Female Genital Mutilation in Islamic Law

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Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation (Arabic: ختان المرأة) is the practice of cutting away and altering the external female genitalia for ritual or religious purposes. It can involve both or either Clitoridectomy and Excision. Clitoridectmoy is the amputation of part or all of the clitoris or the removal of the clitoral prepuce. Excision is the cutting away of either or both the inner and outer labia. A third practice, Infibulation (or Pharaonic circumcision), is the paring back of the outer labia, whose cut edges are then stitched together to form, once healed, a seal that covers both the openings of the vagina and the urethra. Infibulation usually also includes clitoridectomy.

FGM predates Islam. The Banu Quraysh, Muhammad's native tribe, appear to have engaged in the practice. Muhammad maintained the practice after migrating to Medina and is recorded as approving of the practice in four hadith. Two hadith record the sahabah (Companions of Mohammed) engaging in the practice (see FGM in the Hadith).

The FGM hadith give very few clues as to the nature of the practice they approve. Hence the nature, incidence and distribution of FGM varies between countries and communities. The most significant determining factor appears to be the presiding school of Islam (fiqh). Other factors include the culture's level of anxiety around female sexuality, its proximity to Islamic slave-trade routes (Infibulation is associated with the transportation of slaves), and the nature and degree of Christian influence.

Whilst the Qur'an contains no explicit mention of FGM, verse 30:30, by exhorting Muslims to 'adhere to the fitrah' indirectly, but ineluctably, exhorts Muslims to engage in FGM (see FGM in the Qur'an).

Islamic law also implicitly favors FGM by creating social conditions that 1/ make the practice useful or necessary, and 2/ normalise it. Polygyny (which Islam encourages) creates sexually violent societies which put girls and women at a heightened risk of rape or abduction. In response to this the community develops practices which safeguard the 'purity', chastity and reputation of its girls and women. FGM is such a practice - as are child marriage, gender segregation and purdah, arranged marriages, chaperoning, veiling, 'honour' culture, bride-price (mahr) and footbinding.[1] Islam's legitimisation of slavery, especially sex slavery, also has a significant role in the nature, incidence and distribution of FGM.

Traditional scholars all allow, recommend or mandate FGM (see FGM and the Schools of Islamic Law). Whilst most modern fatwas favour FGM, there has been, over the past half century, a growing unease in the Islamic world concerning the practice (due to a growing concern on the part of organisations such as the UN and UNICEF). This has resulted in some fatwas critical of FGM. It appears that the earliest fatwa clearly critical of FGM was issued in 1984.[2] (see Modern Fatwas)

It should be noted that those who practice FGM refer to it as Female Circumcision rather than Female Genital Mutilation. The Hadith and most of the fatwas reproduced on this page are translations. Where this is the case it is likely that the term used is the translator's choice, not the hadith or fatwa's originator.

FGM in the Hadith

FGM is mentioned in (at least) seven Hadith. Four report Muhammad approving of FGM and two report Sahabah (Muhammad's companions) participating in FGM. The remaining hadith has little import doctrinally, but is of linguistic, historical and sociological interest.

Hadith: Muhammad

The fitrah is five things

Abu Hurayrah said: I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “The fitrah is five things – or five things are part of the fitrah – circumcision [الْخِتَانُ - khitan], shaving the pubes, trimming the moustache, cutting the nails and plucking the armpit hairs.”

Hadith methodology dictates that if it is not mentioned specifically or if the pronouns do not point to a certain gender, then the hadith is valid for both sexes (either directly or by analogy, or qiyas, in the case of women). Hence, this hadith is applicable for both men and women.

A preservation of honor for women

Abu al- Malih ibn `Usama's father relates that the Prophet said: "Circumcision [الْخِتَانُ - khitan] is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women'."
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75; Abu Dawud, Adab 167.

Do not cut severely

Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah: A woman used to perform circumcision [الْخِتَانُ - khitan] 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".

