The ruling on Ghusl and circumcision for those who embrace Islam – Permanent Committee

Q 1: A Christian couple came to me and showed interest to embrace Islam, I requested them to perform Ghusl (ritual bath), to pronounce Shahadah (Testimony of Faith) in consent, and to get circumcised. Is what I did correct? Please provide in writing the statements of Salaf (Righteous Predecessors) in this regard and the procedures the new converts are advised to follow at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

A: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to call the disbelievers to Islam by asking them to testify that there is no deity [worthy of worship] but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. If they accepted this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would ask them to apply the rest of the tenets of Shari`ah depending on the circumstances and the importance of these tenets. Among the reports mentioned in this regard is the one narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) that when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) sent Mu`adh to Yemen (as governor) the Prophet said to him, “You will reach a community of the People of the Book, the very first thing to which you should call them is to testify that there is god but Allah. Another wording is, First call them to Tawhid (monotheism), and if they accept this, then tell them that Allah has enjoined upon them five prayers during the day and the night. If they accept it, then tell them that Allah has made Zakah obligatory on them; it should be collected from the rich and distributed among the poor. If they agree to it, do not take (as a share of Zakah) the best of their wealth. Beware of the supplication of the oppressed for there is no barrier between him and Allah.

Moreover, it was narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Sahl ibn Sa`d Al-Sa`idy The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to `Aly (may Allah be pleased with him) when he handed him the banner on the day of Khaybar, “Go to them patiently and calmly until you enter the land. Then, invite them to Islam, and inform them of what has been enjoined upon them; by Allah, if He gives guidance to somebody through you, it is better for you than possessing red (precious) camels.” Another wording is, Invite them to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah.

The Salaf disputed over the necessity of Ghusl for new Muslim converts.Among the scholars who believed it was obligatory were Malik, Ahmad, and Abu Thawr (may Allah be merciful with them) because of the report related by Abu Dawud and Al-Nasa’y from Qays ibn `Asim (may Allah be pleased with him), who said, I came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) with the intention of embracing Islam. He commanded me to perform Ghusl with water (boiled with) the leaves of the lote-tree. Using the verb “commanded’ implies the obligation of this act.

On the other hand, Al-Shafi`y and some Hanbaly scholars stated that this act is Mustahab (desirable) unless the new Muslim convert becomes Junub (in a state of major ritual impurity) shortly before converting to Islam, in which case they are obliged to perform Ghusl. Abu Hanifah stated that a new Muslim convert is not obliged to perform Ghusl in all cases. Therefore, the couple mentioned above may perform Ghusl on the basis the cited Hadith, as well as other similar Hadith.

With regard to circumcision, it is obligatory for men but only recommended for women. However, it could be delayed until Islam is firmly established in their hearts, lest it should induce their aversion to Islam.

On the basis of the above-mentioned points, all that you required the couple to do who newly converted to Islam is correct. May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!

Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’

Member                      Member                      Deputy Chairman          Chairman
`Abdullah ibn Qa`ud     `Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan     `Abdul-Razzaq `Afify     `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz

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