FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION; THE ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE
Indeed, all glory and praise is due to almighty Allah. We glorify him and praise him, and we seek his help and forgiveness. In Allah we seek refuge from the evils of our souls and from our wrong doings. He whom Allah guides no one can misguide, and he whom he leaves to stray can never be guided.
I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, alone without any partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is his messenger.
As for what follows:
The campaign of The West against one of the Sunanul Fitrah (Practices upon which Allah created human beings and legislated by him to all his prophets) FEMALE CIRCUMCISION; all in the claim that it is a kind of mutilation to the female genital is no more news, it has gotten to the extent that many African Governments are now making female circumcision a forbidden act that calls for a grave penalty!. I wonder why cosmetic surgeons and their patronisers are not also allotted the same penalty because it is a greater mutilation as compared to circumcision; Michael Jackson is a sad example.
When Allah says:
Say O Muhammad: Who has forbidden the adoration with clothes given by Allah, which He has produced for his slaves, and Attayyibaat (All kind of lawful things of provision? “ They are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) exclusively for them (believers) on the Day of resurrection (the disbelievers will not share them)
Thus we explain the Ayat (Islamic laws) in detail for people who have knowledge”.
(Suuratu Al-A`raaf: 32).
The scholars of Islam of all generation used to say “Al-Halaal (permissible things) is that which Allah permits and Al-Haram (forbidden things) is that which Allah forbids”
Female circumcision as defined by Merriam –Webster 2013 is the cut off of all or part of the external genitalia and especially the clitoris and labia minora of a female.
Female circumcision based on the above definition can be divided into three categories;
- Cutting off the clitoris completely
- Cutting off a part of the clitoris
- Cutting off the clitoris and the labia minora (This is also called the Pharaonic circumcision)
This classification was also mentioned by the great Professor of Pharmacognosy, Professor Sofowora in his book titled “Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicine in Africa”
In this book, He mentioned reasons the practice is widespread in Africa which can be summarised to the following reasons:
- It is a Religious rite
- It is a Cultural rite
- It prevents against sexual promiscuity which is seriously frowned at by the people of the continent
He also mentioned reasons the practice should be abstained from and if possible laid embargo on.
These could be summarised into the following:
- It is a form of mutilation to the female genitalia
- It can lead to disease conditions like septicaemia, cervical cancer etc.
- It prevents the female from deriving full pleasure during sex.
However, the position of any Muslim should be that which Allah and his messenger command. Allah says:
It is not for a true believer, man or woman, when Allah and His messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His messenger, he has indeed strayed in plain error
(Suraatul Al-Ahzaab: 36).
Al-Imaam Assa’diyy mentioned in his book “Al-Qawaa’id wa Al-Usuul Al-Jaami’ah”:
- “The Legislator (Allah) will not command of anything, except that which is good purely or preponderantly good…………”
Verily Allah enjoins Al-adl (i.e. justice and worshipping none but alone- Islamic Monotheism) and Al-Ihsaan [i.e. all forms of goodness], and giving help to kith and kin and He forbids of Al-fahshaa [i.e. all forms of evil acts] and Al-munkar [i.e. all that is prohibited by Islamic law] and Al-baghy [i.e. all kinds of oppression], He admonishes you, that you may take heed.”
Although, He (The professor) made very good suggestions as to what could be done to avoid the above health complications during male circumcision, which I opine can be also applied to female circumcision and be what the west should have intensify effort on instead of the antagonistic campaign.
- Train personnel (Traditional birth attendants) carrying out the circumcision on the better way of carrying out the procedure.
- Train them on how to be more hygienic when carrying out the procedure to avoid health complications such as septicaemia.
- The procedure should be monitored by trained medical personnel.
As-shaykh a’dil bn Yuusuf Al-Azzaaziyy mentioned in his book “Tamaamul minnah fii fiqhi Al-kitaab wa Saheeh As-sunnah”
“There are evidences (Islamic) for its (circumcision) legitimacy for men and women”
Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported from the prophet (May the peace of Allah be upon him):
Five from the Fitrah: shaving the pubic, circumcision, reducing the moustache, plucking the armpit, cutting the nails. (Albukhaariyy: 5889, Muslim: 257)
Our mother Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported from the prophet (May the peace of Allah be upon Him):
Ten things from the Fitrah : reduction of the moustache, leaving the beards, using the chewing stick, sniffing in water (to rinse the nostrils), cutting the nails, washing the knuckles, plucking the armpit, shaving the pubic, cleaning oneself with water, – Mus`ab (one of the reporters) said I have forgotten the tenth, but I think it is rinsing the mouth( during ablution). (Muslim: 261)
She also reported from her husband in this world and in paradise:
Whenever the two circumcised parts (of both male and female) meet, the ritual bath is compulsory (Muslim: 349).
Ummu A’tiyyah reported from the prophet his statement to a woman who used to circumcise children in madeenah
“Whenever you circumcise, trim it (the clitoris) gently and don’t brutalise or mutilate it (the clitoris), for that is beautifying to the face and enjoyable to the husband”
(Silsilatu- As-sahihah: 722)
From the above narration from Ummu A’tiyyah, it can be deduced Islam has forbade female genital mutilation before the west started the campaign against it but legislated female circumcision as long as it is necessary as perceived by a trained Muslim female doctor
The Shaykh (Al-azzaaziyy) also mentioned:
“Scholars (Islamic) differed as regards the ruling of circumcision as follow:
Scholars of Shaafihi’yyah school of thought said it is compulsory for both male and female, the Scholars of Abu Haneefah’s and Malikiyyah schools of thought said it is Sunnah for men and honourable for women, while Al-Imaam Ahmad in a report from him said it is compulsory for men and honourable for women, also said compulsory for both men and women in another report from him”
“It is possible to say ………., as for a girl child there is no specific time for her circumcision, except that the preferred practice is for it to be delayed till the clitoris becomes matured, and this is not possible except at child age, this is based on the opinion of a female doctor that carries out circumcision”
As-Shaykh ibnu Al-Uthaymeen said in As-Sharhu Al-mumti’ a’laa Zaadi Al-Mustaqna’:
3)Verily circumcision is a differentiating attribute between the Muslims and the Christians, the Muslims used to recognise their martyrs during wars with circumcision, the Muslims and the Arabs before the advent of Islam and the Jews used to circumcise themselves, if it is a differentiating factor then it is compulsory.
4) Verily it is cutting a part of the body which is not permissible, and something not permissible will not become permissible except with something compulsory.
“Circumcision for women, the strongest of opinions is that it is Sunnah for them”
As-Shaykh Muhammad Hassaan mentioned in one of his lectures when he was asked concerning female circumcision “ Know certainly that the least ruling the scholars of Islam passed on female circumcision is that it is encouraged and honourable for them”
Allah has legislated that female genitals should be circumcised but not mutilated, and He alone should be obeyed.
“Oh you who believe, obey Allah and His Messenger………..”
Subhanaka wa bi hamdik Ashhadu an laa ilaha illa Allah, wa Astaghfiruka wa atuubu ilayhi.
From the slave of Allah
Ibrahim ibn Ishaaq Olatunji (B. Pharm. IFE)
This is an EXTRACT from 2nd Edition of “THE CRITERION” Magazine 2017. An Official Publication of the _Pharmaceutical Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria.(PMSSN) Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife (OAU) Chapter