Debunking the Myth that Islam Requires FGM

By Dr. Azizah al-Hibri, Ghada Ghazal, and Aljawharah Alassaf

KARAMAH February 2018

In the case of female khitan (FGM), proponents of this practice rely on (a) a single verse in the Qur’an and (b) a number of hadiths attributed to Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him).  This study will show that the cited Qur’anic verse is inapplicable to the issue at hand and that the variously quoted hadiths are either unreliable or do not establish the desired result.  Furthermore, we shall establish that there is neither a valid reasoning by analogy nor consensus that would mandate female khitan. These facts together suffice to reject the argument that female khitan is required in Islam. However, our conclusion is further bolstered by the Islamic worldview and the basic principles of Islamic ethics.  These are clearly articulated in the Qur’an and hadith.

By adopting this comprehensive approach, we signal our refusal to view the issue of female khitan as an isolated issue unrelated to the overall Islamic architecture of human rights and gender relations.  Instead, we place the question of female khitan in its proper context within the overall Islamic value system.  This comprehensive approach leads us to conclude with added confidence that Islam does NOT require female khitan.

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