This issue came to prominence in the west some years ago with a Alice Walker book. I was not familiar with the practice before seeing Ms. Walker on a tv program discussing it. And although I am not a fan of hers [I don't trust her agenda]. I do feel she did a good service by bringing attention to this horror. Among Islam haters, this practice have been blamed on Islam [although it is done by all kinds of people across the board]. I have finally come across enough information by those from Africa,Asia and the Middle East [even heard it is practice in parts of Europe] that have knowledge on subject matter and who have discussed the differences in female genital mutilation and female circumcision [the two are not the same] as well as the history of the practice. I am putting all this info here: In the Qur'an [An-Nisa:119] states that Iblis [Shaytan] will try to trick humans into body modification. "And I will surely lead them astray, and command them and they will cut the cattle's ears, and I will surely command them and they will change Allah's creation." [Qur"an] There are two totally different female circumcisions, be careful not to mistake them. 1. Sunnah circumcision (just that - a Sunnah) a light excision of the clitoral hood. This does not harm sensation and is actual commonly viewed as generally making husband-wife situations more pleasurable for the woman. The vast majority of Muslim women are not circumcised in any way at all and there is nothing at all wrong with their worship. 2. Pharaoh circumcision (nothing to do with Islam & something very harmful) in which the woman's genital are seriously messed around with and the clitoris and outer labia removed before the area is sewn up leaving a small hole. This circumcision in satanic, but is widely practised in both Muslim, Christian & Pagan Africa. Anyone with a brain knows that this type of circumcision is totally wrong unless they have been brainwashed into it by jahiliyyah tradition. It causes untold suffering and robs many women of much of the enjoyment of one of the pleasures that Allah gave the human beings in this life. [the one Alice Walker wrote about] The following excerpt is from Shehu Uthman don Fodio's Ihya Sunna: The legal judgment of circumcision is that it is a sunna for male boys. It is the cutting of the skin which conceals the penis. As for girls it is recommended and it is called al-khifaad. It is the incising of the lower part of the skin which is at the highest part of the vagina. However the young girl is not be mutilated! This is in conformity with what Umm `Atiyya said, "Scratch her do not mutilate her. This is the more valid course and more enjoyable when with the husband." This means do not over do it when making the incision. What she meant by "the more valid course" is that the skin is incised length wise without separating the skin from the vagina. What she meant by "more enjoyable" is more pleasurable during intercourse. This is because the skin (over the clitoris), like the penis, becomes taut just at her climax. The sensual passions strengthens due to that. If it is not like that then the effect will be reverse. It says in the al-Madkhal, "The sunna in circumcising males is to expose (the penis), while with women it is to conceal (the clitoris)." Why is genital mutilation reffered to by many as Pharaoh circumcision: The circumcising of girls is not a sunna in Islam. Its origin goes back to the ancient kingdom of Egypt where women were circumcised in such a manner that the entire clitoris was removed. One of the proofs that present community were either apart of the ancient Egyptian civilization or were in some way ruled by them, is the existence of female circumcision among them. This explains the prevalence of this practice among many sub-saharan African ethnicities, as well as those Arabs and other ethnic groups who were under the rule of Egypt stretching as far as present day Iraq. Those communities which do not have a formal ritual of female circumcision comprising of a rights of passage for young girls, means that that community were simply under the sovereignty of ancient Egypt took up their customs without knowing the reason. This is the case with the Arabs, who to this day do not know why they do it, and trace it to some archaic notion that it makes women more chaste. However, in those communities which were apart of the ancient Egyptian civilization, today, they have a ritualistic, secretive, initiation in which girls undergo a rights of passage through female circumcision. Now, this is controlled solely by the elder women of the society and not men. This is the case throughout many ethnic groups in sub-saharan African, and it is more so with the Sudanese, who have lost the ancient rights of passage accompanying this custom, but it is solely in the hands of the elderly women of the family. Not the men. This is important, when trying to eradicate this practice.