When the circumcised parts touch each other

Abu Musa reported: There cropped up a difference of opinion between a group of Muhajirs (Emigrants and a group of Ansar (Helpers) (and the point of dispute was) that the Ansar said: The bath (because of sexual intercourse) becomes obligatory only-when the semen spurts out or ejaculates. But the Muhajirs said: When a man has sexual intercourse (with the woman), a bath becomes obligatory (no matter whether or not there is seminal emission or ejaculation). Abu Musa said: Well, I satisfy you on this (issue). He (Abu Musa, the narrator) said: I got up (and went) to 'A'isha and sought her permission and it was granted, and I said to her: 0 Mother, or Mother of the Faithful, I want to ask you about a matter on which I feel shy. She said: Don't feel shy of asking me about a thing which you can ask your mother, who gave you birth, for I am too your mother. Upon this 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 [الْخِتَانُ - khitan] parts touch each other a bath becomes obligatory.

To 'sit amidst four parts' of a woman is a euphemism for sexual intercourse.

Hadith: the Sahabah (the Companions of Muhammad)

The following three hadith touch on FGM, but do not involve Muhammad.

One Who Circumcises Other Ladies

This hadith includes an exchange of insults between Meccan warriors and Muhammad's companions prior to the battle of Uhud.

“[…] I went out with the people for the battle. When the army aligned for the fight, Siba’ came out and said, ‘Is there any (Muslim) to accept my challenge to a duel?’ Hamza bin `Abdul Muttalib came out and said, ‘O Siba’. O Ibn Um Anmar, the one who circumcises [أَنْمَارٍ مُقَطِّعَةِ الْبُظُورِ - muqaṭwiʿaẗi al-ْbuẓūri] other ladies! Do you challenge Allah and His Apostle?’ […]”

أَنْمَارٍ مُقَطِّعَةِ الْبُظُورِ (muqaṭwiʿaẗi al-ْbuẓūri) translates as 'cutter of clitorises'.

In Bukhari's al-Adab al-Mufrad

The following two hadiths come from Al-Adab Al-Mufrad. This is a collection of hadith about the manners of Muhammad and his companions, compiled by the Islamic scholar al-Bukhari. It contains 1,322 hadiths, most of which focus on Muhammad's companions rather than Muhammad himself. Al-Bukhari's evaluation of the hadiths within al-Adab al-Mufrad was not as rigorous as for his best-known collection Sahih Bukhari. The Adab have less doctrinal authority than hadith featuring Muhammad. However, scholars have ruled most of the hadith in the collection as being sahih (authentic) or hasan (sound).

Someone to Amuse Them
“Umm ‘Alqama related that when the daughters of ‘A’isha’s brother were circumcised [اخْتُتِنَّ - khitan], ‘A’isha was asked, “Shall we call someone to amuse them?” “Yes,” she replied. ‘Adi was sent for and he came to them. ‘A’isha passed by the room and saw him singing and shaking his head in rapture – and he had a large head of hair. ‘Uff!’ she exclaimed, ‘A shaytan! Get him out! Get him out!'””
Go and Circumcise Them and Purify Them
An old woman from Kufa, the grandmother of 'Ali ibn Ghurab, reported that Umm al-Muhajir said, "I was captured with some girls from Byzantium. 'Uthman offered us Islam, but only myself and one other girl accepted Islam. 'Uthman said, "Go and circumcise [فَاخْفِضُو - khaffad] them and purify them."'

فَاخْفِضُو (khaffad) translates as 'lower them' or 'trim them'.

FGM in the Qur'an

There is no explicit reference to Female Genital Mutilation in the Qur'an. However, the Quran 30:30 requires Muslims to 'adhere to the fitrah'.

So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah (فطرة or فطرت) of Allah upon which He has created (فطر) [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah . That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know.

The word 'fitrah appears only this once in the Qur'an, and is left undefined and unexplained. To know what 'fitrah means, traditional scholars turned to hadith which make use of the word.

Abu Hurayrah said: I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “The fitrah is five things – or five things are part of the fitrah – circumcision [اخْتُتِنَّ - khitan], shaving the pubes, trimming the moustache, cutting the nails and plucking the armpit hairs.”

Note that this hadith uses the Arabic word khitan (ختان) for 'circumcision'.

