Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: Assalam aleykum
So many of my school friends ask me about female genital mutilation. They say it is something to oppress the Muslim women.
Is it allowed in Islam? Is female genital mutilation permissible in Islam?
Answer: assalamu alaykum
FGM as clitoridectomy (partial or total removal of the clitoris), excision (partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora), infibulation (narrowing of the vaginal opening), and other harmful procedures to the genital area is not permitted in Islam.
The only procedure scholars permitted was the removal of the extra labial or prepuce skin alone without damaging or harming the actual genitals, clitoris, or removing the glans, etc.. In Islamic law, the removal of this very minor portion of extra skin is termed as circumcision. It is not considered necessary by the majority of scholars, and if shown to cause actual harm in an individual would be prohibited.
Indeed, this procedure often falls under what medical professionals term as labiaplasty, which is regularly practiced in countries like the USA for cosmetic and aesthetic purposes. In specific, the procedure is termed clitoral hoodectomy, and in addition to cosmetic reasons, it is performed with therapeutic goals in mind, such as improved sexual functioning.
Anything beyond this very minor procedure that relates only to extra labial skin is not sanctioned by Islam.
[Ustadh] Salman Younas
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman where he spent five years studying Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford and continues his traditional studies with scholars in the United Kingdom.