Press Release About Launching "FGM is not an Honor" Campaign
Despite the governmental and non-governmental efforts to combat female genital mutilation (FGM) in Egypt, this heinous crime continues. According to the 2015 Egypt Health Issues Survey (DHS), 92% of Egyptian women who have been married between the ages of 15 and 49 are circumcised. In addition, we regularly receive data and news about deaths or complications that occur to girls as a result of their family’s practice of female genital mutilation. Moreover, doctors and some of the clergymen belonging to the Al-Azhar institution came out to defend FGM, analyze this heinous crime, and talk about whether this crime is honorable for women.
We also read some statements attributed to Dr. Muhammad Nasr al-Labban, Professor of Hadith at Al-Azhar University and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies in Fundamentals of Religion. They said: “Circumcision is generally an honor, that is, a virtue for those who need it, but the issue is not only related to Sharia but also to medicine, as doctors said, there are some girls who need this and some do not. The issue here is related to Sharia and medicine, and whoever performs this operation must be a Muslim doctor characterized by justice.”
The previous statement prompted Tadwein for Gender Studies to submit a question to the Egyptian Dar Al Iftaa that reads as follows:
(Is female circumcision a Sunnah of the Prophet, or is it forbidden by Sharia?) The fatwa came in response to the question bearing No. 66386 dated 30/5/2018, and its text is as follows:
Answer Amanat Al-Fatwa’s Fatwas:
Circumcision of a woman is cutting the nucleus (the front part of the clitoris) of the female and is not obligatory in Islam. Rather, it is better to prevent it because Islamic Sharia does not include an explicit text that necessitates female circumcision. It was not narrated from the Prophet – may God’s prayers and peace be upon him – that He circumcised his daughters – may God be pleased with them –
Female circumcision is not an issue of asceticism and worship, but rather a normal medical issue – that is, the inheritance of customs, and reliance on the sayings and advice of doctors that approved this in its times and found out that it is harmful in other times.
What is happening in Egypt and elsewhere, being named under “heritage”, has nothing to do with religiosity. It is considered aggression under the concept of “Shari’a”. Because it involves the victimization of the most sensitive part of the body, to the extent that this aggression requires a full parental penalty (the blood money) if it leads to its corruption, as established in the provisions of Sharia.
Accordingly, what the Minister of Health decided and approved by the Administrative Court is in accordance with the Islamic Sharia, where the decision stated that: (It is forbidden to perform female circumcision, whether in hospitals, public or private clinics, and it is not allowed to perform it except in pathological cases only, which are approved by the head of the obstetrics and gynaecological department in the hospital, and based on the proposal of the treating physician), and it was endorsed by the Administrative Court of Justice Year (1997 AD), the text of which is: The Minister’s decision cannot be considered unconstitutional.
As long as circumcision is a surgical procedure, the provisions of Islamic Sharia are devoid of a ruling that obliges it. The basic principle is that it should not be performed without the intention of treatment. The surgery, whatever its nature and gravity, that takes place without the presence of a valid reason for its complete permissibility, is considered a legally prohibited act, in compliance with the general principle on which a person’s right to the safety of their body is based, criminalizing every act that the legislator did not permit that leads to compromising this safety.
Therefore, responding to the prohibition of circumcision is a matter that does not contradict the sharia, but is rather urged by the Shari, because of the previous clarification, and because of the harm that has been proven by the specialists, and God Almighty is the Highest and All-Knowing.
Finally, Tadwein for Gender Studies calls for the following:
- We demand the Grand Imam, the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, to consider the fatwas and irresponsible statements of some of the faculty members at Al-Azhar University because of the reactionary messages they carry.
- We demand the Minister of Awqaf include the prohibition of female circumcision within the official periodicals of Friday sermons and advocacy lessons, and to repeat them more than once throughout the year, as well as to include women’s rights in the schedules of preachers and preachers in mosques and places of worship in all governorates.