THE Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) issued a statement yesterday declaring that bersunat or berkhatan (circumcision) for Muslim females is a religious rite obligatory under Islam.
In the statement, which was released in response to a report titled "Circumcision is cultural practice" published on June 16, the ministry stressed that the ruling of circumcision for Muslim female in Brunei is compulsory.
The ruling on circumcision has been decreed by the then State Mufti, Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Hj Awang Ismail Umar Abdul Aziz, in the State Mufti edict (fatwa), Negara Brunei Darussalam, Series 2/67 which states: "Berkhatan itu adalah wajib pada orang yang mukallaf lelaki dan perempuan selagi ia boleh menanggung kerja khatan itu dilakukan ke atasnya" (loosely translated as circumcision is obligatory to a mature Muslim male and female on condition that he or she can bear the ritual of circumcision carried upon them).
The ministry is concerned that the report — in which Dr Riaz Qureshi, a consultant to Saudi Arabia's Women's Health Research Chair and professor in family and community medicine at the King Saud University, said "the practice of female circumcision is a cultural practice and not mentioned in the Al-Quran or the Hadith" — will influence the Islamic community in Brunei.
The ministry also wishes to remind of the existence of confusion between the term circumcision as a common practice that is advisable in Islam, where only the hood of the female clitoris is removed, which in Arabic is called Isymam, and the kind of circumcision the World Health Organisation (WHO) referred to as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which is the entire or partial removal of the genitalia.
"The FGM procedure or the removal of clitoris which WHO objects to is contrary to the practice prescribed by Syariah (Islamic) law," said the press statement.
It added: "In Islam, if an obligatory practice can cause bodily harm or threaten the life of an individual, then he or she is obligated to abandon the practice, which is in conformity with the principle of Islamic jurisprudence."
The ministry said that until now, there is no evidence that shows the practice of female circumcision in the country has endangered the lives of the women.
"In fact, circumcision practised in this country is in accordance with what is taught by Nabi Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alaihi Wassalam."
The Brunei Times
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Feel free to comment on this article using your Facebook account. By submitting your comment, you agree to the Terms and Conditions for the use of this comments feature, as stated here.