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Female Genital Mutilation

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Ms Hassan, ICV (Age 4/4/07) claims Female Genital Mutilation – particularly removal of or damage to the clitoris, has nothing to do with Islam.  This view is echoed among the politically correct including agencies involved in stopping FGM, and, while it will be admirable if this lie does help to stop the practice, it is still a lie.  It would be far better to confront and denounce the text so that it cannot be used again.  
Clitoridectomy is not mentioned in the Koran but is endorsed by Mohammad and his companions in several hadiths and in Islamic law.

 In Reliance of the Traveller, a classical manual of Islamic sacred law in Arabic with facing English text, commentary and appendices edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller (1994) re 'circumcision' we find the Arabic actually says :
 
"Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male,
but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the clitoris (this is called Hufaad). "
(Note the English version is falsely translated as 'prepuce ' of the clitoris!!)
  
The Arabic word bazr does not mean "prepuce of the clitoris", it means the clitoris itself (cf. the entry in the Arabic-English Dictionary). The deceptive translation by Nuh Hah Mim Keller, made for Western consumption, obscures the Shafi’i law, given by ‘Umdat al-Salik, that circumcision of girls by excision of the clitoris is mandatory. This particular form of female circumcision is widely practiced in Egypt, where the Shafi’i school of Sunni law is followed.  Note a comment by Sheikh 'Abd al-Wakil Durubi in the English 'version' notes "Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.

 

This is supported by several hadiths:

1)  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.
(Note:  The powerful Mohammad did NOT stop the procedure yet he did stop the Arab practise of adoption when he wished to marry his adopted son's wife Zainab, regarded as incest by the Arabs because adopted sons were held as sons!)

2)  The are many hadiths across several sets that refer to the need for ghusl when the 'two circumcised organs come in contact'
a)  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, and I said to her: 0 Mother, or Mother of the Faithful, I want to ask you about a matter on which I feel shy. She said: Don't feel shy of asking me about a thing which you can ask your mother, who gave you birth, for I am too your mother. Upon this 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.
b) Maliks Muwatta Book 2:  Section: Obligation to Do Ghusl when the Two Circumcised Parts Meet

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."
Repeated in various forms from Aisha in  Book 2, Number 2.19.74,  75, 77 :

c) Maliks Muwatta Book 20   No.  20.46.161 ---very long, all about penalties for contact between a male and female during hajj – and those circumcised parts again!


Above hadiths from USC.EDU suggest that 'circumcision' of females was normal for Muslims.

3) a)  Hadith in the Musnad by Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, where Shaddad Ibn Aws reports that the prophet said:
      "Cicumcision is a sunnah for Men, MAKRUMAH for women"
(MAKRUMAH can be translated as "noble deed" or "honorable") cited in answering-Islam.org

b) another quotation from the Prophet "Circumcision is a sunna for men and a sign of respect for women". (Hadith of Abu al-Malih,  Abu Dawud)   cited in Muhammad Salim al-Awwa (article Female Circumcision Neither a Sunna, nor a sign of respect. )

4)  another hadith attributed to Abdullah ibn Umar where the women of al-Ansar were addressed endorsing female circumcision ..( hadith attributed to Abdullah ibn Umar quoted by Abu Nain and others) also cited by Muhammad Salim al-Awwa, who uses the usual claim that transmission is weak, to discount any hadith that shocks the west. 

 The hadith are held in great reverence next to the Koran in the Islamic world and serve as the theoretical basis for Islamic law.    The hadith are essential to understanding the Koran and underpin day to day life.  The sunni hadiths were all compiled 200+ years after Mohammad's death.  The hadiths were subjected to a thorough examination/refining at the end of the 19th century yet those referring to female 'circumcision' (FGM) remain.
Many Islamic practices and the basis for many laws are found in the hadiths eg stoning, killing apostates, child marriage.  All the ceremonies of the Hajj were old pagan ceremonies and are only described in hadiths does the fact that they:

a) existed before Islam or

b) are only in hadiths mean that they are NOT part of Islam?

