A rite of passage for Muslim boys

Thousands of Muslim Malaysian boys begin their journey into adulthood at mass circumcision ceremonies each year during school holiday seasons.


Md Nazir Sufari   |   17 Dec 2016

Fear means nothing to these boys aged from four to 12, who bravely face the ritual of berkhatan or bersunat (male circumcision) at Bandar Tun Hussein Onn in Balakong last Sunday.

Circumcision, usually performed on boys aged between six and 12 years, requires the foreskin of the penis to be removed.

It is believed that this will make it easier for the boys to clean themselves, especially after urinating. Islam demands that Muslims cleanse themselves before they pray.

Muslims make up 60 percent of Malaysia’s 30 million people.

Young Muslim boys are doused with water prior to a mass circumcision ceremony at Bandar Tun Hussein Onn in Balakong near Kuala Lumpur.

A boy covers his face with his sarong while being circumcised. It is traditional for boys to don the sarong during and while recuperating from circumcision.

A father consoles his son while medical officers circumcise the Muslim boy during the mass circumcision ceremony in Bandar Tun Hussein Onn.

Medical officers are silhouetted as they circumcise a Muslim boy during the event at Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, near Kuala Lumpur.

A Muslim boy is shown a video on a mobile phone to distract him during the circumcision procedure.

Some of the equipment used by medical officers during the circumcision procedure.

Four-year-old Amirul Daniel cries while being circumcised.

Twins, Muhammad Amjad Najdi Mohd Faisal (left) and Muhammad Ammar Najdi Mohd Faisal, recuperate after their circumcision.

Photographs by Md Nazir Sufari