Religious views on female genital mutilation
Religious views on female genital mutilation (FGM) vary even within the same religious tradition. FGM is found only within and adjacent to Muslim communities, but the practice predates Islam, and is not required by it. The only Jewish group known to have practiced it are the Beta Israel of Ethiopia. There is no unequivocal link between religion and prevalence.
It is generally accepted that there is no close link between the practice and religious belief. Despite this, there is a widespread view in several countries, particularly in Mali, Eritrea, Mauritania, Guinea and Egypt, that FGM is a religious requirement.
In Islamic texts the practice is referred to as khafḍ (Arabic: خفض) or khifaḍ (Arabic: خِفَض). The less severe forms, particularly what the World Health Organization calls Type I (removal of the clitoral hood with either part of or the entire clitoris), is known as Sunna circumcision. FGM is found mostly within and adjacent to Muslim communities in Central-North Africa, but it is not required by Islam or practiced in most Muslim countries, and prevalence rates vary according to ethnicity, not religion. There is no reference to it in the Qur'an. Amnesty International notes that the practice has nevertheless "acquired a religious dimension"; according to UNICEF there is a widespread view, particularly in Mali, Eritrea, Mauritania, Guinea and Egypt, that it is a religious requirement. Medical anthropologist Carla Obermeyer writes:]
Regarding religious differences, it is now generally recognized that even though a number of the countries where female genital surgeries are found are predominantly Muslim. In CDI [Côte d'Ivoire], the prevalence is 80 percent among Muslims, 40 percent among those with no religion and 15 percent among Protestants, and in Sudan the prevalence is highest among Muslim women ... In Kenya, by contrast, prevalence is highest among Catholics and Protestants compared with other religious groups ... Thus, there is no unequivocal link between religion and prevalence. - Carla Obermeyer, 1999
The former Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa stated in 2007 that "excision is a practice totally banned by Islam because of the compelling evidence of the extensive damage it causes to women's bodies and minds." Egyptian Islamist scholars such as Mohammed Emara and Mohammad Salim Al-Awa have opposed FGM, arguing that it is not an Islamic practice and is not endorsed by Islamic jurisprudence.
Gruenbaum has emphasized that followers of Islam – “have at times practised female circumcision and consider their practices sanctioned, or at least not prohibited, by God.” Despite the fact that FGM/C predates the birth of Islam and is not mandated by religious scriptures, the belief that it is a religious requirement contributes to the continuation of the practice in a number of settings. - UNICEF, 2013
Some scholars suggest religious views have influenced the practice of FGM. Religious views are claimed to have permitted, justified, even encouraged FGM, over human history. There is an ongoing debate as to the extent FGM practice is influenced by religious views, ethnicity and other factors, in different countries. Religious views are but one of several factors that maintain FGM practice.
Historical religious views
The historical religious view of Islam, on FGM, varies with the school of Islamic jurisprudence:
- The Shafi'i school of Islamic jurisprudence considers female circumcision to be wajib (obligatory).
- The Hanbali school of Islamic jurisprudence considers female circumcision to be makrumah (honorable)
and strongly encouraged, to obligatory.
- The Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence considers female circumcision to be sunnah (optional) and preferred.
- The Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence considers female circumcision to be sunnah (preferred).
There are dichotomous differences of opinion among Sunni scholars in regards to female genital cutting. These differences of opinion range from obligatory to acceptable. The Shafi'i and Hanbali schools of Islamic jurisprudence consider circumcision to be obligatory for both males and females, while the Hanafi and Maliki schools of Islamic jurisprudence consider circumcision to be Sunnah (preferred) for both males and females. There is no consensus whether the hadiths support or forbid FGM. Different schools of Islamic jurisprudence have expressed different views on FGM.
The differences in jurist opinions focuses around several hadith from the Sunni collections:
- Hadith Sunan Abu Dawood favoring FGM
A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani describes this hadith as poor in authenticity, and quotes Imam Ahmad Bayhaqi’s point of view that it is "poor, with a broken chain of transmission"  Zein al-Din al-Iraqi points out in his commentary on Al-Ghazali’s Ihya ulum al-din (I:148) that the mentioned hadith has a weak chain of transmission." Yusuf ibn Abd-al-Barr comments: "Those who consider (female) circumcision a sunna, use as evidence this hadith of Abu al-Malih, which is based solely on the evidence of Hajjaj ibn Artaa, who cannot be admitted as an authority when he is the sole transmitter.
