Part 1 introduced the subject of Female Circumcision in Islam (IFC), contrasting it with Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a subject currently under popular discussion in the Western world; FGM is a practice rightly to be condemned as contradictory to Islam.  The two are distinct.  We also presented ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) fully accepting FC and defining how it is to be done; and we argued for the position that IFC is best taken to be wajib, an obligation, although some schools consider it mukarramah (recommended).  Here, in Part 2 we present compelling evidence, as discovered by modern medical researchers, for the benefits of IFC for both the wife and the husband.

Health Benefits of Female Circumcision

As we saw in Part 1, the clitoral prepuce is very similar to the male foreskin in both structure and potential harm when left without surgical removal. The foul-smelling, cheese-like smegma, which is secreted below the clitoral prepuce, is similar to the smegma produced under the male foreskin. Under the foreskin is an ideal breeding ground for germs which can result in serious health issues when that hard-to-get-at, enclosed area is not kept clean. The best solution to avoid this problem in the female, aside from the inconvenient frequent washing under the prepuce, is circumcision, i.e., the removal of that thin covering which tends to prevent full cleanliness.

In fact, circumcision is all the more important an issue to address in the female than it is in the male. Let us be clear —and women know this only too well, but do not like to admit it— that the genital hygiene of uncircumcised women is, on average, poorer than that of men because of the numerous folds and the semi-hidden position of her clitoris. Whether we women like it or not, we need to admit that it is much easier for men to retract and clean regular buildup of the smegma collecting beneath their foreskins than for women to clean under the prepuse of their clitoris. This is because of the anatomical differences in our genital organs. This is why Dr. Edwin D. Hirsch included in his 1962  book Sexual Fear, comments on how to conquer frigidity:

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The ‘buried’ or concealed clitoris is a common anatomical cause of sexual anesthesia. Frequently this is due to lack of clitoral hygiene. We know this to be a causative factor, for when the ‘buried’ glans clitoridis is elevated out of its bed by separating the strands of tissue which have grown over it, clumps of stale, foul-smelling secretion (smegma) surround this structure. Periodically the hood or foreskin of the clitoris should be retracted so that the accumulated secretions that collect thereunder may be easily removed by soap suds and a slight amount of friction. When the fear of this hygienic process is done away with, a large number of frigidity cases will be automatically corrected (Taken directly from  “Health Benefits” paragraph 2)

Among the various  medical studies that have shown the harmful nature of the female foreskin are the 1922 studies of researchers Clodi and Schoppers in the Wiener Klinische Wochenshrift which revealed that the germ which causes the sexually transmitted disease (STD) Gonorrhea / gonococci thrives “in the fissure between the clitoris and the prepuce” …where “they could find none in the urethra, vigina and cervix.” (p. 304), in fact infecting as many as 74 percent of the cases studied. They noted that the discovery had much relevance to infection and re-infection of the female genitals, as the continued presence of these micro-organisms delayed a cure.

Also, the researchers I. Pilot and A.E. Canter (“Studies of Fusiform bacilli and spirochetes,” The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 1923) examined the smegma of women obtained by pushing back the clitoral prepuce and guess what… to their horror, they discovered harmful staphylococci which they wrote were capable of causing ulcerative and gangrenous processes in the female genitals. Such processes, needless to say, had the potential to cause genital cancers in women.  (ibid “Health Benefits” paragraph 3)

This is not all. We all know how frequently Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) occur in women. But did you know that they most frequently occur in women who have not been circumcised. Dr. Royal Benson did some research on this and found that UTIs which very often plague women was very likely caused by smegma buildup between the prepuse and the clitoris. The solution he recommended was simple: circumcision of the female as of the male. (, “Health Benefits” paragraph 5)

Oral sex is controversial and whether it is allowed or not in Islam is debatable. But the fact is that many women do engage in it. The practice is fraught with much danger to their partners if these women are not circumcised in that the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), when transported from the private parts to the partner’s mouth can result in oral cancer. The HPV virus has been shown  to have a very congenial environment under the prepuce of the clitoris, where it thrives and breeds. Maura Gillison and team showed in the New England Journal of Medicine (2007) that HPV infection is the strongest risk factor for oral cancer when transmitted by oral sex.  Again, female circumcision would preclude the risk of oral cancer through this pathway. (ibid, “Health Benefits” paragraph 9)

Sexual Benefits of Female Circumcision

Did you know that there are a variety of studies, although not widely available,  suggesting that IFC (Islamic Female Circumcision) meaning removal of the clitoral prepuce —a.k.a. “hoodectomy”— improves sexual pleasure in women?  Among them are these:

  • F. McDonald, “Circumcision of the Female” published in the General Practitioner of September, 1958

(ibid, “Fulfilling Sex Lives”)

  • -W. G. Rathmann, “Female Circumcision, Indications and a New Technique.” General  Practitioner, September, 1959

(ibid, “Fulfilling Sex Lives”)

  • -Dr. Takey Crist’s “Female Circumcision” contributed to Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality August, 1977.

