are children. (Koran 4:12). The wife, of course, only gets one-fourth of her husband's estate if there are no children, and one-eighth if there are children.

As usual, she gets half of what the male gets.

Noor K.
Noor K.4 years ago

Lindsey DTSW .... Quran gives equal importance to both men and women you have highlighted only those parts that could create an allusion that quran gives less importance to females if u read quran then u will understand that inheritance is given half because women receive inheritance from husband and from son also even from her father but male on other hand do not receive inheritance from wife ... plus male are mostly bread earners of their family ... and islam gave thrice as much importance to a mother then to a father ... if u look from this perspective then females dominate males .... but as i said overall male and female are equal its like this i get 4/10 and 10/10 in 2 question total of 14 and another student gets 10/10 in first and 4/10 in second .. first student is better in second but overall both are equal ... hope u will understand that ..... and islam is very much open to sexualiy and promotes healthy marital relations ..... its just some so called islamic teachers who think themselves to be true and disrepute islam

jane richmond
jane richmond4 years ago


Lindsey DTSW
.4 years ago

Amin, since Islam considers a woman's testimony to be worth half that of a man's, since her inheritance rights are less than those of the male members of her family, since the Koran teaches that men are the 'managers of the affairs of women', I believe I'll pass on the 'right value' of a woman under Islam (as well as under some other religions, such as Christianity, whose religious texts give women a lower status than men).

A woman's 'right value' is the same as any man's. Unfortunately so many religions teach otherwise.

Amin C.
Amin C.4 years ago

Stop speaking without knowledge. We wash because after ejaculation the whole body sweats even if tyou don't necessarily notice it and that sweat stinks, but also to refresh ourselves because everyone knows you get tired after intercourse so it's better to wash to regain your strength. On another hand we do it because it is said we must do it everywhere in our religion so as a muslim i do what i'm told (not just blindly we're not all brainless idiots )
So instead of talking nonsense go learn more about islam and you'll understand that it's the only way of life that actually does give women their right value and their honour and freedom

valda p.
valda p.4 years ago

Very interesting,especially the part reffering to how men should ritually wash themselves after sex,so that they are sufficiently clean to perform prayers'infering woman are dirty,no mention that woman should wash also,that's their problem,they are taught woman are unclean and their word is worth only half the value of men of course they are not the only culture that teaches this belief,the men don't know how to relate to woman,secretly I think they know women are more knowing and superior to them ,so they try to control them and treat them as chattels,in a black bag,controlling their every movement and thought ,we are all individuals ,a human being ,born free to make our own descions and mistakes until these men accept that they will always be unhappy and frustrated,unfortunately they are brain washed by their clerics and do not have freedom of thought.

dong l.
dong l.4 years ago

Thanks Amelia. Dr. Akhtar will be in hot water, am sure. Some claims Pakistan is a conservative country. But many Pakistanis, will eagerly luv to read this book in private and in their most secluded time and space.

michael c.
corbin m.4 years ago

Pakistan is a conservative country. Key word:CONSERVATIVE! Reading this article, doesn't it strike anyone that it's pretty interchangeable with conservatism and the religious right, here in the states. It's depressingly amusing that the right are so against Muslims when they are headed in the same direction. Just substitute conservative Muslims with conservative Christians, and there you go...[interesting side note-once again, key word is conservative. The many conservatives on this site, doesn't it worry you that the fundamentalist Muslims you fear so much (and caused 9/11) are [again:CONSERVATIVE] so in line with you guys? Doesn't that kind of tell you where you are headed (and trying to bring the rest of us)? I know some conservatives will say that it is the conservative Christians or whatever. To which I counter, once again-Keyword:CONSERVATIVE!!!

Gloria W.
Gloria W.4 years ago

incredible they stayed in the 1800...