Does Islam Encourage Circumcision for Men and Women?

20 September, 2018
Q Isn't circumcision harmful? Why then does Islam advocate circumcision? What is the difference between female and male circumcision? Are they equally bad?


Assalamu Alaikum,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

Dr. Shabir Ally addresses this question in the video below:


Aisha KhajaDr. Shabir, the question that we have from our viewer today is about whether or not Islam encourages circumcision. And if it has the potential to be harmful, as some studies may suggest, why is it part of Islamic practices?   

Dr. Shabir Ally: Let us first clarify that Islam recommends that males be circumcised because it is regarded, not only as a sunnah or practice of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), but as a procedure that dates all the way back to the time of Prophet Abraham. Many prophets throughout history practiced circumcision.   

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While there may very well be studies debating the benefits of male circumcision, I’m not aware of any study which shows that male circumcision is irrefutably harmful; in fact, Jesus himself is said to have been circumcised.

Female Circumcision

When it comes to women, yes, there are some classically trained Islamic scholars who promote it as a sunnah practice. But Muslims are to absolutely avoid what is referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM).

In fact, FGM is legally banned in numerous countries. 

Circumcision is not intended to cause mutilation, neither is it a necessary part of the procedure.

In the absence of emphasis based on hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), female circumcision is not generally recommended, and should be avoided.

I hope this helps answer your question. Please keep in touch.

Wa’Salaam Alaikum. 

This response is republished from About Islam’s archives. 

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

AIDS/HIV: What Role Does Male Circumcision Play?

Science Learns the Value of Male Circumcision

Customs, Traditions & Islam’s Message