|Part of a series on|
Khitan (Arabic: ختان) or Khatna (Arabic: ختنة) is the term for male and female circumcision carried out as an Islamic rite by Muslims. Male circumcision is widespread in Islam and accepted as established practice by all Islamic schools of jurisprudence. It is considered a sign of belonging to the wider Islamic community. Views on female circumcision are very disparate and significantly fewer Muslim schools regard it as a religious requirement. Khitan, in some of parts of the world, including Indonesia and Malaysia, may also refer to the female genital mutilation (properly khafḍ).
Islamic male circumcision is analogous but not identical to Jewish circumcision. Islam is currently the largest single religious group in which the practice is widespread, and although circumcision is not mentioned in the Qur'an itself, it is mentioned in the hadith and the sunnah. Whether or not it should be carried out after converting to Islam is debated among Islamic scholars.
The Qur'an itself does not mention circumcision explicitly in any verse. In the time of the Islamic prophet Muhammad circumcision of men was carried out by most pagan Arabian tribes and female circumcision by some, and male circumcision by Jews for religious reasons. This has also been attested by Al-Jahiz, as well as by Josephus.
According to some traditions Muhammad was born without a foreskin (aposthetic), while others maintain that his grandfather Abd-al-Muttalib circumcised him when he was seven days old. Many of his early disciples were circumcised to symbolize their inclusion within the emerging Islamic community. Some accounts report that Heraclius, Emperor of Byzantium, had referred to Muhammad as the "leader of the circumcised people".
Some hadith mentions circumcision in a list of practices known as fitra (acts considered to be of a refined person). Abu Hurayra, a companion of Muhammad, was quoted saying, "Five things are fitra: circumcision, shaving pubic hair with a razor, trimming the mustache, paring one's nails and plucking the hair from one's armpits" (reported in the hadiths of Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim). So, despite its absence from the Qur'an, it has been a religious custom from the beginning of Islam. However, there are other hadiths which do not name circumcision as part of the characteristics of fitra and yet another hadith which names ten characteristics, again without naming circumcision; in Sahih Muslim, Aisha is quoted "The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Ten are the acts according to fitra: clipping the mustache, letting the beard grow, using toothpicks, snuffing water in the nose, cutting the nails, washing the finger joints, plucking the hair under the armpits, shaving pubic hair and cleaning one's private parts with water. The narrator said: I have forgotten the tenth, but it may have been rinsing the mouth." Hence, the different hadiths do not correspond on whether circumcision is part of fitra or not.
Muhammad's wife Aisha supposedly quotes Muhammad as saying that "ablution becomes necessary if the two circumcised members touch". Furthermore, Muhammad is reported to have once advised a female circumciser not to cut off the entire clitoris during female circumcision.
According to some hadith Muhammad supposedly circumcised his grandsons Hasan and Husayn on the seventh day after their birth. Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim also quote from Muhammad that Prophet Abraham performed his own circumcision at the age of eighty. It is also reported by Abu Dawud and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal that Muhammad stated that circumcision was a "law for men and a preservation of honor for women".
Circumcision was introduced to many lands for the first time through Islam itself following the Muslim conquests under the Rashidun, who were the companions and contemporaries of Muhammad. An example are the Persians who did not practice circumcision before the advent of Islam. Post-Islamic converts such as Afshin were found guilty in trials of remaining uncircumcised, this further indicates that the practice was deemed compulsory by the early Muslims.
Amongst Ulema (Muslim legal scholars), there are differing opinions about the compulsion of circumcision in Sharia (Islamic law). Imams Abū Ḥanīfa, founder of the Hanafi school of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), and Malik ibn Anas, maintain that circumcision is a Sunnah Mu'akkadah—not obligatory but highly recommended. The Shafi`i and Hanbali schools see it as binding on all Muslims.
Most Shia traditions regard the practice as obligatory. They rely on sayings that come from classical Shia authors. In one narration Muhammad was asked if an uncircumcised man could go to pilgrimage. He answered "not as long as he is not circumcised". They quote Ali as saying: "If a man becomes Muslim, he must submit to circumcision even if he is 80 years old". Another narration from Al-Sadiq says: "Circumcise your sons when they are seven days old as it is cleaner (athar) and the flesh grows faster and because the earth hates the urine of the uncircumcised". It is also believed that the urine of the uncircumcised is impure, while if one prays with unclean genitals their prayer may not be considered as acceptable, even of those who have been circumcised, meaning that it may have to be repeated again at a time when the believer has purified themselves and removed the impurity. Another hadith of Muhammad states: "the earth cries out to God in anguish because of the urine of the uncircumcised", and that "the earth becomes defiled from the urine of the uncircumcised for forty days".
