Sun, 17 Feb 2019
1
Astana

Tajikistan's Council of Ulema has given its blessing to anti-impotence drugs such as Viagra, arguing that the pills could help prevent marriages from falling apart.

But the blessing does come with a caveat. Abduvohid Homidov, the chief specialist at the council's Department of Fatwas, told RFE/RL on January 16 that this week's decision pertains to 'married men only.'

Treatment for erectile dysfunction was possible in Tajikistan, but Homidov said that the number of men discreetly approaching religious figures asking if the use of anti-impotence drugs was permitted under Islam determined that a ruling was needed.

'After studying the issue for some time, we came to conclusion that our religion permits such drugs if they are necessary,' Homidov said.

The official added that the decision is aimed at strengthening marriages and preventing arguments between husbands and wives over men's 'issues.'

Although erectile dysfunction is not openly discussed in Tajikistan, imported drugs for the condition were readily available without prescription.

In 2018, the Health Ministry's drug-control agency said that countrywide raids had resulted in the confiscation of large amounts of such unregulated drugs being sold.

In February of that year, a 34-year-old Tajik man was reported to have been taken to an emergency room after taking an anti-impotence pill he said he got from a friend.

The man, who gave only his first name, Shamsiddin, later told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that he suffered from erectile dysfunction, but didn't want to seek professional help.

'I was ashamed,' Shamsiddin said. 'Our people like spreading rumors and gossip. I was afraid of that.'

The specialist Homidov advised that men should approach the drugs with caution.

'Men must see doctors first before rushing to buy the pills,' Homidov told RFE/RL. 'They need to discuss their individual problems with medics and ask doctors about all the possible side effects of the medicine they take.'

The state-backed Council of Ulema initially addressed the topic early last year, saying that from the religious viewpoint anti-impotence drugs were permissible.

Farangis Najibullah

Farangis Najibullah is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL who focuses on Central Asia.

NajiballahF@rferl.org FOLLOW Subscribe via RSS Abdullo Ashurov

Abdullo Ashurov is a correspondent for RFE/RL's Tajik Service.

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Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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