Until a few years ago Islamic clit-choppers used to tell us that FGM has nothing to do with Islam, that it is “pre-Islamic”, (whatever that means) that even Jews & Christians do it (they don’t) and a whole lot of other garbage. Lately the clit-cutters are more upfront about it, which should help us to educate recalcitrant Moonbats for whom Mohammedans can do no wrong.
Much has been written about female circumcision of late, with many writers confusing this Islamic practice with FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). However this is far from the truth. Female circumcision as prescribed in Islam involves removing only the prepuce (foreskin) covering the clitoris. This is a relatively minor and harmless procedure very much like male circumcision and which like it confers many health benefits, including facilitating genital hygiene and improving sex life. Nowadays even American womenchoose to undergo it as a cosmetic surgery popularly known as hoodectomy.
The evidence for circumcision, both male and female, come from the ahadith (Sayings of Prophet Muhammad, PBUH) like the following:
1) Five are the acts of fitra:circumcision, removing pubic hair, clipping the moustache, cutting the nails, plucking the hair under the armpits(Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)
Circumcision, like the other fitra acts involving the removal of redundant outgrowths that contribute to uncleanliness, takes the human body to a more perfect state ordained by God, which is why it is called an act that is in accord with the fitra (God-given natural inclinations of humans). That it should apply equally to females as much as males goes without saying as both sexes have a prepuce, a fold of unclean skin covering the erectile tissue of their genitals. Besides, it is a well established principle of Islam that males and females are to be treated equally in all respects where they are similar and there can be no doubt that in this respect they are indeed similar.
‘I was crying with unbearable pain’: study reveals extent of FGM in India
Research shows 75% incidence of female genital mutilation in Bohra Muslim community, despite government claim there is no evidence of the practice
More below the fold.
2) When the (male) circumcised part meets the (female) circumcised part, bath becomes obligatory(Ahmad, Tirmidhi)
Here we have the Prophet declaring that the bath following sexual intercourse (without which no prayer is valid) becomes obligatory when both the circumcised parts meet The fact that the Prophet defined sexual intercourse as the meeting of the male and female circumcised parts when stressing on the need for the obligatory post-coital bath pre-supposes the obligatory nature of circumcision in the case of both males and females.
3) Abdullah Ibn Umar states that the Prophet instructed some Ansar (Medinan) women visiting him to ‘be circumcised’ (Mukhtassar zawaid musnad al bazzar, Ibn Hajar).
4) The Prophet told Umm Atiyyah Al Ansariyyah, a lady who circumcised girls in Medina: “When you circumcise, cut plainly and do not cut severely, for it is beauty for the face and desirable for the husband” (Abu Dawud and Tarikh Baghdad of Al Baghdadi).
But that’s not all. We have a few more traditions concerning the Prophet’s closest companions who believed it to be necessary for women:
1) Umm Al Muhajir said: “I was captured with some girls from Byzantium. (Caliph) Uthman offered us Islam, but only myself and one other girl accepted Islam. Uthman said: ‘Go and circumcise them and purify them” (Adab al Mufrad of Bukhari)
2) Umm Alqamah says that when the nieces of Ayisha’s brother were circumcised, ‘A’isha was asked: “Shall we call someone to amuse them?” “Yes” she replied (Adab Al Mufrad)
So here we have Uthman, one of the closest companions of the Prophet and the third Caliph of Islam ordering that some women who had converted to Islam be circumcised. The other tradition tells us that the Prophet’s wife Ayisha had her nieces circumcised, suggesting that she believed it to be obligatory.
The Islamic Procedure
All the early scholars of Islam were agreed that all that is needed to be removed in the circumcision of the female is the prepuce of the clitoris, the fold of skin covering the clitoris. This is the female equivalent of the foreskin in males which is taken off during circumcision. Ibn HajarAsqalani states in Fathul Bari that it constitutes the removal of “the skin covering the cock’s comb-like structure, and not the flesh”. These early scholars of Islam did not arbitrarily decide how it should be done. They based it on a saying of the Prophet where he is reported to have told Umm Atiyya Al Ansariya, a lady who circumcised females in Medina: “When you circumcise, cut plainly (in a shallow manner) and do not cut deeply, for it is beauty for the face and desirable for the husband” (Sunan Abu Dawud).
This hadith clearly indicates the procedure to be followed in the circumcision of girls. The words “Cut plainly and do not cut deeply” (ashimmi wa-la-tanhaki) is to be understood in the sense of removing the skin covering the clitoris, and not the clitoris. The word ashimmi used here means ‘to sniff’, thereby implying a delicate sniff of steel (over the clitoris to remove its skin). Latanhaki means ‘do not cut deeply’, ‘do not uproot’ which is a clear prohibition to do harm to the clitoris. Thus it is very clear that the Prophet commanded the removal only of the clitoral prepuce and prohibited harming the clitoris in any way.
