Female circumcision and Islam

Female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation/cutting, (FGM/C) is deeply rooted in the history of many nations and peoples. There is a mistaken belief that the debate on FGM/C is a new one, but this is not the case. As far back as 1940, in the Al-Manar Journal, Sheikh M. Rashid Rida responded to a question about FGM/C: "is FGM/C a Fard (compulsory practice of Islam) or Sunnah (Prophet’s recommended practice)?"

[...] Islam instructs us to respect knowledge. It also urges us to respect and glorify the virtuous deeds of our ancestors. Yet this does not necessarily make it incumbent upon us to reflect all of their views if the grounds upon which these views were based have changed. In addition, it requires us to be guided by their commitment to a proper comprehension of Sharia; as they performed their duty according to a sober-minded approach that is consistent with knowledge ordained by Allah. However, every era in history has its own circumstances and can have its own interpretations of the approaches taken by ancestors – interpretations that may be considered by scholars while they consider the state of their current reality.