Khafz should only be done after girl reaches legal adulthood

In the early 1900s, the 51st Dai al-Mutlaq His Holiness Dr. Syedna Taher Saifuddin Saheb RA—seeing the law of the land and the needs of modern society—clarified several temporal traditions of the faith. For example, he gave clear instructions to the community that men and women should be allowed to marry only after they reach legal adulthood, even though the faith tradition allows them to be married after attaining physical maturity. It goes without saying that these instructions have been continued by the 52nd and 53rd Dais, and continue to be given today by the 54th Dai His Holiness Syedna Taher Fakhruddin TUS.

Syedna Fakhruddin has always been concerned about protecting the rights of women and especially girl children in the community, and wishes to issue this statement now to clear the confusion caused by misguided declarations made by those who have usurped control of the community. They have made declarations contrary to the faith, limiting the education of girls, forcing a glass ceiling on the role women play in society, and undermining the position they have in a marriage. Women in the community have been bringing their plight to Syedna, especially a group who has recently brought to Syedna’s attention the trauma which girl children undergo when circumcision (khafz) is carried out without proper medical supervision.

Amirul Mumineen Molana Ali ibn Abi Talib AS clearly says that if the khafz is done then it may be done only after the girl reaches the age of seven. Molana Ali AS also says that this procedure is where part of the ‘clitoral hood’ may be removed, so that women would have more pleasure when they are with their husbands (as cited in the Daaim ul-Islam of Syedna al-Qadi al-Nu’man, Part 1 - pg 124). 

In view of the trauma that many girls undergo, in keeping with the law of the land, and following the precedents set by the previous Dais, Syedna Taher Fakhruddin Saheb says that khafz (khatna) of girls should only be allowed after they attain legal adulthood, after which they are free to make their individual decision whether to do the medically, legally and religiously sanctioned procedures.

The procedure is Clitoral Hood Reduction (CHR), also called Clitoral De-Hooding (CDH), or Hoodectomy, which is a medically sanctioned procedure, which many women choose to have done in many countries including the USA by licenced surgeons. The khafz procedure as just explained is analogous to CDH – in contrast, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a horrific and un-Islamic practice and Syedna Fakhruddin condemns it categorically.