By Zubaida Ali
When my daughters were born, I made the decision not to have them circumcised. Female circumcision is one of the most puzzling birth rituals in Muslim society. It has no health or aesthetic value whatsoever.
Circumcision was usually performed by a traditional midwife but now it is performed by a medical doctor at the clinic for a fee. Typically, parents will have it done on their baby one month after birth and like all surgical procedures, it endangers the infant to the risk of infection, pain and trauma.
Before I made the decision to cut or not to cut, I asked my friends and searched the internet for legitimacy. Why, where and how was this done, I couldn’t find any valid answers. Then I turned to the one place where Muslims go to for answers, the Holy Qur’an. To my surprise there are no verses supporting it in the Qur’an. There’s only a vague hadith about male circumcision.
Yet female circumcision is accepted and performed by all Muslim families I know like a sacred duty. It is even suprising for me to discover that it varies with different sects of Muslims all over the world, and with different degrees of severity. From a pinprick to show blood to removal of the clitoral hood (which is what is done in Singapore) to having major parts of the labia removed like in some parts of Africa and Middle East.
I will require more validity from theological and medical sources before I hand over my child for such a procedure.
As a Muslim and a mother, my reason for not allowing my child to undergo the procedure is why would Allah create an imperfect human body? Why would Allah create a body that requires the tampering and removal of anything so natural?
My two girls now live freely and uncut, and I have never regretted my decision to not violate their bodies for a cultural practice that has no place or validity in a our rational society. Just say no to female circumcision.
Photo credit: Zubaida Ali
Read the other posts here: Sunat Perempuan blog series