(ibid, “Fulfilling Sex Lives”)

This last pair of researhers, associated with the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University, showed that Islamic female circumcision (IFC) had no adverse effect on women’s sexuality and actually improved it  —in contrast to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which reduced sexual pleasure. This groundbreaking study involved three groups:

  • 30 uncircumcised women (the control group),
  • 30 minorly circumcised women (Islamic circumcisions involving excision solely of the clitoral prepuce)
  • 30 circumcised mutilated women (FGM involving excision of the glans, the whole clitoris and labia minora)

So what did this study find? Something very interesting. It found that sexual sensitivity was not affected in minorly (Islamically) circumcised cases though it was markedly affected in the mutilated (FGM) cases. Here are the sex scores of the three groups:

Orgasm Average Score:

  • The uncircumcised control group showed a score of 12.5 (± 1)
  • The minorly (Islamically) circumcised group scored 12.4 (± 7)
  • The mutilated (FGM) group scored 6.0 (± 9).

Sexual Satisfaction Average Score:

  • The uncircumcised control group scored 8.0 (± 9)
  • The minorly (Islamically) circumcised scored 8.3 ( ± 1)
  • The mutilated (FGM) scored 7.3 (± 84).

So it is clear that in the Orgasm Score the uncircumcised and Islamically circumcised were roughly the same, while in the Sexual Satisfaction Score the Islamically circumcised did better than the uncircumcised group.

My Conclusion: Let’s consider it, ladies!

As we have shown, female circumcision is established in the Islamic faith as fully permissable and even recommendable—when done properly as described by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Part 1).  To many of us it is an obligatory duty when we study it with an unbiased mind, as I have done.

The association of Islamic Female circumcision (IFC) with the horrors of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has put off some Muslim women from even contemplating the benefits of the IFC procedure.  Sadly, the mistaken belief that IFC is in the same category as FGM, coupled with deliberate misinformation conflating the two, has resulted in certain countries, especially in the West, outlawing it in the case of minors.

The wording of the law in many cases, as in the United Kingdom in 2003 and New Zealand in 1996), would appear to apply to FGM but not to IFC, as described here in the following articles of law:

  • The United Kingdom Act regarding FGM states: (1) A person is guilty of an offence if he excises, infibulates or otherwise mutilates the whole or any part of a girl’s labia majora, labia minora or clitoris. (2) But no offence is committed by an approved person who performs (a) a surgical operation on a girl which is necessary for her physical or mental health.
  • The definition of FGM in section 204A(1) of the Crimes Act 1961 (New Zealand) is as follows: “’Female genital mutilation’ means the excision, infibulation, or mutilation of the whole or part of the labia majora, labia minora, or clitoris of any person.”

Thus, it could be expected that hoodectomy is to be allowed under the laws of the U.K. and New Zealand since the procedure does not harm the clitoris and serves a hygienic purpose. This has yet to be tested in the courts, however.

It is not known whether this definition includes Islamic Female Circumcision, which is limited to the removal of the prepuce (“hood”) of the clitoris and which does not mutilate, or even touch, the clitoris itself. However, if the definition does include the limited form of female circumcision permitted in Islam (removal of the prepuce only), the procedure could still be performed under section 204A(3), which permits medical or surgical procedures for the sake of the person’s physical or mental health. This is entirely consistent with the Islamic conditions which are attached to the procedure. I would be grateful if some of our readers could present the current and up-to-date legal situation in other countries.

Further, be aware that ‘[Clitoral] Hoodectomy,’ or ‘Clitoral Hood Reduction’ the more popular term for female circumcision, is deemed a perfectly legal cosmetic procedure in the West and cosmetic surgery is certainly allowed everywhere for adult women. In fact, in the US, thousands of women choose to get it done yearly and there is nothing to stop Muslim women having it done as adults in keeping with our religious obligations and practices.

