No-one claimed Islam invented clitoridectomy - the Arabs practiced it at the time of Mohammad ..but to deny that it was taken up by Islam, is promoted by Islamic religious leaders, is mostly practised by Muslims and has spread around the world with Islam just shows the power of Islam in stopping people (including UN groups) from telling the obvious truth - in the case of Islam, there IS a religious base to the practice!!! Note: May 2008 the Egyptian parliament seemed to have dropped laws making female genital mutilation illlegal in Egypt (other laws re increasing marriageable age and reporting families who beat their children were also over-ruled) (reference), though more recent reports claim clitoridectomy has been criminalised with trivial maximum sentences of up to 2 years jail and $1000 fine –AND it’s allowed in cases of ‘medical necessity!!! Conservatives maintain that Islam condones the removal of a girl’s clitoris to tame her sexual desires and condemn the amendment as a western import. (reference)
Some hope appeared when Wikipedia, which still tries to excuse Islam, actually had the courage to state accurately that there was a Shafi law (an important school of Islamic law) that mandated CLITORIDECTOMY. And it also daringly referred to two hadith - there are many others but hey, it’s a start!! Can we hope for more??
“One of the four Sunni schools of religious law, the Shafi'i school, rules that clitoridectomy is mandatory” (Wikipedia)
"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 (bazr in Arabic)- (this is called HufaaD). " (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) p59. Note the English version falsely translates bazr as 'prepuce ' of the clitoris!!)
"Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband." (Reliance of the Traveller p 59;)
Sheikh 'Abd al-Wakil Durubi’s comments show that support for clitoridectomy is widespread across Islam, not limited to the followers of Shafi Law!
Sadly - Wikipedia also allows Sheikh 'Abd al-Wakil Durubi to try the ‘it really only means trimming the clitoral hood’ line. Of course, that’s why it says ‘removal of the clitoris’ and naturally those illiterate Arab/Muslim tribes-people past and present would have been right up with the fine detail of female anatomy.
Wikipedia also notes:
In 1994, Egyptian Mufti Sheikh Jad Al-Hâqq 'Ali Jad Al-Hâqq issued a fatwa stating, "Circumcision is mandatory for men and for women. If the people of any village decide to abandon it, the village imam must fight against them as if they had abandoned the call to prayer."  The Al-Azhar University in Cairo has issued several fatwas endorsing FGC, in 1949, 1951 and 1981.
"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."And this is why it is impossible to reform Islam ... even if there attempts from within they fail.
"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 FGMnetwork )
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 stopped adoption so he could marry his adopted son's wife Zainab, regarded as incest by the Arabs because adopted sons were held as sons!)
2) Wikipedia also notes a hadith from the highly authentic, reliable Muslim collection:
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…… 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.
Sadly it implies this is the only one - WRONG and it allows Dr. Muhammad Salim al-Awwa, Secretary General of the World Union of the Muslim Ulemas, who agrees that the hadith is authentic, to state the most absurd, convoluted, twisted lack of reason to claim that silly Aisha, when she said TWO circumcised organs (in the feminine form) she really meant one – the male one of course... (see logical alternative explanation below)
Both Wikipedia and Dr al-Awwa might like to try these which show that the circumcised parts were often referred to separately ie ‘when the circumcised part touches the circumcised part’ and that both Aisha and Malik tracing several different transmitters, refer to two separate circumcised parts and that the instruction re circumcised parts and ghusl is reported in several sets of hadith making it important! Remember, female circumcision meant cut out the clitoris in Mohammad’s time!
a) Maliks Muwatta Section: Obligation to Do Ghusl when the Two Circumcised Parts Meet
Maliks Muwatta 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."
Maliks Muwatta Book 2 , Number 2.19.74: Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu'n Nadr, the mawla of Umar ibn Abdullah that Abu Salamaibn Abdar-Rahman ibn Awf related that he had asked A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, what made ghusl obligatory. She said, "Do you know what you are like, Abu Salama? You are like a chick when it hears the cocks crowing and so crows with them. When the circumcised part passes the circumcised part, ghusl is obligatory."
Maliks Muwatta Book 2 , Number 2.19.75: Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said from Said ibn al-Musayyab that Abu Musa al-Ashari came to A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said to her, "The disagreement of the companions in a matter which I hate to bring before you has distressed me." She said, "What is that? You did not ask your mother about it, so ask me." He said, "A man penetrates his wife, but becomes listless and does not ejaculate. "She said, "When the circumcised part passes the circumcised part ghusl is obligatory." Abu Musa added, "I shall never ask anyone about this after you."
