Female circumcision, popularly known as female genital mutilation (FGM), has been one of the most contentious topics in The Gambia and it has captured the attention of many concerned individuals, including myself.
As a practice that has been recognised by our beloved Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), FGM may be a safe practice only if done properly; and the intention for which it’s done would Allah willing be realised. However, the million dalasi question here is – should the practice still be applicable in this generation? Don’t forget, Allah gave us the Qur’an as a guide and He also provides us with the right mind to think (afalaa tatafakarrun). In the same vein, Allah through the Qur’an encourages us to really think and not to follow our parents’ religion blindly
Today, the world is governed by laws, namely international and domestic laws. Should good laws be followed? Indeed, especially if the intention is to bring good to society because even in Islam, actions are judged based on intentions (inna mal Ahma’alu bi niyat, wa inna ma kulli imrin ma nawa). Again, is the law on consent a good one? It’s of course because every human being should be given an option to decide what kind of life they would like to live. That is why we are all blessed with a mind and highly encouraged to think with it. Are we governed by laws that give human beings the right to provide consent? Oh yes, this is guaranteed in both international and domestic laws.
Therefore, when you circumcise a girl child at a very early age, does she give consent to that? No! What’s the right and legal thing to do here then? If this beneficial, but at the same time harmful (if not done with caution) act must be practised, the available domestic and international laws must be used as a guide to allow every girl to give consent before being circumcised.
With Allah’s guidance, I believe FGM in this generation is best suited for those girls and ladies who experience an intense sexual desire and want to find a solution to it. However, you MUST not remove everything (the clitoris).
Furthermore, with the right mind, we should further go deep to question ourselves: are Islamic nations practising FGM today? Is The Gambia more Islamic than those Islamic states? Given how Gambians love Islam and how far we are ready to go to practise it, should we consider becoming an Islamic state? Bottom line, it’s not right or legal in Islam to circumcise the girl child in this generation and it should remain criminalised.
In conclusion, I would, with all due respect, urge some of the Islamic scholars in The Gambia to tone down their preaching of the Islamic faith regarding this matter. Islam is simple. Islam is peaceful and Islam is a way of life.
May Allah grant us wisdom and continue to guide and protect us.
Fa anna ma’al usri yusra!