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No FGM protest in Toronto. Photo: Screenshot from Facebook video

Islamic Relief Canada’s Reyhana Patel, Canadian Muslim scholars on female circumcision

Reyhana Patel: female genital mutilation is “totally anti-Islamic practice”

Reyhana Patel is the head of Communications at Islamic Relief Canada. She’s a former BBC journalist and former writer for The Huffington Post U.K. and The Independent newspaper in the U.K.

In an article in the Toronto Sun (November 24, 2018), Patel claimed that female genital mutilation “FGM has absolutely no basis in any of the Abrahamic religions [including Islam] and there is no mention of it in the Quran.” She also called FGM “totally anti-Islamic practice.”

Ahmad Kutty: Not an “OBLIGATORY ritual of Islam”; Yusuf Al-Qaradawi supports female circumcision

In 2005 Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, issued the following Fatwa on female circumcision:

Circumcision for males is considered an important rite of initiation in Islam… When we come to the issue of “Female circumcision”, however, the mater is quite different. There is nothing in the sources, either the Qur’an or the Sunnah, to suggest that it is a PRESCRIBED ritual of initiation for women in Islam.

While one finds a number of traditions from the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, which clearly indicates that he ordered pagan males who converted to undergo circumcision, it is not stated anywhere that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, ordered any woman who entered Islam to undergo this practice.

Because there is no absolute proof from the sources of Islam prescribing female circumcision, the vast majority of scholars do not include it in the OBLIGATORY rituals of Islam.

It is common knowledge in Islam that if the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had wanted female circumcision to be an integral aspect of religious practice in Islam the same way that male circumcision is, he would have said so clearly. Since he did not do so, we can safely assume it is not a prescribed ritual of Islam.”

Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states:

“Actually, this is a controversial issue among jurists and even among doctors. It has sparked off fierce debate in Egypt whereby scholars and doctors are split into proponents and opponents.

However, the most moderate opinion and the most likely one to be correct is in favor of practicing circumcision in the moderate Islamic way indicated in some of the Prophet’s hadiths – even though such hadiths are not confirmed to be authentic. It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to a midwife: “Reduce the size of the clitoris but do not exceed the limit, for that is better for her health and is preferred by husbands”.

The hadith indicates that circumcision is better for a woman’s health and it enhances her conjugal relation with her husband. It’s noteworthy that the Prophet’s saying “do not exceed the limit” means do not totally remove the clitoris.

Actually, Muslim countries differ over the issue of female circumcision; some countries sanction it whereas others do not. Anyhow, it is not obligatory, whoever finds it serving the interest of his daughters should do it, and I personally support this under the current circumstances in the modern world. But whoever chooses not to do it is not considered to have committed a sin for it is mainly meant to dignify women as held by scholars.

As for male circumcision, it is one of the obligatory practices in Islam. Scholars even hold that whoever finds that some Muslims have stopped practicing male circumcision should force them to revert to this Sunnah that characterizes the Muslim nation.”

Canadian Muslim scholar Bilal Philips says female circumcision is permitted in Islam

Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, a Canadian and Toronto-based Muslim scholar, was born as a Christian in Jamaica in 1947 and grew up in Canada, where he accepted Islam in 1972.

He completed a diploma in Arabic and a B.A. from the College of Islamic Disciplines (Usool ad-Deen) at the Islamic University of Madeenah in 1979. At the University of Riyadh, College of Education, he completed a M.A. in Islamic Theology in 1985, and in the department of Islamic Studies at the University of Wales, he completed a Ph.D. in Islamic Theology in 1994. Bilal Philips is regularity invited to mosques in Canada and abroad to speak about the teachings of Islam.

The following is the transcript of Bilal Philp’s video on female circumcision and female genital mutilation:

Peace be upon you (السلام عليكم). My brothers and sisters, friends, another message from Hargeisa [Capital of] Somaliland. Two days ago, in Gambia a baby girl bled to death from what was supposed to have been a circumcision, but which turned out to be a female genital mutilation. Praise be to Allah (الحمد لله), the parents of the baby were charged. They committed a crime, because female genital mutilation in Gambia is outlawed. It has become a crime. And this practice persists in many, I shouldn’t say many, but in a few Muslim countries, for which Muslims all over the world are blamed and the practice needs to be eradicated. Yes, Prophet Mohammad, peace and blessing be upon him (صلى الله عليه وسلم) (PBUH) did approve, he did approve of female circumcision in [the City of] Madeenah when it was presented to him, but he limited it to only a nick. A nick that would not affect the woman’s ability to enjoy the blessing of sexual relations and marriage anymore that it would affect a male when he is circumcised. This is what Islam has permitted. Prophet Mohammad PBUH did not recommend it. The narrations which claim that it is obligatory for males and it is a honour for females it is not authentic. It is not authentic. Prophet Mohammad PBUH didn’t practice it himself. His wife ‘Ā’ishah wasn’t circumcised, nor his daughter Fatima, nor his wife Khadijah. So, let us set this right. It’s time. May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you (السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته).

In the Facebook discussion over his video, Bilal Philips wrote:

A nick means a very small cut, something like a scratch. It is recommended for males and permitted in the slightest form for females. Circumcision of females which involves cutting out body parts (genitalia) is haraam [prohibited] in Islam. He [Mohammad] permitted it [circumcision] when asked by the Muslims of [the City of] Madeenah, but he did not recommend it. Instead he instructed that it should be very slight.

In previous video, Bilal Philips said:

Does Islam support or allow female circumcision? Yes, but in a very limited or at a very limited scaletaking only a small portion from the end of the clitoris, this is all that is really permissible from Islamic perspective.

About Rachel Ehrenfeld

Rachel Ehrenfeld
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is Founder and President of the New York-based American Center for Democracy, and the Economic Warfare Institute. Dr. Ehrenfeld has authored academic and policy papers and more than one thousand articles. Her books include FUNDING EVIL: How Terrorism is Financed – and How to Stop Ii (2011) • EVIL MONEY (HarperCollins, 1992,1994). Her latest book project is on The Economic Warfare against the U.S. from Within and Without. • NARCOTERRORISM (Basic Books, 1990, 1992).

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