Ruling on circumcising girls

Q: What is the ruling on the circumcision of girls? If it is permissible, at what age should they be circumcised? What is the Islamic way to do it? I have a nine-year-old girl whom I want to circumcise. Can I do it while she is at this age?

A: Circumcision is one of Sunan-ul-Fitrah (natural hygiene), according to the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Five practices are characteristics of Fitrah (natural disposition): circumcision, shaving the pubic region, plucking the armpit hair, clipping the nails and cutting the moustaches short. It is Wajib (obligatory) for men, according to the order of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It was authentically reported that he (peace be upon him) told those who embraced Islam: Remove the hair of disbelief (any forms of hair characteristic of disbelievers) and get circumcised. Keeping the foreskin results in retaining Najasah (ritual impurity), which invalidates Salah (Prayer). So it should be removed.As for women, it is Mustahab (desirable), not Wajib for them, according to the Hadith narrated by Al-Dahhak ibn Qays (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: There was a woman in Al-Madinah who used to circumcise (Part No. 4; Page No. 43) women. Her name was Um `Atiyyah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) told her to just reduce the size of the clitoris without exceeding the limit, for that is better for her health and more desirable for a husband. Related by Al-Hakim in "Al-Mustadrak" and Al-Hafizh Al-Dhahaby in "Al-Talkhis" with a good Sanad (chain of narrators). This indicates desirability.As for its time, it is Mustahab in infancy until the age of discerning, as it is more merciful to the child and faster in healing, but it becomes Wajib for men after puberty.The male circumcision is done by cutting the foreskin that covers the penis so that it is totally exposed.The female circumcision is done by removing the clitoral hood, not the clitoris itself, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade this in the previously mentioned Hadith of Um `Atiyyah. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.