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CIRCUMCISION


Circumcision or posthetomy, is the operative removal of all or part of the prepuce of the penis. By extension to the female the term is also used for clitoridectomy. [1]

 

Table of Contents

 

Medical definition

Surgery that removes the foreskin (the loose tissue) covering the glans of the penis. Circumcision may be performed for religious, cultural reasons or health reasons. Newborn circumcision diminishes the risk for cancer of the penis and lowers the risk for cancer of the cervix in sexual partners. It also decreases the risk of urinary tract infections and lowers the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV.

 

The Latin "circum-" means around (or about). Circumcision is, literally, a cutting around. Circumcision dates back to prehistoric times. It is one of the oldest surgical operations known to have been performed by ancient people. [2]

 

Islamic meaning

Islamic circumcision is defined as cutting the foreskin covering the male organ only. [3]

 

Qur’an

 “Ibraaheem was circumcised when he was eighty years old,” and Allah سبحانه و تعالى says (interpretation of the meaning): “… it is the religion of your father Ibraaheem…” Qur’an.Surah Al-Hajj 22:78

 

Hadith

The Prophet Muhammad said: “Five things are part of the fitrah: circumcision, removing the pubic hair, trimming the moustache, cutting the nails, and plucking the armpit hair.” Sahih Al-Bukhari 5891, Sahih Muslim 257.

 

Circumcision is a Sunnah (action following the example of the Prophet ) for men, and an honoring act for women. Musnad Ahmad Vol 5 pg 75 [4] [5]

 

The Health and Religious benefits of Circumcision

The Muslim obeys the command of Allah سبحانه و تعالى. This is the meaning of Islam, which is submission to Allah سبحانه و تعالىand obedience to His command, whether the wisdom behind it is clear to him or not, because the One Who is issuing the command – Allah سبحانه و تعالى, may He be exalted – is the Creator, the All-Knowing, the All-Aware, who created mankind and knows what is good for them and what is not good for them. Circumcision is one of the rulings of sharee’ah which the Muslim carries out willingly, in submission to and out of love for Allah سبحانه و تعالى, and seeking reward with Him. He is certain that Allah سبحانه و تعالىdoes not command anything unless there is a wisdom behind it and it is good for His slaves, whether people know that or not. Since your question referred to the health benefits of circumcision, we will, after looking at the shar’i (religious) benefits, will answer your question about the health benefits, in order to increase the believers in faith in the ruling, and so that non-Muslims may see one aspect of the greatness of this sharee’ah (Islamic law) which came to bring benefits and ward off harm. 

 

Dr. Muhammad ‘Ali al-Baar (a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in the UK and a consultant to the Islamic Medicine department of the King Fahd Centre for Medical Research in the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah) says in his book al-Khitaan (Circumcision): 

 

“Circumcision of newborn boys (i.e., within the first month of life) brings numerous health benefits, including: 

 

1 – Protection against local infection in the penis, which may result from the presence of the foreskin, causing tightening of the foreskin, which may lead to retention of urine or infections of the glans (tip) of the penis – which require circumcision in order to treat these problems. In chronic cases, the child may be exposed to numerous diseases in the future, the most serious of which is cancer of the penis. 

 

2 – Infections of the urethra. Many studies have proven that  uncircumcised boys are more exposed to infection of the urethra. In some studies the rate was 39 times more among uncircumcised boys. In other studies the rate was ten times more. Other studies showed that 95% of children who suffered from infections of the urethra were uncircumcised, whereas the rate among circumcised children did not exceed 5%. 

In children, infection of the urethra is serious in some cases. In the study by Wisewell on 88 children who suffered infections of the urethra, in 36 % of them, the same bacteria was found in the blood also. Three of them contracted meningitis, and two suffered renal failure. Two others died as a result of the spread of the micro-organisms throughout the body. 

 

3 – Protection against cancer of the penis:  the studies agree that cancer of the penis is almost non-existent among circumcised men, whereas the rate among uncircumcised men is not insignificant. In the US the rate of penile cancer among circumcised men is zero, whilst among uncircumcised men it is 2.2 in every 100,000 of the uncircumcised population. As most of the inhabitants of the US are circumcised, the cases of this cancer there are between 750 and 1000 per year. If the population were not circumcised, the number of cases would reach 3000. In countries where boys are not circumcised, such as China, Uganda and Puerto Rico, penile cancer represents between 12-22 % of all cancers found in men; this is a very high percentage. 

 

4 – Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).  Researchers found that the STDs which are transmitted via sexual contact (usually because of fornication/adultery and homosexuality) spread more among those who are not circumcised, especially herpes, soft chancres, syphilis, candida, gonorrhea and genital warts. 

There are numerous modern studies which confirm that circumcision reduces the possibility of contracting AIDS when compared to their uncircumcised counterparts. But that does not rule out the possibility of a circumcised man contracting AIDS as the result of sexual contact with a person who has AIDS. Circumcision is not a protection against it, and there is no real way of protecting oneself against the many sexually transmitted diseases apart from avoiding fornication/adultery, promiscuity, homosexuality and other repugnant practices. (From this we can see the wisdom of Islamic sharee’ah in forbidding fornication/adultery and homosexuality). 

 

5 – Protection of wives against cervical cancer. Researchers have noted that the wives of circumcised men have less risk of getting cervical cancer than the wives of uncircumcised men.  From al-Khitaan, p. 76, by Dr. Muhammad al-Baar. Professor Wisewell, published in the American Family Doctor Magazine, issue no. 41, 1991 CE. [6] [7]

 

Circumcision Benefits

 The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks.  Circumcision might have various health benefits, including:

  • Easier hygiene. Circumcision makes it simpler to wash the penis. Washing beneath the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis is generally easy, however.
  • Decreased risk of urinary tract infections. The overall risk of urinary tract infections in males is low, but these infections are more common in uncircumcised males. Severe infections early in life can lead to kidney problems later on.
  • Decreased risk of sexually transmitted infections. Circumcised men might have a lower risk of certain sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Still, safe sexual practices remain essential.
  • Prevention of penile problems. Occasionally, the foreskin on an uncircumcised penis can be difficult or impossible to retract (phimosis). This can lead to inflammation of the foreskin or head of the penis.
  • Decreased risk of penile cancer. Although cancer of the penis is rare, it's less common in circumcised men. In addition, cervical cancer is less common in the female sexual partners of circumcised men.
  • Better sexual function on average.[8] [9]

 

References

[1] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/circumcision

[2] http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2739

[3] http://islamqa.info/en/ref/20015/Circumcision

[4] http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/9412/circumcision

[5]http://alifta.com/Search/ResultDetails.aspx?lang=en&view=result&fatwaNum=&FatwaNumID=&ID=265&searchScope=17&SearchScopeLevels1=&SearchScopeLevels2=&highLight=1&SearchType=exact&SearchMoesar=false&bookID=&LeftVal=0&RightVal=0&simple=&SearchCriteria=allwords&PagePath=&siteSection=1&searchkeyword=099105114099117109099105115105111110#firstKeyWordFound

[6] http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/7073/circumcision

[7] http://www.missionislam.com/health/circumcisionislam.html

[8] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/circumcision/MY01023/DSECTION=why-its-done

[9] http://www.islamawareness.net/Circumcision/circumcision.html

 

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