As we noted earlier, what Islam requires for female circumcision is to remove the partial ring of skin around the clitoris, and nothing more. This is a very simple medical procedure and is analogous to removing the foreskin of our little boys. It can be done at any age. No fuss, only the anaesthetic injection hurts a bit, like an ant bite, and after that it heals up. It’s sore for a day or so.

In Muslim countries like Malaysia and Indonesia it can be done at a much younger age including in infancy —as done in the case of baby boys in the US.  It is done in a very hygienic environment, in a clinical setting, by trained female practitioners. A recent state fatwa (2009) in Malaysia, by the National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs, requires that all Muslim women be circumcised, laying down the proper Islamic procedure to be followed, which has facilitated medicalization of the practice. Rumah Sunatan, Indonesia’s largest chain of circumcision clinics now offers circumcision for girls as well.

Let me conclude with a statement by one sister after I explained to her its benefits:

“I’m getting mine done for hygiene reasons and sexual satisfaction; and I believe it is Sunnah. Also think about it Sisters, your husband is the last man in your intimate life, In Sha Allah, so you will want to become satisfied by him with the greatest ease and also make your intimacy as hygienic as possible, Alhamdullilah.”

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Kubra Jawher

Kubra Jawher is a Sri Lankan-based Islamic outreach activist and Founder of Muslimahs for Religious Freedom (formerly: Muslimahs for Circumcision), a Colombo-based organisation that seeks to educate Muslim women on the need to safeguard their religious rights, which are in danger of being undermined due to misinformation and Islamophobia. Full BIO


  • Zeynab

    April 17, 2021 - 10:00 pm

    Super article on female circumcision. After reading the first part I was wanting to know more about it and here it is. So good to know there are health benefits too, not to mention the sexual benefits on top of it. Hope it catches on as more and more Muslims come to know of its important status in Islam and its benefits. These are things required by Islam which were there from the very beginning, but which we are only now coming to know, thanks to Al Jumuah magazine.

  • J M

    April 24, 2021 - 8:52 pm

    Salaam Zeynab.

    Regarding the following article “Circumcision for the Muslim Woman” since it is s sensitive issue that has been misunderstood and after explanation it has clarified doubts that IFC is different from FGM, I make a request to the people at al Jumuah magazine if they could kindly put the article online and downloadable free of charge in pdf format.

  • Kubra

    April 27, 2021 - 11:21 am

    Salaams JM. The article is online here, and could be shared on FB etc. But whether it should be in PDF is up to the editor and team. Anyway glad to know you liked the article. You are most welcome to share.

  • M N Nazim

    August 21, 2022 - 12:23 am

    Cleared a lot of misconceptions. Baarakallah feekum!

  • Kubra

    August 29, 2022 - 12:52 pm

    Glad you liked it brother Nazim. We are trying to create awareness of the importance of this Islamic duty among our sisters. If you do know any sisters willing to support us in promoting this Islamic duty, they can contact me on

  • Jameela

    September 9, 2022 - 9:09 pm

    It’s very amazing how Islam promotes every single good thing for women. It is quite easy to find the benefits if searching “hoodectomy”. I work at a doctor’s office and can only imagine how many women with recurring UTI could benefit; sometimes they need to come every month for needless antibiotics!

  • Kubra

    October 6, 2022 - 2:45 pm

    Dear Sister Jameela. Yes indeed. Many of us who have got it done as adults know its benefits. We hope all Muslim women will be doing this as it is a Fitra duty, in other words an absolute must.

  • Iddris

    August 26, 2023 - 6:34 am

    So nice explaination this is the sunnah of prophet saw 5fitrah apply both male and female not restricted to male only quran says to muhammad saw treat both male female same and prophet said this both are same in shariah law applicable both sexes umme al majahir says when i captured some girls in byzantium uthman radi offred us islam and said go to circumcise them and purify them islam need purity for praying that’s why man and women should purify before praying various hadith concerning female circumcision is fitrah duty obligation imam bukhari records two very important hadith of the days of sahaba prophet saw attribute women circumcise is necessary why this important sunnah is hidden from us otherwise it continue practised from prophet saw days till now onwards still going on.

  • Mustafa Mehmet

    August 29, 2023 - 12:25 pm

    Circumcision is not obligatory for women. It is only makrumah. The legal Arabic jargon uses the word khitan for male circumcision and the term khafd or khifad for female circumcision. But the everyday language uses the term khitan for both mutilations. There is no similarity between female circumcision and the removal of clitoris, the goal of which is to diminish, if not suppress sexual desire in women.