Maliks Muwatta Book 2 , Number 2.19.77: Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Abdullah ibn Umar used to say, "When the circumcised part passes the circumcised part, ghusl is obligatory."
Maliks Muwatta Book 20 No. 20.46.161 - very long, all about penalties for contact between a male and female during hajj –...............Malik said, "What spoils a hajj or an umra and makes sacrificing an animal and repeating the hajj necessary is the meeting of the two circumcised parts, even if there is no emission.
Above hadiths from this SITE suggest that 'circumcision' of females was normal for Muslims:
c) Tirmidi hadith:
Tirmidi hadith 166 Narrated Aisha; Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: When the circumcised parts bypass one another (i.e. have intercourse), taking of a bath is necessary. Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) and I did that and then we took a bath. (from ALIM CD rom)
Logical alternative explanation: Clitoridectomy was widely practised by Arabs at the time of Mohammad; Aisha was an Arab; Mohammad had endorsed the practice of clitoridectomy when speaking to Um Attiyyah (clitoris cutter) and Aisha simply spread Mohammad’s instructions; hence it would be reasonable for Aisha (probably circumcised herself) to address people re ‘washing after dirty sex,’ to refer to the TWO circumcised organs coming into contact as this would be the normal case. Malik likewise notes the same statements coming from Umar ibn al-Khattab and Uthman ibn Affan and A'isha.
d) As for female circumcision (clitoridectomy in Mohammad’s day) being a sign of respect for women, and a hadith where the women of al-Ansar were addressed endorsing female circumcision, they are referred to in Dr al-Awwa’s paper ‘Female Circumcision Neither a sunna, nor a Sign of Respect’ – ( I own a copy but it’s nolonger available!).
"Cicumcision is a sunnah for Men, MAKRUMAH for women" (MAKRUMAH can be translated as "noble deed" or "honorable") cited HERE
Foster states that female circumcision is rumoured to be common amongst Shi'ite communities ruled by Hezbollah in Lebanon (Wikipedia)
Wikipedia may note correctly that neither Judaism nor Christianity have text supporting clitoridectomy etc and notes that the only members of these two groups that carry it out are those from Africa ie from areas under considerable Arab/Islamic influence for 1400 years. Christian converts from Islam sometimes continue the practice. Old WHO reports showed much higher practice rates amongst Muslims in FGM areas than Christians but it’s now politically incorrect to note this.
Sadly- Wikipedia refers to an extremist nut case who calls himself a Christian in regard to FGC but fails to report the array of Islamic clerics that endorse the practice, in full accordance with Islamic text/laws in the Islamic world and the west. The false Christian-Muslim’ equivalence continues while hiding the full extent of Islamic involvement.
Indeed further instances of such practices are found in the Islamic world all the time and becoming more prominent in Muslim countries where the progress of Islam was slowed by colonialism eg Indonesia ( see ‘In the cut’ Sydney Mornig Herald January 13, 2004 and NYT.
Note how the spread of FGM/clitoridectomy matches the spread of Islam - Africa (NOT in the south where Arab/Islam didn’t penetrate initially); Middle-East; Turkey; India; Malaysia; Indonesia...
Australia’s Mufti supports clitoridectomy - do you think he’s ignorant of Islamic text and laws?
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)
What’s the bet that the first person prosecuted for genital mutilation/clitoridectomy is an African Christian or Animist - in an effort to show it’s not Islamic!
Including other forms of genital cutting helps to fudge the relationship between Islam and clitoridectomy. Remember, when overtaken, some cultures take-on the culture of their overlords particularly if there are already some similarities (eg some African tribes) while others resist certain practises (eg initially Christian Syria resisting clitoridectomy) so culture does have an influence but in the case of Islam so does religion (religious culture!!). So, the fact that a restricted few others perform FGM/clitoridectomy/FGC (genitals have always been fascinating) and some Muslim groups don’t, does NOT mean there is not a close link between FGM/clitoridectomy and Islam.
If you answered Islam to all, give yourself a tick!! But remember, it’s nothing to do with Islam!!
- Which religion has a law that makes clitoridectomy obligatory?
- Which religion has a prophet who endorsed clitoridectomy?
- Which religion has hadiths that support clitoridectomy/circumcision of females
- The spread of which religion is most closely related to the spread of clitoridectomy/FGM?
- Which religion carries out most clitoridectomies the world over?
- Which religion has an Australian mufti that supports clitoridectomy?
Some articles on FGM/clitoridectomy on the site: