Saturday, April 25, 2009
Circumcision, and Islam
Circumcision helps protect men from HIV. Three large trials that allocated heterosexual men from the general population in South Africa, Uganda, and Kenya to either have circumcision or not, found the procedure lowered their risk of HIV infection. When the trials’ results were combined, the data showed circumcision lowered the risk of acquiring HIV by 50% after one year.
Male circumcision is among the rites of Islam and is part of the (in Arabic): fitrah, or the innate disposition and natural character and instinct of the human creation.
As-Shawkani said in his book Nayl al-Awtar (1/184):
"What the Prophet (s.A.w.) means by Fitrah is that if these characteristics are followed by a man, he would be described as a man of Fitrah, which Allah (s.w.t.) has gifted his servants with, and encouraged them to follow, so that they attain a high degree of respectability and dignity."
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "Five are the acts quite akin to fitrah:Circumcision, clipping or shaving the pubes, cutting the nails, plucking or shaving the hair under the armpits and clipping (or shaving) the moustache." (Reported in Bukhari & Muslim)
Allah ordered Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to follow the religion of Ibrahim (peace be upon him). When Allah says:
"Then We inspired you: 'Follow the religion of Ibrahim, the upright in Faith'."
And part of the religion of Ibrahim is circumcision.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "The Prophet Ibrahim circumcised himself when he was eighty years old and he circumcised himself with an axe." (Related by Bukhari, Muslim & Ahmad.)
Ibn Abbas (r.a.) was asked "How old were you when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) died?" He replied, "At that time I had been circumcised. At that time people did not circumcise the boys till they attained the age of puberty (Baligh)." (Bukhari)
Most Fuqaha' (Islamic Jurists) 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 (peace be upon him) would not have troubled himself at such a later stage of his life.
In sum, Islam as dinul fitrah knows what’s best for mankind.