Islamic Garden

Islamic Garden
Islamic Garden in Lausanne, Switzerland

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Religious sanction for female circumcision in Islam?

As part of my doctoral research on the place of the feminine in the psychology of Islam, I was shocked to find a religious sanction for female circumcision in "Women and the Fatimids in the World of Islam:"

"The fact that, on the imams' authority, Fatimid Law defined sex as the 'meeting of two circumcised parts', where by 'two circumcised' the early imams meant the penis and vulva, makes us infer that, by Fatimid law, women were expected to be circumcised. On the matter of female circumcision, al-Qadi al-Nu'man thus reported a tradition ascribed to 'Ali b. Abi Talib:

'O women, when you circumcise your daughters, leave part (of the labia or clitoris). For this will be chaster for their character, and it will make them more beloved by their husbands.' Finally, not unlike Islamic law in general, Fatimid Law permitted love play with a ritually impure or menstruating woman, provided that she wore an undergarment below the navel down to the knee.'" (2006, p. 222).

~ Excerpted from "Women and the Fatimids in the World of Islam" by Delia Cortese (Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at Middlesex University, London) and Simonetta Calderini (Senior Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Roehampton University, London).

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