Monday, 13 October 2014

Female Circumcision

Also known as 'female genital mutilation' and 'female genital cutting'

A translation of this fatwa from Naseem al-Sham

FGM Prevalence


What is the ruling in the Revealed Law of Islam regarding female circumcision?

Answer (from the great scholar and martyr, Imam Muammad Saʿīd Ramaān al-Būī):

The established rulings of the Revealed Law are taken either from the Book of Allah, that which has been authentically established from the Sunnah[1] of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, or from the consensus of the First Three Generations. With regards to female circumcision, we have not found any proof that it is obligatory or sunnah[2] in the Qurʾān, the Sunnah or in the consensus of the First Three Generations. The adīth “Five things are from one’s fitrah[3]…”[4] mentions circumcision and it applies to the circumcision of males. The proof for this is that the Messenger of Allah did not command that any of his daughters be circumcised and this practice did not become prevalent and widespread amongst the Companions or the Followers. If it were obligatory, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, would have been the first to do it and he would have commanded that his daughters be circumcised.  Therefore, female circumcision was merely a custom on the Arabian Peninsula. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was sent while the practice existed and the Messenger of Allah was silent on the matter. Therefore, the ruling in this situation follows what has been established in terms of benefit or harm, and specialist physicians are in absolute agreement that female circumcision carries no benefit, i.e. in the way that male circumcision has benefit. Rather, it is dangerously harmful for females and it hurts them considerably with regards to their natural right to enjoy marital life.

[1] (tn): In this case, the word is referring to the statements, actions or affirmations of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him grant him peace. In other words, the Sunnah (transliterated as such) is a source of legislation. Please see ʿAlī Filālī (and other teachers at the Qarawiyyīn High School, Fes, Morocco), Durūs fī Uṣūl Al-Fiqh li Al-Sanat Al-Thānīyya min Al-Taʿlīm Al-Aṣīl (Casablanca: Dār al-Thaqāfa, 1419/1998),  p.28
[2] (tn): i.e. When transliterated in this matter, it is a ruling in the Revealed Law, meaning recommended, i.e. something that one is rewarded for doing but not liable to punishment for leaving off. Synonyms would include words like mandūb and mustaabb. Please see Jalāl Al-Dīn Muḥammad Ibn Aḥmad Al-Maḥallī, Sharḥ Al-Waraqāt fī ʿIlm Uṣūl Al-Fiqh(Casablanca: Dār al-Rashād al-Ḥadītha, 1427/2006), p.5
[3] (tn): i.e. one’s natural disposition
[4] (tn): This ḥadīth can be found in the collections of Imams al-Bukhārī, Muslim and several others.