- Hadith Sahih Muslim favoring FGM
Abu Musa reported: There cropped up a difference of opinion between a group of Muhajirs (Emigrants and a group of Ansar (Helpers) (and the point of dispute was) that the Ansar said: The bath (because of sexual intercourse) becomes obligatory only-when the semen spurts out or ejaculates. But the Muhajirs said: When a man has sexual intercourse (with the woman), a bath becomes obligatory (no matter whether or not there is seminal emission or ejaculation). Abu Musa said: Well, I satisfy you on this (issue). He (Abu Musa, the narrator) said: I got up (and went) to 'A'isha and sought her permission and it was granted, and I said to her: O Mother, or Mother of the Faithful, I want to ask you about a matter on which I feel shy. She said: Don't feel shy of asking me about a thing which you can ask your mother, who gave you birth, for I am too your mother. Upon this I said: What makes a bath obligatory for a person? She replied: You have come across one well informed! The Messenger of Allah said: When anyone sits amidst four parts (of the woman) and the circumcised parts touch each other a bath becomes obligatory.
Muhammad Salim al-Awwa states that while the hadith is authentic, it is not evidence of support for FGM. He states that the Arabic for "the two circumcision organs" is a single word used to connote two forms of circumcision. He claims that while the female form is used to denote both male and female genitalia, it should be considered to mean only the male circumcised organ. He suggests this hadith is misunderstood because "in Arabic language, two things or persons may be given one quality or name that belongs only to one of them."
- Hadith Al-Muwatta favoring FGM
Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said from Said ibn al-Musayyab that Abu Musa al-Ashari came to A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said to her, "The disagreement of the companions in a matter which I hate to bring before you has distressed me." She said, "What is that? You did not ask your mother about it, so ask me." He said, "A man penetrates his wife, but becomes listless and does not ejaculate. She said, "When the circumcised part passes the circumcised part ghusl is obligatory Abu Musa added, "I shall never ask anyone about this after you."
- Hadith Sahih Bukhari favoring FGM
I heard the Prophet saying. "Five practices are characteristics of the Fitra: circumcision, shaving the pubic hair, cutting the moustaches short, clipping the nails, and depilating the hair of the armpits."
This hadith does not specify the gender, and is sometimes claimed to be a basis for circumcision as a religious requirement for both males and females. However, Mohamed Salim Al-Awwa claims it is unclear if some or all of these religious requirements were meant for females, because cutting a mustache is an act typical to men.
- Qur'an verse opposing FGM
"I will mislead them, and I will create in them false desires; I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and to deface the (fair) nature created by Allah." Whoever, forsaking Allah, takes satan for a friend, hath of a surety suffered a loss that is manifest.
This sura has been interpreted to mean Qur'an forbids man to change nature or mutilate any creature. Islamic scholars against FGM claim that this verse from Qur'an forbids all things that change what nature has meant it to be, including female circumcision and birth control. Some scholars find this religious view unpersuasive, because Muslim male circumcision also mutilates and changes nature, and male circumcision is a practice that is widely considered as obligatory to recommended under Islam.
In addition to Sharia, the Ijtihad (sometimes spelled igtihad) have been one of the four sources of Muslim law through the centuries. Ijtihad include fatwas (opinions of Muslim religious scholars), which are often widely distributed, orally or in writing, in simple language, to the masses, and describe behavior that conforms with religious requirements. Fatwas are considered by most believers to be morally obligatory.
Fatwas have been justified by Islamic scholars for a number of reasons, two major reasons being to fulfill makrumah granted by Mohammed, and to avoid falling into a taboo behavior. Some scholars suggest makrumah means that female circumcision adds to the man's pleasure. The majority of fatwas that permit or recommend Muslim female circumcision lean toward it being commendable or meritorious act on the part of the woman. Zakariyya Al-Birri argues it is better to carry out female circumcision, while Al-Qaradawi leaves the choice to parents according to their beliefs, in spite of the fact that he favours female circumcision, because it protects girls' morality "especially nowadays" claims Al-Qaradawi.
