What is Female Genital Mutilation?
According to World Health Organization, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non -medical reasons.
Since the Egyptian Times the barbaric practice of FGM has been carried out in the Middle East and parts of Africa and unfortunately it continues to date.
FGM is not an Islamic practice
It has been alleged by some, that FGM is an Islamic practice. These allegations however are completely unfounded and false.
Whilst it is true that FGM is carried out in some countries where there is a large Muslim population, there are no instructions in in the Holy Qur’an or in the traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that supports or provides cover to such a practice.
By contrast however, male circumcision which originated from the time of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) is a required practice in Islam.
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) has explained every matter regarding all situations plainly and candidly. Therefore, if female circumcision were to be an Islamic practice then surely he would have instructed Muslims to make it a part of their faith.
Therefore with no Qur’anic or Hadith reference instructing women to be circumcised, one can firmly conclude that FGM is NOT an Islamic practice.
Since there is no evidence or any instructions regarding female circumcision in Islamic references, therefore those who believe it to be an Islamic practice purely base their belief on unauthenticated traditions. The practice of FGM is not condoned by Islamic teaching in anyway.
Origin of FGM Practice
It is not exactly known when the practice of FGM began. However there are reference from 500 BC; the time of Herodotus, when the girls from superior families and upper class underwent FGM in Ethiopia and Egypt.
Age for FGM
The age of girls at which FGM is carried out varies with in ethnic groups and geographical are. Generally it is carried out on girls between infancy and adolescence and occasionally in adult females.
Why do people carry out this practice?
Mostly it is linked to social and cultural factors within families and communities. Families feel that they will be stigmatized and shunned away if they do not allow FGM on their daughters. Members within communities believe that the procedure will make their girls more suitable and desirable for marriage.
FGM is also associated with cultural ideals of femininity and modesty which believe that the girls become clean and feminine and thus beautiful after removal of unclean or male part of their genitals. With such notions within communities FGM becomes a normal part of raising girls to adulthood and preparing them for marriage. Therefore some parents who are unaware of consequences and possible complications of FGM allow their daughters to be mutilated as they genuinely believe that it is in the best interest of their daughters.
Are there any health benefits of FGM?
There are no health benefits of FGM to woman. Instead there can be many psychological and possible medical consequences FGM.
Bleeding as well as infection may occur. Girl can become anemic due to bleeding during or after the procedure. It may even prove fatal if the blood loss is significant.
In inexperienced hands, procedure may result in sepsis, gangrene and additionally many blood borne infection such as hepatitis B and HIV leading to infertility and repeated miscarriages and abortions.
The procdeure may also result in obstruction of birth canal which is a dangerous situation for baby and mother during delivery. Baby may die during the course of birth.
Many psychotic symptoms may occur in girls undergoing FGM such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder, chrnonic irritbility, horror of reliving the process of FGM, nervousness, neurosis, psychosis and nightmares. Women undergoing FGM have described having feelings of helplessness, incompleteness, infertiliirty and supression which affects them for rest of their life.
The practice of FGM leaves millions of girls with pain and torture of unberable level and even death. Often the practice is done wrongfully in the name of religion of Islam for which there is no proof in the Holy Quran or in any of the narratives of the Holy Prophet (Peace & blesssings of Allh be on him)
UTZ Billing and Kentenich(2008), Female genital mutilation- an injury and physical and mental harm:Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology.29 (4): 225.229
The Muslim Times collection on FGM:
- Death at the hands of culture not religion: http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2014/11/religion/islam/fgm-death-at-the-hands-of-culture-not-religion
- Islamic State Fatwa on FGM: http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2014/07/countries/uk/islamic-state-fatwa-ordering-fgm-likely-to-be-a-hoax
- FGM not in religions name: http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2014/05/religion/islam/fgm-not-in-religions-name
- Is female circumcision morally recommended? http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2013/01/uncategorized/is-female-circumcision-morally-recommended
- 80% of world Muslims do not practice FGM: http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2014/03/asia/80-of-the-muslim-world-do-not-practice-fgm
- Five common myths about Islam propagated by media: http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2014/11/religion/5-common-myths-about-islam-propagated-by-the-media
- Islam & FGM: http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2014/05/asia/islam-and-female-genital-mutilation
- Clinic for child victims of FGM: http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2014/09/countries/indonesia/uk-opens-first-clinic-for-child-victims-of-female-genital-mutilation
- Egypt on FGM in the name of Islam: http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2012/05/africa/egypt-to-revive-female-genital-mutilation-in-the-name-of-islam