Two other hadith (Someone to Amuse Them and Do not cut severely) use the word khitan in contexts where the procedure is unquestionably being performed on females (and only on females). Three other hadith (The fitrah is five things, A preservation of honor for women and When the circumcised parts touch each other) use the word 'khitan to refer to both FGM and Male Circumcision.

Thus, the word 'khitan' appears to refer to both or either FGM and Male Circumcision. According to traditional interpretive methodology, Quran 30:30 by requiring Muslims to 'adhere to the fitrah' advocates FGM.

FGM and the Schools of Islamic Law

Maps showing distribution of madhaps and prevalence of FGM
Maps showing distribution of madhaps and prevalence of FGM

Only one school of Islam - the Shafi'i - makes FGM universally obligatory. The other schools of Islam recommend it with differing levels of obligation. Since nothing that Muhammad allowed can be prohibited, no school of Islam can forbid FGM. Differences in hermeneutics (methodologies of interpretation of texts, especially religious and philosophical texts) result in certain Hadith having more weight and influence in some schools than in others. The hadith Sunan Abu Dawud 41:5251 is an example of this:

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.

Shafi’i and Hanbali scholars have evaluated this hadith as being sahih. Consequently, these schools consider FGM as being either obligatory or highly recommended, and FGM is very common or nearly universal amongst their followers. Maliki and Hanafi scholars have evaluated this Hadith as being mursal (good but missing an early link in its isnad) or daif (weak)– possibly explaining the lower rates of FGM amongst followers of these schools. However, it may be that followers of the Maliki and Hanafi schools who are devout (or who wish to appear devout) will tend to treat as 'obligatory' practices that are merely 'recommended' – since for the devout anything that is recommended should be definitely done.

Maliki Madhab

The Maliki school was founded by Malik ibn Anas in the 8th century, who ruled that FGM is recommended, but not obligatory.

Maliki hold the view that it is wajib (obligatory) for males and sunnah (optional) for females
'Delinking Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting from Islam' by Ibrahim Lethome Asmani & Maryam Sheikh Abdi (2008)
Female circumcision is recommended.
Al-Dardir (died 1786, malikite)
Circumcision is Sunnah for men and women.
Ibn-al-jallab (died 988, Malikite)

Hanafi Madhab

This school is named after the scholar Abū Ḥanīfa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit (d. 767) and is school with the largest number of followers among Sunni muslims. Abū Ḥanīfa maintained that FGM is not obligatory but optional or recommended.

The Hanafi view is that it is a sunnah (optional act) for both females and males
'Delinking Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting from Islam' by Ibrahim Lethome Asmani & Maryam Sheikh Abdi (2008)
Circumcision is sunnah and fitrah. For women, circumcision is makrumah. If the inhabitants of a country reach a unanimous decision to abandon circumcision, the Imam has to wage war against them as it is one of the rituals and a specificity of Islam.
Al-Musuli (died 1284, hanafite)

Shafi'i Madhab

The Shafi’i school was founded by the Arab scholar Al-Shafi‘i in the early 9th century. The Shafi’i school rejects two interpretative heuristics that are accepted by other major schools of Islam: Istihsan (juristic preference) and Istislah (public interest), heuristics by which compassion and welfare can be integrated into Islamic law-making. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is obligatory in the Shafi'i madhab. Infibulation, the most severe form of FGM practiced under Islam, is almost entirely attributable to followers of the Shafi'i school of fiqh.

Shafi’i view it as wajib (obligatory) for both females and males
'Delinking Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting from Islam' by Ibrahim Lethome Asmani & Maryam Sheikh Abdi (2008)

'Reliance of the Traveller' by by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (1302–1367) is the Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law according to Shafi'i School.

