My problem with circumcision…what should I do?!


M.M – Egypt

I am a girl who will be getting married soon, and I have read that one of the essentials of personal hygiene for girls is circumcision, and that failure to circumcise can lead to problems in a couple’s private life. Since I’m not circumcised, I decided to seek advice on this subject and ask whether circumcision is mandatory or not, whether it has negative effects, what its positives and negatives are and how I can solve the problem if indeed there is a problem? Thank you.

Answer provided by the Advice Team at Ikhwan Online:

1. “Circumcision is Sunnah* for men and a noble trait for women” (El-Siouty).

It is not a duty for women except where there is a genuine medical need for it…Where it does have to be performed its advantages are that it reduces the sexual arousal rate to a rate that does not exceed the normal average at that time [sic] and causes a woman many problems because of her lack of satiation and frequent arousal.

Its disadvantages are that if it is not carried out moderately and under specialised medical supervision it may cause what is known as (female sexual frigidity), where the woman loses her ability for enjoyment and excitement during sexual intercourse.

As for hygiene, this is innate in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet**. The most important of these habits is cleaning of the pubic region, the sensitive area surrounding the vulva in front and the anus, and plucking armpit hair and all the other innate habits for women mentioned in the Prophet’s hadith.

“10 innate habits: cutting the moustache and letting the beard grow, using the miswak***, cleaning the nostrils with water, nail cutting, cleaning the finger joints, plucking armpit hair, shaving pubic hair and lowering water. And Zakaria quoted Mosa’ab as saying: “and I forgot the 10th, and it is rinsing the mouth with water. Qotayba added to this, quoting Wakee’a: “lowering water means washing the genital area after going to the toilet” (Sa7ee7 Muslim****).

If you feel that you need to check whether you need to be circumcised – and you know best about this – you can go to a female gynecologist – and to nobody else – for a consultation, while bearing in mind that we think you probably don’t need it.

* Sunnah is the way of life prescribed as normative for Muslims on the basis of the teachings and practices of Muhammad and interpretations of the Quran”.

** The term used is سنن الفطرة sunan el fitra, “a collection of hygienic or cosmetic practices enjoined by the Prophet Mohamed”.

*** Miswak: teeth cleaning stick.

**** Sa7ee7 Muslim: “is one of the al-Kutub al-Sittah (six major ahadith) of the hadith in Sunni Islam. It is the second most authentic hadith collection after Sahih al-Bukhari, and is highly acclaimed by Sunni Muslims”.

This was originally published in Arabic on Ikhwan Online.