Submitted by on Sat, 26/07/2008 - 04:10
Dear Brother / Sister,
Khitan: The act of circumcising; surgical removal of the foreskin of males.
Although it doesn’t take place in the Quran, khitan is considered to be a symbol for Muslims. Its roots reach to Hadrath Abraham and it was a custom in the Arabs before the Islam too. Arabs used to perform it for both men and women.
It is told that khitan is started by Hadrath Abraham by applying on himself at the age of eighties. It is also told that the test of Hadrath Abraham with some mentioned words in the Quran (Baqara, 2/124) was with cleanness related questions. Body related of these were the issues like khitan, shaving armpit and groin hair, istinja (cleaning after toilet) with water and nail trimming.
Khitan is an act of cleaning befitting to human, like these cleanings: washing and rinsing the mouth with water, pulling water to the nose and cleaning it, cutting or trimming the moustache, trimming the nails, shaving the armpit and groin hair. (Bukhari, Libas, 51, 63, 64; Muslim, Taharah, 49; Abu Dawud, Tarajjul, 16; Tirmidhi, Adab, 14)
Hadrath Abraham is told to perform khitan at his eighties in the village of Kaddum (Bukhari, Anbiya, 8; Muslim, Fadail, 151; Musnad al Shamiyyin, I, 88). In a saying coming from Abu Hurayra the word “kadum” is used instead of “Kaddum”, then it becomes “he performed khitan with a carpenter’s tool, adze”. Also by some sources he is told to perform it at the age of 70 or 120. Hadrath Abraham performed khitan. The Pentateuch of Jews commanded this too. It was carried out till Jesus by Christians too, but later on they abandoned this custom with a wrong comment like khtian is throwing the screen covering the heart (Translation of Tajrid al Sarih, IX, 112).
In another narrative it is said that: “Surely the one entertaining a guest for the first time, the one wearing underpants for the first time, and the one performing khitan for the first time was Hadrath Abraham” (Muwatta, Sifat un Nabi, 4). Later on performing khitan was carried out by all the prophets and their followers.
Hadrath Muhammad (pbuh) says: “There are four things that they are from the customs of the prophets. Performing khitan, using pleasant smells, using miswak (a natural toothbrush), and getting married” (Tirmidhi, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad).
It is told that some prophets were born with khitan already applied. These are some like 10-17. Imam Al-Suyuti expressed some of these with a poem. These are Adam, Sit, Nuh (Noah), Sam, Idris (Enoch), Musa (Moses), Saleh (Shaloh), Lut (Lot), Yusuf (Joseph), Shuaib (Jethro), Yunus (Jonah), Sulayman (Solomon), Yahya (John) and Isa (Jesus), peace be upon them. And the poem ends with “Hatam (The last)” indicating Hadrath Muhammad (pbuh). (On inborn khitan of Hadrath Muhammad see Ibn Khaldun, Mukaddima, Istanbul 1970, II, p. 400; Ahmet Cevdet Pasha, Kisas-i Enbiya, Istanbul 1972, I, 59). Also according to some saying, his grandfather had it applied khitan giving a feast on his seventh day of the born.
Before Islam khitan was applied as a precaution of hygiene (Muhammad Hamidullah, The life and work of the Prophet of Islam, translation by Salih Tug, Istanbul 1973, p. 291). It is accepted as an operation of cleaning and becoming beautiful between Arabs. In this respect they use also the word “taharah (cleanness)” for khitan (Karslızade Cemalettin, Ma'dabat ul Khitan, Istanbul 1252 H., p. 7)
Hadrath Muhammad (pbuh) told to new Muslims “Shave your excessive body hair that Islam doesn’t like, and have khitan” even if they were 80 years old (Kanz al-Ummal, I, 263).
As Usaym Ibn Kalib transmits from his father, his grandfather told him: “I came to Hadrath Muhammad and accepted Islam. Upon this he told me: Throw away the hairs of kufr (disbelief, denial) from your body and have khitan” (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal III, 415; Abu Dawud, Taharah, 129).
The age of khitan changes from region to region, from the seventh day of the born to the age of 13. Having their children applied khitan before they reach to puberty is a duty of their fathers. Hadrath Muhammad (pbuh) had their grandchildren Hadrath Hasan and Hadrath Husain applied khitan on their seventh day of the born.
It is more appropriate for a child to have khitan when he is a baby and find himself already had it when he reaches to puberty. This way he feels comfortable without any fear.
In some societies khitan is applied to women too. This custom lives between some Muslims in Egypt, Arabia and Java. These societies are known to apply khitan before Islam too. When we think about the Islamic world, khitan for women seems to be in the minority as a local practice (A.J. Wensinck, Hiton, IA, VII, p. 543).
Hadrath Muhammad (pbuh) says “Khitan is sunnah (from the way of the prophet) for men, and is a virtue for women” (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, V, 75; Abu Dawud, Adab, 167; al Fath ur Rabbani, XVII, 1312). While Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik think it is an absolute sunnah for both sexes, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal thinks that khitan is wajib (compulsory, although of a slightly lesser degree than fard) for men, and sunnah for women. Khattabi says that also many scholars think it is a wajib.
Hadrath Muhammad (pbuh) used to lead the people to the good deeds and taught people the things distinguishing Muslims from the others. He didn’t investigate people’s deeds and applications in deep; his duty as a messenger was to declare the message and leave the judgment to Allah. But people becoming a Muslim knew that khitan was one of the principles in Islam and they used to have it applied after having ghusl (ablution of whole body).
Along with religious reasons, khitan has many benefits for the health too. With the more developed science of medicine today, reason and the importance of the khitan is better understood. The rate of uterus diseases in the societies where the males do not have khitan is far more than in the societies who apply it.
Khitan is the complementary for the religion, introduced via Hadrath Abraham by Allah. This is such a religion that it keeps our soul clean with the activities like salah, fasting, zakah (alms), hajj (pilgrimage), dhikr (practice that focuses on the remembrance of Allah), and tafakkur (to observe and reflect on God’s creation; act of meditation and contemplation on Allah’s creation); and it keeps our flesh clean with the activities like ghusl (ablution of whole body), cutting or trimming the moustache, trimming the nails, shaving the armpit and groin hair, istinja (cleaning after toilet), and khitan.
Our Creator -Allah- says:
“Then We revealed to you: Follow the faith of Ibrahim, the upright one, and he was not of the polytheists.” (An Nahl/The Bee, 123).
“(Our religion) takes its hue from Allah. And who can give a better hue than Allah. And it is He Whom we worship.” (Al Baqara/The Cow, 138).
Questions on Islam
- Muhammad (peace be on him)
- What kind of responsibilities do parents have against their newborn baby?
- TAHARA (Cleanliness or Purification)
- What does Islam say about "Dental Health"?
- Tahara (Cleanliness or Purification)
- What is Taharah (Cleanliness)?
- Is it halal, haram or permissible to circumcise girls? Will you explain the issue with resources (verses-hadiths)? As far as I know, circumcision of girls is an old tradition dating back to Pharaohs.
- Is it permissible to trim nails at night?
- Body Cleaning which is Sunnah