Similarly, Al-Azhar - one of the most respected universities of the Islamic World in Cairo - has issued a number of fatwas on female circumcision over its history. On June 23, 1951, a fatwa from Al-Azhar declared that it does not recognise the abandonment of female circumcision as an option, and that female circumcision is advisable because it curbs "nature". Moreover, this fatwa declared doctors' opinions on the disadvantages of female circumcision as irrelevant. On January 29, 1981, another fatwa from Al-Azhar was authored and proclaimed by the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar. The fatwa insisted that it is impossible to abandon the lessons of Mohammed in favor of the teaching of others, such as doctors, because the science of medicine evolves. The fatwa then recommended to the Islamic community that female circumcision is a duty, and the responsibility of female circumcision lies with the guardian of the girl. In October 1994, the mufti of Egypt publicly declared that hadiths on female circumcision attributed to the Prophet were unreliable; however, within days of this announcement, Shaykh Gad al-Haq Ali of al-Azhar issued a fatwa that female circumcision is a part of the legal body of Islam and is a laudable practice that honors women. Egyptian government, in 1996, banned female circumcision in hospitals and prohibited licensed professionals from performing FGM. However, in 1997, Shaykh Nasr Farid Wasil, Grand Mufti of Egypt, issued a fatwa that female circumcision should be permitted even though it is not obligatory under Islam. Soon after, Egypt's court overturned the government ban on female circumcision in hospitals and by licensed professionals.
In March 2005, Dr Ahmed Talib, Dean of the Faculty of Sharia at Al-Azhar University, stated: "All practices of female circumcision and mutilation are crimes and have no relationship with Islam. Whether it involves the removal of the skin or the cutting of the flesh of the female genital organs... it is not an obligation in Islam." Both Christian and Muslim leaders have publicly denounced the practice of FGM since 1998. A conference at Al-Azhar University in Cairo (December 2006) brought prominent Muslim clergy to denounce the practice as not being necessary under the umbrella of Islam. Although there was some reluctance amongst some of the clergy, who preferred to hand the issue to doctors, making the FGM a medical decision, rather than a religious one, the then Grand Mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa signed a resolution denouncing the practice.
Shiite religious texts, such as the hadith transmitted by Imam Al-Sadiq, states, "circumcision is makrumah for women". Makrumah is usually translated as "meritorious action or noble deed, but something that is not religiously obligatory".
Ayatollah Khamenei issued a ruling for Shiite Muslims in Iran, in 2011, declaring FGM as permissible but not obligatory. He also ruled that if the husband of a Muslim woman wants her to get circumcised then, "(the) implementation of husband’s order is obligatory for the wife if it does not have disadvantages or it is not harmful for the wife, she has to listen to her husband’s request.”
Ayatollah Ali al-Husayni Ali al-Sistani of Iraq, in 2010, issued a fatwa that female genital mutilation is not haram. In 2014, Ali al-Sistani issued a revised ruling stating, "If the purpose of female genital circumcision is cutting clitoris this operation is not right and is not a religious tradition. If the girl is hurt, it is prohibited. Female genital (sexual) mutilation or cutting off a part of her genital is certainly a crime against girls and there is no permission and justification for parents to do this operation."
In May 2012 it was reported by several news sources that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was working to decriminalize FGM. According to reporter Mariz Tadros, "In Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood have offered to circumcise women for a nominal fee as part of their community services, a move that threatens to reverse decades of local struggle against the harmful practice. ... Many of the Brothers (and Salafis) argue that while it is not mandatory, it is nevertheless mukarama (preferable, pleasing in the eyes of God). They also quote hadith (saying attributed to the Prophet) which stipulates that FGM should involve 'cutting, but only lightly'."
In Mauritania, where "health campaigners estimate that more than 70 percent of Mauritanian girls undergo the partial or total removal of their external genitalia for non-medical reasons", 34 Islamic scholars signed a fatwa banning the practice in January 2010. Their aim was to prevent people from citing religion as a justification for genital mutilation. The authors cited the work of Islamic legal expert Ibn al-Hajj as support for their assertion that "[s]uch practices were not present in the Maghreb countries over the past centuries". FGM is "not an instinctive habit, according to the Malkis; therefore, it was abandoned in northern and western regions of the country," added the authors. 
In Northeastern Somalia's Puntland region, religious authorities issued a fatwa in November 2013 to end all forms of FGM/C.
Religious views on FGM in Southeast Asia
Scholars suggest the start and widespread acceptance of FGM in Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, undermines the argument that female circumcision is purely a pre-Islamic custom, or the theory that religion never introduced this practice. Buddhism and Hinduism were the predominant religions in Southeast Asia before the arrival of Islam; male as well as female genital mutilation is prohibited in its religious beliefs. Islam introduced FGM into Indonesia and Malaysia from the 13th century as part of its drive to convert people to Islam. Populations in some islands of Indonesia underwent only partial conversion to Islam in the 17th century. In these islands, only Muslim females are circumcised. Even in modern times, some in Indonesia refer to FGM as an 'Arab custom'.
- Current religious views
Over 80% of Malaysian women claim religious obligation as the primary reason for practicing FGM, with hygiene (41%) and cultural practice (32%) as other major motivators for its prevalence. The 86th conference of Malaysia’s Fatwa Committee National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs held in April 2009 announced that female circumcision is part of Islamic teachings and it should be observed by Muslims, with the majority of the jurists in the Committee concluding that female circumcision is obligatory (wajib). However, the fatwa noted harmful circumcision methods are to be avoided.
In Indonesia, FGM is widespread among Muslim women and considered a religious necessity. More than 90% of Muslim adults support the practice to continue. In 2013, the Indonesian Ulema Council - Indonesia's top Muslim clerical body - ruled that it favors FGM, stating that although it is not mandatory, it is still “morally recommended”. The Ulema has been pushing Indonesian government to circumcise girls, claiming it is part of Islamic teachings.
The Bible does not mention female circumcision. A Christian sect – the Russian Skoptsy – quoted passages from the Bible (Matthew, xix,12) to support the female circumcision ritual. Nevertheless, many Christian women are circumcised in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania believing it to be a religious requirement.
In Africa, missionaries have tried to discourage the practice. However, in order to retain the growing number of converts from other religions, they have permitted the continuation of these practices. Mary Nyangweso states, “Christianity, it is important to stress, does not advocate the total eradication of the Nandi female initiation rite. Rather it advocates the need to eradicate the practice of circumcision that involves clitoridectomy and excision because it is physically unhealthy and does not conform to Christian teaching. The initiation rite can continue to be practiced and the actual circumcision can be replaced by some other symbolic acts not harmful to women's bodies. This can be derived from the culture itself or Scripture that now forms part of the Nandi way of life.”
FGM and Judaism
Female circumcision is forbidden in Judaism. Regardless of these views, in Ethiopia, there resides a Jewish minority group, often referred to as Falasha’s or Beta Israel, who practice the procedure of female genital cutting.
FGM and other religions
- Animist View
Animists groups in Africa practice female genital mutilation. Their religious views on female genital mutilation are undocumented.
- Hindu- Buddhist View
The Hindu- Buddhist religion outright rejects the procedure of female genital cutting. It is completely absent from their traditions just as FGM is completely nonexistent in Confucius traditions.
- Gerry Mackie, "Ending Footbinding and Infibulation: A Convention Account", American Sociological Review, 61(6), December 1996, pp. 1004–1005,
Quote: "FGM is found only in or adjacent to Islamic groups"
- "Ending Footbinding and Infibulation: A Convention Account", American Sociological Review, 61(6), December 1996, pp. 999–1017
- Cohen, Shaye J. D. Why Aren't Jewish Women Circumcised? Gender and Covenant In Judaism, University of California Press, 2005, p. 59.
- Obermeyer, Carla Makhlouf. "Female Genital Surgeries: The Known, the Unknown, and the Unknowable", Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 13(1), March 1999 (pp. 79–106), p. 88 (also here)
- "Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Statistical Overview and Exploration of the Dynamics of Change", United Nations Children's Fund, July 2013 (hereafter UNICEF 2013), pp. 69–71.
- "Khafḍ", Encyclopædia Britannica.
