Female Circumcision: Islamic?

Question and answer details
As-salamu `alaykum. I want to know whether or not female circumcision is allowed in Islam. Answers to other questions indicate that female circumcision is not only allowed, but common and expected. I have copied certain portions of answers to other questions and respectfully ask for clarification. What does the Shari`ah say on this and what were the Prophet’s words regarding this?
Ahmad Kutty

Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

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Dear brother, let us first thank you for your question and for your interest to be more knowledgeable about Islam’s teachings.

As for circumcision, it is considered a rite for men as it is a part of the legacy of the Prophet Ibrahim. Regarding women, there are no clear evidences neither from the Qur’an nor the Sunnah to consider it a rite for them

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states,

Circumcision for males is considered an important rite of initiation in Islam. It is a part of the legacy of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him) whose role model we have been ordered to follow in the Qur’an. It is, therefore, a highly significant rite in Islam, which distinguishes Muslim males from others.

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 on 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 on him) ordered any woman who entered Islam to undergo this practice.

Because there is no absolutely any 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 on 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.

In reference to the present day practices prevalent in certain societies regarding this issue, we must remember that causing harm to people is haram and this outweighs any cultural practice enforced assuming that is from Islam.

Also, in the light of reports and statistics indicating that women are suffering or dying due to this practice (i.e., in childbirth) we must put an end to such atrocities. As the Qur’an says, {Do not lead yourself to self-destruction.} (Al-Baqarah 2: 195)

Allah Almighty knows best.