Male Circumcision : The Ultimate Hygiene in Personal Health


There exists absolutely no need to debate the validity of the Islamic practice of male circumcision. However, a small group of anti-circumcision activists maintain that the foreskin protects certain glands on the tip of the private part. They maintain that it’s also a type of a protective cover against infections and abrasion, and so it should  be left as natured intended it to be. For Muslims, if something has been prescribed for us, we submit, whether science agrees with it or not. Divine wisdom is more superior to scientific findings as science itself is a very limited  and subjective science.


Just it is perfectly natural and expected to clip one’s nails and trim one’s hair for hygienic purposes, so circumcision falls into the same category. Narrated Sayyadina Abu Huraira (RA) that our most noble Prophet Muhammmad (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam) said: “Five things are in accordance with Al Fitra (i.e. the tradition of prophets, natural disposition): to be circumcised, to shave the pelvic region, to pull out the hair of the armpits, to cut short the moustaches, and to clip the nails.’ (Al-Bukhari Volume 8: Book 74: Hadith 312)


It is therefore evident that circumcision was a tradition that all the Prophets of Allah followed. In another hadith related by Imam al-Bukhari reads: “The practices related to Fitrah (the pure nature) are five: circumcision, shaving the pubic hair, trimming the moustache, cutting the nails and removing the hair of the armpits.” In fact, these are general hygienic practices that humans have discovered by instinct to be good for them, with or without organized religion.


Normally, our children are circumcised during infancy, but the order to circumsize came to Sayyadina Ebrahim (AS) at a very late age. Imagine how painful it may have been for him at that stage, but he willingly did it. Narrated Sayyadina Abu Huraira (RA) that Allah’s Apostle (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “Abraham did his circumcision with an adze at the age of eighty.” (Al-Bukhari, hadith 575)


Allah ordered the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to follow the religion of Sayyadina Ibraheem (‘Alaihis Salaam). Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “Then We inspired you: ‘Follow the religion of Ibraheem, the upright in Faith’.” [16:123]
And an important part of the religion of Ibrahim is circumcision. This is why circumcision is considered as Sunnat al-Ibrahimi (The Sunnah of Prophet Ibraheem).


According to the Islamic tradition there is no fixed age for Muslim circumcision therefore it varies depending on family, region and country. The Hadith indicate that the our noble  Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam)’s grandsons, Hassan and Hussaiyn (peace be upon them) were circumcised on the seventh day after their birth. The noble daughter of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam), Fatima (peace be upon them) herself is quoted talking about her sons’ circumcision on the seventh day after their birth in various traditions.
Therefore, commonly, the preferred age considered is the seventh day after birth and can be as late as puberty. In fact, the medical profession has encouraged medical circumcisions in the first week after birth to reduce complications.
Coming to the benefits of circumcision, let us go through the following facts:


  1. Infection or inflammation of the foreskin affects about 10% – 14% of uncircumcised boys.
  2. Urinary tract infections occur in about 1 in 100 uncircumcised boys in the first year of life, and 1 in 1,000 in circumcised boys. There is also an increased risk of inflammation and infections of the foreskin and glands in uncircumcised males.
  3. Circumcision brings down the chances of catching genital ulcerative diseases.
  4. Penile cancer is a risk for uncircumcised men. One male in 100,000 gets this malignancy and it is invariably an uncircumcised male.
  5. AKaiser Permanente HMO study found that uncircumcised infants are 10 times more likely to get kidney infections and urinary tract infections, especially in their first year of life.
  6. Most importantly, the biggest health benefit conferred by circumcision is that it helps bring down the chances of contracting the dreaded HIV virus. Not only this, circumcised males carrying the AIDS virus are less likely to transmit it to their female partners.


In conclusion, circumcision, throughout history, has been thought to provide a measure of protection against infections of the foreskin. The surgical removal of the skin surrounding the head of the private part (penis) makes it easier to keep it clean because urine, semen and other biological substances cannot get trapped there.  It is also a preventive measure against infection and diseases, because without circumcision excrements may collect under the foreskin which may lead to fatal diseases such as cancer. In Islam, we need to be in a state of purity all the time in order to perform our prayers. With invisible impurities trapped beneath the skin, this may prove a huge inconvenience.

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