Male and Female Circumcision amoungst Dawoodi Bohra Fatimid Shias
Like male circumcision, female circumcision is a religious requirement of the Dawoodi Bohras. Both male and female circumcision (Arabic khatna and khafd respectively) find mention in books of jurisprudence written in the 10th century, including in Daim al-Islam, the principal book of Ismaili Fatimid jurisprudence written by the Chief Justice of the Fatimid Imam Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah. The book traces the custom for both genders to the sayings of Prophet Muhammad and his successor (according to the Shia) Ali ibn Abi Talib.
Religious Origins: Female circumcision is carried out on the prepuce, the foreskin over the clitoris. This is analogous to male circumcision, which is also done on the foreskin; the difference being that whist in male circumcision the entire foreskin is removed, in female circumcision the procedure is less invasive. It ranges from a symbolic touch to a tiny excision. Another difference is that whilst boys can be circumcised at any age, including in infancy, girls can only be circumcised after after the age of seven. It is forbidden to undertake a procedure on any other part of the female genitalia - the clitoris itself is untouched. This form of female circumcision is also commonly practiced by Sunni Muslims of the Shafi’i school of thought in Indonesia, Malaysia, Kurdistan and Egypt. Both male and female circumcisions are done to enhance religious purity, a practice that traces its roots to Abrahamic traditions, which the Jews and Christians share. Claims that female circumcision is designed to curb the woman’s sexuality and is patriarchal in nature have no foundation in the religious books of the Dawoodi Bohras, which if anything, appear to indicate that an enhancement of sexual sensitivity is amongst the advantages of female circumcision. Given the prevalence of clitoral unhooding in the West, where the prepuce is substantially reduced to enhance sexual pleasure, this assertion is not unreasonable.
Female Circumcision and FGM: The World Health Organization (WHO) defines any procedure to the prepuce, however minor, as Type 1a or Type 4 mutilation, the former covering excision and the latter a nick, a prick or a cut. This definition therefore puts the female circumcision practiced by the Dawoodi Bohras into the ambit of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). There have been several calls from medical professionals and sociologists for minor procedures to be declared safe and be removed from WHO’s definition of FGM.
Self imposed ban on female circumcision: Dawoodi Bohras have been subject to pressures by anti-FGM lobbyists to cease the practice of female circumcision despite the procedure being the least invasive of the wide range of procedures collectively labelled FGM, partly because the Dawoodi Bohras are easily identifiable and partly because of internal dissension, both of which make them easy targets. In Australia, the first successful prosecution under the New South Wales laws specific to FGM was of a Dawoodi Bohra mother and Dawoodi Bohra circumciser, for having carried out the circumcision on two girls. Despite expert medical examinations, no evidence was found of any injury to the two girls, raising the question as to how such a procedure could be termed a mutilation. Notwithstanding this lack of evidence, the conviction took place in November 2015, which prompted Dawoodi Bohra congregations all over the world to pass resolutions strictly instructing their members not to undertake female circumcision where it was illegal. Most Dawoodi Bohras maintain that this was a heavy price to pay for a practice they considered unfairly and unnecessarily included in the FGM definition.
Media Campaign: There has been a media campaign by a small group of women, born to Bohra families who claim to have been injured or traumatised by female circumcision. This campaign has been vociferous and in April 2016, targeted the head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, claiming that he had been encouraging the practice, even where it was illegal. This claim received significant media coverage. In May 2016, Dawat-e-Hadiyah, the administration offices of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin issued a statement, which reaffirmed that both male and female circumcision were part of the religion but reiterated that the law of the land must be followed, thereby banning female circumcision wherever it was illegal.
Time for circumcision
Islamic sources do not fix a particular time for circumcision. It depends on family, region and country. A majority of Ulema however take the view that parents should get their child circumcised before the age of ten. The preferred age is usually seven although some Muslims are circumcised as early as on the seventh day after birth and as late as at the commencement of puberty.
Whereas Jewish circumcision is closely bound by ritual timing and tradition, in Islam there is no fixed age for circumcision. The age when boys get circumcised, and the procedures used, tend to change across cultures, families, and time. In some Islamic countries, circumcision is performed on Muslim boys after they have learned to recite the whole Qur'an from start to finish. In Malaysia and other regions, the boy usually undergoes the operation between the ages of ten and twelve, and is thus a puberty rite, serving to introduce him into the new status of an adult. The procedure is sometimes semi-public, accompanied with music, special foods, and much festivity.
