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The main reason given for the ritual is cleanliness. It is essential that every Muslim washes before praying. It is important that no urine is left on the body. Muslims believe the removal of the foreksin makes it easier to keep the penis clean because urine can't get trapped there. Supporters of circumcision also argue that excrements may collect under the foreskin which may lead to fatal diseases such as cancer. For the majority of Muslims, circumcision is seen as an introduction to the Islamic faith and a sign of belonging.

In Islam there is no fixed age for circumcision. The age at which it is performed varies depending on family, region and country. The preferred age is often seven although some Muslims are circumcised as early as the seventh day after birth and as late as puberty. There is no equivalent of a Jewish 'mohel' in Islam. Circumcisions are usually carried out in a clinic or hospital. The circumciser is not required to be a Muslim but he must be medically trained. In some Islamic countries circumcision is performed after Muslim boys have recited the whole of the Qur'an from start to finish.

In Malaysia, for example, the operation is a puberty rite that separates the boy from childhood and introduces him to adulthood.

Khitan (circumcision)

Circumcision is not compulsory in Islam but it is an important ritual aimed at improving cleanliness. It is strongly encouraged but not enforced. The ritual dates back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad. According to tradition Muhammad was born without a foreskin aposthetic. Some Muslims who practise circumcision see it as a way of being like him. Therefore, all Muslims - devouts, liberals or seculars - observe this ritual. Muslim are obliged to follow not only Allah's message in the Holy Qur'an but also what the Prophet said or did, as proof of their dedication to Islam.

Traditionally, adult converts to Islam were encouraged to undergo the operation but this practice is not universally endorsed, particularly if the procedure poses a health risk. Search term:. A hadith with similar wording is quoted, attributed to Usama al-Huthali, who directly quotes the Prophet pbuh as saying: "Circumcision is a sunna for men and a sign of respect for women".

Hadith scholar AJ-Iraqi comments on the status of this hadith: "It is related by Ahmad and Al-Baihaqi, with a weak chain of transmission".

Islamic ruling on male and female circumcision

Ibn Hajar says, "According to one opinion of the Shafie school of thought, it is not required for women. Al-Mawardi describes it as follows: "Female circumcision is cutting a fold of skin in the upper part of the vagina, which resembles a fruit stone or a rooster comb, but without removing the whole fold". AI-Nawawi says: "It is cutting off the lowest part of the fold of skin in the upper part of the vagina". However, female circumcision as currently practised in some Islamic countries in Africa, does not observe the limitation set by scholars, but goes much further.

So-called Pharaonic circumcision infibulation 35 is still common in certain countries. Everything is removed, with the labia and the organ itself being mutilated and just an opening left for urine and blood. Physicians tell us that female circumcision, and infibulation in particular , has severe consequences, which are summed up as follows This form of circumcision is a distortion of the female organ that has a terrible psychological effect on women, causing depression, nervous tension, and anxiety.

It weakens the sexual desire, and being so, when the girl gets married, it spoils marital life for her and becomes a major obstacle in the way of her sexual satisfaction. It may cause infection and introduce germs into a woman's pelvis when it is performed by ignorant practitioners and at locations with poor sanitary conditions and with non-sterilized instruments. A girl exposed to such conditions usually gets sick and is exposed to inflammations, and her fallopian tubes become blocked. She may suffer acute, often fatal, bleeding after the operation.

I may comment here that although using non-sterilized instruments is not restricted to female circumcision, but is also common in male circumcision, the reason I mention it here is that it is currently common in Sudan and other countries.

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It may result in sterility. If i t does not and the woman concerned gets pregnant, delivery will be difficult, and will have to be surgical. As Dr Salah Abu Bakr37 says, female circumcision has adverse effects on the urinary system, and may cause a urinary fistula, which causes, in turn, retention of the urine and the menstrual blood. This hadith is one of the basic principles of this True Religion. The conclusion to be reached is that female circumcision is neither required nor is it an obligation nor a sunna.


This is the view taken by a great number of scholars in the absence of any hadith that may be authentically attributed to the Prophet pbuh. Even those who regard female circumcision as being legitimate oppose its deviant forms. I should mention here that some scholars have made a distinction between various countries with regard to the ruling concerning it. Ibn al-Haj says in Al-madkhal: "There are different views concerning women, whether circumcision should be performed for them in general or distinction is to be made between women of the east, in whose case it should be applied, and women of the west, in whose case there is no need for it, because, unlike women of the east, they do not have the additional flap of skin which is supposed to be cut".

This is a good point, and scholars deal with it in the case of male children as well, where they say that if a boy is born without the flap of skin, nothing is required in his case. A specialist in the medical profession once told me that in certain countries this additional fold in women gets so big that it becomes harmful. He says he has seen a case like that and has removed the fold.

In cases of this sort, no objection can be made to female circumcision as long as proper sanitary conditions are observed. When all is taken into consideration, since female circumcision involves these certain and possible hazards, there is no doubt that it is better not to do it. If there is need to remove something that is oversized, it may be removed, but the person who removes it should avoid any excess. These are the points I planned to discuss briefl y in this paper. There are aspects t of the subject-such as the history of circumcision, its position in ancient cultures, I the social habits involved, the celebrations held, and so on-which I have not I dealt with, because they have no bearing on the actual problem that people face.

I have appended to my paper the treatise written by Sudanese Professor Alliin Dawood, because of its great value. It was originally published in Khartoum.

I pray God to guide me and grant me sound judgement, and I pray that this paper and its companion piece be of benefit. I pray God to make all our endeavours dedicated solely to His service. It is God who speaks the truth and guides people along the right path. Praise be to God, the Lord of all the worlds. Abadi, Shams al-Haq al-Azhim. Abd AI-Razzaq. Al-musanaf Habib al-Rahman al-Aazhami, ed. Beirut, AH.

Abu Dawoods anthology of authentic hadith. Muhammad Naser al-Din al-Albani, ed. Arab Office of Education, AH. Abu Dawoods sunnas. Muhammad Muhyi al-Din Abd al-Hamid, ed. Muhammad Naser al- Irwaa al-ghalil. Beirut: Islamic Office, AH. Baihaqi, AI-. The grand sunnas.

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Bakri, Abu Bakr a1-Sayyed, al-I'aanat al-talibin. Darmis sunnas, AI-. Muhammad Ahmad Dahman, ed. Dawood, al-Amin. Gha1ayibi, Al-. A comprehensive collection of Arabic lessons. Haithami, Al-. Mujamma al-zawaed. Hakem, AI-. Hassan, Abbas. Comprehensive gram'nar.