    Ibn Qudamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said, in his book al-Mughni: “Circumcision is obligatory for men, and it is an honour for women, but it is not obligatory for them. This is the opinion of many scholars. (Imam) Ahmad said: For men it is more strictly required, but for women it is less strictly required.” (al-Mughni 1/70)

    Circumcision of the female consists of the removal of a part of the clitoris, which is situated above the opening of the urethra. The Sunnah is not to remove all of it, but only a part. (al-Mawsu‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah 19/28)

    In this matter, it is wise to follow the interests of the female: if the clitoris is large, then part of it should be removed, otherwise it should be left alone. This size of the clitoris will vary from woman to woman, and there may be differences between those from hot climates and those from cold climates.

    A hadith on the topic of female circumcision has been attributed to the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Him), according to which he said: “Circumcision is a Sunnah for men, and an honour for women,” but there is some debate as to the authenticity of this hadith. See Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Da‘ifah by al-Albani, no. 1935.

    How circumcision is to be performed is mentioned in the hadith narrated by Umm ‘Atiyah, may Allah be pleased with her, according to which a woman used to perform circumcisions in Madinah. The Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Him) told her: “Do not abuse (i.e. do not go to extremes in circumcising); that is better for the woman and more liked by her husband.” (Reported by Abu Dawud in al-Sunan, Kitab al-Adab; he said this hadith is da‘if)

    According to a classical author, Al-Mawardi, “it is limited to cutting off the skin in the shape of a kernel located above the genitalia. One must cut the protruding epidermis without performing a complete ablation”

    The scholars’ opinions cited above should be sufficient explanation. And Allah knows best.

  • nhnhnh

    August 29, 2023 - 1:39 pm

    Circumcision is obligatory in the case of men and Sunnah in the case of women

    Praise be to Allah.

    Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) wrote a useful book on the rulings concerning the newborn, which he called Tuhfat al-Mawdud fi Ahkam al-Mawlud. In this book he wrote an extensive chapter in which he spoke of circumcision and the rulings thereon . The following is a summary of that, with additional comments from some other scholars.

    The meaning of circumcision in Islam (khitan)

    Ibn al-Qayyim said:

    Khitan is a noun describing the action of the circumciser (khatin). It is also used to describe the site of the circumcision, as in the hadith, “When the two circumcised parts (al-khitanan) meet, ghusl becomes obligatory.” In the case of a female the word used is khafad. In the male it is also called i’dhar. The one who is uncircumcised is called aghlaf or aqlaf. (Tuhfat al-Mawlud, 1/152)

    History of circumcision

    Circumcision is the Sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim and the prophets after him.

    Al-Bukhari (6298) and Muslim (2370) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Ibrahim (peace be upon him) circumcised himself when he was eighty years old, and he circumcised himself with an adze.”

    An adze (qadum) is a carpenter’s tool; it was also said that al-Qadum is a place in Syria.

    Al-Hafiz ibn Hajar said:

    It is most likely that what is referred to in the hadith is the tool. Abu Ya’la narrated that ‘Ali ibn Rabah said: “Ibrahim was commanded to circumcise himself, so he circumcised himself with an adze and it was very painful for him. Then Allah revealed to him saying, “You rushed to do it before We told you what tool to use.” He said, “O Lord, I did not want to delay obeying Your command.”

    Ibn al-Qayyim said:

    “Circumcision was one of the things with which Allah tested Ibrahim, His Close Friend. He did them perfectly so Allah made him a leader of mankind. It was narrated that he was the first one who was circumcised, as mentioned above. What it says in al-Sahih is that Ibrahim circumcised himself when he was eighty years old. After him, circumcision continued among the messengers and their followers, even the Messiah. He was circumcised and the Christians affirm that, and do not deny that, as they also affirm that he was forbidden the flesh of pigs..” (Tuhfat al-Mawdud, p. 158-159)

    Ruling on circumcision in Islam

    But the scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) differed as to the ruling on circumcision.

    Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymin (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

    “The most correct view is that it is obligatory in the case of men and Sunnah in the case of women. The difference between them is that in the case of men, it serves an interest which has to do with one of the conditions of prayer, namely purity (taharah), because if the foreskin remains, when the urine comes out of the urethra, some of it will collect there, and this causes burning and infection every time the person moves, and every time the foreskin is squeezed, some drops of urine come out, thus causing najasah (impurity).