Note:

  • Muslims choose their words carefully claiming FGM is not 'mandated' and hide its endorsement in hadiths and law.
  • The vast majority of FGM is carried out by Muslims spread across many cultures invaded by Arab Muslims eg parts of Africa (it's wasn't practiced in the southern states), across the middle-east (particularly southern part of Arabian Peninsular, Persian Gulf eg Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates listed by some as having FGM), into India (practiced by Daubi Bohra Muslims) and Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia) (WHO reports and others) .
  • FGM may be more widespread in the middle-east than believed.  "Academics widely regard FGM as an African disease. But information from Iraqi Kurdistan raises the possibility that the problem is more prevalent in the Middle East than previously believed, and that FGM is far more tied into religion than many Western academics and activists admit.  In early 2003, WADI, a German nongovernmental organization (NGO) focusing on women's issues, found that close to 60 percent of Kurdish women questioned had undergone genital circumcision.  Nearly every woman in the survey declared FGM to be a "normal" practice… Others stress the religious necessity of FGM…   Islamic scholars disagree on FGM.  But the conclusion that FGM is not a problem of Islamic practice is simply wrong as long as a large number of clerics accept or demand it… Many academics and NGO workers in the region find it objectionable to criticize the predominant Muslim or Arab cultures.  But there are indications that FGM might be widespread in the Arab Middle East; the rate is known to be 90 percent or more in Egypt."    By Thomas von der Osten-Sacken and Thomas Uwer are, respectively, managing director and a board member of WADI. This commentary was based on an article in the winter edition of the Middle East Quarterly.  Originally published February 12, 2007
  • Muslims claim FGM is against Islamic text that says you cannot cut/alter the body but male circumcision is obligatory!
  • In 2001, Christians attacked in the Maluku islands, Indonesia and surrounds were killed or forced on pain of death to convert to Islam.  Christian babies through to old women were genitally mutilated (clitoridectomy) often with knives from their own kitchens! Will we blame Indonesia's Buddhist/Hindu background or the Islamic takeover of Indonesia? (Christina's Story;  Sydney Morning Herald 27/12001;  Conversion crusade rends the Spice Islands  The Age 27/1/2001) Across Indonesia, hospitals offer circumcision of baby girls with fears that even more tissue is cut away using the new instruments often resulting in full excision of the clitoris!  Assalaam Foundation treasurer Syarief Hamid, claims that while religion was the main reason for circumcisions, he says there are also health reasons. "I understand that a girl who is not circumcised would not have clean genitals after she urinates and sometimes that can cause cervical cancer," he says. "The religious view is, if you are not circumcised you won't have clean genitals after you urinate. If then you pray, your prayer won't be legal." The practitioners who came from the local hospital always cut a piece off the clitoris, he says.  Masitoh Chusnan, from the women's wing of Muhammadiyah, one of Indonesia's two biggest Muslim organisations, says the circumcision of girls is regarded in Islam as an honourable practice. "The Hadith did not say it's obligatory, but it is recommended to have it done," she says. "There is the Prophet's words saying girls must be circumcised but you should not cut too much." !!  (SMH 13/1/04) 
  • Clitoridectomy may have existed pre-Islam but that doesn't mean it wasn't incorporated into and spread by Islam.
  • Although practiced by a small % of Christians and some animists and others in Arab invaded parts of Africa (7th century), this doesn't discount the association with Islam or make others equally culpable.   Islamic culture was forced onto others.
  • Neither Jesus, nor Christian text (Bible) supports FGM which is practised at far lower levels by African Christians than Muslims in both Muslim or non-Muslim majority countries (WHO figures reported in 1995).  According to Amnesty, many Christian practitioners are Muslim converts to Christianity which attempts to stop the practice but sometimes turns a blind eye towards converts!  More recent PC figures on FGM don't distinguish religious groups and just list the country!
  • The fact that not every Muslim practices FGM doesn't discount its association with Islam.
  • Relativists pretend removal of the prepuce in the male which leaves a fully functional, sensitive penis is equivalent to clitoridectomy in females which is equivalent to cutting off the penis or partial cutting/damage to the clitoris which is like cutting/destroying the glans/head of the penis!!
  • FGM follows the spread of Islam even into the west.  It does NOT follow the spread of Christianity/Buddhism/Hinduism etc!  Most western countries have laws that prohibit FGM but it still goes on and according to WHO/UNICEF is growing thanks to immigration and concerns of parents to keep control of daughters in western societies!  No doubt we will soon be told it's part of our 'culture' and nothing to do with Islam!


