Female Circumcision Negligence
Dr. Amal Ahmed Elbasheir,
Master of Community medicine, University of Khartoum, Sudan
There are different viewpoints about female circumcision. Some
people totally abandoned it, while others went to the other
extreme and involved into wrong practices. I focused on this
issue "female circumcision, negligence and abuse" so as to try
to exclude any existed contradiction. I seek to Allah the
Almighty to make the result of this study a useful knowledge
for all people, Amen.
Female Circumcision in Islam
Sheikh Mahmoud Shaltoot, member of Prominent Scholars Group
said: ((Circumcision is an old habit since Prophet Ibrahim's
(peace be upon him) era. At that time circumcision applied for
both males and females. Many authentic sayings were told by
the Prophet (P.B.U.H), such as: (five traditions existed in
Man by instinct: circumcision, cutting from the moustache,
pubic and armpit hair shaving, and nail slitting). Most
Islamic scholars considered circumcision as an obligation for
both sexes. While others asserted an obligation for male and
an honor for the female)).
In this study we will show that the viewpoint, which proclaims
equality between both sexes in circumcision, is the correct
The external Female Genitals
The external parts are the vaginal opening, the labia minora
and majora and the clitoris. The clitoris, a small erectile
organ resembling the penis, is in the joint of the labia
minora, above the urethral meatus. The glans of the clitoris
is sensitive like the glans of the penis. A skin (prepuce)
covers the clitoris and is called preputium clitoris,which is
the same as the prepuce of the penis (preputium penis). Smegma
(smegma preputii) and microbes may collect and proliferate,
beneath the prepuce, in both sexes.
Methods of female circumcision
1. The proper method (Sunni circumcision):
Islamic scholar Almawordi said: ((female circumcision is the
cutting of the skin, which covers the nawah (clitoris) that
lies above the urethral meatus)).
Dr. Mohamed Ali Al-Bar, a consultant of Islamic medicine in
King Fahad Research Center, and Dr. Hamid Rashwan, a
consultant in Sudan, also agreed on the same definition. Also
the proper method of female circumcision was described in a
book published in 1979 by WHO.
The female Sunni circumcision (like the male circumcision) can
be referred to as Prepucectomy and neither Clitoridectomy nor
clitoridotomy, which is mentioned in some books. Female
prepucectomy is the cutting of the preputium clitoridis. It is
done under local analgesia, and complete sterilization of
instruments and skin area.The anaethetized prepuce is held
with an artery forceps. The skin over the forceps is removed
with a curved scissors. The forceps is left for some time to
stop any bleeding from the cut edges. This operation is simple
and safe, if done by a trained staff and using sterile
instruments (it is simpler than giving a child the Triple
vaccine injection). In case of lack of trained staff
prepucectomy should be postponed, as problems from a wrong
operation are frequently more than problems from the delay.
Like all other simple operations, complications are rare and
are not more than simple curable bleeding or inflammation. If
there is more than mild bleeding, the cut edges of the prepuce
should not be held together by a stitch. Instead 'Figure
eight' stitch can be inserted at the bleeding point. This
avoids covering of the clitoris again. The advantages of
correct prepucectomy for both sexes exceed all alleged
dangers, stemming from the wrong practices of female
2. Wrong Methods:
Any cutting from the clitoris, or from the labia minora or
majora is considered to be against Sunni circumcision
(Prepucectomy). Stitching and adhesions of the labia (minora
or majora) led to closure of the urethral meatus leaving a
covered space that is difficult to clean. Also the small hole
left causes psychological and physical troubles for both sexes
in the beginning of their marital life.
Advantages of Female Circumcision
According to Prof. Abdel-Alal Abdullah, Professor of Surgery
in Sudan, some behavioral acts reported in sayings of the
Prophet (peace be upon him) to be followed by people in
various domains, were not results of research and laboratory
experiments. The Prophet was fully confident that they were
right, as the Omniscient Creator of the Universe inspired
them. Advanced medical and health laboratory research have
reached the great preventional benefits Muslims gain for
adhering to ablution rituals and natural behavior reported in
the Sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him). And here we
are, in the 15th Hijri century, discovering some of these
facts, finding out that penis cancer does not affect
circumcised male, but is 100% limited to the uncircumcised.
