The Quran and the Western Research on the Importance of Chastity
The Quran considers chastity as a permanent value and lays a great emphasis on restricting the sexual activities within the bounds of marriage [Al-Quran 24:2-3]. The question is why this is so much important and what implications does it have on the society as a whole. This article reviews briefly the western independent research in this regard.
Richard Wilkins, a professor of law at Brigham Young University writes in his book “Marriage on the brink” that ‘viewed from any historical, anthropological or sociological perspective, marriage is not just an emotional and sexual attachment but it is much more than an intimate association between two people. It civilizes men. It protects children. It generates social energy. It fosters individual and collective growth. It teaches norms. It creates culture.’
According to Giambattista Vico, marriage is the “seedbed” of society. In 1725, after completing an exhaustive study of ancient history, he concluded that marriage between a man and a woman is an essential characteristic of civilization. Without strong social norms that encourage a man to direct his sexual attentions to a single woman and thereafter care for his offspring, Vico concluded that chaos ensued. John Locke referred to marriage as mankind’s ‘first society’. The married family is profoundly important for a stable society.
British anthropologist J. D. Unwin reached the same conclusion. In his 1934 book, Sex and Culture, Unwin chronicled the historical decline of 86 different cultures. His exhaustive survey revealed that “strict marital monogamy” was central to social energy and growth. Indeed, no society flourished for more than three generations without it. Unwin stated it this way, “In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on prenuptial and postnuptial continence.”
Unwin confessed that he began his investigation “with carefree open-mindedness” and “in all innocence”. With no axe to grind, and no idea where his researches might lead him, he wanted to test the conjecture that civilization and sexual self-control were related to each other. He studied eighty primitive and sixteen civilized societies, and found that a society’s cultural energy (art, science, technology, etc.) increases as its sexual energy is controlled.
Professor V.A.Demant‘s writes in his book “An Exposition of Christian Sex Ethic” about the Unwin’s research as follows:
“His [Unwin's] conclusion, reached after a review of many societies and civilizations, is that when social regulations forbid indiscriminate satisfaction of the sexual impulses, the emotional conflict is expressed in another way; and that what we call civilization has been built up by sacrifices in the gratification of innate desires. “A greater or lesser mental development has accompanied a limitation or extension of sexual opportunity.” Unwin correlates three types of religion with three kinds of society described by their sexual regulations. “Societies that permitted pre-nuptial freedom were in the zoistic condition and produced little culture beyond tribal survival. Societies that imposed an irregular or occasional continence were in the manistic condition: these have a more elaborate social system. Societies that enforced complete pre-nuptial continence were in the deistic condition, and these have the maximum of intellectual and creative energy. He deduces that the greatest social energy and impulse for civilization-building is a correlate of the strictest of sexual patterns, namely that of absolute monogamy and extra-marital continence”.
David Holloway writes in his article “when private become public” as follows:
“The basic claim that sexual restraint is correlated with cultural health stands and seems to be self-evidently true. A society where marriage norms have been destroyed and where pure sexual gratification is a primary value is not a society that can motivate communal effort. Nor will many of its members want to make sacrifices for such a society.”
E. J. Mishan once wrote:
“Can anyone care very much what happens to a society whose members are continually and visibly obsessed with sexual carousal – to a society where, in effect, the human animal has been reduced to a life-style that consists in the main activity of alternatively inflaming itself and relieving itself?”
Tony Blair when interviewed soon after he became British Prime Minister, said:
“Of all the behaviour which in my personal experience has caused the greatest misery to other human beings, I would put adultery pretty high on the list. I don’t actually think you can expect a man with the strains of public life to perform adequately unless he has got a good home life to go back to.”
Rev. Louis p. Sheldon, Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition says “destruction of marriage precedes death of a culture, history shows”.
In his 1979 book, “Our Dance Has Turned To Death,” Christian sociologist Carl W. Wilsonnoted that history reveals that nations decline and eventually die when sexual immorality becomes rampant and the traditional family is discarded in favor of group sex, homosexuality, infidelity, and unrestrained sexual hedonism. Carl Wilson notes that decadent cultures display seven typical characteristics: Men reject spiritual and moral development as the leaders of families; men begin to neglect their families in search of material gain; men begin to engage in adulterous relationships or homosexual sex; women begin to devalue the role of motherhood and homemaker; husbands and wives begin to compete with each other and families disintegrate; selfish individualism fragments society into warring factions; and men and women lose faith in God and reject all authority over their lives. Soon, moral anarchy reigns. When the family collapses, the society soon follows.
Sociologist Pitirim Sorokin, in “The American Sex Revolution,” found essentially the same thing when he examined sexual immorality as it relates to cultural decline. Sorokin noted in the late 60′s that America was committing “voluntary suicide” through unrestrained sexual indulgence. He observed that as individuals began engaging in pre-marital sex unrelated to marriage, the birth rate would decline and our nation would be slowly depopulated. He predicted an increase in divorce, desertion, and an epidemic of sexual promiscuity resulting in a rise in illegitimate children. His predictions, unfortunately, have come true. Sorokin’s study of decadent cultures convinced him that a healthy society can only survive if strong families exist and sexual activities are restricted to within marriage. Sexual promiscuity leads inevitably to cultural decline and eventual collapse.