Here the author is either ignorant or practices taqiyya, religiously mandated lying to protect Islam. Check out the text from a far more authoritative source below.
As shown by numerous studies, male circumcision confers significant health benefits. That its female equivalent which involves an analogous procedure, the removal of the prepuce of the clitoris, should offer similar benefits goes without saying. It has been found that the genital hygiene of women is, on the average, poorer than that of men because of numerous folds and the semi-hidden position of the clitoris. Whether we like it or not, it’s easier for males to retract and clean their foreskins of the regular buildup of smegma than women to clean theirs due to the obvious anatomical differences as shown above. It would be necessary for them to retract the hood each day or every other day, in order to prevent adhesion forming and smegma collecting beneath the prepuce.
It has been found that urinary tract infections (UTIs), an all too frequent complaint in women even more so than in uncircumcised little boys is very likely caused by smegma buildup beneath the clitoris. Female circumcision also contributes to preventing HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) transmission to male partners of women enjoying oral sex as the virus which finds a congenial home beneath the prepuce of the clitoris could be transmitted through cunnilingus or oral sex resulting in the occurrence of oral cancer among men. Interestingly Hollywood Actor Michael Douglas recently revealed that his throat cancer was caused not by smoking or drinking, but by HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) contracted by giving oral sex to women.
The procedure also prevents unpleasant smells associated with the smegma buildup beneath the clitoris. Men as is widely known are turned off by unpleasant smells during sex and when it comes to oral sex could be easily put off (unless of course his partner has washed her clitoris by retracting it thoroughly with soap or body wash). So why go through all this as a routine matter when it could be permanently corrected by a minor surgery, preserving sexual joy in its purest form.
Fulfilling Sex Lives
Detractors claim that female circumcision reduces sexual pleasure in women. This is because they have deliberately lumped it together with un-islamic forms of Female Genital Mutilation like clitoridectomy and infibulation practiced in some African countries. These harmful forms have a detrimental effect on female sexuality but cannot be compared with Islamic female circumcision which has the opposite effect from these. In fact it contributes to enhancing sexual satisfaction in women during the sex act rather than decreasing it. This procedure is gaining popularity among Western women, and especially American women, not so much for health reasons as to lead satisfactory sex lives. It is popularly known as hoodectomy, after the hood of the clitoris (clitoral prepuce) that is removed in this minor procedure.
The author is Vice President- Outreach, Centre for Islamic Studies
“Crying with unbearable pain”, continued:
Just weeks after the Indian government declared that there was no data to support the existence of female genital mutilation in the country, a small study has shown a 75% incidence across the Bohra Muslim community.
“My mum told me that a lady would come to remove some extra skin from down there. When the day came, my great-grandmother was holding me tight on her bed,” said 26-year-old “SH”, a law student cited in the report, recalling how she had been cut at the age of seven.
She remembers “sitting on the toilet, crying of unbearable pain, too scared to even pee”. Her mother had reassured her that “everyone in the building has undergone this procedure”, referring to the blocks of flats in Byculla, in the heart of Mumbai, where the Bohra Muslim community has lived for decades.
Her account and those of 83 women and 11 men across five Indian states are included in the first-ever study about female genital mutilation (FGM) in India, compiled by three independent researchers and a coalition of Bohra women against FGM.
The qualitative research, which was released in February, shows the prevalence of FGM among India’s Bohra Muslims – 75% of respondents said they had subjected their daughters to the practice. The survey was conducted with respondents in communities across the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Kerala.
One of the most recent instances of FGM mentioned in the study was in May 2017, when a 41-year-old woman was reported to have taken her daughter to the hospital because she was “bleeding so heavily [that] the blood had soaked three bedsheets”.
In accordance with the World Health Organization classification, the study reveals that all the affected women had undergone FGM type 1, the partial or total removal of the clitoris.
“Half of them feel some kind of irritation, while 30% either feel discomfort while walking/urinating or have lost sensitivity in the area,” said Dr Sujaat Jenuddin Vali, the obstetrician and gynaecologist who examined Bohra women during the course of the study.
While FGM is well documented worldwide, with one Unicef study estimating that at least 200 million girls have undergone the ritual cutting, in India the tradition is veiled in secrecy.
Bohra girls are often lured by the promise of clothes or sweets to undergo the practice, which is carried out either by mullanis – traditional cutters – or doctors.
