Hymen Repair Surgery

Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Islamic lecturer and author, states the following: “As regard your question, hymen is the thin piece of tissue that partially blocks the entrance to the vagina. It is sometimes called the maidenhead. The question posed is one of the issues that have been raised in the modern age, so we should consider each of the following two scholarly opinions on the matter and point out which one is believed to be the most correct.
The first opinion maintains that such operation is not permissible at all.
The second opinion somehow goes into details as it addresses the following points:
1. If the hymenal disruption or laceration is caused by an accident or by an action that is not considered in Shari`ah to be a sin, and is not caused by sexual intercourse within the bounds of legal marriage, then we’ll have to consider the point of putting the woman in question at stake, in the sense that her dignity will be marred, due to the tradition and custom of the society. In such a case the operation is obligatory. If that is not the case, carrying out the operation will merely be commendable.
2. If the defloration is caused by sexual intercourse within the bounds of legal marriage, as in the case of woman who has been divorced, or by Zina (adultery or fornication) known to people, then it is Haram (unlawful) to do this operation. But if the Zina is made secret in a way that it has not been revealed to people, then the doctor has the choice of either repairing it or not repairing it, although it is better to repair it. So the differences between these two opinions are confined to the first point in the second case relating to the Zina made secret and undisclosed to people. With regard to an open Zina, scholars have unanimously maintain that the operation is Haram in such situations.
The evidence put forward by the proponents of the first view (stating that hymenal operation is completely Haram), is as follows:
First: fixing the hymen could lead to mixing of lineage, that is if a woman gets pregnant from a previous liaison, then gets married after having her hymen fixed; this might lead to attributing pregnancy to a wrong man, thus mixing Halal (lawful) with Haram.
Second: repairing the hymen involves looking at that part of the `Awrah (parts of one’s body which should not be exposed in front of others) which is something unlawful in Islam.
Third: repairing the hymen makes it easy for young women to commit Zina, as long as they know that they can have the hymen repaired afterwards.
Fourth: there is the matter of good and bad consequences, or pros and cons. If it is possible to achieve the good consequences whilst warding off the bad consequences, then we should do that. If the bad consequences outweigh the good ones, we should ward off the bad consequences and not worry about the good ones, as the Muslim scholars have stated. Applying this principle in the light of the evil consequences that result from repairing the hymen, we will understand why scholars say that it is not permissible to do this operation because of the enormity of the evil consequences that result from it.
Fifth: one of the principles of Shari`ah is that harm cannot be removed by another harm. This rule implies that “it is not permissible for a man to prevent his land from being flooded by diverting waters onto someone else’s land.” By the same token, it is not permissible for a girl to remove harm from herself by having the hymen repaired and thus causing harm to a would-be husband.
Sixth: the basic idea of hymenal operation (after defloration) is not permissible according to Shari`ah because it is a kind of deceit, and deceit is forbidden in Islam.
Seventh: repairing the hymen paves the way for doctors to resort to performing abortions for the purposes of concealing sin.
As for the proponents of the second view (that hymen repair operation is permissible), their evidence are as follows:
First: the religious 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.
Second: 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 that people should be thinking well of believing men and women.
Third: 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.
Which view is more correct?
The view which carries weight – and Allah knows best – is the one stating that such operation is not permissible at all. This is due to the following reasons:
First: the evidence cited by the proponents of this view are authentic and genuine.
Second: with regard to the evidence cited by those who favour the second view, they are weak and may be rebutted as follows:
Concerning what they say that we are required to conceal sins, we’d like to state that the aims and objectives of Shari`ah in ordering us to conceal sins are not realized in repairing the hymen. Basically it is Haram because it involves opening the door to evil.
As regards what they say about preventing the husband from thinking badly of the woman, this 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 couldn’t be avoided entirely by doing this operation, because there is the possibility that the husband may find out later, he may know by chance or having someone else tell him. Therefore, he should be told about it beforehand, and if he accepts then the evil consequence is not longer an issue, as is also the case if he decides not to go ahead with the marriage.
Third: blocking the routes that could lead to harm, as mentioned by those who favour 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.
For all these reasons, it is not permissible for a doctor or a woman to do this kind of surgery.”
(See Ahkaam Al-Jirahah At-Tibbiyyah wa’l-Athar Al-Mutarattibah `alayha, by Dr. Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Ash-Shanqiti, p. 403)”