We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam - Society, Politics, and Economy - How does Islam view female genital mutilation? - Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Select Translation What is This? Selections include: The Koran Interpreted, a translation by A.J. Arberry, first published 1955; The Qur'an, translated by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, published 2004; or side-by-side comparison view
Chapter: verse lookup What is This? Select one or both translations, then enter a chapter and verse number in the boxes, and click "Go."
:
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Next Result

What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam What is This? A guide to a wide variety of general questions asked by those looking to learn more about Muslim culture and the Islamic world.

Society, Politics, and Economy >
How does Islam view female genital mutilation?

Amnesty International has estimated that over 130 million women worldwide have been affected by some form of female circumcision or female genital mutilation (FGM), with over three million girls at risk every year. Most of those affected live in twenty-eight African countries or in areas of Asia and the Middle East where female circumcision is a deep-seated cultural tradition that exists across many societies and religions. FGM predates both Christianity and Islam. No religious text requires FGM, and it is unknown in many Muslim countries.

FGM is not a religious obligation in Islam or Christianity, but it is practiced by both Christians and Muslims and in some instances has been supported by political and religious authorities. For example, this is the case in Egypt, where FGM is widespread and practiced by Muslims and Christians alike. In 2005, UNICEF reported that 97 percent of Egyptian women between the ages of fifteen and forty-nine had been circumcised. The situation changed dramatically in June 2007, after an eleven-year-old Egyptian girl died following the operation. Both government and Muslim and Christian religious authorities moved quickly to ban the practice. Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti, issued a fatwa with strong and decisive condemnation: “The harmful tradition of circumcision that is practiced in Egypt in our era is forbidden.” Al-Azhar's Supreme Council of Islamic Research, the highest religious authority in Egypt, also condemned FGM. Pope Shenouda, the leader of Egypt's minority Christian community and patriarch of the worldwide Coptic Orthodox Church, did likewise, emphasizing that neither the Bible nor the Quran mentions or requires female circumcision. However, other scholars stop short of an outright ban.

Despite international condemnation, the ancient practice continues to be prevalent in primarily African countries, among Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2020. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice