Question # 106: Sheikh, a man can conceal but an unmarried girl cannot. I guess it’s better to undergo a plastic surgery (hymen) to cut all the fuss and conceal.
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: On the issue of hymen repair, there are two scholarly opinions – one is completely against the surgery because of the following reasons:
- It is not permissible according to shari’ah because it is a kind of deceit and lying to the prospective husband.
- It makes it easy for young women to commit the sin of zina because hymen can be repaired afterward.
- It involves looking at that part of the ‘awrah which is to be hidden most.
- Doctors may resort to performing abortions for the purposes of concealing sin.
The scholars, who are in favor, permit it only under the following circumstances:
- If the rupture of the hymen was caused by an accident or trauma (other than zina) because most likely the girl will suffer hardship and unfair accusations because of the customs and traditions of her society.
- If the rupture was caused by zina, in a case that is not well known among the people.
The first opinion is considered to be more correct according to the opinion of many scholars for an actual act of zina involves fraud and deceit. Concealing that is required in Islam is the concealment of sin, but this aim is not achieved by repairing the hymen. The loss of hymen is no proof that a woman is not a virgin, for it can be broken by trauma and other things of the sort and zina cannot be proven merely by the absence of the hymen. On the other hand, preventing a prospective husband from thinking bad of a woman may be achieved by informing him of the situation before marriage. If he accepts it, this is fine; otherwise, Allah will compensate her with someone better.
However, some contemporary scholars have permitted hymen repair in case of rape victims and those who have repented (from zina), but it not permissible in the case of women who have not repented, because this is helping her to continue committing that sin. Moreover, it is preferable that such surgery be conducted by female doctors.
Long Answer: [There are] two scholarly opinions on the matter [of repairing the hymen]… The first opinion is that it is not permissible to repair the hymen at all. The second opinion is more detailed:
- If the rupture of the hymen was caused by an accident or by an action that is not considered in shari’ah to be a sin and was not caused by intercourse within the bounds of legal marriage, then we look at the following issue:
If it is deemed most likely that the girl will suffer hardship and unfair accusations because of the customs and traditions of her society, then doing this operation is obligatory. If that is not the case, then it is still better to do the operation.
- If the rupture was caused by intercourse within the bounds of legal marriage, as in the case of a woman who has been divorced, or by zina (illicit sexual activity i.e., outside the bounds of marriage) in a case that is well known among the people, then it is haram to do this operation.
- If the rupture was caused by zina in a case that is not well known among the people, then the doctor has the choice of either repairing it or not repairing it, although it is better to repair it.
The differences between these two opinions are confined to the first and third cases outlined above. With regard to the second case, they are agreed that this operation in haram in such situations.
Evidence for the first view (that it is completely haram):
- Repairing the hymen could lead to the mixing of lineages, as a woman could become pregnant from a previous liaison, then she gets married after having her hymen repaired, which then leads to the pregnancy being attributed to her husband, thus mixing with halal with haraam.
- Repairing the hymen involves looking at that part of the ‘awrah which is to be hidden most.
- Repairing the hymen makes it easy for young women to commit the sin of zina, because they know that they can have the hymen repaired afterward.
- There is the matter of good and bad consequences, or pros and cons. If it is possible to achieve good consequences whilst warding off the bad consequences, then we should do that. If the bad consequences outweigh the good consequences, we should ward off the bad consequences and not worry about the good consequences, as the fuqaha’ of Islam have stated. If we apply this principle and look at the evil consequences that result from repairing the hymen, we will understand that it is not permissible to do this operation because of the enormity of the evil consequences that result from it.
- One of the principles of Islamic shari’ah is that something harmful cannot be removed by something else that is also harmful. One of the implications of this principle is that “it is not permissible for a man to prevent his land from being flooded by diverting the floodwaters onto someone else’s land.” By the same token, it is not permissible for a girl and her mother to remove harm from themselves by having the hymen repaired and thus causing harm to the husband.
- The basic idea of repairing the hymen is not permissible according to shari’ah because it is a kind of deceit, and deceit is forbidden in Islam.
- Repairing the hymen paves the way for girls and their families to tell lies about the real reason why the hymen was ruptured and lying is also forbidden in Islam.
- Repairing the hymen paves the way for doctors to resort to performing abortions for the purposes of concealing sin.
Evidence for the second opinion:
- The texts indicate that it is permissible and is encouraged to conceal sins, and repairing the hymen helps to achieve that, in cases where this operation is permissible.
- If a woman who is innocent of any immoral action is allowed to have this operation so as to leave no room for suspicion, this will ward off injustice for her and will achieve the aim prescribed by shari’ah of thinking well of believing men and women.
