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Circumcision in Hinduism and Islam: Compared

By Editorial Staff

 

Definition of Circumcision

There are many commonalities between Hinduism and Islam, but the practice of male circumcision is dividing line between both religions.

The circumcision of a male human being means to cut off the extra skin that covers a male man’s glans or the end of the penis.

What Is Circumcision in Islam?

Islam has introduced a number of practices that help a person to be pure and clean in his body and appearance. Male circumcision is amongst the important and famous rites of Islam and it is a part of the fitrah (nature), or the innate disposition and natural character and instinct of the human creation. Those practices include circumcision, trimming the nails, shaving or trimming the mustache.

A Hadith on Circumcision

The Prophet (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 trimming the moustache.” (Al- Bukhari)

According to Islamic jurisprudence, the tradition of circumcision is a highly recommended act in Islam but it is not an issue of belief and disbelief. Suppose, if a Hindu converts to Islam after puberty, it is not obligatory to do the circumcision for him.

What Is Circumcision in Hinduism?

We do not know about the ancient Hindu scriptures and their attitude towards circumcision. But now most Hindus do not practice circumcision in religious terms, and the popular Hindu tradition is to avoid circumcision.

However, in the modern era, some Hindus may practice circumcision for some medical benefits as is done in the USA. In addition, some Hindus condemn male circumcision practiced amongst the Muslims and try to justify their tradition of not circumcising.

Some Objections by Hindus on Circumcision  

A Hindu brother argues:

“What are you talking about? Circumcision is never to be done or never suggested for anyone.  Many children can die due to the circumcision. The circumcision might be necessary in the Arab countries but not in our country India.”

Another Hindu brother argues: “What nonsense! Has God forgotten to create properly and then you are correcting His creation? Is God made perfect or man made?”

In general, Hindu brothers object the circumcision saying: If the circumcision practiced by Muslims was beloved to Allah the Almighty, He would have created people circumcised from the beginning.

Answer to the Objections of Hindus

According to Muslim belief, the pleasure or anger of Allah the Almighty for some action, deed or saying is identified through the sayings of Prophet (peace be upon him). If the practice of circumcision was detested by Allah the Almighty, it would not been commanded by the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Moreover, a question can be asked to silence those Hindu brothers who oppose the tradition of circumcision. The question is: the unwanted hair on the human body, like, pubic hair, armpit hair, and beard for some Hindus who shave off, what do you say? Is it liked by God or disliked Him? Surely it is not liked by Him, then why has not God created human being without it.

Also a child is born with its umbilical cord, what do you think? Will you cut it or will you leave him with his cord.

After this logical argument, let us present here some proofs on the benefits of circumcision from medical science.

Medical Science and the Circumcision

The scientific studies conducted on the subject of circumcision around the world have proved that it protects man from many diseases and helps to be clean and pure.

The subject of circumcision (or Sunnat as is named in our countries) remained a matter of debate in some European countries as well. There was a debate over circumcision in many countries in the world. A debate started on this issue when the District Court in Germany’s Cologne City said in one of its decisions that circumcision of infants is equivalent to causing a painful loss to their body. The decision was strongly opposed.

The latest aspect of this issue was the recent statement of America’s Chicago-based pediatric research institute, The American Academy of Pediatrics. It has said that the benefits of circumcision to a newborn male are great and important. It is also true that researches from around the world have been proving from time to time that circumcision protects from many diseases.

Is Circumcision a Minor Surgery?

Circumcision is a minor physiological surgery in which, both Muslims and Jews, usually cut off the extra skin of newborn male babies on the head of their penis that covers the glans.

The Evidence of Medical Science

The statement of Chicago-based pediatrician is scientific evidence on the basis of which it can be said plainly that the children who are circumcised may reduce the risk of various diseases. These include infections in the urinary tract of young children, men’s genital cancers, diseases caused by sexual relations, HIV and Human papillomavirus (HPV) a sexually transmitted virus.

The academy supports parents who circumcise their child. Scientists say that circumcised men are less prone to infection, because there is no moisture environment for germs to grow especially when the extra skin of the penis is cut off.

Protection from AIDS and Uterine Cancer

The cause of uterine cancer in women is the human papillomas virus. This virus grows around the same skin of the penis that gets transmitted to women during sexual intercourse. An article published in the British Medical Journal in April 2002 suggested that circumcision reduces female uterine cancer by up to twenty percent

Furthermore, the circumcision protects from HIV and AIDS. An article published in May 2000 in the British Medical Journal has mentioned that men circumcised were eight times less likely to have HIV infection. One in every thousand men is prone to cancer, but circumcision completely protects the human from this disease.

A report based on Uganda’s two tribes the AIDS was less amongst the people who were circumcised, whereas the other tribes who were not circumcised were more likely to have AIDS cases.

 Newborn Baby Circumcision in the USA

A large section of American society is beginning to follow this practice for better health. In the survey conducted from 1999 to 2004 in the United States from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 79 percent of men accepted their circumcision. According to the National Hospital Discharge Survey, in the USA, in 1999, 65 percent of new born children were circumcised. Circumcision was found in newborn babies born in America’s financially and socially strong families.

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 30 percent of the world’s males are circumcised.

Circumcision Camp in Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, a campaign was launched to prevent HIV infections. In June 2012, many MPs were circumcised in the Parliament. For this, a temporary medical camp has been installed inside the Parliament.

According to the AFP report, at least 60 MPs from Zimbabwe’s two main parties came back and took medical consultation and then went to the camp to conduct a test.

At the beginning of the campaign, a large number of MPs participated in HIV testing and resolved to circumcise to avoid this dangerous disease.

Conclusion

In the light of above-mentioned evidences, we can conclude that Islam is a religion of divine source. And Islam is a religion compatible with the nature, instinct and universal fact. Islamic instructions bring spiritual and physical benefits for the mankind. These evidences verify its honesty and truthfulness. In addition, it has become clear that the objections by some Hindu brothers against male circumcision in Islam are weak and fragile according to the logic, reason and science.

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