As Salaamu Alaikum,
I have recently been informed of an opinion on circumcision in Islam that it is a Sunnah for both men and women. Does it mean, according to this opinion, that it will not be sinful for a man to choose not to be circumcised despite already being born as a Muslim since birth? This is under a condition that the man ensures his hygienic aspects are always met. Is there any more specific details on this opinion which we must be aware of and understand? Hoping to find a light to this question. Thank you very much.
Wa Alaikum As Salaam,
Based on traditions of the Prophet (S.A.S), some scholars have stated that circumcision for men is Sunnah and for women it is virtuous. (Some scholars have stated that for females, it is also Sunnah). The view that it is Sunnah for men is held by Imam Abu Hanifah, Hasan Basri and some scholars of the Madhhab of Imam Ahmad. These scholars have based their opinion on the Hadith of the Prophet (S.A.S) in which he said, ‘Circumcision is Sunnah for men and a virtue for women’. (Ahmad, Baihaqi). It is also narrated from the Prophet (S.A.S) that he said, ‘There are five acts which conform to the pure nature: circumcision, removing the pubic hair, clipping the nails, removing the underarm hair and trimming the moustache’. (Bukhari, Muslim).
This ruling that it is Sunnah for men however, must not be taken lightly. In fact, other great Imams and expert scholars of Islamic law and Hadith have considered it to be Wajib (essential) for males. This is the official verdict of Imam Shafi, Ahmad and Malik. Imam Malik did not consider it allowed for an uncircumcised man to lead Salah or to give evidence. These Imams have based their view on several traditions. In this regard, it is narrated that once a person who had recently accepted Islam came to the Prophet (S.A.S) and informed him that he had accepted Islam. Upon this, the Prophet (S.A.S) said to him, ‘Remove the hair grown during kufr (disbelief) and circumcise’ (Abu Dawood). In another narration, Harb has narrated in his rulings from Imam Az Zuhri that he stated that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘Whoever accepts Islam, let him circumcise, even if he is old’ (Tuhfatul Mawdood bi Ahkam Al Mawlood-Ibn Al Qayyim). Imam Al Baihaqi has also narrated from Az Zuhri that he stated that the Prophet (S.A.S) said. ‘Whoever accepts Islam, then let him circumcise’ (Imam Suyuti in Ad Durrul Manthoor, Ibn Hajr in Talkhees Al Habeer). Imam Al Bukhari has mentioned in his ‘Al Adab Al Mufrad’ that Ibn Shihab Az Zuhri said, ‘When a man accepted Islam at the time of the Prophet (S.A.S), he used to be instructed to circumcise even if he was old’. It is also narrated in the Hadith of Abu Hurairah (R.A) that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘Ibrahim (A.S) became circumcised when he was 80 years of age. (Sahih Al Bukhari)
While writing on this topic, the great scholar Allamah Khattabi states, ‘Although circumcision may fall under the category of Sunnah, many of the great Imams and leading jurist experts and scholars of Hadith have considered it to be wajib (essential).
The reason is that circumcision (for the male) is a media through which a Muslim is differentiated from a non-Muslim. An uncircumcised person’s state of cleanliness and Salah may always be questionable since the foreskin may retain drops of urine, if not washed properly. In this case, the person’s wudhu and Salah will be incomplete. It is for this reason, many of the former and latter scholars have disallowed an uncircumcised person from leading Salah.
So based on these explanations, it is evident that a male, even though he has reached the age of puberty, must try his best to get his circumcision done if it was not done in the early part of his life. If he leaves it out without a valid reason, and shows total disregard to it, then by not doing it, he will be sinful (Qamoos Al Fiqh).
However, if one has a valid reason for not doing circumcision, then he will not be sinful provided that he ensures that impurities do not remain on his private organ, and he washes himself properly, especially when he is going to perform Salah and engages in other acts of worship.
If a person is an adult and it becomes painful and difficult for him to circumcise, the scholars have given an allowance for him to leave it out. (Halal Wa Haram – (Allama Khalid Saifullah Rahmani) Page 457 Zam Zam Karachi 2004).
Likewise, if due to the state and condition of a person, a doctor advises him not to circumcise because of possible harms and difficulties, then it will be allowed for him to leave it out.
In all these conditions/situations where a person may not be circumcised, it is essential for him to remove all impurities of urine or discharge (fluid) from his private organ which may remain under the foreskin (of his private organ), by washing it properly.
And Allah Knows best
Mufti Waseem Khan
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.