- Clarence-Smith, William G. "Islam and Female Genital Cutting in Southeast Asia: The Weight of the Past," Finnish Journal of Ethnicity and Migration, 3(2), 2008, p. 14.
- Gruenbaum, Ellen. The Female Circumcision Controversy: An Anthropological Perspective, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001, pp. 2–3, 63.
- Mackie, Gerry. "Ending Footbinding and Infibulation: A Convention Account", American Sociological Review, 61(6), December 1996, pp. 999–1017
- Al-Awa, Mohamed Selim. "FGM in the Context of Islam", UNFPA, 2012, p. 2.
- Denny, Frederick Mathewson (2001). "Circumcision". In McAuliffe, Jane Dammen. Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an. 1, A-D. Leiden: Brill. pp. 366–367.
- Amnesty International (1997-10-01). "What is female genital mutilation?". Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 2007-02-21. Retrieved 2006-10-27.
- Obermeyer, Carla Makhlouf. "Female Genital Surgeries: The Known, the Unknown, and the Unknowable", Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 13(1), March 1999 (pp. 79–106), p. 88 (also here).
- "Egyptian Clerics Say Female Circumcision Un-Islamic".
- Tadros, Mariz (24 May 2012). "Mutilating bodies: the Muslim Brotherhood’s gift to Egyptian women". openDemocracy.
- William G. Clarence-Smith (2012) ‘Female Circumcision in Southeast Asia since the Coming of Islam’, in Chitra Raghavan and James P. Levine (eds.), Self-Determination and Women’s Rights in Muslim Societies, Brandeis University Press; ISBN 978-1611682809; see pages 124-146
- Sami A. ALDEEB ABU-SAHLIEH, To Mutilate in the Name of Jehovah or Allah: Legitimization of Male and Female Circumcision, Medicine and Law, Volume 13, Number 7-8: Pages 575-622, July 1994;
- also see: Sami Awad Aldeeb Abu-Sahlieh (2001), Male & Female Circumcision, Marco Polo Monographs, ISBN 978-0967720197
- Vardit Rispler-Chaim (1993), Islamic Medical Ethics in 20th Century, Chapter 9, ISBN 978-9004096080; Brill Academic
- Islamic Ruling on Male and Female Circumcision Muhammad Lufti al-Sabbagh, World Health Organization (1996)
- Mustafa Asim, Female Circumcision and Infibulation in the Sudan, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the British Commonwealth, April 1966; Vol 73, Issue 2; pages 302-306; doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.1966.tb05163.x
- Mackie and LeJeune 2008, p. 8: An ethnic or religious explanation of FGM/C is not sufficient since, first, it is practiced in a wide variety of ethnic and religious groups; and second, the practice is not necessarily universal within the broad descriptive group, but is often practiced only within a number of subgroups. Take religion: there are Muslim communities who practice FGM/C, often believing that the practice is required by the holy book. Yet, nearby communities of the same religion may not engage in FGM/C, and worldwide most Muslims do not follow the practice. Religious obligation is an important factor in the decision to practice FGM/C, but is typically just one of several elements within what one WHO report (1999) calls a mental map that incorporates the stories, beliefs, values, and codes of conduct of society, and which are in fact “interconnected and mutually reinforcing and, taken together, form overwhelming unconscious and conscious motivations” for its continuation
- Islam-QA Fatwa 60314: "Circumcision of girls and some doctors’ criticism thereof" Islam-QA retrieved June 1, 2013
- Abdelwahab Bouhdiba and Muḥammad Maʻrūf al-Dawālībī (1998), The Different Aspects of Islamic Culture, ISBN 9231027425, UNESCO, page 436
- Ibrahim Lethome Asmani and Maryam Sheikh Abdi (2008), Delinking Female Genital Mutilation / Cutting from Islam, USAID and Population Council, Washington DC, page 13, archived link
- The Female Genital Cutting Education and Networking Project: "EGYPT: Al-Azhar University Scholars Argue over the Legitimacy of Female Circumcision Practiced in Egypt on Al-Arabiya TV - Debate between Egyptian Al-Azhar University scholars Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mussayar and Sheikh Mahmoud Ashur" February 12, 2007
- Islam-QA Fatwa 60314: "Circumcision of girls and some doctors’ criticism thereof" Islam-QA retrieved June 1, 2013
- To Mutilate in the Name of Jehovah or Allah: Legitimization of Male and Female Circumcision Sami A. ALDEEB ABU-SAHLIEH, Medicine and Law, Volume 13, Number 7-8: Pages 575-622, July 1994
- Consultation on addressing harmful practices influencing women’s and children’s health World Health Organization, Report WHO-EM/HED/118/E (January 2013)
- Kedar, M. (2002). "Islam and "female circumcision": The dispute over FGM in the Egyptian press, September 1994". Medicine and law 21 (2): 403–418. PMID 12184615.
