Chapter 9: Circumcision

The Circumcision of a Boy

What is circumcision?

The circumcision of a boy is the removal of a small piece of skin called the foreskin from the male sexual organ (penis). 

Circumcision is an obligatory action for all males in Islam.

  • It originated since the time of Prophet Ibraheem عليه السلام and he was commanded to do so by Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

كان اول من ضيف الضيف ابراهيم. و هو اول من اختتن على راس ثمانين سنة. واختتن

بالقدوم

Ibraheem was the first the host guests. He was also the first man to be circumcised at age 80. And he was circumcised with an axe. [Ibn Asakir, al-Albaani: saheeh]

  • It is a characteristic of the fitrah, the true pure human state.

Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

الفترة خمس: الختان و الاستحداد وقص الشارب وتقليم الاظفار ونتف الابط

The fitrah is 5 things: circumcision, shaving the pubic hair, trimming the moustache, clipping the nails, and plucking the armpit hair. [Bukhaari and Muslim]

  • It is a command from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم

Kulayb al-Juhani رضي الله عنه  said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said to him when he accepted Islam:

الق عنك شعر الكفر واختتن

Remove from yourself the hair of kufr and get circumcised.[Abu Dawood, Ahmad]

When is the best time to do the circumcision?

  • The earlier that it is done is better for the child. The healing is faster and it minimises the child’s pain and the exposure of his awrah.
  • It does not have to be on the 7th day. It can be done before that, on that day, or after that.
  • It should be done by the time the child reaches maturity. 

Al-Mawardi said, “The date of obligaation is the attainment of puberty.” [Fath ul-Baari 10/342]

The Circumcision of a Girl
  • It is an allowed practice, but Islam does not give any special emphasis to it.

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم mentioned it in many hadiths and never spoke against it.

Aaisha رضي الله عنها said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

اذا التقى الختانان وجب الغسل

If the two circumcised places (male and female private areas) meet, ghusl becomes obligatory. [Muslim, Ahmad]

Conclusion: The circumcision of the female is voluntary and allowed. There is no mention against it or encouragement to do it in the Sunnah. 

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:

There is a huge difference between circumcision and FGM (female genital mutilation). 

  • Circumcision of a female is the removal of a small bit of skin around the clitoris.
    In the We
  • FGM is the removal of the entire clitoris, the labia minora, and the labia majora as well as the reducing of the two natural openings to one small pinhole-sized opening until marriage.

This is haraam (forbidden).

 

Anas رضي الله عنه said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told a lady in Madina who did the circumcisions for other women:

اذا خفضت فاشمي ولا تنهكي

When you trim, do it slightly and not excessively. [Al-Hakim, At-Tabaraani, al-Albaani: saheeh]

 

  • Some things that are not allowed in regards to circumcision:
  • excessive removal of the skin from either the girl or boy (including FGM)
  • The scholars also spoke against having parties, celebrations, etc around the event of the circumcision. This is not known from the sunnah or the righteous predecessors and scholars and is an innovation.