Female genital mutilation is an age-old practice performed on the grounds of inherited convention rather than for health reasons. The practice involves cutting off parts of the whole organ of the female external genitalia. The nature and scope of mutilation differ from one country to another. In certain countries the mutilation reaches its most extreme when the two sides of the wound are stitched together, leaving only a very small opening for menstrual blood. This form of mutilation is called infibulation and it is the most severe type of circumcision.
It is estimated that over 80 million women and young girls have undergone genital mutilation world-wide and that some 5,000 girls each day are vulnerable to having genital mutilation carried out.
It has been said that FGM is rooted in religious and cultural traditions which makes it impossible to dislodge. So, does religion, or more specifically, Islam, advocate female genital mutilation? Does Islam – which condemned the Arab practice of female infanticide and elevated women spiritually and mentally and gave them the right to sexual pleasure – contradict itself and perpetuate this form of female subjugation?
FGM/C is forbidden in Islam, as is any action that harms or mutilates the body in any way. FGM/C can have devastating health effects, often resulting in severe health problems or even death. Additionally, Islam curtails a woman’s sexual pleasure, which is considered her right in Islam.