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The Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (IZRS) has defended the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), claiming that Islamic law justifies the practice. The organisation released an “Islamic legal opinion” this week arguing that a form of so-called “female circumcision”, involving the removal of parts of the genitals, is justified, Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger reports.


There are probably hundreds of fatwas concerning female genital mutilation or „khitan“ which is in Arabic circumcision, some condemning the practice for girls, some allowing it, some recommending it, some requiring it.

A fatwa is a religious ruling which Muslim believers will try to follow, but they are not considered binding. Usually, fatwas are issued by a mufti who works for the national Dar al Ifta (House of rulings) which is in many countries with Muslim majority an official national body. There are Shia and Sunni fatwas and within Sunni Islam the four main law school may each have their own interpretation on a subject. Even within one law school, the rulings in one country differ from those in another country. To complicate things, a fatwa does not have to be issued by an official Mufti, but could also come from other religious scholars.

The believers may follow those fatwas issued by their mufti, but they can also follow a fatwa by a preacher they particularly like, refer to an Internet page specialized in Islamic guidance or they can choose a fatwa suiting best their circumstances. Thus, the fact that a fatwa has been issued against or pro female genital mutilation does not mean that this is the official legal opinion of “Islam” – a common misunderstanding among Westerner who compare such rulings with those of the Catholic Pope.

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Thirty four Islamic scholars in Mauritania have signed a fatwa, or religious opinion, banning the practice of female genital mutilation.


Nowadays we hear that many doctors denounce the circumcision of girls, and say that it harms them physically and psychologically, and that circumcision is an inherited custom that has no basis is Islam . Circumcision is not an inherited custom as some people claim, rather it is prescribed in Islam and the scholars are unanimously agreed that it is prescribed. Not a single Muslim scholar – as far as we know – has said that circumcision is not prescribed. 


A 14 yr old girl has accused her father of sexually abuse since the age of 9 and also of rape. The mother of the girl says the father has admitted the abuse but not the rape. The father is now flatly denying that anything happened and says the mother has misunderstood what he said. The girl is still adamant that it all took place and by the way the man is on bail. How would this be dealt with according to Islamic law?







All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It is an abominable sin that a father sexually abuses his daughter and it is even more abominable if he rapes her. If he does so with any girl, it is strictly forbidden, let alone him doing so with his own daughter.

However, it is not permissible to accuse the father of rape without evidence. Indeed, the Sharee’ah put some special conditions for proving Zina (fornication or adultery) that are not required in case of other crimes. The crime of Zina is not confirmed except if the fornicator admits it, or with the testimony of four trustworthy men, while the testimony of women is not accepted.

Hence, the statement of this girl or the statement of her mother in itself does not Islamically prove anything against the father, especially that the latter denies it.

Therefore, if this daughter has no evidence to prove that her accusations are true, she should not have claimed that she was raped by her father and she should not have taken him to the court. But if what she says is true, then she has the right to ask for protection from him even by taking him to the court so that he would not continue committing this evil or practice more sinful acts with her. In this case, she would claim his dissoluteness and her fear of his evil so that she will be kept apart from him.

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Debate is raging in Malaysia over Muslim female genital mutilation as the country's health ministry reportedly develops guidelines to reclassify it as a medical practice.

In 2009, the Fatwa Committee of Malaysia's National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs ruled that "female circumcision", as it has become known, was obligatory for Muslims but if harmful must be avoided.


The Qur'an says that Allah curses the one who harms the Prophet in this world and He connected harm of Himself to harm of the Prophet. There is no dispute that anyone who curses Allah is killed and that his curse demands that he be categorised as an unbeliever. The judgement of the unbeliever is that he is killed.

Allah says, "Those who harm Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and in the Next, and has prepared for them a humiliating punishment." (33:57). He said something similar about those who kill the believers. Part of the curse on them in this world is that they are killed. Allah says, "Cursed they will be. Wherever they are found, they are seized and all slain." (33: 61) He mentions the punishment of those who fight, "That is humiliation in this world for them." (5:45) "Killing(qatl) can have the meaning of "curse".[6] Allah says, "May the conjecturers be killed!" (51:11) and "May Allah fight them! How they are perverted!" (9:30) i.e. may Allah curse them.

