CIRCUMCISION: TO CUT OR NOT TO CUT? (PART 1 of 2)

Male circumcision is the removal of the skin covering the head (glans) of the penis. This
foreskin, also known as the prepuce, is commonly cut off as a traditional custom or religious practice in many parts of the world. It has also been medically proven to be beneficial and, in certain cases, absolutely imperative. Some of the benefits are:

1. Better hygiene
2. Decreased risk of urinary tract and sexually transmitted infections
3. Decreased risk of penile cancer
4. Decreased risk of cervical cancer in the female partner
5. Treatment of inflammation/infection of the penis and phimosis (inability to retract the foreskin).

Bleeding, infection and poor wound healing are possible complications of the procedure, but these are rare when done by a skilled professional. It is advisable to perform it within the first few days of life and not delay it until adulthood, when it becomes more difficult, painful and risky.

Some advocacy groups have come up with campaigns, stating that it is totally unfair to cut off any part of a child’s body (unless medically indicated). They argue that the procedure is brutal and unnecessary and a child could sue the parents if he doesn’t like what has been done to him. (Chai! These Oyinbo people sef…)

In Islam, circumcision is a Prophetic tradition and part of the natural state for males (Sunanul-fitrah). It is crucial to the maintenance of perfect hygiene which is a prerequisite for the observance and validity of most acts of worship.

Narrated Abu Hurayrah (ra) : the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said, “Five things are part of the fitrah – circumcision, shaving the pubic hair, plucking the armpit hairs, cutting the nails, and trimming the moustache.” Bukhaari (5889) and Muslim (257).

In another Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (ra): The Messenger of Allaah (saw) said: “Ibraaheem (as) circumcised himself when he was eighty years old, and he circumcised himself with an adze.” Bukhaari (6298) and Muslim (2370).

Khadijah Sanni-Tijani

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