Obligatory (on every male and female) is circumcision. (And it is the cutting-off of the skin [qat' al-jaldah] on the glans of the male member and, as for the circumcision of the female, that is the cutting-off of the clitoris')
Reliance of the Traveler [Umdat al-Salik], Section e4.3 on Circumcision

Nuh Ha Mim Keller's 1991 translation of 'Reliance of the Traveller' translates the word 'bazr' ( بَظْرٌ ) as 'clitorial prepuce' instead of simply 'clitoris'.[3] This is disputed because 1/ the usage is obscure and 2/ it leaves Arabic without a word for 'clitoris'.[4]

Hanbali Madhab

The Hanbali school is named after the Iraqi scholar Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 855). Ahmad ibn Hanbal studied under Al-Shafi‘i (founder of the Shafi’i school) and inherited his deep concerns about the jurists of his time, who were ready to reinterpret the doctrines of the Koran and Hadiths to pander to public opinion and the demands of the rich and powerful. Ibn Hanbal advocated a return to the literal interpretation of Koran and Hadiths. This has made the Hanbali school intensely traditionalist. Today’s ultra-conservative Wahhabi–Salafist movement is an offshoot of this school. The Hanbali school, unlike the Hanafi and Maliki schools, reject Istihsan (jurist discretion) and Urf (the customs of Muslims) as a sound basis by which to derive Islamic law.

Hanbali have two opinions: -it is wajib (obligatory) for both males and females – it is wajib (obligatory) for males and makrumah (honourable) for females.
'Delinking Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting from Islam' by Ibrahim Lethome Asmani & Maryam Sheikh Abdi (2008)
Circumcision is obligatory for men, and noble deed for women and not obligatory according to many scholars. Ahmad said: circumcision for men is more important for men than for women, as the foreskin is pending over the glans, therefore what is behind cannot be cleaned. Female circumcision is also prescribed for women. Abu-Abdallah said that the hadith “If the two circumcised membranes meet, ghusl is necessary” means that female circumcision was practiced. According to the hadith of Umar, a circumciser woman performed circumcision; he told her: leave some of it if you circumcise. It is also reported that the Prophet Muhammad said to the circumciser woman: Cut very slightly and do not exaggerate as it is preferable for the husband and better for the face.
Al-Qudamah (died 1223, hanbalite)
male and female circumcision are obligatory.
Al-Bahuti (died 1641, Hanbalite)
Praise be to Allah. Yes, they should be circumcised, i.e., the top of the piece of skin that looks like a rooster’s comb should be cut. The Messenger of Allah said to the woman who did circumcisions: “Leave something sticking out and do not go to extremes in cutting. That makes her face look brighter and is more pleasing to her husband.” That is because the purpose of circumcising a man is to make him clean from the impurity that may collect beneath the foreskin. But the purpose of circumcising women is to regulate their desire, because if a woman is not circumcised her desire will be strong. Hence the words “O son of an uncircumcised woman” are used as an insult, because the uncircumcised woman has stronger desire. Hence immoral actions are more common among the women of the Tatars and the Franks, that are not found among the Muslim women. If the circumcision is too severe, the desire is weakened altogether, which is unpleasing for men; but if it is cut without going to extremes in that, the purpose will be achieved, which is moderating desire. And Allah knows best.
Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (died 1328, Hanbalite)
Khitaan is a noun describing the action of the circumciser (khaatin). It is also used to describe the site of the circumcision, as in the hadith, “When the two circumcised parts (al-khitaanaan) meet, ghusl become obligatory.” In the case of a female the word used is khafad. In the male it is also called i’dhaar. The one who is uncircumcised is called aghlaf or aqlaf.
Ibn Qayyim (died 1350, Hanbalite)
[FGM's] purpose is to reduce the woman's desire; if she is uncircumcised, she becomes lustful and tends to long more for men.
Ibn Taymiyya (1263 - 1328), Hanbalite)

Shia Islam

The attitudes of Shia Islam towards FGM are as not clear-cut as with the schools of Sunni Islam. It is known that FGM is practised by Zaydis in Yemen, Ibadis in Oman and at least by parts of the Ismailis (the Dawoodi Bohras in particular) in India. A survey by WADI conducted in the region of Kirkuk in Iraq found that 23% of Shia girls and women had undergone FGM[5].