The direct cause of this cancer is the secretions by the
foreskin removed in the circumcision operation. Prof. Abdullah
asserts that cancer affects uncircumcised females, though at a
lower rate than males for difference in sizes of the prepuce
and quantity of secretions.
Austaz Mohamed Al Lban mentioned that in female circumcision,
the foreskin is removed because it prevents cleaning of the
menstrual blood and urine, a matter that creates nasty smells.
In a report issued in 1989 , the British Lancet Magazine
stated: (The genital organs in males and females constitute an
important factor in occurrence of urinary tracts inflammation
and nephritis. It is also found that these inflammations with
their complications can be avoided by removing a small skin
called the prepuce).
In the same line, Dr. Al-Bar wrote: (Female Sunni circumcision
has many advantages that researchers reviewed in the medical
Islamic Conference on "Islamic Sharia and Present Medical
Issues".The advantages are:
- Prevention of inflammations resulting from accumulation of
smegma and microbes beneath the prepuce of the female and
- Decreasing cancer rates in circumcised persons of both
- Genital Herpes, chancroid and granuloma are less in
circumcised men and women.
- Moderation of the sexual desires in circumcised persons of
both sexes. The explanation of this is that, if the person is
uncircumcised it is difficult for him or her to get
satisfaction from the marital intercourse. This is because the
sensitive glans of the penis or of the clitoris is covered
with the prepuce which is a less sensitive skin, thus the
uncircumcised male or female, keeps in permanent search for
In one of the WHO books, it was stated that "circumcision
proper" is also sometimes practiced in the United States for
treating non-occurrence of woman's climax in cases of loose or
Dr. A.B Lurry, an American doctor, warned that the prepuce of
the clitoris is sometimes very tight, so instead of prevention
it becomes a source of permanent sexual agitation due to the
natural secretions withheld beneath it. She added that many
women have remained nervous for the rest of their lives, and
early circumcision in a woman's childhood would be a definite
With reference to views of these scholars and doctors we find
that the advantages of woman circumcision are similar to those
of male circumcision. These include:
Following removal of the prepuce of the clitoris, cleaning of
the natural secretions, the menstrual blood and urine becomes
easy and this protects the woman from many organic and
Moderation of sexual desires via two means:
First the prepuce decreases the pleasure of the marrital
sexual life, so after its removal the climax and satisfaction
are realized. Also removal of the prepuce prevents
accumulation of the natural secretions beneath it, thus the
frequent arousal of the genital nerves around the glans
vanishes. Here both married and single women are concerned.
An added advantage of female prepucectomy is that it may be
the most useful alternative to replace the malpractice of the
present women circumcision.
Also midwives may be more cooperative since they have an
alternative, because circumcision is one of their sources of
The time of circumcising the female
The time of circumcision is not agreed upon. Al-Mawordi said
that both the male and female should be circumcised before
A medical check should be made before setting the girl's time
1. 1. Encouragement of female prepucectomy in Sudan and in the
world at large. This may be the most useful alternative to
replace the malpractice of the present female circumcision.
2. 2. Postponement of the girl's circumcision to the time at
which we find a qualified medical cadre trained on female
prepucectomy, this is because harm of wrong circumcision is
greater than that caused by postponement.
3. More field studies are needed to investigate the incidence
of gynecological problems in uncircumcised and circumcised
4. Women should pay due concern to such researches dealing
with their problems.
*أسرار الختان، حسان شمس باشا.
*أسباب محاربة الخفاض في السودان، د. عبد السلام، ود. آمنة،
*الأمراض الجنسية، د. محمد علي البار.
*تحفة المودود بأحكام المولود، ابن قيم الجوزية.
*ختان الأنثى في الطب والإسلام، بين الإفراط والتفريط، د.آمال
أحمد البشير، ط 1997م.
*سنن الفطرة، الأمين محمد أحمد.
*صحيح البخاري، للإمام أبي عبد الله محمد بن إسماعيل البخاري،
*صحيفة الإنقاذ الوطني، الخرطوم ـ 5 نوفمبر 1994م ـ العدد
* Stedman's Medical Dictionary, 24th edition, P1135.
* Traditional practices affecting the health of Women &
Children, WHO, 1987.
* Dr. Sit Elbanat Khalid Mohamed Ali, Master of Obstetrics &
gynecology, University of Khartoum, Sudan.