What is the Ruling on Circumcision for Women?

Question:

Assalamu Alaikum
What is the mu`tamad qowl (relied upon position) of the Shafi`ee Mazhab regarding the khatnah (circumcision) of women? Is it wajib (obligatory) or sunnat?

Also, what if a woman was ignorant if it being wajib will it be incumbent on her during her advanced age to perform khatnah?

Jazakumullah

Answer:

الحمد لله رب العالمين ، وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين، وبالله التوفيق

الختان واجب على الرجال والنساء عندنا (المجموع: 1: 164)
ويمنع من ختان الكبيرة لخوف التلف (الروضة: 3: 384)

Circumcision is obligatory upon men and women according to us (i.e. the Shafi’is). (Majmu’ of Imam An-Nawawi 1:164) The circumcision is wajib upon men and women according to the rājih qawl of Shāfiʿī madhhab. In a situation a woman is in her advanced age, it is not permissible to circumcise her if it may harm her (al-Rauḍah of Imam An-Nawawi: 3: 384).
والله  أعلم
Allah  knows best

Answered by:
Sidi Abdullah Muḥammad al-Marbūqī al-Shāfiʿī

Checked by:
Al-Ustāż Fauzi ibn Abd Rahman

Clarification:

Shaykh Nuh Keller translates and comments in his Reliance of the Traveller (عمدة السالك):

“Circumcision is obligatory (Shaykh ‘Umar Barakat: for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. bazr) of the clitoris (Shaykh Nuh Keller: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert).”
We would like to point out that this “circumcision” is not what is commonly known as female genital mutilation.