A qualitative investigation of non-marital fertility amongst Muslim women.
Ngubane, Phindile Pearl.
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This study aims to establish the role religion has in addressing, out of wedlock fertility. This study draws on qualitative data from ten in-depth interviews at eThekwini Municipality, South Africa. South Africa is a religious country and religion is an indirect determinant of fertility. In the study, Islam is used to depict religiosity and how it attaches to individuals’ behaviour. The participants in the study are at childbearing age. The participants in the study are Muslim women who have had their first birth out of wedlock. The study found that participants were not aware of the repercussions of non–marital fertility before having their first birth. In the interviews, the women explained that the main reason contributing to their non–marital fertility was the lack of sex education. They also revealed that Islam allowed married women only to use contraceptives, as unmarried women are expected to practice celibacy. Furthermore, they explained that Islam advocates for a two-parent household. The attitudes attached to NMF are negative, as they are linked to single parenthood, stigmatization and being ostracized. A child conceived in an out-of-wedlock relationship becomes accustomed to the lack of emotional support and in some cases, social exclusion. Thus, the study recommends that there should be rigorous sex education from a child’s early age. In addition, religious institutions should be aware of contemporary fertility trends and should address them in a comprehensive manner.