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The Fatwa

Sheikh Prof.Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi aus Katar
Sheikh Prof.Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi from Qatar

Appeal to the World

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful!

All praise to Allah, the Lord of the Universes. May the blessings and peace of Allah be upon our master, the sent Prophet, who was sent only out of compassion for all the worlds to proclaim his verses to the people, to purify them and to instruct them in scripture and wisdom, although previously they had been in manifest error.

I sincerely greet all Muslims throughout the world and all who are interested in learning about Islamic law, observing it and practicing it, so that they may have happiness in this world and the next. By this means man acts pleasingly to his God, to his instincts and to his surroundings. Furthermore, the outcomes in this life and the next will be good.

From here I would like to draw to the attention of my brothers and sisters throughout the world an important issue, the practice of which has become customary to certain people. I am talking about female circumcision.

I would like to clarify something for my brothers and sisters. We have no textual basis – no obligation is established either in the Qur’an or in the authentic Sunna – for performing circumcision on female genitalia. Neither the analogy, the consensus, the preference (Istihsan), the public interest (Maslaha Mursala) nor custom (Urf) contain statements that these practices are necessary or desirable for Muslim women.

We have established that in many Islamic countries this tradition is not practiced. This situation does not exist, for example, in the Arabian Gulf states, where we live; I give the example of Saudi Arabia, the land in which Islam originated and where the Qur’an was revealed. Here is where the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) announced the message of Islam. Also included are neighbouring countries such as Qatar, Kuwait, the United Emirates, Oman etc. Nor is female circumcision practiced in the Maghreb countries including Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Similarly it is not used in many of the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean.

If female circumcision had been a religious obligation in the above countries, the educated people there would have campaigned against the loss of the practice. We would normally have witnessed struggles and conflict because the Sunna of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was not being observed. We have however seen no struggles over female circumcision in the Gulf States, the Maghreb or the Eastern Mediterranean countries. Women have never been required to circumcise their daughters. Nobody has claimed that neglect of this tradition constitutes an impermissible addition that is at variance with Islam. We are confident that Muslims refuse to practice this tradition.

We are aware that this procedure is carried out in many countries in a primitive manner. The consequences are dramatic and painful for the girls. Among other factors, excision of the female genitalia robs women of their right to a full and satisfactory sexual life. In this connection, husbands use items forbidden by Islam such as drugs etc.

We believe that Islam gives humanity only that which will bring them happiness in this life and the next. Simplicity is the key to happiness in life. Allah said: (Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship) (Sura 2, Verse 185).

(And Allah wants to lighten for you your difficulties; and mankind was created weak.) (Sura 4, Verse 28)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “You were sent to make things easier, not more difficult”.

This is what the Qur’an and the Sunna announce. And exactly what the successors of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) have said. Likewise the Companions, the followers of the Prophet, who witnessed him, confirmed the same statements. The same view was given by the successors of the Companions, who did not witness him themselves but who at least experienced one of his Companions. These Qur’anic verses and hadiths are of great importance to the international Islamic community and for all Muslims.

We are appealing to all Muslims everywhere in the world, in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australia, who still believe in this old tradition and who often erroneously use their religion to justify it. We say to them that their religion does not desire female circumcision. The religion will never adhere to things that are harmful to mankind. The religion particularly respects actions that are beneficial to mankind. The religion will never permit evil and suffering for boys and girls, either for families or for societies as a whole.

We are appealing to all Muslims everywhere to choose the path of right guidance, the way for which all learned people, reformers and righteous people have pleaded throughout the world.

I took part in the International Conference of Scholars in Cairo. Participants there included high-ranking scholars, the Grand Mufti of al-Azhar and the Egyptian minister for religion. I have also attended conferences in various other countries concerning this matter. All participating scholars are calling on Muslims to abolish female genital mutilation, which brings no benefit but rather only harbours suffering and harm. This custom is a restrictive practice for parents and their daughters, both in their lives and in their faith.

We appeal to all Muslims everywhere in the world to fear Allah and not subject your young daughters to circumcision. Little girls are not yet in a position to take the decision for themselves. Rather, their parents, their brothers, their sisters and their relatives determine over them by an act that is a work of the devil. It is Satan that leads people to carry out these medical interventions to introduce evil and suffering. Man thus alters the creation of Allah in accordance with Satan’s command (… and I will command them so they will change the creation of Allah) (Sura 4 Verse 119). Allah has not commanded humanity to interfere with the creation.

I appeal to my Muslim brothers and sisters, to my Muslim daughters, to reason and to all to believe in Allah and His emissary, who receive the message of the Qur’an and the Sunna and who recognise the Islamic understanding and culture: please be compassionate towards your daughters.

This tradition has no meaning and is not necessary. By not observing it, you do good to yourself, to the girl, to your beliefs and to the global community.

May God guide the community to good by the right path. May Allah’s blessings and peace be upon our master, the sent Prophet. And blessings and peace be upon all his family and companions.

Assalmu Aleikum Warahmatu Allah

Yusuf Qaradawi