What is Circumcision?
Circumcision involves cutting away the foreskin around the head, or glans, of the penis. Any competent Muslim doctor, even a general practitioner, is usually capable of performing the operation, which is usually done with a local, or general anesthetic.
"The Messenger of Allah said: 'Ten things are connected to the Fitrah: trimming the mustache, letting the beard grow, using the tooth stick, rinsing out the nostrils with water, clipping the nails, washing the joints, plucking the armpit hairs, shaving the pubic hairs, washing the private parts with water…" (Sunan ibn-Majah Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 293 – Graded Sahih)
Is It Obligatory for New Muslims To Get Circumcised?
You do not have to have it done for conversion. Although it is highly recommended that you do it eventually later on, but it has no effect on if you are Muslim or not. Therefore, you do it later on once you are ready. If you can't have it done for any medical reason, or due to old age, then you are excused. In such cases you need to make sure you have cleaned yourself well after using the bathroom, as this is important for the validity of prayer.
The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ was asked about this and they replied:
“It is not necessary to demand that they be circumcised, if they fear that, for this is Sunnah (action following the teachings of the Prophet) and not an obligatory action, according to the majority of scholars. Those who maintain that circumcision is obligatory restrict it to situations where there are no fears for the circumcised person’s safety. If this fear of circumcision prevents those Christians from embracing Islam, they should not be asked to do it at the time of embracing Islam. When Islam becomes firm in their hearts, this matter can be reconsidered.”[i]
Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’:
Member – Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd
Member – Shaykh `Abdul-`Aziz Al Al-Shaykh
Member – Shaykh `Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan
Member – Shaykh Salih Al-Fawzan
Deputy Chairman – Shaykh `Abdul-Razzaq `Afify
Chairman – Shaykh `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz
Circumcision for New Muslims Mature In Age
It is not permissible under any circumstance for the issue to become a hindrance for a person wanting to accept Islam. The validity of one's acceptance of Islam is not dependent on his performance of circumcision and it is valid for one to adopt Islam even if he has not had himself circumcised.[ii]
If circumcision after converting is too difficult, because of his age, then it is OK if he does not get circumcised. Circumcision should not be insisted on, lest it turns him away from Islam. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 5/115)[iii]
However, keep in mind that the Messenger of Allah, told us about how Ibrahim (Abraham) was circumcised when he was eighty years old with an axe. (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Book 53, Hadith 1244)
Health & Religious Benefits of Circumcision
“Circumcision of newborn boys (i.e., within the first month of life) brings numerous health benefits, including:
1 – Protection against local infection in the penis, which may result from the presence of the foreskin, causing tightening of the foreskin, which may lead to retention of urine or infections of the glans (tip) of the penis – which require circumcision in order to treat these problems. In chronic cases, the child may be exposed to numerous diseases in the future, the most serious of which is cancer of the penis.
2 – Infections of the urethra. Many studies have proven that uncircumcised boys are more exposed to infection of the urethra. In some studies the rate was 39 times more among uncircumcised boys. In other studies the rate was ten times more. Other studies showed that 95% of children who suffered from infections of the urethra were uncircumcised, whereas the rate among circumcised children did not exceed 5%.
In children, infection of the urethra is serious in some cases. In the study by Wisewell on 88 children who suffered infections of the urethra, in 36 % of them, the same bacteria was found in the blood also. Three of them contracted meningitis, and two suffered renal failure. Two others died as a result of the spread of the micro-organisms throughout the body.
3 – Protection against cancer of the penis: the studies agree that cancer of the penis is almost non-existent among circumcised men, whereas the rate among uncircumcised men is not insignificant. In the US the rate of penile cancer among circumcised men is zero, whilst among uncircumcised men it is 2.2 in every 100,000 of the uncircumcised population. As most of the inhabitants of the US are circumcised, the cases of this cancer there are between 750 and 1000 per year. If the population were not circumcised, the number of cases would reach 3000. In countries where boys are not circumcised, such as China, Uganda and Puerto Rico, penile cancer represents between 12-22 % of all cancers found in men; this is a very high percentage.
4 – Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Researchers found that the STDs which are transmitted via sexual contact (usually because of fornication/adultery and homosexuality) spread more among those who are not circumcised, especially herpes, soft chancres, syphilis, candida, gonorrhea and genital warts.[iv]