The condemnation was made in a fatwa on FGM by the Fatwa and Moon Sighting Committee of the supreme Islamic body.
In a statement, the Committee states: “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 Committee further says that the legitimacy of female circumcision has been proven in several authentic hadiths of the Prophet, (PBUH), further adding that 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.”
It adds: “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.
“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.”
Furthermore, the Fatwa Committee of the lead national Islamic body urges 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”.
“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,” it concludes.