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. The position of the scar is usually neither fully "low" nor fully "high", and the skin left is rather loose. However, due to a relatively secular approach to circumcision in the Muslim world, the "styles" of the Islamic circumcision vary on every individual, and change in the light on new medical knowledge.
In Indonesia, after a child is circumcised, there is a feast called Perayaan Sunatan, but some ulemas in Indonesia say this is bid‘ah whereas most of them say it is not. In Turkey also widely celebrated and called "Sunnet Toreni" "Sunnet mevludu".
Female genital mutilation
Khafḍ or k̲h̲ifāḍ, is the Arabic word for circumcision usually used for women rather than men. It is also referred to as khitān for both sexes. Today the word is used to mean any of the forms of female genital mutilation from Type 1a to Type 4. In many communities of the world, khafd is a rite of passage and refers to excision of the female genitalia. There are 4 types of FGM that range from the least severe partial removal of the prepuce skin over the clitoris to very severe excision and infibulation procedures. Over 125 million women, primarily in Africa, Middle East and Parts of Southeast Asia and South Asia are currently known to have undergone FGM, with Egypt recording the highest number of khafd women in the world.
- Ibn Manẓūr, Muḥammad ibn Mukarram (1311). Lisan Al-Arab. Qumm, Iran. p. 1102. ISBN 9953131953.
- Lane, Edward William (1863). Arabic-English Lexicon. London: Willams & Norgate. p. 703. ISBN 8120601076.
- khitān Encyclopedia Britannica (2009)
- "Circumcision of boys". Religion & ethics—Islam. BBC. 2006-03-24. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
-  Encyclopedia Britannica (2009)
- “A Tiny Cut”: Female Circumcision in South East Asia The Islamic Monthly (March 12, 2013)
- "Male circumcision - the Islamic View". Converting to Islam. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- "Is Circumcision obligatory after conversion?". Islamicinvitationcentre.com. Archived from the original on 2010-12-27. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- "Considering Converting: Is it necessary to be circumcised?". Qa.sunnipath.com. 2005-07-03. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- "Circumcision for Converts". Qa.sunnipath.com. 2007-03-21. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- W. La Barre, The Ghost Dance, London, 1972
- Volume II of al-Hayawan by Jahiz, ed. A. M. Harun, 7 vols., Cairo, 1938
- The Works of Flavius Josephus, translated by W. Whiston, 2 vols., London, 1858
- "Religions - Islam: Circumcision of boys". BBC. 2009-08-13. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
- Al-Halabi, Ali Ibn-Burhan-al-Din. Alsirah al-halabiyyah. Vol.1 Beirut: Al-maktabah al-islamiyyah. (n.d.): 54-5
- Sahih Bukhari, vol.1, book 1, no. 6
- "Hadith - Book of Dress - Sahih al-Bukhari - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم)". sunnah.com.
- "Hadith - The Book of Purification - Sahih Muslim - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم)". sunnah.com.
- Malik ibn Anas, Ketab al-mowatta, Volume I, pages 45-47, traditions 70-75. ed. M.F. Abd-al-Baqi, Cairo
- Ibn Majah, Kitab Sunan, ed. M. F. Abd-al-Baqi, Cairo, 1972, Page 199 Volume I
- Page 28 of Volume VII of al-Hayawan by Jahiz, ed. A. M. Harun, 7 vols., Cairo, 1938
- Al-Amili, Muhammad Ibn Hasan Al-Hur. Wasa'il al-shi'ah ila tahsil masa'il al-shariah. Vol 15. Tehran, Al-Maktabah al-Islamiyyah, 1982
- Sahih Bukhari Hadith No. 575, and Muslim's anthology of authentic hadith, IV, item 2370.
- Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75; Abu Dawud, Adab 167
- Encyclopædia Iranica, Circumcision
- Page 766 of the Volume II of Al-Basaer wa al-Dhakha'ir, Abu Hayyan Tawhidi, Kaylānī, Damascus, 1964
- "Medical Ethics of Male Circumcision". Web.archive.org. 2010-05-30. Archived from the original on 2010-05-30. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- Book 90 of Hilyat ul-muttaqeen
- Al-Kalini, Abu-Ja'afar Muhammad Ibn-Yaqub. Al-furu'min al-kafi. Vol. 6 Tehran: Dar al-kutub al-islamiyyah. 1981:35
- Al-Kalini, Abu-Ja'afar Muhammad Ibn-Yaqub. Al-furu'min al-kafi. Vol. 6 Tehran: Dar al-kutub al-islamiyyah. 1981:34
- DS Hellsten. Male and Female Circumcision: Medical, Legal and Ethical Considerations in Pediatric Practice. Page 147
- Ibn Manẓūr, Muḥammad ibn Mukarram (1311). "Arabic root word ختن". Lisan Al-Arab. Qumm, Iran. p. 1102. ISBN 9953131953.
ختن : ختن الغلام والجارية يختنهما ويختنهما ختنا ، والاسم الختان والختانة ، وهو مختون ... والختان : موضع الختن من الذكر ، وموضع القطع من نواة الجارية . قال أبو منصور : هو موضع القطع من الذكر والأنثى ; ومنه الحديث المروي : إذا التقى الختانان فقد وجب الغسل
- Poonawala, Ismail K.H. The Pillars of Islam: Volume I: Ibadat: Acts of Devotion and Religious Observances. Oxford India Paperbacks. ISBN 0195684354.
- No'man, Al-Qadi. Daim al Islam. دار المعارف Tehqeeq by Asif Fayzee. p. 124.
- "Khafd text from Daim al-Islam". Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- Poonawala, Ismail K.H. The Pillars of Islam: Volume I: Ibadat: Acts of Devotion and Religious Observances. Oxford India Paperbacks. p. 154. ISBN 0195684354.
- "Female Circumcision–The Hidden Truth". Asiff Hussein. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- Ibn Manẓūr, Muḥammad ibn Mukarram (1311). "Arabic root word شمم". Lisan Al-Arab. Qumm, Iran. p. 2334. ISBN 9953131953.
وأشم الحجام الختان ، والخافضة البظر : أخذا منهما قليلا . وفي حديث النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال لأم عطية: إذا خفضت فأشمي ولا تنهكي ، فإنه أضوأ للوجه وأحظى لها عند الزوج قوله : ولا تنهكي أي لا تأخذي من البظر كثيرا شبه القطع اليسير بإشمام الرائحة والنهك بالمبالغة فيه ، أي اقطعي بعض النواة ولا تستأصليها
- "Clitoral Unhooding". Retrieved 29 May 2016.
- Classification of female genital mutilation WHO, (June 2016)
- Arora, Kavita Shah; Jacobs, Allan J (22 February 2016). "Female genital alteration: a compromise solution". Journal of Medical Ethics.
- "Female genital cutting The unkindest cut". The Economist.
- "Defence team in Australia's first FGM trial claim it is 'much ado about nothing'". The Guardian. 14 September 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2016. Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; name "medical_evidence_was_inconclusive" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
- "Bohra Clergy Bows to Australian SC, cries halt to FMG". Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- "After Australia, Bohras in London asked to stop practising female circumcision". Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- "New York Jamaat FGM Resolution". Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- "Toronto Jamaat FGM Resolutions". Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- "Bohra cleric urges female genital mutilation?". Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- "CLARIFING HIS STAND - Circumcision a religious rite, but abide by law of country: Syedna". Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- "Circumcision - Does the Quran Approve it? - Genital Mutilation | ختان | Khitan | Islam | Sunnah | Hadith | Khatna | Musolmani | Sunat | Sirkumsisi | Khatan | Tuli | Tule | Pagtutuli | Sunatan | Sünnet | Urkwtha | Tahara | Touhur | طهارة | طهور". QuranicPath. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
- "Revisionist Muslim « For All Monotheists". Allmonotheists.com. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
- Male and female circumcision, medical, legal, and ethical considerations George C. Denniston, Frederick Mansfield Hodges
- "Circumcision". Islamicvoice.com. 2000-03-28. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- "Traditional Muslim Male Circumcision—Performed by Arabs, Turkish, Malaysian and Others of This Faith". Retrieved 2008-07-29.
- "Style choices in relation to Religious Beliefs".
- K̲h̲afḍ, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Brill Online, 2013
- E. J. Van Donze (1994), Islamic Desk Reference (Compiled from Encyclopedia of Islam), ISBN 9004097384, Brill (Netherlands), page 69
- Gerald R. Hawting (2006), The Development of Islamic Ritual, ISBN 978-0860787129, page 358-361
- Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting UNICEF, (July 2013)
Media related to Circumcision at Wikimedia Commons