    In the case of women, it serves a useful purpose which is to reduce desire. This is seeking perfection, not removing something harmful.” (Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 1/133-134)

    This is the view of Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him). Ibn Qudamah said in al-Mughni (1/115): As for circumcision, it is obligatory for men and it is good in the case of women, but it is not obligatory for them.

    How is circumcision done?

    Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

    “Abu’l-Barakat said in his book al-Ghayah: In circumcision of a man, the skin at the tip of the penis (the foreskin) is removed; if he only removes most of it, that is permissible. It is mustahabb to circumcise females provided that is not done in an extreme manner. It was narrated that ‘Umar said to a woman who circumcised females, “Leave some of it if you circumcise (a girl).” Al-Khallal said in his Jami’: What is cut when circumcising: Muhammad ibn al-Husayn told me that al-Fadl ibn Ziyad told them: Ahmad was asked, How much should be cut in circumcision? He said, Until the glans (tip of the penis) becomes visible.

    Ibn al-Sabbagh said in al-Shamil: What is obligatory in the case of a man is to cut the skin on the tip of the penis until the entire glans becomes visible. In the case of a woman, it means cutting the skin that looks like the comb of a rooster at the top of the vagina, between the two labia; if it is cut the base of it should be left like a date pit.

    Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

    The well-known correct view is that everything covering the glans must be cut. (Al-Majmu’, 1/351)

    Al-Juwayni said:

    The hadith indicates that not too much of it should be removed (in the case of women), because he said, “Leave something sticking out and do not go to extremes in cutting.” (Tuhfat al-Mawdud, 190-192)

    The point is that in the case of males, all the skin covering the tip of the penis should be cut, but in the case of females only a part of the skin that is like a rooster’s comb at the top of the vagina should be cut.

    Male circumcision: Why?

    With regard to a man, he cannot be clean from urine unless he is circumcised, because drops of urine collect underneath the foreskin and he cannot be sure that they will not drip and make his clothes and body impure. Hence ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Abbas was very strict on the issue of circumcision . Imam Ahmad said: Ibn ‘Abbas was very strict on this matter, and it was narrated that there is no Hajj and no prayer for him, i.e., if a person is not circumcised his Hajj and prayer are not valid. Al-Mughni, 1/115

    Female circumcision: Why?

    With regard to the wisdom behind the circumcision of women, it is to regulate their desire so it will be moderate.

    Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about whether women should be circumcised or not. He replied:

    Yes, they should be circumcised, i.e., the top of the piece of skin that looks like a rooster’s comb should be cut. The Messenger of Allah said to the woman who did circumcisions: “Leave something sticking out and do not go to extremes in cutting. That makes her face look brighter and is more pleasing to her husband.” That is because the purpose of circumcising a man is to make him clean from the impurity that may collect beneath the foreskin. But the purpose of circumcising women is to regulate their desire, because if a woman is not circumcised her desire will be strong. Hence the words “O son of an uncircumcised woman” are used as an insult, because the uncircumcised woman has stronger desire. Hence immoral actions are more common among the women of the Tatars and the Franks, that are not found among the Muslim women. If the circumcision is too severe, the desire is weakened altogether, which is unpleasing for men; but if it is cut without going to extremes in that, the purpose will be achieved, which is moderating desire. And Allah knows best.

    Majmoo al-Fataawa, 21/114

    Paying money for circumcision: Permissible?

    Ibn Qudamah said:

    “It is permissible to pay money for circumcision and for medical treatment. We do not know of any difference of opinion on this matter, because it is doing something that is needed and which is allowed in shariah. So it is permissible to pay money for it, like all other permissible actions.” (Al-Mughni 5/314)

    And Allah knows best

  • Iddris

    September 1, 2023 - 1:34 am

    Girls circumcise is good for health and protect hiv uti infection germs maintain proper hygiene.

  • Mary

    October 29, 2023 - 9:33 pm

    So, how can a woman who wants to be circumcised be circumcised? Please help.

  • Rinoza

    November 1, 2023 - 5:00 am

    There are many clinics that offer circumcision for Muslim women. You can walk into any circumcision clinic in Malaysia or Indonesia and ask for SUNAT PEREMPUAN while many clinics in the US offer HOODECTOMY, which is the same thing as Islamic female circumcision.

  • Salma

    February 29, 2024 - 2:04 am

    Very informative. And eye opener. Considering it

  • Abbas

    April 2, 2024 - 2:39 pm

    I learned alot from this topic and from your comments thank you.

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