Editorial: The Islamic view on female circumcision
The history of Islam had not itself been previously confronted with what is now called “women’s issues,”despite the great diversity in customs and cultures among Muslims over the centuries. As a result of theirencounter with the West, however, and its particular history during the Dark Ages, calls for the liberationof women have begun to be loud. Though these have found their way into the discourse of those living inMuslim societies, the truth is that the Muslim woman has been liberated for centuries under Islamic rule.What is striking in this new discourse is the way in which it puts women against men in a continuous struggleand state of competition. Islam, however, is a religion which recognizes the equal status of men and womenin the eyes of God, as is attested by numerous passages in the Holy Qur’an. The most fundamental aspectof this status is the unity of the human spirit shared by both genders. As Allah says “O mankind! Be carefulof your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from themtwain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in whomye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you)”.The fundamental principle is that both men and women are honored members of creation, possessingequality with respect to spirituality and worship. Following from this spiritual and legal equality is theequity envisioned by Islam in the social relations between men and women. Socially, the relationshipbetween them is one of complementarity, and not of competition. As the Qur’an says, “And in no wisecovet those things in which Allah Hath bestowed His gifts More freely on some of you than on others: Tomen is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn: But ask Allah of His bounty”. From thisfollows the concept of social equity, and not identity. This standpoint maintains the distinction betweenmen as men, and women as women, a distinction which has come under attack from some materialistphilosophies. Either of the two genders fulfills its role in life in accordance with its natural specificities andresponsibilities.