page Circumcision (continued)
Although it is not commanded by the Quran, male circumcision is mentioned approvingly in hadith collections (compiled sayings or deeds of the prophet Muhammad, looked up to by faithful Muslims as a reliable guide to understanding and behavior). Muhammad himself was circumcised, as were previous prophets going all the way back to Abraham.
Consequently, male circumcision (known as khitan or tahara) has been a common standard practice — a virtual requirement — in Islam since its earliest days. Most Muslims consider the rite obligatory, and even those who may not still regard the practice as religiously meritorious and highly recommended.
Specific timing and associated customs regarding the rite of circumcision vary from Islamic culture to Islamic culture. In some area, boys traditionally undergo it as a puberty rite, or similar youthful rite of passage (for example, upon memorizing the Quran in its entirety); elsewhere, it may be performed shortly after birth, by a doctor in a modern hospital. While no particular age is specified for the rite, somewhere around the age of seven is a common and widespread practice.
In contrast with their Judaic and Islamic cousins (all three being regarded as Abrahamic faiths), most Christians do not regard circumcision as a religious obligation.
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