Circumcision, as a practice, is being observed by millions of families across the globe. Islam, however, is the largest single religious group on earth to circumcise their boys. Also known as Tahara, meaning purification, the religion takes this practice seriously. Although, there is no set age for boys to be circumcised, nearly every adult male Muslim adherent are.
Circumcision as a practice is not mentioned in the Quran, but it is found in the Sunnah – the recorded words and actions of Prophet Muhammad, where it is stated that circumcision is a law for men. The main reason advanced by the religion for circumcision is cleanliness or purification.
According to Islam, it is vital that every Muslim wash before praying and it is also essential that after using the toilet, no urine should be left in any part of the body. Without circumcision, there are always chances that some urine will remain within the prepuce after using the toilet.
Due to the fact that the prepuce is removed during the procedure, there is no chance for urine to remain in any part of the body after using the restroom. As such, in the absence of the foreskin, it is relatively easier to keep the penis clean.
Circumcision as an introduction to Islam
A large proportion of Muslims believe that removing the foreskin not only helps maintain urine in any part of the body, but also prevents excrements from accumulating in the penis, which can eventually result in a variety of ailments, including penis cancer. According to some Muslims, this procedure also acts as a preventive measure against certain infections and diseases.
Many Muslims view circumcision as the perfect introduction to the religion and as a sign of their faith and belonging. Although there is no age preference for performing this right, the age considered will usually depend on the family, the country, and even the subset of the religion. The preferred age, however, is usually seven, though it is normal to find some families circumcising their boys as early as seven days after birth and as late as when the boy hits puberty.
Unlike other religions such as Judaism, where this procedure is purely religious and is performed by a religious figure, in Islam, circumcision can be carried out in a hospital or a clinic. There are also no strict requirements that the person carrying out the circumcision must be a Muslim, though they must be medically trained, certified, and licensed to carry out circumcision.
In some Muslim cultures and religions, before the boys undergo this procedure, they must be able to recite the whole Quran from start to finish. In countries such as Malaysia, for example, circumcision is seen as a puberty rite that helps to separate boys from childhood and usher them into adulthood.
Circumcision is an essential practice in Islam
The practice of circumcision is an important ritual aimed at improving cleanliness in Islam, though it is not a compulsory practice. As such, it is highly encouraged, but never forcefully enforced. The ritual can be traced back to the times of Prophet Muhammad – believed to have been born without a foreskin. Some Muslims have, therefore, adopted the practice so that they may also be like the great prophet. It was also widely practised by a majority of the past prophets.
Religious benefits of circumcision
Male circumcision is one of the commandments regarding beautification that was given by Allah and which Allah meant for his slaves to observe so that they can remain beautiful both inward and outward. For centuries, circumcision has been regarded as the perfection of fitrah – the natural state of man, and as such, it is regarded as the perfection of the haneefiyyah of the religion of Abraham.
The origin of the practice can be traced to when God made a covenant with Abraham and promised to make his offspring be as many as the sands on the shores, and also to make him the leader of mankind. He promised Abraham that we would be the father of many nations and that many prophets and kings would come through him.
As a sign of the covenant between Allah and Abraham, and that it would last forever, Allah commanded Abraham to circumcise every newborn male. And, with that, the procedure got into a religion where it is still being observed to date.
Millions of Muslims across the globe view circumcision as having the same symbolism and status as baptism for those who follow religions such as Christianity. For these other religions, baptism in water, is how children become purified Christians. Allah has also prescribed for the Muslims their own rites, for which circumcision is the symbol.
Health benefits of circumcision in Islam
There are numerous health benefits that come with circumcising newborns during the first few months of life. Some of the notable health benefits include:
- Protection against local infections in the penis – local infections in the penis may result due to the presence of the foreskin, leading to the tightening of the foreskin. In chronic cases, such an infection may lead to a myriad of health complications, all of which could usually be avoided by simply removing the foreskin when the child is still at a tender age.
- Protection against penile cancer – studies suggest that penile cancer is almost non-existent among males who have undergone circumcision. Due to this, it is believed that the presence of the foreskin is one of the top predisposing factors, and getting rid of it would dramatically lower the chances of one suffering from penile cancer.
- Protection against sexually transmitted diseases – studies also suggest that the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, is rampant among those who are not circumcised. This implies that circumcision could be effective in reducing the chances of one contracting a myriad of sexually transmitted diseases.