- Abu-Sahlieh, S. A. (1994). "To mutilate in the name of Jehovah or Allah: Legitimization of male and female circumcision". Medicine and law 13 (7–8): 575–622. PMID 7731348.
- Islamic Ruling on Male and Female Circumcision World Health Organization (1996); page 17-18
- Umm 'Atiyyah; Abu Dawud, al-Bayhaq. "Partial Translation of Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 41: General Behavior (Kitab Al-Adab) - Book 41, Number 5251: "Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah: 'A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.'"". University of Southern California. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
- Abu Dawood’s sunan, XIII, 125–26
- Islamic Ruling on Male and Female Circumcision M.L. Sabbagh, World Health Organization (1996)
- Dr. Muhammad Salim al-Awwa, Secretary General of the World Union of the Muslim Ulemas, Female Circumcision Neither a Sunna, nor a Sign of Respect, (Al Azhar, Cairo)
- Sub-Regional Conference on Female Genital Mutilation, "Towards a political and religious consensus against FGM" MOHAMED SALIM AL-AWWA, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE WORLD UNION OF THE MUSLIM ULEMAS, Djibouti, 2–3 February 2005
- Islamic Ruling on Male and Female Circumcision World Health Organization (1996); page 17-19
- FGM in the context of Islam Al-Awa, United Nations Population Fund & International Federation of Islamic Scholars (May 2012); page 5
- Islamic Ruling on Male and Female Circumcision World Health Organization (1996); page 38
- Rizvi et al. (1999). Religious circumcision: a Muslim view. BJU international, 83(S1), pages 13-16
- Berkey, J. P. (1996), Circumcision circumscribed: Female excision and cultural accommodation in the medieval Near East. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 28(1), pages 19-38
- Circumcision of girls and some doctors’ criticism thereof Al-Munajjid, Fatwa 60314
- FGM in the context of Islam Al-Awa, United Nations Population Fund & International Federation of Islamic Scholars (May 2012); page 6-7
- von der Osten-Sacken, T., & Uwer, T. (2007), Is female genital mutilation an Islamic problem?, Middle East Quarterly; Winter 2007; Vol XIV, Number 1; pages 29-36
- Kedar, M. (2002). "Islam and "female circumcision": The dispute over FGM in the Egyptian press, September 1994". Medicine and law 21 (2): 403–418. PMID 12184615.
- Hukum Pemotongan Genitalia Wanita (Female Genital Mutilation) Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia, Rasmi Fatwa, Government of Malaysia (2009)
- [Mathias Hariyadi, Indonesian Ulema in favour of female circumcision: a “human right”, Asia News, Jakarta (24 Jan 2013)
- In Mauritania, progress made in ending female genital mutilation/cutting Miriam Azar, UNICEF (October 2012)
- Iraqi Kurdistan: FGM Fatwa Positive, but not Definitive Human Rights Watch (July 2010)
- Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf (2007), Female Circumcision: Multicultural Perspectives, University of Pennsylvania Press; ISBN 978-0-8122-3924-9; see Chapter 3; pages 47-74
- Al-Birri, Zakariyya, Ma hukm khitan al-bint wa-hal huwa daruri, in 'Abd-al-Raziq: Abu-Bakr: Al-khitan, ra'y ad-din wal-'ilm fi khitan al-awlad wal-banat, Dar Al-i'tissam, Cairo, 1989; pages 95-96
- Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf (2007), Female Circumcision: Multicultural Perspectives, University of Pennsylvania Press; ISBN 978-0-8122-3924-9; see Chapter 3
- Qaradawi, Youssef Al-: Huda al-islam, fatawi mu'assirah, Dar al-qalam, Kuwait, 3rd edition, 1987, p. 443
- George Denniston and Marilyn Milos (Ed), Sexual Multilations - A Human Tragedy, 1997, Plenum Press (New York), ISBN 0-306-45589-7; see pages 47-54
- Ellen Gruenbaum (2000), The Female Circumcision Controversy: An Anthropological Perspective; University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 978-0812217469; page 63
- Ellen Gruenbaum (2000), The Female Circumcision Controversy: An Anthropological Perspective; University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 978-0812217469; pages 60-68
- Suad Joseph and Afsaneh Najmabadi (2005), Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures: Family, Law and Politics; Brill Academic (Netherlands), ISBN 978-9004128187; page 173
- Menka, Eunice (2005-03-16). "Islam does not support female circumcision - Expert". GhanaHomePage. Retrieved 2006-12-25.
