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Author Topic: Circumcision  (Read 988 times)
Heba E. Husseyn
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« on: September 08, 2007, 09:13:57 pm »


Brother Shabir Ally, President of the Islamic Information Centre in Toronto mentioned in his recent talk show lecture that the Quraan does not say anything about circumcision (male nor female).  This culture of circumcision in Islam comes from the Hadith, and Hadith borrows this law from the Bible.  In Genesis, it is stated that Abraham was given the Divine Order to circumcise himself and the  members of his household. 

"God told Abraham to circumcise himself, his household and his slaves as an everlasting covenant in their flesh. Those who were not circumcised were to be 'cut off' from their people" (Genesis 17:10-14).

Also, all the males of a household were to be circumcised if one of them wanted to join in the Passover celebrations (Exodus 12:43-49).

Another Biblical story goes as saying that laws commanding circumcision are said to come through Moses (e.g. Leviticus 12), but the Children of Israel abandoned circumcision during Moses' leadership (Joshua 5: 4-7). Exodus 4: 24-26 tells us that Moses had not circumcised his own son.   

Then again, some versions of the New Testament state that Paul was supposed to have said about circumcision as "the mutilation of the flesh."  Others state that he supported the idea of circumcision. 

Confusion and contradictions all the way through!

Since Muslims are commanded to follow the religion of Abraham in the Quraan, thus comes the notion of circumcision being mandatory in Islam.  However, it's a far-fetched notion as we can see.  The original Divine writings of the Old and New Testaments have been altered umpteens of times over the centuries (just like Hadith) and are now no more than man written works. 

Personally I think the rational perspective would be ..

No doubt male circumcision is advisable for men from the medical point of view as it has various benefits concerning health and cleanliness.  From that perspective, it is undoubtedly advisable even from the Islamic view point as Islam emphasises greatly on personal hygiene and cleanliness.  It is highly recommended for a Muslim male to be circumcised.  However, it is not a Quranic dictate and cannot be linked to one's sincerity of Faith.  Also, we do not know to what extent it was recommended by the Prophet or whether it was recommended at all.  There's no record of it.  The Hadith narrations in this regard are not reliable just like all other narrations.  And the Hadith narrations concerning female circumcision have been declared completely phoney even by the staunch Hadith adherents. 

Thus, the ideology of circumcision in Islam comes only from the Hadith which evidently traces its course from the earlier altered Scriptures.  The concept of female circumcision is also the brainchild of the Hadith entirely.  The Quran gives NO ruling on such a practice.  To the best of my knowledge, even the Old and New Testaments say nothing about female circumcision.  It is a purely social custom that has nothing to do with Islam nor Judaism nor Christianity.  It is common is various African countries and is practiced by people with superstitious beliefs, Christians and Muslims in those countries where female genital circumcision (FGM) is common. In most Muslim countries this mutilation is completely unknown.

The following passage is written by a Muslim writer, M. Afifi al-Akiti  who resides in Belfast.  I am posting it just for everyone's information to see for themselves the depth of differences among the scholars regarding the various issues of circumcision.  Please know, the following is just the ideas of the scholars.  Nothing beyond that.

Contrary to the Jewish tradition, in Islam circumcision (Khitan) is not a symbol of Allah's covenant with humans. Furthermore it is not mentioned anywhere in the Qur'an and most references to circumcision occur in Hadith. E.g. "The practices related to Fitrah are five: circumcision, shaving the pubic hair, trimming the moustache, cutting the nails and removing the hair of the armpits." (Related by Bukhari, al-Muwatta & the Group).

"Most Fuqaha' say that circumcision is obligatory upon the men and this is the opinion of Jumhur (the majority of the scholars). If it were not obligatory, then Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) would not have troubled himself at such a later stage of his life. However, the Hanafi and the Maliki schools consider male circumcision only as Sunnah Muakkadah - the Stressed Sunnah, not obligatory but is still strongly recommended. This is the most lenient position in Shari'ah, regarding male circumcision.

This is based on the Hadith: 'Circumcision is Sunnah for men, a noble action for women' (Related by Ahmad & al-Bayhaq)

And al-Hasan al-Basri said: "That all peoples, white and black, Romans, Persians and Abbysinnians accepted Islam in the time of the Prophet (s.A.w.) and none of them were investigated concerning circumcision"

The Shafi'i school says that circumcision is obligatory (Fard) upon the men and the women. While Imam Ahmad said: "Circumcision is obligatory (Wajib) upon the men and it is only good for the women".

A small group among the Shafi'i school holds that it is prohibited to be circumcised before the age of ten but this opinion cannot be used because there is a Hadith related from Aisha, that the Prophet (s.A.w.) circumcised Hassan and Hussein on their seventh day of their birth."