Ayatollah Khamenei, the leading scholar among contemporary jurists of Iran, says that FGM is permissible but not obligatory for women. He also states that if the husband wants his wife to be circumcised then it might be carried out if it isn’t harmful for her.
Ayatullah ali al hussaini ali Sistani form Iraq said in his fatwa in 2010 that FGM is not haram (prohibited). Later in 2014 he revised his fatwa and said that FGM is harmful for the female victims and it isn’t permissible or part of any Islamic injunction.
Boys must be circumcised when they become adult…. and it is preferable that women be circumcised even if they are adult.
Al-Amili (died 1559, shiite)
The circumcision of female slaves, if performed, is great honor and precious merit. If not, nothing bad in it.
Al-Tusi (died 1067, shiite)


FGM appears to be common amongst the Dawoodi Bohras[6] – an Ismaili sect found in India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen and East Africa. Their current spiritual leader has recommended FGM as being necessary for purity and to avoid sin.

Circumcision is obligatory for every Muslim…. If somebody refuses to submit to circumcision after being ordered to do, he should be killed if he exaggerates in delaying. Circumcision is not obligatory for women but they are ordered to submit to circumcision in honor of their husbands. Women are not obliged as circumcision for women is makrumah and for men it is sunnah, and some said it is faridah (obligation).
Al-Nazawi (died 1162, ibadite)

In 2017 two doctors and a third woman connected to the Dawoodi Bohra in Detroit, Michigan, were arrested on charges of conducting FGM on two seven-year-old girls in the United States. Their Attorney confirmed that FGM was, for her clients, a religious practice[7]:

They have a [right] to practice their religion. And they are Muslims and they’re being under attack for it. I believe that they are being persecuted because of their religious beliefs


Muʿtazila is a rationalist school of Islamic theology that flourished in the cities of Basra and Baghdad during the 8th to the 10th centuries. The Mu'tazila developed an Islamic type of rationalism, partly influenced by Ancient Greek philosophy.

A woman with clitoris has more pleasure than a woman without clitoris. The pleasure depends on the quantity which was cut from the clitoris. Muhammad said: “If you cut, cut the slightest part and do not exaggerate because it makes the face more beautiful and it is more pleasant for the husband”. It seems that Muhammad wanted to reduce the concupiscence of the women to moderate it. If concupiscence is reduced, the pleasure is also reduced as well as the love for the husbands. The love of the husband is an impediment against debauchery. Judge Janab Al-Khaskhash contends that he counted in one village the number of the women who were circumcised and those who were not, and he found that the circumcised were chaste and the majority of the debauched were uncircumcised. Indian, Byzantine and Persian women often commit adultery and run after men because their concupiscence towards men is greater. For this reason, India created brothels. This happened because of the massive presence of their clitorises and their hoots.
Al-Jahiz (Muʿtazila, died 868-9)

Modern Fatwas

The following is a selection of Fatwas, mainly extracts, from the 20th and 21st Century. They have been, as far as possible, arranged in chronological order. Note that many are secondary or even tertiary sources.


“Medical research […] does not show that the Sunnah circumcision – cutting only the outer part of the clitoris – has caused any medical complications […] Islam condones the Sunnah circumcision; it is acceptable. What’s forbidden in Islam is the pharaonic circumcision [...] Islamic scholars believe that female circumcision is different from male circumcision. They have a strong view that female circumcision is allowed, and that there is no evidence from Islamic sources prohibiting female circumcision, unless it is pharaonic.”

'Pharaonic circumcision' is a synonym for Infibulation.

"It is also indicated by the general meaning of the evidence that has been narrated concerning circumcision, such as the hadeeth in al-Bukhaari (5891) and Muslim (527) from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him): I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “The fitrah is five things – or five things are part of the fitrah – circumcision, shaving the pubes, trimming the moustache, cutting the nails and plucking the armpit hairs.”

[...]The Shaafa’is, the Hanbalis according to the well-known view of their madhhab, and others are of the view that circumcising women is obligatory. Many scholars are of the view that it is not obligatory in the case of women; rather it is Sunnah and is an honour for them.

