Female Circumcision
Fatwa No: 81776

Question

What is Islamic ruling for female circumcision? I heard that some countries like Egypt already banned this ritual. In my home country it is still considered wajib for both male and female. And the authorised party explained that it was taken from Shafie school. Is it right? Here in Japan, a few Japanese Muslims ask me if they must go for a circumcision. Of course, they fear it, especially women. Please advise me how to answer them correctly with Hadeeth and al-Quran if possible. Syukran.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds.  I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Circumcision is one of the acts of Fitrah (matters that correspond to the nature of man) and the Lawmaker has emphasized it. Imaams Muslim, Al-Bukhari and others  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam , said: “Five things are parts of one's Fitrah: shaving the pubic hair, circumcision, trimming the moustache, removing the hair under the armpits and trimming the nails.

The scholars have three well-known different opinions on this:

1 -It is a Sunnah (i.e., recommended) for men and likable for women.

2 -It is obligatory for both men and women, and this is the view of the Shafi'i school of Fiqh (Islamic law).

3 -It is obligatory for men and likable for women.

The scholars, then, have different opinions on this matter because there is no explicit sound text (Quran or Hadeeth) upon which the rule could be based. It is only that each group of scholars has a given opinion with some evidence that the other group rejects for not being sound or failing to be indicative of where the disagreement is. They give instead their own opinion. In any case, circumcision is more established and stressed for men than it is for women as it is difficult for the non-circumcised man to be fully certain of not having some dirt or urine on his penis, and this is not the case for women. As for our Japanese brothers, you should make clear to them that circumcision is one of the Fitrah's basics which are part of the religion and which are from Islamic rites. It is also a feature of Muslims as opposed to non-Muslims. Muslims are known to be circumcised. Circumcision has many purification-related profits. Tell them also that Ibraaheem  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention the father of the Prophets, got circumcised at the age of eighty as narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them. Try also to clarify to them that what they fear is no longer a problem as there are now very modern surgery techniques. This is for men. As for women who have passed the age of adolescence it is better not to ask them to do circumcision as there is no text asking them to do so and when there is no order to do something or to leave it, the person then has the choice.

Allaah Knows best.

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