In Bereishit 17:13 we are commanded to circumcise all children born in our households and all servants bought for money, consequently Abraham performed it on Yishmael too. This is one reason why Muslim boys are circumcised even today.* Should a Muslim person ask it, can a mohel circumcise a person of Islamic faith? Can a Jewish person actively look for opportunities to do so by advertising for example?

* Although in Judaism it is debated, whether they can be considered descendants of Yishmael.

  • 3
    I know a couple of mohelim in training (they are both doctors as well) who "practised" on Muslims
    – Dov
    Nov 8, 2020 at 17:33
  • 3
    In the UK the minhag is for mohelim not to charge although one should pay their insurance costs, since there are very many all willing to do it free. So they make their money on moslems. It is not a clear cut heter.
    – interested
    Nov 8, 2020 at 18:35
  • 1
    – interested
    Nov 8, 2020 at 18:38
  • Do you have any reason to think that there would be something wrong with circumcizing non-Jews?
    – Alex
    Nov 8, 2020 at 18:46

3 Answers 3


The Shaagas Arye (49) writes that it is permitted to circumcise Bnei Keturah and Bnei Yishmael who are obligated in circumcision.

However, it is worth noting that not all practicing Muslims are Bnei Yishmael. Regarding gentiles who are not obligated in circumcision, there are three opinions:

  1. Some authorities rule that one should not circumcise them (outside the framework of conversion). [Beis Yosef YD 266, Rema 263:5, Igros Moshe YD 2:7].

  2. Others rule that it is permitted to circumcise a gentile. [See Rambam Milah 3:7, Shach 263:8, Yabia Omer YD 2:19].

  3. Some require the circumcision to be performed differently (Maharam Shik OC 144), without the priah.

It is worth noting that Rashi (Sanhedrin 59) and Ramban (Yevamos 46) posit that descendants of Yishmael are not obligated in circumcision. The Rambam (Melachim 10:8) rules that they are obligated. Accordingly, the ruling of the Shaagas Arye is in accordance with the view of the Rambam.


Indeed the Rambam holds the Ishmaelite are obligated to give the children circumcision (also at the age of 8 days). It goes therefore that Halacha obligates it (at least the Rambam, I haven't seen other rishonim) it may certainly be done by a mohel. There is no problem in general of a jew circumcising a gentile, although it is also called an "אות", unlike shabbos which gentiles are forbidden to keep.

  • 1
    Hi Reb Moishe, welcome to MY and thank you for your answer! Could you please point me to the source where the Rambam says this? Also, why isn't it problematic to circumcise a gentile? Nov 8, 2020 at 19:31
  • Rambam argues with Rashi (Sanhedrin 59b), who holds that Yishmaelim are not obligated in Bris Milah but Bnei Keturah are (so the Rambam's safek d'oraisa l'hachmir of Muslims goes the other way according to him; the question is that they might be Bnei Keturah, not that they might be Bnei Yishmael).
    – DonielF
    Nov 9, 2020 at 20:14
  • If the Halacha requires someone to be circumcised, how could it be problematic to fulfill that halacha?
    – N.T.
    Nov 11, 2020 at 11:30
  • Why does halacha obligates Muslims, non-Jews, to perform the holy act of being a Jew? This makes no sense to me.
    – Turk Hill
    Dec 8, 2020 at 21:14

Even if they are descendants of Yishmael, why should they circumcise? Yishmael was sent away by Abraham. Abraham disowned Yishmael. Yishmael is not Jewish and Muslims pray to Allah, not G-d. They have no right to perform a holy act. It's disgusting.

  • 2
    As already mentioned in comments. The Rambam says they're chayiv in mila misafek.
    – Shlomy
    Dec 8, 2020 at 21:17
  • @Shlomy Rashi disagrees. Muslims do not practice Judaism. circumcision is a Jewish practice.
    – Turk Hill
    Dec 8, 2020 at 21:19
  • Rambam was a universalist. That's why he said what he said. He also felt that Islam was not idolatry.
    – Turk Hill
    Dec 8, 2020 at 21:19
  • 1
    They argue whether bnei bnei ketura are chayiv in mila... which depends how you learn the gemara in Sanhedrin there... Besides i hear from people that they say over a Zohar that says the arabs have Israel in the merit of mila... also according to rashi they might still get a kium mitzva for doing mila.
    – Shlomy
    Dec 8, 2020 at 21:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .