Circumcising a Muslim convert

Q: What should a Christian man do if he wants to embrace Islam? There are controversial matters such as the fact that his marriage contract is based on his previous religion's rulings, he has a number of children and whether he has to be circumcised bearing in mind that he is 35 years old. What are the priority issues he should first be taught?

A: First: He has to know and understand the meaning of the Two Testimonies of Faith. He thus has to be taught that Jesus is Allah's servant and messenger. Moreover, the six pillars of faith have to be made clear to him as well as the other pillars of Islam each at its respective time. This should be based on the Hadith authentically reported on the authority of `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) quoting the questions Jibril (Gabriel) asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Hadith reported on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with both of them) regarding sending Mu`adh to Yemen. Second: If a man and his wife convert to Islam together, their marital status will remain in effect on the basis of the previous marriage contract. The same applies to the case where a husband converts to Islam after his wife or vice versa. In both cases, (Part No. 19; Page No. 22) the previous marriage contract remains applicable. Likewise, if the husband converts to Islam while the wife, a chaste and free Jew or Christian woman, does not, their marriage contract will remain valid. Allah (Exalted be He) said: Made lawful to you this day are At-Tayyibât [all kinds of Halâl (lawful) foods, which Allâh has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits)]. The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them. (Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before your time ... The Ayah. Third: Their minor children will be judged to be Muslims. However, their mature children should be invited to Islam with the hope that they may accept. Fourth: Circumcision is one of Sunan-ul-Fitrah (Islamic practices of personal hygiene) which Allah enjoined Muslims to perform. Thus, he should be circumcised unless he fears harming himself. Moreover, he should not be recommended to do so until he has firmer Islamic belief. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.