But we would like to point out here that it has medical benefits to which attention should be paid, regardless of the difference of opinion among the scholars as to whether it is obligatory or mustahabb."
"DECISION OF MUZAKARAH OF THE FATWA COMMITTEE, NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS MALAYSIA The issue of Female Genital Mutilation was discussed by Muzakarah The 87th National Fatwa Committee convened on 23-25 June 2009. In this conference, Muzakarah members agreed decided that: After examining the evidence, arguments and views submitted, Muzakarah is of the view that the practice of circumcision for women is part of the syiar of the ummah Islam. While the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is contrary to the practice of circumcision prescribed by syarak. Accordingly, in line with the view jumhur ulama, Muzakarah agreed to decide that the law circumcision for women is compulsory. However, if it can bring harm to oneself, then it is should be avoided."
Muslim Brotherhood flyer promoting FGM (amongst other medical services)
“The second strategy of the [Muslim Brotherhood] to contest the undesirability of FGM is to present it as a medical operation or procedure. By doing so, they encourage people to go to doctors – rather than midwives – who will perform the “operation” under anaesthesia and in accordance with proper surgical procedures […] Some people talk about taking their daughters to the doctor to check whether “they need it or not”, as if there is a physiological condition that would justify mutilating a woman’s reproductive organs […] Some doctors believe that not circumcising females leads to sexual arousal and that this could lead to the committing unlawful acts. So circumcision is a duty for the protection of the honour of the believing woman and for the preservation of her chastity and purity […] The third strategy deployed by the Brothers to promote FGM is to push for its decriminalization, under the premise that it is a matter that should be left to the personal choice of the girls’ guardians […] “the decision is up to the guardian and the doctor who decides on the extent to which the girl needs this operation”
"The discussion about female circumcision goes back to the past century. The first time that this subject was debated extensively was in the past century. Who were the first to talk about it? The Jews. They do not want Islam or the Muslims to be pure, developed, and civilized, so they started talking about it [...]In The Protocols of the Elders of Zion it is written: 'We must strive for the collapse of morals, so that it will be easier for us to dominate the world.'[...] Female circumcision is a preventive medical measure. Someone who is uncircumcised will be afflicted with many serious diseases{...]"
“Circumcision is not an inherited custom as some people claim, rather it is prescribed in Islam and the scholars are unanimously agreed that it is prescribed. Not a single Muslim scholar – as far as we know – has said that circumcision is not prescribed. Their evidence is to be found in the saheeh ahaadeeth of the Prophet, which prove that it is prescribed [...] With regard to the criticism of circumcision by some doctors, and their claim that it is harmful both physically and psychologically, This criticism of theirs is not valid. It is sufficient for us Muslims that something be proven to be from the Prophet [...], then we will follow it, and we are certain that it is beneficial and not harmful. If it were harmful, Allaah and His Messenger [...] would not have prescribed it for us [...] As for the opinions of doctors who say that female circumcision is harmful, these are individual opinions which are not derived from any agreed scientific basis, and they do not form an established scientific opinion […] medical theories about disease and the way to treat it are not fixed, rather they change with time and with ongoing research. So it is not correct to rely on them when criticizing circumcision which the Wise and All-Knowing Lawgiver has decreed in His wisdom for mankind. Experience has taught us that the wisdom behind some rulings and Sunnahs may be hidden from us. May Allaah help us all to follow the right path.”


Some contemporary scholars have criticised and condemned FGM. However, because nothing that Muhammad allowed can be prohibited, it is not licit to forbid FGM. Therefore fatwas critical of FGM generally stop well short of forbidding it.

