Female Circumcision: Obligatory?
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Female Circumcision: Obligatory?

Questioner

Israa

Reply Date

Sep 16, 2018

Question

There is a widespread practice of 'female circumcision' among Muslims in many nations, though limited to some sections only. What does the Shari`ah say on this and what are the Prophet’s words regarding this?

Mufti

Answer


Female Circumcision

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

Because there is no absolute proof from the sources of Islam prescribing female circumcision, the vast majority of scholars do not include it in the obligatory rituals of Islam. 


In his response to the question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Circumcision for males is considered an important rite of initiation in Islam. It is a part of the legacy of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him) whose role model we have been ordered to follow in the Qur’an.

It is, therefore, a highly significant rite in Islam which distinguishes Muslim males from others.

When we come to the issue of “female circumcision”, however, the mater is quite different. There is nothing in the sources, either the Qur’an or the Sunnah, to suggest that it is a prescribed ritual of initiation for women in Islam.

While one finds a number of traditions from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) which clearly indicates that he ordered pagan males who converted to undergo circumcision, it is not stated anywhere that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered any woman who entered Islam to undergo this practice.

Because there is no absolute proof from the sources of Islam prescribing female circumcision, the vast majority of scholars do not include it in the obligatory rituals of Islam.

It is common knowledge in Islam that if the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) had wanted female circumcision to be an integral aspect of religious practice in Islam the same way that male circumcision is, he would have said so clearly. Since he did not do so, we can safely assume it is not a prescribed ritual of Islam.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.




About Sheikh Ahmad Kutty

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty is a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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