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Intro - the nature of circumcision, statistics, distribution, comparative stats (Muslims, Xtians, Jews, etc)

arabic word for male circumcision

Male Circumcision: truly reliable figures on the extent of circumcision in the world do not exist. In 1996, during the 4th international symposium held in Lausanne, the following figures were distributed: each year, 13,300,000 male children are circumcised in the world. This makes an average of:

1,100,000 childre per month

36,438 per day

1,518 per hour

25 per minute.

Another source indicates that 23% of the male population of the world is cricumcised, which makes a toatl of 650 million. ( “


“Then We revealed to you, [O Muhammad], to follow the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth; and he was not of those who associate with Allah .” Koran 16:123

There is no explicit reference to Male Genital Mutilation in the Qur'an. However, the Quran 30:30 requires Muslims to 'adhere to the fitrah'.

So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah (فطرة or فطرت) of Allah upon which He has created (فطر) [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah . That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know.

The word 'fitrah appears only this once in the Qur'an, and is left undefined and unexplained. To know what 'fitrah means, traditional scholars turned to hadith which make use of the word. Note that this hadith uses the Arabic word khitan (ختان) for 'circumcision'.

Abu Hurayrah said: I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “The fitrah is five things – or five things are part of the fitrah – circumcision [اخْتُتِنَّ - khitan], shaving the pubes, trimming the moustache, cutting the nails and plucking the armpit hairs.”

“...the Koran mentions 69 times Abraham's name, who is considered a “good example” to follow (60:4), without ever speaking of circumcision.”


This is an inventory of sahih and hasan Hadith which touch exclusively on Male Genital Mutilation ( or 'circumcision').

It should not be taken as comprehensive.

To compile it I used the wild-card search for “circumc*” on the site

This search gave 50 results.

“Abu Hurayrah said: I heard the Prophet say: “The fitrah is five things – or five things are part of the fitrah – circumcision, shaving the pubes, trimming the moustache, cutting the nails and plucking the armpit hairs.”” Bukhari 77:106


[…]He (Abu Musa, the narrator) said: I got up (and went) to ‘A’isha and sought her permission and it was granted, and I said to her: 0 Mother, or Mother of the Faithful, I want to ask you about a matter on which I feel shy. She said: Don’t feel shy of asking me about a thing which you can ask your mother, who gave you birth, for I am too your mother. Upon this I said: What makes a bath obligatory for a person? She replied: You have come across one well informed! The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When anyone sits amidst four parts (of the woman) and the circumcised parts touch each other a bath becomes obligatory.” Sahih Muslim 3:684


“Abu al- Malih ibn `Usama’s father relates that the Prophet said: “Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women.”” Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75; Abu Dawud, Adab 167


There were many Hadith where the matn was essenitally the same. Rather than reproducing each one of these I have quoted a 'representative' Hadith, and listed links to the other versions beneath.

...The sub narrator adds, "Ibn An-Natur was the Governor of llya' (Jerusalem) and Heraclius was the head of the Christians of Sham. Ibn An-Natur narrates that once while Heraclius was visiting ilya' (Jerusalem), he got up in the morning with a sad mood. Some of his priests asked him why he was in that mood? Heraclius was a foreteller and an astrologer. He replied, 'At night when I looked at the stars, I saw that the leader of those who practice circumcision had appeared (become the conqueror). Who are they who practice circumcision?' The people replied, 'Except the Jews nobody practices circumcision, so you should not be afraid of them (Jews). 'Just Issue orders to kill every Jew present in the country.' While they were discussing it, a messenger sent by the king of Ghassan to convey the news of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) to Heraclius was brought in. Having heard the news, he (Heraclius) ordered the people to go and see whether the messenger of Ghassan was circumcised. The people, after seeing him, told Heraclius that he was circumcised. Heraclius then asked him about the Arabs. The messenger replied, 'Arabs also practice circumcision.' (After hearing that) Heraclius remarked that sovereignty of the 'Arabs had appeared. Heraclius then wrote a letter to his friend in Rome who was as good as Heraclius in knowledge...

* * *

Narrated Ibn `Abbas:The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "You will be gathered (on the Day of Judgment), bare-footed, naked and not circumcised." He then recited:--'As We began the first creation, We, shall repeat it: A Promise We have undertaken: Truly we shall do it.' (21.104) He added, "The first to be dressed on the Day of Resurrection, will be Abraham, and some of my companions will be taken towards the left side (i.e. to the (Hell) Fire), and I will say: 'My companions! My companions!' It will be said: 'They renegade from Islam after you left them.' Then I will say as the Pious slave of Allah (i.e. Jesus) said. 'And I was a witness Over them while I dwelt amongst them. When You took me up You were the Watcher over them, And You are a witness to all things. If You punish them. They are Your slaves And if You forgive them, Verily you, only You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise." (5.120-121)

* * *

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Abraham did his circumcision with an adze at the age of eighty." Narrated Abu Az-Zinad: (as above in Hadith No. 575) With an adze.

