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Question : #465 Category: Interfaith Dialogue
Subject: coverting to Islam
Question: Asalaam Alaaykum

I was writing with a man thinking of converting to Islam. He was born Christian and so he was circumcised but later decided to have it restored.

Now he is asking for more information about Islam and circumsion; i.e. is it required or sunnah in Islam and more importantly he wants to know why and what it signifies using any reference you have available.

Thank you
Answer: It was reported in a narration from Imam Ja'far As-Saadiq (AS) that on the seventh day after the birth of a prophet his umbilical cord (Surr) and foreskin (Gulfah) would fall off. During the life of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) when his wife Hajir gave birth to his son Isma`eel (AS), his other wife Sara severely berated Hajir until she was in tears. When Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was informed of the incident, he also was moved to tears. When Sara gave birth to Prophet Ibrahim's (AS) second son, Ishaaq (AS), his umbilical cord dropped off on the seventh day but the foreskin remained. When Sara questioned the Prophet Ibrahim as to the reason this not happened to Ishaaq (AS) when it had happened to all previous sons of prophets. The Prophet when to his place of prayer and prayed. Allah Ta'ala revealed to him that his son Ishaaq was deprived of this because of his mother's berating of Haajir at the time of the birth of Isma`eel. The Prophet Ibrahim (AS) thereafter removed the foreskin of Ishaaq (AS) with a knife. (Taken from 'Ilal As-Sharaa`i' by Shaikh As-Sadooq, pg. 505)

This is the basic origin of the practice as related from the Hadith. It is considered as the Sunnah of Prophets to be circumcised. Islam requires that the male is circumcised. It is obligatory for a convert to Islam to be circumcised if he has not been previously.
It is Makrooh or disliked for an uncircumcised person to lead the prayer and a person cannot perform the pilgrimage properly when uncircumcised.

Follow Up
And what about women? Do they also need circumcision to take place.
Follow Up Response

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