Continued from page 2
practices that came through Abraham and Moses.
Arguments on Circumcision
Up until today, it has been a Muslim tradition to circumcise the
boys. Since the Quran does not mention the practice, some arguments
can be made on the validity of circumcision on religious grounds:
Since the verses regarding circumcision are in the previous
scriptures, one does not know their authenticity.
The practice applies only to Jews, not to Muslims. The Quran
does not mention anything about circumcision. Therefore, based
on the Quranic verse that God decreed for each religion its
own laws and rites (5:48), a Muslim is not responsible for circumcision.
Circumcision is based on Hadith (sayings) and old customs,
not based on the Quran.
God says in the Quran that He perfected us. Therefore it is
puzzling why the created should need to “remedy”
the perfect handiwork of the Creator.
On the other hand, counter arguments can be made for the following
and it contains guidance (5:44). There is no reason to think
circumcision is a man-made innovation because the practice does
not have an economic or political consequence that would cause
it to be invented or even changed with time.
The argument that man should not have circumcision since God
created him perfect does not make sense if we start using this
argument on other issues. Should we not have any surgery, remove
a tumor, a bad tooth, and so on, based on that logic? Furthermore,
God created all creation perfect, including pigs. Why does He
ask us not to eat the meat of pigs then?
The Quran comes to confirm and supersede the previous scriptures.
It does not give us information on a religious matter if it
is already practiced correctly and there is no change from the
previous practice. For example, the percentage of Zakat and
the units of Salat have not been mentioned. But some practical
change in the nights of fasting has been pointed out. (2:187)
Abraham was neither Jew, nor Christian. He was a monotheist
submitter (3:67). The people most worthy of Abraham are those
who follow him, and the prophet Muhammad, and those who believe
(3:68). The messengers that came after Abraham, including Moses,
Jesus and Muhammad were followers of Abraham (16:123). All practices
of our religion came through Abraham.
The unanimous practice of male circumcision among the Muslims
up until today confirms that circumcision is one of the religious
practices that came through Abraham, and it will be practiced
by those who follow the religion of Abraham.
Still, one can counter all the above arguments saying that God
deliberately left circumcision out of the Quran to leave the practice
up to us because of His incredible mercy.
Therefore, there are always two sides of a coin. As part of our
test, there is a decision each of us must make, and we will be responsible
for whatever we do, and whatever we believe in. God always gives
us an alternative way to choose and justify our actions. We can
only ask God to direct us to make the right decision.
And we gave Moses the scripture, complete with the
best commandments, and detailing everything, and a beacon and mercy,
that they may believe in meeting their Lord. This too is a blessed
scripture that we have revealed; you shall follow it and lead a
righteous life, that you may attain mercy. [6:154-155]
[Note: This discussion has been only on male
circumcision. People bring the issue of female circumcision as practiced
by certain groups in some Muslim countries. There is no scriptural
basis for such practice. It is gross and blasphemous, especially
since it is done in the name of religion. The practice has been
banned and made illegal in some countries.]