Around 1.5 million Bohra Muslims are scattered around several countries, including the UK. In India alone, the Bohra community is believed to number one million. The Shia sect is a minority within India’s Muslim population – 14.2% of the total population, according to the latest census.
Dr Zeenat Shaukat Ali, professor of Islamic Studies at St Xavier’s College in Mumbai, explained that FGM “is not based in Islam and it’s performed solely among the Dawoodi Bohra community”.
Lakshmi Anantnarayan, one of the researchers who conducted the study, said she expected India’s government to produce a law against FGM as a result of her findings.
In response to a supreme court petition to ban FGM in 2016, the ministry of women and child development stated in December that “there is no official data or study which supports the existence of FGM in India”.
“That response is ridiculous because they know our personal stories. The government is in denial and I hope it reconsiders its position,” said 50-year-old Masooma Ranalvi, leading member of WeSpeakOut on FGM, the coalition of Bohra women who commissioned the study and one of the petitioners in the court.
The WeSpeakOut campaign was established as a platform for survivors and gained momentum after the conviction of three Bohras accused of FGM in Australia, in 2015. As a result, congregations from countries which have anti-FGM laws, including the UK and US, issued notices instructing their followers not to perform khafd – the Arabic term for female genital cutting – as governments “interpreted” it as FGM.
Meanwhile, 17 Bohra women have launched a petition, which has more than 100,000 signatories so far, calling for a ban in India.
The syedna, the main Bohra leader, has encouraged devotees to continue both “male and female circumcision” as their “obligation” to attain “religious purity”.
“Khafd isn’t mentioned in any religious text, particularly in the Qur’an. But some devotees blindly follow the syedna while others are too scared to disobey because they fear they will be ostracised,” said Irfan A Engineer, vice-president of the Central Board of the Dawoodi Bohr Community, a reformist faction of more than 50,000 members around India that has opposed the syedna’s authoritarian leadership for decades.
Although Bohra reformists don’t question religious principles and their board hasn’t officially supported the campaign against FGM, Engineer confirmed that some Bohra women secretly refuse to perform khafd on their daughters.
“This inhuman practice has been carried out for centuries but the whole ideology behind it is to control women’s behaviour. So men should stand behind women and support their struggle,” he said.
One Bohra group recently launched a website advocating their “right to practice khafz (female circumcision)” on the grounds of religious and cultural freedom. The group has joined in the debate around the first federal case in the US against Bohra doctors accused of carrying out FGM in Michigan last year.
Activists against FGM believe the statements of the syedna, calling the community around the world to practise khafd, could encourage Bohra families to travel to India for FGM.
“The government of India says that there’s no official data of FGM. But the National Criminal Bureau only records crimes that have been reported in police stations. If FGM is not consider a crime, who’ll register a complaint for which there’s no law? It makes no sense,” said Aaerfa Johari, a Bohra journalist.
Born into a Bohra family in Mumbai, Johari underwent khafd at the age of seven, when she was taken to Bhendi Bazaar. “Right before the lady cut me, my mum was whispering to me not to worry,” she recalled.
After reading about FGM years later, she founded Sahiyo, a storytelling forum for women to share their experiences. “Many women claim that their lives have not been affected by FGM. But that’s not the point,” she said. “We all were minors and unable to make our own choice. How can anyone say that her sexual life couldn’t have been more pleasurable? Nobody can give me that guarantee and that’s what frustrates me.”
Of the four Sunni schools of sharia, it is the Shafi’is who have said that circumcision of girls is compulsory. The Reliance of the Traveller, a respected manual of Shafi’i jurisprudence, states “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” (section e4.3). [The English translation by Nuh Ha Mim Keller (certified by Al-Azhar University) disguises the true meaning of the Arabic text by offering the following bogus English ‘translation’: “For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. Bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert).” ]
As Indonesia is a country in which Shafi’i Islam predominates, it is hardly surprising that female circumcision is commonly practiced among Indonesian Muslims, from Java to Aceh. There is a close correlation between Shafi’i Islam and the frequency of FGM. Regions where the Shafi’i school predominates are also the places where FGM is more frequent. These include Egypt, southern Arabia, Bahrain, Kurdistan, Somalia, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. The oft-recited claim that FGM is not a religious practice is proved false, not only because it is more frequently found in Shafi’i areas, but also because it was introduced, along with Shafi’i Islam, into Southeast Asia, a part of the world where it had previously been unknown.
It is only the teachings of the sharia which account for this practice being followed in Bandung Java today, and specifically the doctrinal formulations of the Shafi’i school of sharia. Imam Shafi’i may be long-dead, but he has a lot to answer for to the Muslim women of the world.