Circumcision in Islam
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There are several opinions on circumcision in Islam. Circumcision is a type of surgery which removes part of a person's outer genitalia. In males, circumcision removes the foreskin from the penis. There are many different types of female circumcision, but all involve injuring or damaging part, or all, of the outer genitalia (such as the clitoris and labia).
Judaic perspective [change]
In Judaism, religious law orders that male infants be circumcised on the 8th day after their birth. This is required even if the 8th day after birth is a Shabbat. In the Jewish faith, circumcision is an important tradition because it represents the newly born baby being included in the covenant (or agreement) which God made with the prophet Abraham.
Islamic perspective [change]
In the Quran, no sura or ayat mention male or female circumcision. However, there are some injunctions of the prophet Muhammad that explain and command only male circumcision, as a continuation of Abrahamic/Hebraic tradition. For example, the prophet Muhammad said in a hadith that "Five are the acts which are part of fitrah:[a] Circumcision, clipping or shaving the pubic hair, cutting the nails, plucking or shaving the hair under the armpits and clipping (or shaving) the moustache".[b]
"Then We inspired you: 'Follow the religion of Ibrahim, the upright in Faith'." (Qur'an 16:123)
Circumcision is a part of the religion of Ibrahim/Abraham, so this passage could be interpreted to mean that Muslims should continue to practice circumcision.
Age of men illustration [change]
Ibn Jubayr Sa'id reported: "Ibn `Abbas was asked the following question: 'How was it with you, [when] the Prophet, peace be upon him, died?,' he said, 'I was circumcised at that particular time because the men were usually only circumcised when they became sexually mature.'" [Sahih al-Bukhari No. 6299]
And further, Ibn `Abbas reported: "When the Prophet, peace be upon him died, I was circumcised at that particular time." [Sahih al-Bukhari No. 6300]
Along with being an important rite of passage, circumcision may have helped people keep track of dates and place events into the correct time and place.
Point of dispute [change]
However, there is some disagreement about circumcision. Some opponents to circumcision call this practice 'genital mutilation' and argue that it is unacceptable. Opponents use several verses of the Quran to support this argument[source?]. These verses include numbers 4:119 (Al-Nisa – The Women); 32:7 (Al-Sajda – The Adoration); and 95:4 (Al-Tin – The Fig).
Many Islamic scholars disagree with this interpretation. They argue that opponents to circumcision are reading these Quranic verses incorrectly, and say that circumcision is not mutilation. They argue that circumcision is an important ritual and a symbolic step of purification along the lines of Abrahamic tradition.
Circumcision is also important within Islam because Islam claims to be the 'truth' and the 'continuation' of the old and true message of Ibrahim/Abraham. According to Islam, God's covenant with Abraham was passed on to Muhammad, whose mission was to continue the covenant. The covenant is continued, according to Islam, through several steps, including male circumcision. The Quran discusses this covenant in detail in several places, including sura 14 (Ibrahim – Abraham).
- (Urdu: Fiqah al Islami, Aam Taauruf [An Introduction to Islamic Doctrine], Islamic Welfare Association Press, Lahore, 1976
- Nasrallah, M. Islam and Mankind: Muslim Practices in the Light of the Holy Quran, Islami Qutubkhana Press, Lahore and Karachi, 1995, p. 102, 105-106; This volume is a referential handbook for Muslim students approved by both the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam