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New religious opinions in Iran reject FGM

16.7.2015. The Iranian psychologist Osman Mahmoudi has collected the opinions of different theologists concerning female circumcision. Basing his arguments on these references he discussed with religious leaders in his predominantly Sunni hometown Javanrod in the Iranian province of Kermanshe about FGM. While before several mullahs had defended the practice as a religious necessity it now turned out that a significant number opposed it or at least saw no connection to Islam.

Already a year ago, Osman Mahmoudi together with his wife Elham Hosseini started a campaign against FGM in Javanrod including workshops for parents of pre-schoolers, trainings for housewives and therapy for couples. Recently, FGM in Iran made headlines internationally when a new study was published. The government is in the process of taking steps against the practice.

Here are Osman Mahmoudi’s collection of religious arguments:

The only trusted narration about FGM belongs to Imam Bokhari in his book Sahih Bokhari: There are five things that by nature define the human’s hygiene and health: 1) Circumcision 2) Removing unneeded body hair 3) Shaving the hair on the armpit 4) Cutting the nails 5) Shortening the mustache.

Abu Dawoud’s narration in his book Om Atieh, Hadith no. 5221 is not trustful regarding its unreliable source Mohammad ben Hassan.

Beyhaghi’s narration in Sonan Kobra (the major traditions) says: Circumcision is appreciated for men and for women it brings honor and credit. But according to Imam Ghortabi’s analysis of this saying, it is not reliable because of an untruthful reference: Hajjaj ben Artah.

Sheikh Ebn Hojar Aghlani in his book “Fath el-Bari” and Dr. Wahba Al-zakhili in the book “Fighh Al-Islami”, volume 1 page 303, describe that the phrase “honor for women” is not creditable and should not be considered as if the circumcision is necessary for women. There is no evidence for female genital mutilation in hadiths and traditions.

Seyed Sabegh in his book “Fighh Al-Sona”, page 32, says: The hadiths that refer to female genital mutilation are not reliable.

Dr. Ebrahim Zalmi in the book “Khatan Al-anas w Tahrima fi Quran” expresses his opposition with female genital mutilation and says that the hadiths about FGM are not creditable. This tradition goes back to the documents before Islam and had been done on women servants/slaves in order to deprive them of sexual pleasure.

There is no time and place accuracy about FGM but the main reason has been always decreasing women’s sexual desire or elimination of women’s sexual feelings.


“Islam interdicts whatever science defines as harmful”


Mahmoudi approached nine Mullahs and they came out with the following statements:

  1. Mola Khaled Rahmati, Mola Ali Ahmadi– Javanrood city:

The preferred vote is on considering female genital mutilation as a tradition and it is not a sin for Muslims to leave it.

  1. Mola Abdolaziz Salimi – Javanrood city:

Islam interdicts whatever science defines as harmful for human. In fact Islam prefers benefit for people and rejects harms.

  1. Mola Hossein Hosseini – Javanrood city:

Circumcision is an old tradition and none of the hadiths about female circumcision are reliable. According to Shookani there is no evidence that shows FGM is useful and beneficial for women (Fighh Al-Sonna, Seyed Sabegh)

  1. Mola Azizallah Abdi:

The issue of female genital mutilation is not clear and the hadiths are not creditable in this issue.

  1. Mola Ali Ahmadi Manesh – Javanrood city:

Female genital mutilation has been existing before and after Islam. This tradition damages women both sexually and mentally; bleeding and other physical damages are some of them.

  1. Ghaffar Moradi – Javanrood city:

FGM damages women sexually, physically and mentally.

  1. Mola Mohammad Alizadeh – Solas city – Cheshmeh Nazar Village:

Today most of the religious leaders consider FGM as unnecessary. FGM has short term physical damages like pain, bleeding and shock as well as long term physical damages like infection, kidney stones, etc. Also it jeopardizes women’s mental health.

  1. Mola Aziz – Solas city – Cheshmeh Godar village:

Today most of the religious leaders consider FGM as unnecessary.

  1. Mola Seyed Jabbar – Javanrood city – Kholafay Rashedein Mosque

FGM has short term physical damages like pain, bleeding and shock.

(translation: Arzadeh Faramarziha)