Is it halal, haram or permissible to circumcise girls? Will you explain the issue with resources (verses-hadiths)? As far as I know, circumcision of girls is an old tradition dating back to Pharaohs.

Details of the Question

Is it halal, haram or permissible to circumcise girls? Will you explain the issue with resources (verses-hadiths)? As far as I know, circumcision of girls is an old tradition dating back to Pharaohs.

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

In some communities, girls are circumcised like boys. This circumcision, which is usually practiced secretly, still exists in some of the Muslim communities living in Egypt, Arabia and Java. The existence of circumcision in those communities was known before Islam too. With the emergence of Islam, it assumed an Islamic aspect. If the whole Islamic world is taken into consideration, it will be seen that it is a local custom that is in minority. (A. J. Wensinck, Hitan, IA, VlI, p. 543).

The circumcision of women, which involves cutting a small part off the clitoris, dates back to the time of Hz. Ibrahim According to a narration and the first woman to be circumcised was his wife Hagar. (Tabari, Milletler ve Hükümdarlar Tarihi, translated by. Z. K. Uğan, Ankara 1954, I, 371).

Hz. Prophet (pbuh) states the following: "Circumcision (khitan) is Sunnah for men and a virtue for women." (Ahmad b. Hanbal, V, 75; Abu Dawud Adab, 167; al-Fathur-Rabbani, XVII, 1312) This sunnah is absolute sunnah according to Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik, and it is wajib for men and sunnah for women according to Ahmad b. Hanbal. Shafii does not see any difference between men and women in terms of being wajib. (al-Fathur-Rabbani, XVII, 1312). Women are not circumcised in Turks, most of whom are Hanafis.

Abus-Suud Efendi was asked, "Women are circumcised in the land of Arabs. Is it sunnah?" He answered, "It is mustahab." (M. Ertuğrul Düzdağ, Şerhul-İslam Ebu's-Suud Efendi Fetvaları, İstanbul 1972, p. 35).

Islamic scholars put forward different views about the circumcision of women. Some scholars decree that the women of the east are physiologically different from the women of the west and hence the women of the east are obliged to be circumcised due to the natural excess in them and that the other women are not obliged to be circumcised since they do not have such an excess.

It is stated in narrations that during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) girls were circumcised in Madinah and that there were women whose job was circumcision. We also learn that the Prophet (pbuh) gave instructions to them so that circumcision would be healthy.

Abu Dawud’s narration is as follows: "A woman in Madinah (her name was Umm Atiyya) circumcised girls. The Prophet (pbuh) said to her,

"Do not cut too deep; for, if you do not cut deep, it will be better for her and her husband in terms of pleasure."

According to a narration from Hz. Ali, the Prophet summoned a woman who circumcised girls and said to her, "When you circumcise, cut slightly; do not cut deep." While explaining this hadith, Munawi says that if the clitoris is cut deep, the sexual desire of the woman will fade and that she might hate sexual intercourse because of it.

In the light of these explanations, we can say that the circumcision of girls varies based on their biological structure, that if there is an excess, it is appropriate to remove it and that there is no religious objection if it is not removed.

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