On the ‘Benefits’ of Female Circumcision…


A young girl undergoing female genital mutilation.

Upon hearing about female genital mutilation, most people (myself included) find themselves asking what the point of it is.

A user of the website IslamQA, popular among Salafists (the hardline puritanical sect popularized by Saudi Arabia) had the same question.

He/She asked “Could you explain me what is the medical benefit of girl’s circumcision?.”

This question was answered by (none other than) noted cleric Sheikh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid, one of the most prominent Salafi clerics in the world and the founder of IslamQA. He is an Imam in Saudi Arabia and a respected scholar.

After a lengthy and tedious preamble, he gets to the point. “Circumcision is prescribed for both males and females. The correct view is that circumcision is obligatory for males and that it is one of the symbols of Islam, and that circumcision of women is mustahabb [preferred] but not obligatory.”

As Clarion’s Factsheet on Female Genital Mutilation notes: “FGM serves no medical purposes for its victims. FGM has long been regarded a critical public health issue by the WHO (World Health Organization) and other national and international health organizations because of its harmful physical and mental effects. Short-term complications may include hemorrhaging, pain, shock, and even death, while long-term complications include formation of cysts, problems with sexual intercourse, and chronic pelvic infection. Studies suggest that FGM is also likely to increase the risk of HIV infection as the same unsterilized instrument may be used on many different girls.”

As the Sheikh continues to respond, he relies on Dr. Haamid al-Ghawaabi, who is not recognized as a scholarly authority by the mainstream academic and medical community. The doctor does not insult us by pretending that medical benefits are the reason for female ‘circumcision.’

The doctor states, “Circumcision reduces excessive sensitivity of the clitoris which may cause it to increase in size to 3 centimeters when aroused, which is very annoying to the husband, especially at the time of intercourse.“ Do you see where he is going with this? Circumcision prevents spasms of the clitoris which are a kind of inflammation.” He’s talking about orgasms here. Female circumcision is “good” because it prevents women from having an orgasm.

Circumcision reduces excessive sexual desire.” There you have it. No ifs, no buts, direct from the man himself.

A Twitter user by the name of Brooke Night summarizes it best: