Thursday, December 7

Gambia Supreme Islamic Council Issues Fatwa On Female Circumcission

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Sheikh Essa Darboe, President Gambia Supreme Islamic Council

The Gambia Supreme Islamic Council’s Fatwa and Moon Sighting Committee has issued a fatwa (formal ruling or interpretation on a point of Islamic law) calling on the government of The Gambia to reconsider the law prohibiting Female Circumcision (FC). The law stipulates the arrest/prosecution of anyone who practices female circumcision in the country.

Below, we reproduce the fatwa in its entirety:




Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be upon the most noble of the prophets and messengers, Muhammad bin Abdullah, and his household, companions, and those who follow his footsteps.

The Fatwa and Moon Sighting Committee of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council is pleased to issue a fatwa to all Muslims in The Gambia regarding the legality of Female Circumcision (in Islam). In this regard, the Committee would like to clarify that Female Circumcision is not just a merely inherited custom as falsely claimed by those who are not conversant with the Islamic Law. Rather, it is one of the virtues of Islam and among the Sunnah practices approved by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, who said: “Five practices are characteristics of the Fitra,” of which, he mentioned Circumcision.

The legitimacy of Female Circumcision has been proven in several authentic hadiths of the Prophet; peace be upon him. Therefore, Muslim Jurists agreed on its legality. Some Jurists have even argued that Female Circumcision is obligatory, whereas others have considered it a recommended act of Sunnah. However, it was not reported by any of the reliable Muslim Scholars denying the legality of Female Circumcision in the manner prescribed by the Messenger of Allah; peace be upon him; because the noble Shari’ah does not acknowledge anything at all that causes harm to people, be it health or physical, for it’s free from that!

The Committee wishes to point out that the legal form of Female Circumcision in Islam is the cutting off only a tiny upper part of the clitoris without removing it or touching any part of the labia, which is contrary to what is known as “FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION” and does not entail the removal of the genital organ, or what is known as Pharaonic Circumcision. Muslim Jurists have agreed that this type (FGM) is illegal in Islam because of the harm it inflicts on women.

In this context, the Fatwa Committee of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council calls on the Government of The Gambia to reconsider the Law prohibiting Female Circumcision, which stipulates the arrest/prosecution of anyone who practices it, given that we are Muslims, and the most precious thing we have in this life is our true Religion.

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The Committee issued this Fatwa to clarify to the people the position of the Shari’ah of Allah in Female Circumcision, and acquits itself regarding this matter before Allah on the Day of Resurrection. In the same vein, the Committee also strongly condemns entities and individuals who denounce the practice of Female Circumcision and call on the authorities to arrest/prosecute anyone who practices it.

With this, Allah is the Lord who blesses and guides to the right path.

The End

Members of the Committee:

Dr. Mbye Kebba Kah, The Chairman

Dr. Sheikh Nfamara Jawla, Vice Chairman

Sheikh Ibrahim Masanneh Jarju, Coordinator

Dr. Osman Muhammad Bashir Camara, Secretary

Dr. Foday Jagana, Member

Dr. Omar Faba Gitteh, Member

Sheikh Ali Cham, Member

Sheikh Haroun Manneh, Member

Sheikh Abdullah Sisawo, Member

Sheikh Sufyan Drammeh, Member

Sheikh Bashir Bah, Member

Sheikh Alh. Ousman Jah, Member

Sheikh Osman Muhammad Manga, Member

Sheikh Mustapha Bashir Darboe, Member

Sheikh Mbye Saho, Member



Chairman, Fatwa & Moon Sighting Committee

Dated: Rabiʽ Al-Awwal 1445 H- September 2023