- Office of the Senior Coordinator for International Women's Issues (2006-06-01). "Ethiopia: Report on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or Female Genital Cutting (FGC)". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 2007-03-16. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
- El Ahl, Amira (2006-12-06). "Theologians Battle Female Circumcision". SPIEGEL Magazine. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
- "Muslim scholars rule female circumcision un-Islamic". The Age. 2006-11-24. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
- S.A. Aldeeb Abu-Sahlieh (1999), Muslims' Genitalia in the Hands of the Clergy: Religious Arguments about Male and Female Circumcision, in Male and Female Circumcision: Medical, Legal, and Ethical Considerations in Pediatric Practice (Ed: George C. Denniston et al.), Springer, ISBN 978-0306461316, page 147, 131-172
- Al-Kalini (1981), Al-furu' min al-kafi, Volume 6, Dar al-kutub al0islamiyyah, Tehran, 34-37
-  Bohra women go online to fight circumcision trauma. Hindustan Times, 9 December 2011.
-  Female Genital Mutilation: Many Pakistani women's painful secret. The Express Tribune, 6 February 2013.
- The point of view of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Female Genital Mutilation
- Iraqi Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani issues Fatwa against FGM
- "Mauritania fatwa bans female genital mutilation", BBC, January 18, 2010
- Mohamed Abdel Wedoud. "Mauritanian Islamic leaders ban genital mutilation". Magharebia. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
- "Religious fatwa for banning all forms of FGM/C" (PDF). http://www.unicef.org/somalia/resources_13953.html. UNICEF. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- A. Feillard and L. Morcoes (1998), Female Circumcision in Indonesia: To Islamize in Ceremony or Secrecy Persee, Vol. 56, Issue 56, pages 337-367
- Ghadially, R. 1991. “All for 'Izzat': The Practice of Female Circumcision among Bohra Muslims.” Manushi 66 (Sep—Oct); pages 17—20
- Robert Hefner (1985), Hindu Javanese: Tengger Tradition and Islam, Princeton University Press, pages 34-39, 142-147, 255-258
- Ali K. (2006), Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections of Qur'an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence, Oxford
- Nocholas Gervaise, Historical description of the Kingdom of Macasar in the East Indies, Westmead, Hampshire, England 1701/1971 Reprint, pages 138-145
- Ahmad Ramali, Peraturan-peraturan untuk memelihara kesehatan dalam hukum sjara' Islam, Balai Pustaka, Jakarta (1951), pages 65-72; National Library of Australia
- The Practice of Female Circumcision in Malaysia Maznah Dahlui, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Malaysia (May 10, 2012)
- “A Tiny Cut”: Female Circumcision in South East Asia The Islamic Monthly (March 12 20313)
- Malaysia storm over female circumcision ABC News Australia (December 7, 2012)
- A Cutting Tradition Sara Corbett, New York Times (January 20, 2008)
- The day I saw 248 girls suffering genital mutilation Abigail Haworth, The Guardian United Kingdom, (November 17, 2012)
- Female Circumcision in Indonesia Population Council and USAID, September 2003; see pages 24-27 and full report
- MUI pushes government to circumcise girls The Jakarta Post, Indonesia (January 22, 2013)
- Caldwell, J. C., Orubuloye, I. O., & Caldwell, P. (1997), Male and female circumcision in Africa from a regional to a specific Nigerian examination, Social Science & Medicine, 44(8), pages 1181-1193
- Jones, S. D., Ehiri, J., & Anyanwu, E. (2004). Female genital mutilation in developing countries: an agenda for public health response. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 116 (2), pages 144-151
- El-Damanhoury, I. (2013). "Editorial: The Jewish And Christian View On Female Genital Mutilation". African Journal Of Urology 19.3: 127–129.
