Egyptian Shaykh: FGM Not An Inherited Custom. Muslim Scholars Say It Is Either Obligatory or Commendable

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Translations of Arabic/Islamic Media
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Translated from the original Arabic by Al Mutarjim

Translated from a video featuring Egyptian shaykh Muhammad Hassan, answering a question about female circumcision (special thanks to Nonie Darwish for her help transcribing this).


Okay, another question from the letters sent in. The brother says, "Shaykh Muhammad, settle the controversy for us surrounding circumcision." My brother, we have talked about circumcision many times. I counsel every Muslim man on the face of the earth, and also every Muslim woman on the face of the earth: Brother, take the little bit of trouble it requires to get yourself a book of fiqh! Inconvenience yourself a little for Allah's sake. Just take five minutes. Any book--do you have the book "Fiqh al-Sunna" by Shaykh Sayyid Sabiq (may Allah have mercy on him)? Do you have "Al-Mughni" by Ibn al-Qudama, or "Kitab al-Umm" by Imam al-Shafi'i? Do you have Fath al-Bari's explanation of Sahih al-Bukhari? Any of the books of fiqh--I mentioned to you some books of fiqh and some books of hadith--open any of the books of fiqh. Open them. That's it, plain and simple.

Review the words of scholars. Don't just take the words of Muhammad Hassan, or this shaykh, or that shaykh. Look at any of the books of fiqh from our imams, respected leaders, and scholars--ask them. You will find that our scholars have said that circumcision of women--there are some who say that it is obligatory while others say that it is commendable. Some say it is obligatory, and others say it is commendable. There are some scholars who say it is obligatory, and there are some who say it is commendable.

To whoever says that circumcision is an ancient Egyptian custom with no origin in the sunna, I say, Brother, review the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Let us consult the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him): "If you touch the male or female circumcision…" This hadith deals with the highest level of community health. In the highest level of health: "If you touch the male circumcision," meaning the circumcision of men, "or the female circumcision," meaning the circumcision of women, "washing is obligatory." These are the true words from the Prophet. It makes no sense at all in Arabic to say, "If you touch the male circumcision for men or the female circumcision for men.” Men, does this apply to you--"male or female circumcision"? Or rather, with circumcision for men or circumcision for women, "washing is obligatory."

Thus I say before Almighty Allah…that the female Muslim doctor, the female Muslim doctor, decides whether or not this girl needs circumcision. It might be that the girl does not need circumcision. That's an entirely natural situation. But if this news were to get out, it could upset her relationship with husband. It would upset her marital life. The female Muslim doctor might also decide that the girl needs circumcision.

Of course this does not mean that I am subjecting the religion to inspection from a doctor. No, my brothers, this does not mean that I subject evidence from the shari'a to review from a doctor! But rather, I refer to the doctor because he confirms evidence from the shari'a. Brothers, pay attention to this--I do not subject the shari'a to examination from the doctor, for the doctor to determine whether the shari'a is healthy or not. Rather I refer the evidence from the shari'a, or I refer the case to the doctor, to confirm the object of the evidence from the shari'a. …some of them say it is required, and some say it is recommended.

I am not saying consult a barber, but consult a female doctor sister. The female doctor will decide, she might say this girl is normal or she might say that this part is excessive then you reduce it. This is justice. I don’t know why a German, British or American entity (thinks it can) come to us to decide for us the circumcision of our daughters! Why should they decide on matters of our girls and women? We base our religion on Allah’s book and the sayings of our beloved prophet and our scholars. Just study the issue in any book of fiqh. If we read the words of our scholars, and we review what the good scholars said, we will see that the issue is not new, and there is evidence for it in the book of our Lord or in the Sunnah of the Messenger (peace be upon him). I ask Almighty Allah to protect our women and girls, for He is capable over all things.