Circumcision – Shaykh Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali

As for circumcision (khitan) for the male (i.e. removing excess skin from the male prepuce – i.e. head of the penis), it is considered to be a stressed sunnah in our madhhab. But Imam Shafi’i considered it to be compulsory. As for female circumcision (khifad), it is also considered to be recommended (mandub), but it
is not stressed.

The female circumcision discussed here is not what has been termed as ‘mutilation’ that happens to many women in countries like Sudan which is the practice involving the removal of most or all of the external genitalia and then the sewing of the vaginal opening – all done on young girls aged 7-11. This practice has recently been outlawed in Sudan from what I understand.

What we mean here is the removal of a minuscule segment of skin from the female prepuce (i.e.a fold of skin covering the tip of the clitoris), provided no harm is done. And due to its difficulty, no emphasis is placed on it. Islam found this practice in place when it came. And sustaining the practice merely shows Islam’s tolerance of some pre-Islamic customs.

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