Mysticism : The heartbeat of Islam

What is faith according to Islam? Faith is belief in : One God : A Divine Presence, In the existence of spiritual beings known as angels In the revelations of God, the Psalms revealed to David, the Torah sent down to Moses, the New Testament brought to Jesus and the Final Testament, The living Qur'an brought to Muhammad all the prophets that were sent as mercy to mankind : The Judgement Day and Resurrection The Divine Decree destiny


The Medical Benefits of Circumcision

Lack of circumcision:

Medical Aspects

Is the biggest risk factor for heterosexually-acquired AIDS virus infection in men (8-times higher risk by itself, and even higher when lesions from STDs are added in).

Is responsible for a 12-fold higher risk of urinary tract infections.

Carries a higher risk of death in the first year of life (from complications of urinary tract infections: kidney failure, meningitis and infection of bone marrow).

One in ~600-900 uncircumcised men will die from cancer of the penis or require at least partial penile amputation as a result. (In contrast, penile cancer never occurs in men circumcised at birth). (Data from studies in the USA, Denmark and Australia, which are not to be confused with the often quoted, but misleading, annual incidence figures of 1 in 100,000).

Often leads to balanitis (inflammation of the glans), phimosis (inability to retract the foreskin) and paraphimosis (constriction of the penis by a tight foreskin). Up to 18% of uncircumcised boys will develop one of these by 8 years of age, whereas all are unknown in the circumcised.

Means problems that may result in a need for circumcision late in life: complication risk = 1 in 100 (compared with 1 in 1000 in the newborn).

Is associated with higher incidence of cervical cancer in the female partners of uncircumcised men.

There is no evidence of any long-term psychological harm arising from circumcision.

The risk of damage to the penis is extremely rare and avoidable by using a competent, experienced doctor. Surgical methods use a procedure that protects the penis during excision of the foreskin. As an alternative, for those who might prefer it, a device (PlastiBell) is in use that clamps the foreskin, which then falls off after a few days, and so eliminates the need to actually cut the foreskin off. For some, cultural or religious beliefs dictate the method.

Sociological aspects

Finally, a brief mention of other findings relating to circumcision in the setting of Australia. In a survey of circumcised vs uncircumcised men and their partners that was conducted by Sydney scientist James Badger (who regards himself as neutral on the issue of circumcision) it was found that:

18% of uncircumcised males underwent circumcision later in life anyway.

21% of uncircumcised men who didn't, nevertheless wished they were circumcised. (There were also almost as many men who wished they hadn?t been circumcised and it could be that at least some men of either category may have been seeking a scapegoat for their sexual or other problems.

In addition, this would no doubt be yet another thing parents could be blamed for by their children, whatever their decision was when the child was born.)

No difference in sexual performance (consistent with Masters & Johnson).

Slightly higher sexual activity in circumcised men.

No difference in frequency of sexual intercourse for older uncircumcised vs. circumcised men.

Men circumcised as adults were very pleased with the result. The local pain when they awoke from the anaesthetic was quickly relieved by pain killers (needed only for one day), and all had returned to normal sexual relations within 2 weeks, with no decrease in sensitivity of the penis and claims of 'better sex'. (Badger?s findings are, moreover, consistent with every discussion I have ever had with men circumcised as adults. The only case to the contrary was a testimonial in a letter I received in the mail from a member of UNCIRC.)

Women with circumcised lovers were more likely to reach a simultaneous climax.

Women with uncircumcised lovers were 3 times as likely to fail to reach orgasm. (These data could, however, possibly reflect behaviours of uncircumcised males that might belong to lower socio-economic classes and/or ethnic groups whose attitudes may differ from groups in which circumcision is more common.)

Circumcision was favoured by women for appearance and hygiene. (Furthermore, some women were nauseated by the smell of the uncircumcised penis, where, as mentioned above bacteria and other micro-organisms proliferate under the foreskin.)

The uncircumcised penis was found by women to be easier to elicit orgasm by hand.

The circumcised penis was favoured by women for oral sex.

Why are human males born with a foreskin?

The foreskin probably protected the head of the penis from long grass, shrubbery, etc when humans wore no clothes, where evolutionarily our basic physiology and psychology are little different than our cave-dwelling ancestors.

However, Dr Guy Cox from The University of Sydney has recently supplemented this suggestion with a novel idea, namely that the foreskin could be the male equivalent of the hymen, and served as an impediment to sexual intercourse during adolescence

. The ritual removal of the foreskin in diverse human traditional cultures, ranging from Muslims to Aboriginal Australians, is a sign of civilization in that human society acquired the ability to control through education and religion the age at which sexual intercourse could begin.

Food for thought and discussion!

Conclusion The information available today will assist medical practitioners, health workers and parents by making advice and choices concerning circumcision much more informed. Although there are benefits to be had at any age, they are greater the younger the child.

Issues of ? informed consent? may be analogous to those parents have to consider for other medical procedures, such as whether or not to immunize their child. The question to be answered is ?do the benefits outweigh the risks?.

When considering each factor in isolation there could be some difficulty in choosing. However, when viewed as a whole, in my opinion the answer to whether to circumcise a male baby is ?yes?. Nevertheless, everybody needs to weigh up all of the pros and cons for themselves and make their own best decision.

I trust that the information I have provided in this article will help in the decision-making process.

Brian J. Morris, PhD DSc
Fax: +61 2 9351 2058
University Academic (in medical sciences)