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If there is one saying from Prophet Muhammad PBUH you should remember in regards to women, it is: “Do take good care of women.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as ‘procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.’ It is the degrading and inhumane practice that robs women of their basic female and human rights. It is the process of mutilating the female genitalia in an effort to remove the possibility of an orgasm and control women from promiscuity. This practice is essentially done in order to restrict women from pleasurable sexual experiences. It may also lead to complications in health, problems in menstruation, child birth, psychological trauma, and in severe cases, death.
There are different types of genital mutilation, which the WHO separates into categories:
Types of Circumcision
Type 1 Circumcision is the removal of the clitoral prepuce, very alike to the prepuce of a penis, which is removed during male circumcision.
The others, Types 2 and 3 (FGM), involve the removal of the labia minora, labia majora and clitoris. This induces too much harm to the body and is considered extremely forbidden in Islam.
Despite all the health threats, this horrible practice is still being carried around the world, and at times, in the name of Islam, which is heartbreaking. There is no mention of FGM or female circumcision in the Quran. In fact, any act harmful to people or animals, alive or dead, is sinful and condemned by Islamic ruling.
Let me repeat that: mutilation of any type is against the teachings of Islam. The act predated Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, and became a cultural practice predominantly across Africa, and is now widespread in sub-Saharan Africa.
So, if this is the case, why is FGM still practiced around the world and in certain Muslim countries?
The main reason is the misconstrued interpretation of the Prophet’s teachings of Sunnah (anything in accordance with the speciﬁc words, habits, practices, and silent approvals of Prophet Mohammed PBUH), which contributed to all three types of FGM being performed in the name of Islam in some Muslim majority countries. This unfortunately happens often in reference to Hadith (words of the Prophet recorded by others during his time). Hadith is almost always argued due to the inability to confirm the recordings as authentic.
However, many Muslim countries will not allow the procedure to be done in hospitals or clinics, and strongly condemn it. According to Islamic law, if any procedure is remotely harmful to the patient, it should not be performed.
I want to bring awareness to the severity of FGM and to put an end to the relation it has to Islam.
With the support of religious authorities, the Islamic Research Council in 2007 formally declared a ban on all forms of FGM. Which explains why FGM has not been documented in 29 Muslim majority countries including: Algeria, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Egypt Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey just to name a few. While the practice has been banned it is still known to be practiced within some communities in these countries.
Many parents take their daughters to have this procedure performed because they are taught to believe it is best for them. In these communities it is believed that performing this procedure will preserve their daughters from having sex prior to marriage. It is an unfortunate cultural practice commonly confused with a religious one. These communities believe that if they do not do this their daughters are going to be less honorable. It has become a societal practice only because people do not know any better considering it has been done in their communities for such a long period of time.
Female genital mutilation is a global issue affecting millions of women and children. Today, victims of female genital mutilation exceed 140 million, with most of the women originating from but not limited to Asian and African countries, and some Middle-Eastern states.
This torturous procedure has absolutely no health benefits nor reasons to be carried out, yet has endangered the lives and killed so many girls and women and still is to this day. It is a taboo subject for many Muslims to acknowledge.
We must bring awareness to the severity of FGM in order to put an end to the relation it is being forced into having with Islam. It is the job of Muslims to address these issues and educate their communities of the harms, especially young boys and girls who have not received proper education on this topic. It is also our job and obligation to save our daughters from this type of horrific act of torture on their bodies and eliminate the threat to their health.