- Repairing the hymen has to ward off harm. If a woman was left without having this operation done, and her husband were to notice that, it would cause trouble for her and her family, and if the matter became well known among people, the family may never be able to find marriage partners for their daughters. So, they are permitted to ward off harm because they are innocent in this case.
- The fact that a Muslim doctor may perform this operation in order to conceal the illusionary evidence has a general educational impact on society, especially where the psychology of young women is concerned.
- The objection of deception does not exist in cases where we have determined that it is permissible to repair the hymen.
Which view is more correct? The view which is more correct – and Allah knows best – is that which states that it is not permissible to repair the hymen at all. This is for the following reasons:
- The reports quoted as evidence by those who have this view are sahih.
- With regard to the evidence quoted by those who favor the second view, they may be dealt with as follows [responses in order of the argument presented above].
- The concealing that is required in Islam is that described in the texts as a concealing of sin, but this aim is not achieved by repairing the hymen. Basically it is haram because it involves uncovering the ‘awrah and opens the door to evil.
- Preventing the husband from thinking badly of the woman may be achieved by informing him of the situation before marriage. If he accepts it, this is fine; otherwise, Allah will compensate her with someone better.
- The evil consequence mentioned cannot be avoided entirely by doing this operation, because there is the possibility that the husband may find out about it, even if that happens by way of someone else telling him. He should be told about it, and if he accepts then the evil consequence is no longer an issue, as is also the case if he decides not to go ahead with the marriage.
- Even though there are some positive aspects to this concealment, there are also negative consequences, such as making it easy for women to commit zina. Warding off evil consequences takes priority over gaining benefits.
- We do not accept that there is no deception involved, because this hymen is renewed; it is not the original hymen. If we accept that there is no deception of the husband involved in cases where the hymen was broken as a result of jumping and so on, we cannot be sure that there is no deception in cases where it was broken as a result of an attack on the woman. Secondly, blocking the routes that could lead to harm, as mentioned by those who favor the first opinion, is a very important matter, especially in cases that have to do with the violation of the sanctity of private parts and the evil that can undoubtedly result from permitting the repair of hymens. Thirdly, the basic principle in Islam is that it is haram to uncover, touch, or look at that which is ‘awrah. The excuses mentioned by those who favor the second opinion are not strong enough to let operations to repair the hymen be exempted from this general rule. So, we have to adhere to this ruling, and say that it is haram to do operations to repair the hymen. [Lastly,] the evil consequence of false accusations being made can be dealt with by obtaining a medical certificate after the event to prove the woman’s innocence. This is the best way, and by doing this there is no longer any need to do an operation to repair the hymen.
For all of these reasons, it is not permissible for a doctor or a woman to do this kind of surgery, and Allah knows best. (See Ahkaam al-Jaraahah al-Tibbiyyah wa’l-Athaar al-Mutarattibah ‘alayhaa by Dr. Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Mukhtaar al-Shanqeeti, p. 403)
Some contemporary scholars have issued fatwas stating that surgery to repair the hymen is permissible in the case of rape victims and those who have repented (from zina), but it not permissible in the case of women who have not repented, because this is helping her to continue committing that sin. By the same token, a woman who has previously had intercourse is not permitted to do this operation because this is helping her to deceive and cheat a future husband, since he will think that she is a virgin when it is not the case.
(The above reply is based on the answer provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the topic)
Dr. Salah Al-Sawy, the Secretary-General for the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America said: “This issue is a matter of ijtihad (independent juristic reasoning). Our ruling is that, if her repentance is true, the jurist senses that she is sincere and all evidence and signs appear to indicate that, then there would be nothing wrong with granting special permission to her in this respect, so as to achieve the objectives in Shari`ah of covering up sin and helping someone repent…” In another reply, he stated that “…It is permissible to repair a hymen which has been broken due to accident, rape or compulsion (it is not permissible in Shari`ah to repair a hymen broken as a result of immoral acts having been committed, in order to block the means to immorality and fraud), and it would be preferable for that to be handled by female doctors…”
Dr. Muhammad Muwaffak Al Ghaylany, Member of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America said in one of his reply to a question on hymen repair from a sister who had repented from the sin of zina “…as for surgical operation, I think there is no Shari`ah objection to have it performed on you if this releases your psychological tension, but a woman doctor must perform it on you because this operation is not a necessity from Shari`ah perspective that would allow the medical examination to be done…”
Dr. Hatem al-Haj, Member of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America said that “…The loss of your hymen is not proof that you are not a virgin, for it can be broken by trauma and other things of the sort. As such, fiqh scholars are in consensus that zina cannot be proven merely by the absence of the hymen… [However,] corrective surgery is not permissible according to the opinion of many scholars for anyone who has actually committed zina since that would involve fraud and deceit…”
Also Refer Question # 104
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.