What Muslims and Islam say About FGM Part 2: Some perspective by Suntou Touray
Delinking Islam from female circumcision is paramount in this age of subliminal mind games. What many perceive as modern and total a-religious is in-fact a disguise. Therefore, Muslims should be jealous of the beauty in Islam and its message of enhancing the human dignity and well-being.
God want ease for us, in surah Al-Baqarah (2:286) God state that, he never burdens us beyond our capacity. We should worry ourselves with matters that are humanly possible and physically beneficial. This doesn’t mean, every other issue should be treated lightly, it only means we should avoid self-harm and defective practices.
Zahrah Awlah, a leading Kenyan Muslim commentator posited the following reasons for Islam being associated with female circumcision:
●To protect chastity/virginity
●To reduce sexual desires in women
●To enhance fertility and childbirth
She went on to observe that, “FGM doesn’t guarantee any of these”. She further detail categories of FGM, Type 1, 2 and 3, were she quoted the leading Canadian Islamic scholar Dr Jamal Badawi.
Dr Badawi explained the types as follows:
1- Type I: Removal of the hood (prepuce) of the clitoris only.
2- Type II: Removal of the entire clitoris (cliterodectomy) along with part of the labia minora, which is sutured together leaving an opening.
3- Type III: Removal of the entire clitoris, labia minora and medial part of the labia majora, stitching both sides of the vulva together leaving a small opening. This is known as “Pharonic Procedure.” This also involves “closing over the urethral and vaginal openings with the gutted labia minora/majora, leaves a hole that traps traces of urine and menstrual blood. This can cause infections in the woman or girl and complicate childbirth if the individual is not opened in time to prevent this from happening. No form of FGM has been proven to reduce sexual desire or promiscuity, but FGM may hinder sexual intercourse, having a devastating effect on women in later life when they marry.”
The Gambian experience in type three is limited to a particular ethnicity. But overall, many young women who underwent the type 1 and 2 female circumcision early in their life don’t manifest the side effects of type three. It is important this point is made clear, since the argument shouldn’t be allowed to take a one route condemnation.
The Qur’an teaches that, men and women are the garment of one another. In eliminating cultural practices that are unnecessary to society, both sexes must play their part. (An-Nisaa’ 4:1), making them equal before Allah in Islam. Men are said to be protectors, "qawwamun" (An-Nisaa’ 4:34), of women. And Allah has ordered both men and women to be modest in their gaze and guard their chastity. These verses prove that FGM in Muslim communities is unnecessary, and it is God-consciousness (Taqwa) that keeps Muslim men and women from illegal sexual intercourse or indecent thoughts, and not the absence of any part of their genitalia.
Dr. Jamal Badawi refers to the following types of FGM:
Dr Badawi further elaborated that, “no mutilation is allowed by Islam, even on the battlefield. It is unjustifiable, brutal, inhumane, and it violates Islam.” Dr. Badawi continues that “female circumcision is not in the Qur’an and no hadith requires it, although there is a difference of opinion among some Muslim scholars on is religious basis.”
However, the proponents use one main hadith relayed by Umm Atiyyah Al-Ansariyyah in which it is reported: "A woman used to perform circumcision in Madinah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband” (Abu Dawud 41:5251). Experts on hadith have declared it weak (dha'eef). (See Awn al-Maabud fi sharh sunnan Abi Dawud Vol.14 pg 122-126)
In essence, the defence of female circumcision is itself weak. But one cannot ignore the fortitude of the scholarly argument in favour of simple circumcision which only recommends a tiny bit taken off the clitoris, rather than mutilated version.
The Islam encourages the Right to all lawful Fulfilment in Marriage!!!
The Qur’an says: [And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.] (Ar-Rum 30:21)
The above verse describes the ideal marital relationship for Muslims, and it is the right of every Muslim to find a mate and achieve all the benefits that come with that. In cases where instead of circumcision, the person underwent FGM, then there are serious issues that are suffered in later life. These according to some experts are:
●Lack of sensation, due to not having a full and healthy clitoris and other external genitalia
●Flashbacks of FGM operation on her wedding night
●Problems relating to the infibulations when in many cases the husband opens her with an object on the wedding night and thereafter he can penetrate more easily
●Other problems trying to sexually relate to her husband because of the negative attitude towards her sexuality
● Not understanding her Islamic right to sexual enjoyment
It should be again maintained that, the types practice in the Gambia are said not to fall under the mutilation category in a larger part. However, the mere practice of female circumcision on itself is unnecessary if the reason is to restrain young unmarried women. There are much more other issues relevant in ensuring morality and chastity is a pillar in our societies.
[Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire for you difficulty.] (Al-Baqarah 2:185)
Islam came to bring glad tidings, not bad news, and enlighten the ignorant, not keep them in the darkness. Islam does not allow its followers to harm themselves intentionally, and it vehemently protects the rights of women and children, who are among the weakest of the groups in every society. “And the best among you are those who are best to their women” (At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibban). For further reading on this subject refer to the link below.