Islam, FGM and 8th March

I’ve been asked by some dear friends to write something on the this day, the International Women’s Day. A lot has been written and said today about how women are suffering in our society and then the Rightist will tell you how evil the women have become in Western Society. I’m not going to write anything about this but rather a bit more touchy issue, an issue which is best not to be discussed openly in our society.

Female Genital Mutilation or Female Circumcision is often referred to as FGM, its short form and although most of the people in Indian Subcontinent believe that it doesn’t exist anymore and perhaps some extremely illiterate and ignorant people practice it in somewhere in Africa, the reality is that its not only practiced widely in a lot of Muslim Countries but also that it is very much part of Islamic way of life as instructed by Prophet Muhammad.

The history of FGM:

It’s quite hard to know for sure how and when exactly the practice of FGM started but what we know so far is that the Greek Geographer and Traveller Strabo was the first person who reported the existence of this practice roughly around 25 BCE. He discovered the practice while he travelled to Africa (Egypt in Particular) and then it was intensely discussed and debated in the Greek Culture however its interesting to note that it neither made its way to the Greek Culture nor the Abrahamic Religions such as Judaism or Christianity. But somehow it became part of Islamic Traditions.

FGM3

Current Figures:

Currently, FGM is widely practiced in various countries but Egypt remains on the Top.

Female genital mutilation is prevalent in a belt from the Horn of eastern Africa and the Nile Valley extending westward across the region below the Sahel. According to the WHO, 100–140 million women and girls are living with FGM, including 92 million girls over the age of 10 in Africa. The practice persists in 28 African countries, as well as in the Arabian Peninsula, where Types I and II are more common. It is known to exist in northern Saudi Arabia, southern Jordan, northern Iraq (Kurdistan). It is also practised in Indonesia, but largely symbolically by pricking the clitoral hood or clitoris until it bleeds.

Several African countries have enacted legislation against it, including Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Togo, and Uganda. President Daniel Moi of Kenya issued a decree against it in December 2001. In Mauritania, where almost all the girls in minority communities undergo FGM.

As a rough estimate around 135 million women and girls suffered from FGM Practice until 1997. The recent figures are less known mainly because the practice is now banned in several countries partly due to the fact that several Fatwas were issued against FGM and it was labelled as Un-Islamic.

Please spread this message as much as you can do and make a difference to stop this evil practice.

The Al-Azhar Supreme Council of Islamic Research, the highest religious authority in Egypt, issued a statement that FGM had no basis in core Islamic law, and this enabled the government to outlaw it entirely.

Courtesy [Wikipedia]

FGM in India and Pakistan:

FGM isnt and has never been a common practice in this part of the world however Bohra Community (minor sect of Islam) considers it as Vital Part of their Islamic Faith and according to a survey almost 100% Bohri Girls have gone through FGM.

FGM

Islamic or Un-Islamic:

One must wonder what makes its supporters think it being the Vital Part of Islamic Teachings. While FGM is not mentioned in Quran, its basically a couple of Sahi Ahadith that make up the reason for this argument. Interestingly, None of the four Sunni schools of law (Madhhab) speaks explicitly out against or in favor of female genital mutilation. There are differences of opinion among Sunni scholars in regards to female genital cutting but there has never been a doubt whether or not the practice is Islamic until the recent criticism on this topic which lead Al-Azhar to come up with its condemnation.

The prophet (peace be upon him) said  “Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband”

Following are some of the Ahadith from Sahi Satta Books:

  • Sahi Muslim (349) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When a man sits between the four parts (arms and legs of his wife) and the two circumcised parts meet, then ghusl is obligatory.”
  • Abu-Dawud   Book 41, No.  5251: Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah:    A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina.  The prophet (peace be upon him) said to her:  Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.
  • Sahi Muslim  book 3 No. 684:  Abu Musa reported: There cropped up a difference of opinion between a group of Muhajirs ….He (Abu Musa, the narrator) said: I got up (and went) to ‘A’isha and sought her permission and it was granted…… I said: What makes a bath obligatory for a person? She replied: You have come across one well informed! The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When anyone sits amidst four parts (of the woman) and the circumcised parts touch each other a bath becomes obligatory.

Besides this, there are several ahadiths from non-satta books as well, such as:

  • Maliks Muwatta Book 2 , Number 2.19.73: Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Said ibn al-Musayyab that Umar ibn al-Khattab and Uthman ibn Affan and A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to say, “When the circumcised part touches the circumcised part, ghusl is obligatory.”
  • Maliks Muwatta Book 2 , Number 2.19.74: Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu’n Nadr, the mawla of Umar ibn Abdullah that Abu Salamaibn Abdar-Rahman ibn Awf related that he had asked A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, what made ghusl obligatory. She said, “Do you know what you are like, Abu Salama? You are like a chick when it hears the cocks crowing and so crows with them. When the circumcised part passes the circumcised part, ghusl is obligatory.”
  • Maliks Muwatta Book 2 , Number 2.19.75: Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said from Said ibn al-Musayyab that Abu Musa al-Ashari came to A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said to her, “The disagreement of the companions in a matter which I hate to bring before you has distressed me.” She said, “What is that? You did not ask your mother about it, so ask me.” He said, “A man penetrates his wife, but becomes listless and does not ejaculate. “She said, “When the circumcised part passes the circumcised part ghusl is obligatory.” Abu Musa added, “I shall never ask anyone about this after you.”
  • Maliks Muwatta Book 2 , Number 2.19.77:   Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Abdullah ibn Umar used to say, “When the circumcised part passes the circumcised part, ghusl is obligatory.”
  • Maliks Muwatta Book 20   No.  20.46.161 – very long, all about penalties for contact between a male and female during hajj –……………Malik said, “What spoils a hajj or an umra and makes sacrificing an animal and repeating the hajj necessary is the meeting of the two circumcised parts, even if there is no emission.
  • Tirmidi hadith 166    Narrated Aisha;  Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: When the circumcised parts bypass one another (i.e. have intercourse), taking of a bath is necessary. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and I did that and then we took a bath.

But not in Quran:

Yes not in Quran, if that satisfies you then it’s totally fine with me but don’t forget that even Male Circumcision isn’t in Quran either but thats something that you do consider Islamic and the vital part of your faith.

Conclusion:

While the debate will never end on this particularly sensitive topic that whether or not its Islamic, my humble request is to please stand up against this rather cruel practice and discourage its supporters as much as you can do. This practice HAS TO STOP now and there is no excuse for its existence.

Please spread this message as much as you can do and make a difference to stop this evil practice.

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