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Section V: Circumcision (Khitan)

Firstly: Defining Circumcision
Khitan linguistically: is cutting.
Khitan technically: for the man, is the cutting off of the foreskin covering the head of the penis. For the woman, it is cutting off a sliver of flesh from the clitoris (bazr), situated above the vagina above the urethral opening.
Secondly: The Legality of Circumcision
Circumcision in principle is legislated, and it is one of the sunan of the fitrah. Consensus has been quoted on this matter by: Ibn Hazm, Ibn al-`Araby, Ibn Taymiyyah, and al-Shawkani.
Thirdly: The Ruling of Circumcision for Men
Circumcision is wajib for men. This is the position of Shafi`is, Hanbalis, and the choice of Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn `Uthaymin, the Permanent Committee's verdict, and the opinion of a great number of scholars.
Fourthly: The Ruling of Circumcision for Women
Circumcision is mustahabb for women. This is the position of the Hanafis, Malikis, an opinion among the Shafi`is, and an opinion among the Hanbalis. It is also the choice of al-Shawkani, Ibn Baz, and Ibn `Uthaymin, as well as being the opinion of the majority of scholars.
Fifthly: Whoever Cannot Bear Circumcision
Whoever does not have the physical capacity to bear circumcision, such that he believes he is to most likely either die or be harmed from being circumcised, like one who accepts Islam as an old man, [123] A verdict from the Permanent Committee states: “Circumcision is one of the sunan of the fitrah for both men and women. Those who call to the path of Allah ought to not mention it when inviting non-Muslims to Islam if this is something which would make them put off from it, since Islam and worship is accepted from the uncircumcised as well. Once Islam becomes firm in their heart, then they should be informed of circumcision.” Verdicts of the Permanent Committee – The First Collection (136/5). or is physically weak, then circumcision is no longer wajib upon him. This is until or if he reaches a state where it is believed he can most likely bear it. This is the position of the majority: Hanafis, Shafi`is, Hanbalis, and an opinion among the Malikis.
Sixthly: Whoever is Born Circumcised
If a person is born circumcised, then there is no operation to take place. [124] Ibn al-Qayyim said: “It is very rare for a boy to be born without foreskin. Even then, it would not be completely not there. Rather, the tip of the head of the penis would be visible including the urethral opening. Therefore, he should be circumcised such that all of the head of the penis is visible. If the head is already fully showing, then this is the one for whom there is no cutting to take place.” Tuhfat al-Mawdud, p. 197. Ibn al-Qayyim quotes a consensus over the lack of need for a circumcision if one is born circumcised, and mentions a difference of opinion over later scholars.
Seventhly: Circumcising the Dead
There is no circumcision to be carried out for a dead person, and this is by agreement of the four schools of jurisprudence.
Eighthly: What is Considered to be Circumcision
1. Male circumcision
Male circumcision is fulfilled when the extra foreskin covering the head of the penis is cut off, until all the head is visible. The foreskin is known as the qulfah or ghurlah. This is the position of the Malikis, Shafi`is, an opinion among the Hanbalis chosen by Ibn al-Qayyim, and it is the verdict of the Permanent Committee.
2. Female circumcision
Female circumcision is fulfilled when a sliver of the clitoris is cut off, situated above the urethral opening at the top of the vagina, similar in appearance to a cockerel's comb. There should not be excessiveness in cutting. This is by agreement of the four schools of jurisprudence.
Ninthly: Time for Circumcision
1. The time at which circumcision is wajib
Circumcision becomes wajib at puberty. This is the position of the Shafi`is, Hanbalis, and an opinion among the Hanafis. It is the choice of Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, and Ibn Baz.
2. Specifying the time for circumcision
There is nothing authentic in specifying a time for circumcision, nor a sunnah to be followed. Rather there is freedom on the matter if is befour puberty , while prioritising the wellbeing of the one to be circumcised.
Tenthly: Rulings of the Uncircumcised (Aqlaf)
1. Defining the uncircumcised
Aqlaf: is one who has not been circumcised. The qulfah is the foreskin covering the head of the penis, and is the part cut off in circumcision.
2. Purification for the uncircumcised
The uncircumcised must clean underneath foreskin when performing istinja’. This is the position of the Shafi`is, Hanbalis, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani, al-Kasani, and Ibn Taymiyyah.


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