Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
Female circumcision is it itself obligatory in the Shafi`i school, and Shaykh Nuh Keller’s translation in the Reliance of the Traveler is accurate and defines the meaning well.
It does not call for the removal of the clitoris (badhr), but rather a slight trimming of it (khafad) to increase sexual pleasure. If the removal of the clitoris was intended, the word badhr would have been used alone. See the following link:
Since the correct practice has become so lost, and has deviated in many cultures to gross mutilation, many opt to take the Hanbali or Hanafi dispensation, because the former considers it a sunna while the latter considers it a courtesy to the husband. [And living Shafi`i scholars in many lands mention that given that the correct practice has become an almost-lost art, the ruling within the school of the prevalent forms of circumcision would be impermissibility - ed.]
And Allah knows best.
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