While according to the Maliki school, it is better to delay the circumcision until the age when he is taught how to pray. That is between the ages of 7 and 10. (Fiqh al-Islam wa Adillatihi 3/742)

For most of the Shafi'i school, circumcision is obligatory upon the women. While the Hanbali school and few scholars of the Shafi'i school holds that circumcision of women is not obligatory but Sunnah, while the Hanafi and the Maliki consider it a mere courtesy to the husband. And according to some scholars, female circumcision is customarily done in a hot climate. (Fiqh al-Islam wa Adillatihi 3/741)


For a proper perspective, be focused on the two paragraphs typed in bold further up in this post.  Briefly, the essence of the matter is that the Quran has not passed the law of circumcision.  But it is a practice that brings about cleanliness and good hygiene.  Therefore, according to a rational Muslim, it is very much recommended since the Quran says that the Almighty Allah likes those who have a love for cleanliness.  But circumcision is not an indispensible part of Faith because the Quran gives no reason to believe in such a notion.  Also, circumcision must be looked upon as a medical procedure and must be done by medical professionals in hospitals and clinics in hygienic conditions.  Female circumcision has no link with hygiene and must therefore never be done.
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2007, 05:10:39 pm »

Thank you for this input, sister. I'm sure it will provide useful knowledge to many of our readers.

I agree with Br. Shabir and with your elucidation. The Quraan says nothing on circumcision, neither male nor female. However, male circumcision is highly recommended as it contributes to cleanliness and hygiene. And yes, since Allah has said that He appreciates cleanliness among people, circumcision is worth it for males just as cleanliness is important in all other ways. But it must not be linked to Faith or spiritual ethics. It's purely a physical aspect and should be looked upon that way. The Hadith and ulemas' views are irrelevant as the matter is simple enough to understand rationally. And of course, female circumcision is complete nonsense.

Salaam and peace, and thanks again dear cat.
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2007, 05:26:04 pm »

Thank you for this input, sister. I'm sure it will provide useful knowledge to many of our readers.

.. since Allah has said that He appreciates cleanliness among people, circumcision is worth it for males just as cleanliness is important in all other ways. But it must not be linked to Faith or spiritual ethics. It's purely a physical aspect and should be looked upon that way.

Exactly. the Quran is not just a Book of religion but it's a complete code of life dealing with all spheres i.e. it has religious, spiritual, practical, legal, political and scientific sides to it. The issue of circumcision can be indirectly linked with the practical side of the Quranic instructions, not spiritual or religious. This is as far as male circumcision is concerned.

And of course, female circumcision is complete nonsense.

This is a primitive social culture that was rife in pre-Islamic days and must be abolished.
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2014, 04:54:45 am »

For our readers' information, latest findings of medical experts in the West are completely in favor of male circumcision during infancy.  Story with its link below:

Infant Circumcision is the Healthiest Choice, Says New Study

By BABBLE  via Yahoo!

A new study has raised a lot of eyebrows and tempers in the ongoing debate about infants and circumcision.

According to an article over at the The Daily Beast, the recently released study, published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings medical journal claims that having your infant circumcised promotes health benefits that actually outshine any risks by a factor of 100 to 1.

Of course, this viewpoint isn't exactly a fresh one. Over the past decade or so there have been a slew of advocates for and against circumcision, many of them fueled by perpetual argument about it all over the Internet.

Still, whenever an opinion comes down from the world of medical professionals, it inevitably makes waves.

 This particular study, according to The Daily Beast, is largely the work of one of its authors, Professor Emeritus at The University of Sydney, Australia and Brian J. Morris, a well-known supporter of circumcision. Using a comparison to vaccines as an example, Morris has been advocating circumcision over non-circumcision as the healthiest choice parents can make for their children, going so far as to say that the public health benefits of the procedure are an important step towards a healthier society overall.

Vaccines "have a major population level benefit, but carry a risk that affects a very small proportion of individuals who receive the intervention. There are also extremely rarely deaths from each," Morris tells The Daily Beast. But "a vaccine is highly specific, whereas the protective effects of circumcision cover a wide array of medical conditions."

Related: The pros and cons of infant circumcision

Health benefits of circumcision that the study make mention of include:

-Prevention of urinary tract infections

- Prevention of penile cancer

- Prevention of the transmission of some sexually transmitted infections (HIV included)

Morris even goes so far as to tell The Daily Beast, "Denial of infant male circumcision is denial of his rights to good health, something that all responsible parents should consider carefully."

Strong, strong words indeed.

Yet, like any other so-called verdict that comes down regarding whether or not infants ought to be circumcised, there are a host of voices from all corners of the proverbial court which are attempting to question or shoot-down this new study's findings.

The Daily Beast even shines a light on the fact that some of the study's claims may be a bit misleading when it reports that, although Morris' includes decreased risk of penile cancer in the study's list of circumcision health benefits, "…the actual or absolute risk of penile cancer is so small (about 1 in 100,000) that an increased risk is still hardly any risk at all."

Either way, the jury is certainly still out.

And the debate rages on.
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