* * *

Narrated Said bin Jubair: Ibn 'Abbas was asked, "How old were you when the Prophet (ﷺ) died?" He replied. "At that time I had been circumcised." At that time, people did not circumcise the boys till they attained the age of puberty. Sa'id bin Jubair said, "Ibn 'Abbas said, 'When the Prophet died, I had already been circumcised. "

* * *

Malik related to me that the generally agreed on way of doing things amongst the community about an accident is that there is no blood-money until the victim is better. If a man's bone, either a hand, or a foot, or another part of his body, is broken accidentally and it heals and becomes sound and returns to its form, there is no blood-money for it. If the limb is impaired or there is a scar on it, there is blood-money for it according to the extent that it is impaired. Malik said, "If that part of the body has a specific blood-money mentioned by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, it is according to what the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, specified. If it is part of what does not have a specific blood-money for it mentioned by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and if there is no previous sunna about it or specific blood-money, one uses ijtihad about it." Malik said, "There is no blood-money for an accidental bodily injury when the wound heals and returns to its form. If there is any scar or mark in that, ijtihad is used about it except for the belly-wound. There is a third of the blood-money of a life for it. " Malik said, "There is no blood-money for the wound which splinters a bone in the body, and it is like the wound to the body which lays bare the bone." Malik said, "The generally agreed on way of doing things in our community is that when the doctor performs a circumcision and cuts off the glans, he must pay the full blood-money. That is because it is an accident which the tribe is responsible for, and the full blood money is payable for all that in which a doctor errs or exceeds, when it is not intentional."

* * *

Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said that Said ibn al-Musayyub said, "Ibrahim, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was the first to give hospitality to the guest and the first person to be circumcised and the first person to trim the moustache and the first person to see grey hair. He said, 'O Lord! What is this?' Allah the Blessed, the Exalted, said, 'It is dignity, Ibrahim.' He said, 'Lord, increase me in dignity!' " Yahya said that he had heard Malik say, "One takes from the moustache until the edge of the lip appears, that is the rim. One does not cut if off completely so that one mutilates oneself."

* * *

Narrated Ammar b. Yasir: The Apostle of Allaah ( sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam ) said : The rinsing of mouth and snuffing up water in the nose are acts that bear the characteristics of fitrah (nature). He then narrated a similar tradition (as reported by Aishah), but he did not mention the words "letting the beard grow". He added the words "circumcision" and "sprinkling water on the private part of the body". He did not mention the words "cleansing oneself after easing". Abu Dawud said : A similar tradition has been reported on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas. He mentioned only five sunnahs all relating to the head, one of them being parting of the hair; it did not include wearing the beard. Abu Dawud said: The tradition as reported by Hammad has also been transmitted by Talq b. Habib, Mujahid, and Bakr b. 'Abd Allaah b. al-Muzani as their own statement ( not as a tradition from the Prophet, sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam ).They did not mention the words "letting the beard grow". The version transmitted by Muhammad b. Abd Allaah b. Abi Maryam, Abu Salamah, and Abu Hurairah from the Prophet ( sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam ) mentions the words "letting the beard grow". A similar tradition has been reported by Ibrahim al-Nakha'i. He mentioned the words "wearing the beard and circumcision."

* * *

'Uthaim b. Kulaib reported from his father (Kuthair) on the authority of his grandfather (Kulaib) that he came to the Prophet (ﷺ):I have embraced Islam. The Prophet (ﷺ) said to him: Remove from yourself the hair that grew during of unbelief, saying "shave them". He further says that another person (other than the grandfather of 'Uthaim) reported to him that the Prophet (ﷺ) said to another person who accompanied him: Remove from yourself the hair that grew during the period of unbelief and get yourself circumcised.

* * *

Salim said, "Ibn 'Umar, Nu'aym and I were circumcised and they sacrificed a ram on our behalf. I think that we were more happy about it than the other children since a ram had been sacrificed on our behalf."

* * *

It is reported that al-Hasan said, "Are you not astonished by this man? (i.e. Malik ibn al-Mundhir) He went to some of the old people of Kaskar who had become Muslim and examined them and then commanded that they be circumcised although it was winter. I heard that some of them died. Greeks and Abyssinians became Muslim with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and they were not examined at all."

