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What is the Ruling on Circumcision for Women?

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Shafiifiqh.com


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?



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


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.

This answer was collected from Shafiifiqh.com which was a repository of Islamic answers as per the Shafi’i madhhab. The website no longer functions. At its peak, many ‘ulama were involved with the site including Shaykh Mawlana Taha Karaan, Shaykh Abdul-Fattah ibn Abdullah, and Shaykh AbdurRagman Khan.

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