Circumcision (Khitan, Khatna) In Islam (Sunnah)

Circumcision in Muslim community

1. Introduction:

New-born Circumcision is a common accepted practice that is greatly influenced by cultural and religious customs. It is the most frequent operation on males.

Prophet Sunnah:

This practice is recognised to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Therefore, circumcision acquired the status of Sunnah (Prophet’s tradition), although the tradition is recognised to the Prophet Abraham. Allah ordered Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to follow the religion of Abraham (pbuh). When Allah says, “Then we inspired you: ‘Follow the religion of your father Abraham, the upright in Faith.’ (Qur’an 16:123)”; and, thus, part of the religion of Abraham is circumcision.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) reported in validated books - Bukhari and Muslim: “The Prophet Abraham circumcised himself when he was eighty years old”.

2. Male circumcision is part of the cleanliness called fitrah (in Arabic).

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Five are the acts to fulfil to cleanliness called fitrah: Circumcision (Khatna, Khitan), shaving or clipping the hair at the pubes, cutting of the nails, shaving the hair under the armpits, and clipping (or cutting) the moustache.” cited in books of Muslim and Bukhari

The act of circumcision is referred to in Arabic as Taharah which translates to, righteousness, purity or cleanliness

Furthermore, the performance of circumcision as recommended in Islam is medically beneficial and reflects the insight of the Islamic accounts.

3. Age of circumcision:

The Prophet Muhammad recommended performing circumcision at an early age. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) circumcision was done for male children at the time of their Aqiqah (conventional celebration for the birth of a child which involves the sacrifice of an animal in greatness to Allah). The Prophet (pbuh) performed the Aqiqah of al-Hasan and al-Hussein (the prophet’s grand- sons) and circumcised them on the seventh day as narrated in al-Bayhaqi and Tabarani. If it is essential, circumcision can be delayed due to medical reasons. Our annual audits showed that ideal age of newborn circumcision is under 4 weeks old age 

The widespread practice in modern-day Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well as the majority of the Muslim world is that male children born in hospitals are circumcised before discharge. In Saudi Arabia, male well babies are circumcised on day 3 of their life. 

4. Male Circumcision in Islamic community in UK

Sunnah of circumcision represents an accepted basis for the origin of religious law.

I recommend we should circumcise all male well new born within 4 weeks of life to get best results and minimum complication unless there are medical reasons not to have circumcision

5. Medical benefits about circumcision

The higher prevalence of Urinary tract infections in uncircumcised boys under 1-year old boys has been well documented in many studies.

Study in sexual transmitted diseases including HIV that examined 26 research articles (from the USA, UK, Australia, Africa, India, and Peru) found circumcision safeguarded against these diseases and incidence is lower in circumcised men. Medical reports have proven that lack of circumcision increases the risk of inflammation of the glans (balanitis) and foreskin (posthitis) due to tight foreskin (phimosis).  In boys, incidence of balanitis in the uncircumcised is twice as high as in those who are circumcised in early stage.

In summary, circumcision has recommended by last Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and also has a clear medical advantage.s

Dr. A R Khan

Modified Dates 4/7/19

Ref:  surgical guide for circumcision 2012: DOI 10.1007/978-1-4471-2858-8

Doctor talking with young mother in the clinic