* * *

Ibn Shihab said, "When a man became Muslim, he was ordered to have himself circumcised, even if he was old."

* * *

11 hadith over and above those shared with FGM – notably the fitrah is five things and when two parts touch

Was Mohammed Circumcised?

There is no indication in the above Hadith that Mohammed was himself circumcised. Mohammed’s parents were ‘polytheists’ and as the ‘Heraclius’ Hadith (quoted above) makes clear ‘except the Jews nobody practice[d] circumcision’ in the middle East and Arabia.

Or at least not until Mohammed imposed circumcision on his followers. At the age of forty, after his vision in a cave, his first ‘revelation’, Mohammed started developing a religion based on Jewish Monotheism. If Mohammed were circumcised, it is therefore likely that it would have been some time after the age of forty and would have been recorded either in his Koran or reported in the Hadith.

In order to square this circle, some Muslim traditions declare that Muhammad was born without a foreskin. And indeed, some boys are born without a foreskin – an extremely rare condition (1:10,000 according to this source) known as aposthia. However, there exists no evidence that this was the case with Mohammed, and to assume otherwise is to engage in reverse-reasoning born out of wishful-thinking in which an improbability is elevated into a certainty.

One should also keep in mind that Mohammed had a tendency to grant himself exceptions from rules he imposed on others. When Mohammed’s god sent him a ‘revelation’ justifying his preferential treatment of certain wives over others, and also granting him permission to take any woman who offered herself to him, Aisha, his child-bride and his most perceptive, critical and candid follower, remarked sardonically:

“I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires.”Al-Bukhari 65:4788

Many examples exist of Mohammed granting himself ‘prophetic privilege’, and it would not be out of character for Mohammed to exempt himself from a painful procedure, which would put his sex-life on hold for many months, and reduce the sensitivity of his penis for ever afterwards.

Did Mohammed have his sons circumcised?


“let's note that proponents of female circumcision also resort to the argument of the perfection of God's creation. So Majdi Fathi Al-Sayyid writes:

“The attachment to the specificities of Islam, of which circumcision , makes appear the beautiful picture according to which God created the human being and of which he says: “He designed you and perfected your design” (64:3). “We created man in the best design' (95:4). so the man apperas in a apicture to which no other picture is superior. To quit or to disregard these natural traditions constitutes a distortion of this divine creature”(Ibn-Asakir (d. 1176))

It means for this author that the human being acquires “the best design” through the performance of male and female circumcision and not by abandoning these two practices. [abu sahlieh p144]

Forced Circumcision

A US surgeon from California spent 2 weeks in Bosnia-Herzegovina (including time at Kosevo hospital in Sarajevo) in late August and early September performing remedial urological surgery.The doctor reportedly found that Muslim and Mujahedin irregular troops -- some from Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia -- had routinely performed crude, disfiguring, nonmedical circumcisions on Bosnian Serb soldiers, and he treated one 18-year-old Bosnian Serb soldier who was so brutally circumcised that eventually the entire organ required amputation.
<a href="">Torture of Prisoners, Fourth Report on War Crimes in the Fomer Yugoslavia: Part II</a>

Circumcision has been forced on hundreds of Christians, including children and pregnant women, in a campaign by extremists to spread Islam through the war-ravaged Maluku islands.
<a href="">Terror attacks in the name of religion, Sydney Morning Herald (2001)</a>

Non-Muslims in these camps, especially children, have been subject to religious indoctrination, circumcision and "Arabization" of their names, and eventual forced conversion to Islam [...] Some boys in these camps or in juvenile houses have reportedly undergone forced circumcision
<a href="">Sudan: Reports of Catholic residents of Khartoum or elsewhere in Sudan being forcefully converted to Islam (2001)</a>

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The Justice and Peace Commission of Lahor has spoken out against cases of forced conversions: "Young non-Muslim men have been forced to convert and circumcised against their will,"
<a href="">Christian minorities in Pakistan: little freedom and rising Islamic pressure (2004)</a>

The Yezidi religious minority has suffered similar but perhaps even more severe forms of oppression than the Christian communities. Despised by Muslims as “devil-worshippers” and not protected by any form of official recognition, they constituted the most vulnerable community. Adult men were forcibly circumcised
<a href="">The nature and uses of violence in the Kurdish conflict</a>

In the city of Falluja, one of the most ancient seats of Mandaeism in the country, the thirty-five families who composed the community were ordered at gunpoint to adopt Islam shortly after the fall of the Saddam regime. The men were forcibly circumcised and the women were married off to Muslim men. Those who resisted were summarily executed.
<a href="">The Rape of Basra: Cleansing the Iraqi Mandaeans</a>