What do the scholars of the Dīn and muftīs of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: Is female genital mutilation allowed in Islām? What has Sayyidī A’la Hazrat al-Imām Ahmad Ridā Khān (may Allāh cover him with mercy)  said about this?

Questioner: Uthman from UK


بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

Cutting different parts of the female private part is known as female genital mutilation.  This includes cutting of the clitoris and its hood and the internal labia and other than it. Through the cutting of these parts a woman loses her female desire and sometimes apart from the cutting of these parts the private part is also sealed. Approximately 12 million women in Africa and the Middle East are caught up in this great tribulation. According to Islamic Law this action of female genital mutilation is harām, impermissible and changing of the creation of Allāh and Islām does not permit this. Just as Allāh mentions:

{(shaytān said) “I will certainly bid to them that they would alter the creation of Allah.”}

[Sūrah al-Nisā Verse 119]

In Tafsīr al-Sāwī under this ayah it is mentioned “and from this is the changing of the body”.

It is mentioned in hadīth that those women have been cursed that try to bring about change in that which Allāh has created by altering their bodies as is mentioned in Sahīh al-Bukhārī:

Sayyidunā ibn Mas’ūd (may Allāh be pleased with him) said:

‘Allāh has cursed those women who practice tattooing and those women who have themselves tattooed, and those women who get their hair removed from their eyebrows and faces, and those who make artificial spaces between their teeth for beauty; may those be cursed who change the creation of Allāh. Why should I also not curse such people whom the Noble Messenger of Allāh ﷺ has cursed?’”

[Sahīh al-Bukhārī, hadīth 5937]

However female circumcision is permissible in Islām but this circumcision is completely different to female genital mutilation. In fact they are the names of two opposing matters.  In female genital mutilation the clitoris and the flesh which surrounds it is removed completely so that a woman’s sexual desire is severed.  Whereas in circumcision only a part of the skin which is above the urinary passage that resembles the crest of a rooster is removed and no more. Through this circumcision the pleasure of both the male and the females is increased.

Just as is mentioned in Sunan Abū Dāwūd that Umm Atiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrates that:

“In Madīnah there was a woman that used to circumcise other women.  The Prophet ﷺ said to her do not exaggerate in cutting because that is more beneficial and more pleasurable for the woman and more pleasing to the husband.”

[Sunan Abū Dāwūd hadīth 5271]

In commentary upon this hadīth Muftī Ahmad Yār Khān al-Na’īmī (may Allah shower him with mercy) mentions that the rule at that time was that at the time of child birth the midwife or another woman whilst cutting the umbilical cord would also cut a piece of flesh near the urinary passage of the girl and they would call this female circumcision.  The Prophet ﷺ informed them that this piece of flesh should not be cut from further down.  Firstly the narration is not sahīh (authentic).  Even if it were authentic it would only establish permissibility.  According to some of the Hanafī scholars female circumcision is makrūh.  Just as good cleanliness is achieved with male circumcision so too it is achieved with female circumcision.  From this greater pleasure is attained in conjugal relations.  The female attains greater pleasure due to the male’s circumcision and the male attains greater pleasure from the female’s circumcision.  Nowadays it would seem this is no longer practised.

[Mir’āt al-Manājīh Volume 6 page 305]

It should also be remembered that in Islām female circumcision is only allowed and there is no emphasised ruling on it rather where it is not the customary practise then the ‘ulamā have prevented it.

Just as Sayyidī A’la Hazrat al-Imām Ahmad Ridā Khān (may Allāh cover him with mercy) mentions in reply to a question that there is no emphasised ruling on female circumcision and here because it is not a customary practice the laypeople will laugh at it and this will cause them to fall into a great sin and protecting the Dīn of the Muslims is wājib so there is no command for it here.

It is mentioned in al-Ashbāh:

“Female circumcision is not a Sunnah however it is a virtuous matter.”

[al-Ashbāh wa al-Nazhā’ir Volume 2 page 170]

It is mentioned in Ghamz al-‘Uyūn on Munyat al-Muftī:

“Circumcision for the woman is a virtuous matter because it increases pleasure in conjugal relations.”

[Ghamz ‘Uyūn al-Basā’ir Sharh al-Ashbāh wa al-Nazhā’ir Volume 2 page 170, al-Fatāwā al-Ridwiyyah Volume 22 page 681]

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by Ustadh Ibrar Shafi

Read the original Urdu answer here: [Q-ID0808] What is the Islamic ruling on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?


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