FGM is practiced in Australia:  Pamela Bone (who also thought clitoridectomy wasn't part of Islamic law!) referred to an interview with Sheik Fehmi al-Imam of the Preston Mosque where she asked him about clitoridectomy and he replied:

"You probably don't need it but women in hot countries do"!!! (Melbourne   Age 21/7/01 p7)

 
Abc.net.au (11/5/06) and News.com.au note that over 50 females have been treated/year in Sydney hospitals following FGM.  Some girls are sent overseas for the procedure but others are mutilated here. 

Egypt:  An example of the dual playing to western views and adhering to Islamic ones:
There have been a few fatwas (published opinions by Muslim religious scholars. They are non-binding in law)
for/against FGM but the reality is that many Muslims believe it is 'beneficial' and 'meritorious' if not obligatory.
a) 29/1/1981: The Great Sheikh of Al-Azhar (the most famous University of the Islamic World) stated that parents must follow the lessons of Mohammed and not listen to medical authorities because the latter often change their minds. Parents must do their duty and have their daughters circumcised.  (Clitoridectomy in Egypt)
b) TARGET, a German human rights group, sponsored a conference on FGM in Cairo, Egypt. Muslim scholars from many nations attended. At the conclusion of the conference on 24/11/2006- they issued statements against FGM but, is this just to please the west?  Would FGM continue as it has for 1400 years if not for the west?
An official ban on female circumcision enacted in 1996 remains ineffective in stopping FGM. 

 

MEMRI  Middle-east Research Institute:  Inquiry and Analysis Series - No. 152November 7, 2003 No.152 examines Muslim views on FGM.   Many influential Muslims continue to endorse it and refer to the hadiths cited above and Islamic traditions.  They claim circumcising a girl brings modesty, honor, and emotional balance and prevents AIDS, depravity  and prostitution.   Clitoridectomy stops 'unnatural' sexual pleasure in girls and makes them clean!  Several claim the west, in trying to stop FGM, is really trying to spread immoral values in the Islamic world and destroy the Muslim family –and contradict Islamic law!

Sheikh Yussef Al-Qaradhawi, one of Sunni Islam's most influential clerics and a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood favors partial circumcision for women as a moderate, just, and reasonable solution best suited to reality. ..In a Fatwa on this issue, he wrote, "Anyone who thinks that circumcision is the best way to protect his daughters should do it… I support this, particularly in the period in which we live. ….

 

On 12/2/2007 Al-Arabiya TV aired  'Al-Azhar University Scholars Argue over the Legitimacy of Female Circumcision Practiced in Egypt.'  The debate was between Egyptian Al-Azhar University scholars Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mussayar and Sheikh Mahmoud Ashur   The exerts are interesting because they acknowledge the hadiths related to FGM -Muhammad Al-Mussayar: notes "All the jurisprudents, since the advent of Islam and for 14 centuries or more, are in consensus that female circumcision is permitted by Islam. But they were divided with regard to its status in shari'a. Some said that female circumcision is required by shari'a, just like male circumcision. Some said this is the mainstream practice, while others said it is a noble act. But throughout the history of Islam, nobody has ever said that performing female circumcision is a crime. There has been a religious ruling on this for 14 centuries."   "First of all, there are reliable hadiths in Al-Bukhari and Al-Muslim which support female circumcision. The Prophet Muhammad said: 'If a circumcised woman and man have intercourse, they must undergo ablution.' Unreliable hadiths do not cancel out the reliable ones. We have unreliable hadiths regarding prayer, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage. Should we abolish prayer and charity just because some hadiths are unreliable?.."Female circumcision is no less valid just because it was practiced in Pharaonic times and in the Jahiliya.  Islam accepted some customs, which were harmonious with human nature, and rejected others, which contradicted human nature." (reported by MEMRI.org  27/2/2007 and http://fgmnetwork.org)


FGM is very much a Muslim problem.  Are Muslims ignorant of their hadiths and law that supports FGM or is their false claim that is has nothing to do with Islam taqiyya  -lying to the west to protect and promote Islam?  

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 August 2008 07:11  

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