This is because there is a difference between their harming Allah and His Messenger and harming the believers. Injuring the believers, short of murder, incurs beating and exemplary punishment. The judgement against those who harm Allah and His Prophet is more severe - the death penalty.


Muslims are generally obliged to abide by the laws of the land and the country they live in, whether it is a Islamic state (al-khilafa), Muslim countries, or non-Muslim countries such as those in the west, as long as they are not ordered to practice something that is against Shariah. If they are forced by the law to commit a sin, then in such a case, it will not just be unnecessary to abide by the law, rather impermissible.


In conclusion, it is necessary by Shariah to abide by the laws of the country one lives in, regardless of the nature of the law, as long as it does not contradict Shariah. However, if the law demands something that is against Islam & Shariah, then it will be necessary to abstain from adhering to it, for the famous Hadith states:

“There is no obedience of the creation wherein there is disobedience to the Creator.” (Musnad Ahmad).


Since it is extremely difficult to gain access to these tribunals, we have tried to show what sort of rulings they may give by referring to online sites used by mosques and individuals. It will at once be clear that the muftis who issue these fatwas walk a very fine line between legality and illegality and sometimes cross into territory where human rights are abused. It should be borne in mind that sharia rulings do not fluctuate by very much (though variants between muftis are far from uncommon). This principle, that it is obligatory to uphold the essential integrity of Islamic jurisprudence and the rulings that come from it, allows us to show in broad terms what muftis are ruling by referring to online sites that are referenced by some of the mosques in our list. The Appendix below provides a range of rulings gleaned from some of these sites, where archives are kept of past fatwas, together with the questions that prompted them. We have edited this material lightly in order to make it accessible to the non‐Muslim and non‐specialist.  

Among the rulings in the Appendix, we find some that advise illegal actions and others that transgress human rights standards as they are applied by British court. Here are some examples: a Muslim woman may
not under any circumstances marry a non‐Muslim man unless he converts to Islam; such a woman’s children will be separated from her until she marries a Muslim man; polygamous marriage (i.e. two to four wives) is considered legal; a man may divorce his wife without telling her about it, provided he does not seek to sleep with her; a husband has conjugal rights over his wife, and she should normally answer his summons to have sex (but she cannot summon him for the same reason); a woman may not stay with her husband if he leaves Islam; non‐Muslims may be deprived of their share in an inheritance; a divorce does not require witnesses (i.e. a man may divorce his wife and send her away even if no‐one else knows about it); re‐marriage requires the wife to marry, have sex with, and be divorced by another man; a wife has no property rights
in the event of divorce (which may be initiated arbitrarily by her husband); sharia law must override the judgements of British courts; rights of child custody may differ from those in UK law; taking up residence in a non‐Muslim country except for limited reasons is forbidden; taking out insurance is prohibited, even if required by law; there is no requirement to register a marriage according to the law of the country; polygamy is acceptable, even if against the law; it is undesirable to rent an apartment belonging to a Christian church; a Muslim lawyer has to act contrary to UK law where it contradicts sharia; employment through driving a taxi is prohibited; it is allowable to be a police officer, provided one is not called upon to do anything contrary to sharia; women are restricted in leaving their homes and driving cars; an adult woman may not marry anyone she chooses; sharia law of legitimacy contradicts the Legitimacy Act 1976; a woman may not leave her home without her husband’s consent (which may constitute false imprisonment); legal adoption is forbidden; a man may coerce his wife to have sex; a woman may not retain custody of her child after seven (for a boy) or nine (for a girl); a civil marriage may be considered invalid; sharia law takes priority over secular law (e.g. a wife may not divorce her husband in a civil court); fighting the Americans and British is a religious duty; recommendation of severe punishments for homosexuals; a woman’s recourse to fertility treatment is disliked; a woman cannot marry without the presence (and permission) of a male guardian (the wali); a divorce is valid if the husband simply intends to do it; polygamous marriage should be maintained, even in the UK; if a woman’s ‘idda has expired and she no longer has marital relations with her husband, he is excused alimony payments; an illegitimate child may not inherit from his/her father.


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