Guest Author - Linda Heywood
Circumcision is an initiation rite that has been carried out on eight day old Jewish boys for over 3,000 years. This ceremony is known as Brit milah. It is carried out by the Jewish community because according to the Torah the prophet Abraham was commanded to circumcise himself and all male members of his household.
Genesis 17, verses 9-14
This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your descendants after you. Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house, or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring. And the uncircumcised male, whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.
Muslims are now one of the largest communities who circumcise boys regardless of the fact that there is no commandment in the Quran to do so. Muslims are consequently following a Jewish custom. If there is no commandment to circumcise boys then there is definitely no commandment to circumcise girls. It is the men who circumcise the boys, a tradition passed on from father to son.
Every chapter in the Quran, except one, begins with - In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. A merciful God does not expect a person to hold down a screaming child and cut off its most intimate parts. There is no commandment in Islam for circumcision. God does not tell us to do it in His name, God does not mention circumcision in the Quran, so therefore, it is not an Islamic practice. God tells us He left nothing out of the Quran so did he forget to mention circumcision? No, if it is not in the Quran, it is not decreed.
The medical profession tell us that male circumcision should be performed for health reasons. The actual procedure of circumcision is painful, dangerous, potentially deforming and unnecessary. If boys are taught at a young age to wash behind their foreskin then the spread of disease is diminished. If boys and girls are taught at a young age that sex is to be practiced only in marriage, the risk of disease, unwanted pregnancy and cervical cancer could be prevented. An old fashioned statement these days but we are told in the Quran, ‘you shall maintain chastity, not committing adultery, nor taking secret lovers’ (5:5). Chastity means remaining pure and innocent.
Female circumcision is a cultural and not a religious practice. Again the motive is cleanliness. One myth is that if a male member touches a female clitoris then he will die. If the mutilation of the female genitalia causes infections then the girl is likely to die. In communities where this ritual is performed a girl will never be allowed to marry if she has her genitalia intact. When a circumcised girl gives birth, she is likely to die due to the child being unable to leave the birth canal or bleeding due to tearing of the tightly sewn up area. Menstruation and urination become difficult and painful. It is the women who circumcise these girls because they too were mutilated and have been shown nothing different.
God says he loves those who are clean, but water washes us clean. Removing the genitalia of children without their permission is tantamount to grievous bodily harm and child abuse. In any other circumstance the perpetrator would be arrested and charged and maybe imprisoned.
How do we help to stop this mutilation of children? Educations is the only way forward, but when something is so ingrained into the fabric of a community, and they believe they are doing the ‘right’ thing, it is very hard to make people understand that what they are actually doing is wrong.
God tells us that he designed us and designed us well. God does not make mistakes, if the foreskin and female genitalia were harmful or dirty he would never have given them to us.
BellaOnline Forums has a discussion running on this subject. It can be found in the News and Politics Forum under Women’s Issues – Female Circumcision. Drop by and share your views on this subject and on how we could help to eliminate this cruel and barbaric practice.