- Nyangweso, Mary (2002). "Christ's Salvific Message And The Nandi Ritual Of Female Circumcision". Theological Studies 63.3: 579–600.
- Editors: R.J. Zwi Werblowsky, Wigoder G. (1997), Oxford dictionary of the Jewish religion, New York & Oxford, Oxford University Press
- Kadri, J. (1986). The Practice Of Female Circumcision In The Upper East Region Of Ghana: A Survey Report. Missing or empty
- Clarence-Smith, William G (2008). "Islam And Female Genital Cutting In Southeast Asia: The Weight Of The Past.". Finnish Journal Of Ethnicity & Migration 3.2: 14–22.
- "Circumcision". Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia: 1. 2014.
- Religious perspectives on FGM by Islamic school (non-English sources)
- The Shafi'i school: Dr. Wahba A;-Zuhayli, Al-Fiqh Al-Islami wa Adillatuhu, 3rd Ed, Damascus 1989, v 1, pages 306-311; al-Sharabāṣī, Aḥmad 1980, Yas'alunak fi'l-din wa'l-hayat, 4th Edition, Vol I, pages 253-254
- The Hanbali school: Rashid Rida, Fatwa Rashid Rida, 1st Edition Beirut 1970, v 1, pp 245–246 (fatwa no. 1904); Sheikh 'Allam Nassar, Al-Fatwa Al-Islamiyaa, Cairo 1982, v6, pp 1985–1986 (see fatwa June 23, 1951);
- The Maliki school: Ibn Babwayhi (1957), Man la Yahduruhu Al-Faqih, 4th Ed, Najf, Vol 3, pages 314-319; Fatwa 'Abd Al-Halim Mahmud, Cairo 1986 vol 2, pages 304-305; Jad Al-Haqq 'Ali Jad Al-Haqq (Jan 29 1981) in Al-Fatwa Al-Islamiyya, Vol 9, pages 3119-3125
- The Hanafi school: Sheikh Muhammad 'Ali 'Abd Al-Rahim, Majallat al-Tawhid, Sha'ban 1408, no 8, pp 20
- Discussion of Quran and Hadiths on FGM (non-English sources)
- Hadiths: 'Abd-al-Raziq, Abu-Bakr: Al-khitan, ra'y ad-din wal-'ilm fi khitan al-awlad wal-banat, Dar Al-i'tissam, Cairo, 1989, page 16; Khallaf, 'Abd-al-Wahhab: Khitan al-banat, in 'Abd-al-Raziq: Abu-Bakr: Al-khitan, ra'y ad-din wal-'ilm fi khitan al-awlad wal-banat, Dar Al-i'tissam, Cairo, 1989; pages 70–79; Shaltut, Dar al-shuruq, Cairo &Beirut, 10th edition, 1980, pages 333-334; Nassar, 'Allam: Khitan al-banat, in Al-fatawi al-islamiyyah min dar al-ifta' al-masriyyah, Wazarat al-awqaf, Cairo, Vol. 6, 1982, p. 1986; also see Chapter III, Paragraph 3, point 2 of the fatwa; Gad-al-Haq, Gad-al-Haq 'Ali: Khitan al-banat, in Al-fatawi al-islamiyyah min dar al-ifta' al-masriyyah, Wazarat al-awqaf, Cairo, Vol. 9, 1983, pages 3119-3125
- Quran: Buti, Muhammad Sa'id Ramadan Al-: Mas'alat tahdid al-nasl wiqayatan wa-'ilagan, Matba'at Al-Farabi, 2nd edition, Damascus, , pp. 33–34; Khatib, Um Kulthum Yahya Mustafa Al-: Qadiyyat tahdid al-nasl fil-shari'ah al-islamiyyah, Al-Dar al-su'udiyyah, 2nd edition, Jeddah, 1982, pp. 143–146