“Allah has endowed people with dignity. In the Qur'an, Allah says: "We have honored the children of Adam". Therefore, Allah forbids all harm to people, regardless of social status and gender. Female genital cutting is an inherited bad habit practiced in some societies and has been adopted in imitation by some Muslims in several countries. This without a textual basis in the Koran or an authentic tradition of the prophet. Female genital cutting practiced today causes physical and psychological damage to women. Therefore, these practices must be stopped, based on one of the highest values ​​of Islam, namely not to harm people - according to the saying of the Prophet Mohammad, peace and blessings be upon him: "Do not harm and do no harm to anyone". Rather, it is considered a criminal aggression. The conference appeals to Muslims to put an end to this bad habit according to the teachings of Islam, which prohibit harming people in any way. The participants of the conference also call on the international and regional institutions and bodies to concentrate their efforts on educating and informing the population. This applies in particular to the basic hygienic and medical rules that must be adhered to towards women so that this bad habit is no longer practiced.The conference reminds educational institutions and the media that they have an absolute duty to educate about the harms of this bad habit and its devastating consequences for society in order to help eliminate this bad habit. The conference calls on the legislative bodies to pass a law that prohibits practitioners from the harmful bad habit of female genital cutting and declares it a crime, regardless of whether the practitioner is the perpetrator or the initiator. Furthermore, the conference calls on the international institutions and organizations to provide aid in all regions in which this bad habit is practiced, in order to contribute to its elimination.”
“The Kurdistan Islamic Scholars Union, the highest Muslim authority in Iraqi Kurdistan for religious pronouncements and rulings, issued a fatwa or religious edict last month [...]this particular fatwa stated that "female circumcision" is not an Islamic practice.While the fatwa did not forbid the practice [...] its clear and unequivocal statement that the practice is not required by Islam was significant for women in Kurdistan, where the practice is widespread. The practice is not mentioned in the Quran, and many other Muslim scholars have disassociated the practice from Islam. Until last month, the Kurdistan Islamic Scholars Union had not joined those ranks [...] The fatwa will help dispel that belief and should begin to lead to a reduction of the practice in the name of Islam. But it's not all good news yet. The fatwa does not explicitly ban female genital mutilation, and the failure to prohibit it altogether remains troubling because parents may still decide to subject their daughters to this practice. ”
Fatwa - Ayatollah Khamenei
In response to a question of the author of the book Razor and Tradition, which discusses Female Genital Mutilation, [Khamenei] noted that female circumcision is permissible but not obligatory"

[...] "Today, female genital mutilation is not common among Shiites but the usage narrative show that it does not hurt if it can be done with its conditions, including compliance with health issues. But because the social norms have changed today, this action would not be acceptable like many other topics which their sentences were changed due to circumstances and facts"

[...] The question is asked to Ayatollah Khamenei: What is the wife`s duty to her husband`s request to circumcise herself?

The answer is: “Although implementation of husband’s order is obligatory for the wife if it does not have disadvantages or it is not harmful for the wife, she has to listen to her husband’s request.”
The group of jurists from different schools of thoughts reject the permissibility of FGM in Islam and do not consider it part of the injunctions of Islam. Their arguments are as follows:

Answer to the justifications from Holy Quran: The proponent jurists alleged that Allah said in the holy Quran to follow the Sunnah of Ibrahim (A.S). That meant following the Sunnah of Ibrahim (A.S) as he believed in the oneness of God. Also if Ibrahim (A.S) was circumcised because he was a male, that cannot be taken as precedent for the females because there is no resemblance between the male and female body structure. Allah Almighty prohibits in the Holy Quran to cut a body part of human beings without any reason because a human being is the most beloved creature to the omnipotent Allah, and is the creature in whose beautiful creation the Almighty takes pride in.

Answer to the justification from Holy Sunnah: Ahadith put forward by the proponents have ‘weak health’ (Dhuaee’f Sih’ha) mainly because of the chain of hadith and of the narrators, so we cannot rely on such ahadith on such delicate issues.

Answer to the Qiyas: First of all if we are making Qiyas a deciding factor for another analogy, the ill’at (cause) must be the same between the cases but in the case of FGM, how can we use the analogy of a male body for a female when they are both totally different and distinct from each other. The ill’at of circumcision of men is to increase pleasure, is also good for sexual life and includes many other medical benefits to men. But in case of women it reduces pleasure, is harmful for her physical as well as mental health, so the idea of Qiyas here is totally strange.

See Also

Female Genital Mutilation in Islam (includes sections on FGM before Islam, The Sociology and Causes of FGM, and FGM as unislamic)

Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars: Female Genital Mutilation