Circumcision is detrimental to sexual health, and may be against human rights (it is a sort of genital mutilation), then why it is practiced by Muslims? What exactly are teachings of Qur’an and Sunnah on this issue?
I will appreciate your considered response.
I apologize for being unable to discern whether you are referencing male or female circumcision in your question. For this answer I will presume that you are inquiring about male circumcision since, as you have correctly stated, it is a part of Muslim practice. In case I am wrong in my assumption I’ll make a short comment on female circumcision which should suffice as answer. Female circumcision has no foundation in Islam regardless of who is practicing it. It is absolutely without basis and I agree that it is nothing less than mutilation.
Male circumcision has been practiced for thousands of years and by billions of men throughout time. Abraham, the patriarch of the Jews, Christians and Muslims, began this practice with himself and his first son Ishmael as a commitment between himself, his generations to come and the Almighty. This is clearly referenced to in the Bible.
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. (Genesis 17: 10 – 12)
Islam has also preserved this same pledge by prescribing this act according to the Prophet’s Sunnah (i.e. practice). It should be kept in mind that circumcision in Islam is not a mere incising of the flesh; rather it is a symbolic act of vowing oneself and one’s children to God. Muslims must adhere to this practice for it is a responsibility and spiritual commitment intended to bring people closer to their Creator.
Islam abhors any form of mutilation and therefore prescribes nothing even remotely close to damaging God’s blessings (body or otherwise). I have understood that you feel that circumcision can be detrimental to one’s health but I respectfully disagree. In saying that, I would offer a point of fact that I am not a doctor, nor in any medical field and am not in a position to give valid medical advice or opinion. I have done some research and only offer the following as a point of reference not an exhaustive study. To be quite honest I have found that the medical community is split on circumcision. First the split is not down the middle (it’s heavily favored towards circumcision) and secondly, the split is in regards to whether a male “has to be” circumcised or not. Keeping that in mind I would now move onto some information I came across.
Uncircumcised men tend to be better hosts to STD’s than circumcised men
The increased risk of infection may be a consequence of the fact that the foreskin presents the penis with a larger surface area, the moist skin under it represents a thinner epidermal barrier than the drier, more cornified skin of the circumcised penis, the presence of a prepuce is likely to result in greater micro trauma during sexual intercourse and, as one might expect, the warm, moist mucosal environment under the foreskin favours growth of micro-organisms. (Dr. Brian J. Morris)
Men who are uncircumcised are at 6 times more risk of catching HIV than circumcised men (Men’s Fitness Magazine).
In terms of infectious disease, Aids is the biggest killer in Africa, with HIV frequent in the sexually-active populations of many countries. But the study, carried out by European and African researchers, found that uncircumcised men were at least three times more likely than circumcised men to contract the virus. (BBC News)
By any medical standard circumcision is far from disfiguring or mutilating the genitals. This has been conceded to by those who condone and those who do not condone circumcision.
What are the risks of circumcision?
Like any surgical procedure, circumcision has some risks. However, the rate of problems after circumcision is low. Bleeding and infection in the circumcised area are the most common problems. Sometimes the skin of the newly exposed glans becomes irritated by the pressure of diapers and ammonia in the urine. The irritation is usually treated with petroleum ointment (Vaseline) put directly on the area. This problem will usually lessen after a few days.” (familydoctor.org)
There are potential benefits from circumcision. In an article I found on webmd.com it states:
How effective is circumcision?
Circumcision helps prevent the following problems:
Urinary tract infection (UTI) in infant boys. Only 1 to 2 out of 1,000 circumcised boys will get UTIs, while 7 to 14 of 1,000 uncircumcised boys will get UTIs. More research may need to be done to verify these numbers. Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in adult males. There is some evidence that some STDs are more common in uncircumcised males, but more research is needed. Cancer of the penis in older adult males. Cancer of the penis is rare. In the United States, only about 1 in 100,000 men get it. However, most of the men who get penile cancer are not circumcised. Countries in which circumcision is uncommon have higher rates of penile cancer (up to 10.5 per 100,000 men). (webmd.com)
Clearly from the above presentation, circumcision is prescribed to the descendants of Abraham and all mankind who follow God’s path. According to the Bible, it is a covenant symbolically preserved in the act of circumcision to keep man in allegiance to God’s Will. As it relates to the medical field it seems that circumcision is beneficial at best and irritating for a few days at worst.
I hope I have clarified the issue.
God knows best.