The true history of male circumcision is not known, but throughout human history, and by many peoples, it has been considered a religious ritual that was required to be followed for several reasons either to distinguish males from one group or another, or to humiliate another group.
It is practiced for reasons that differ from one society to another. The oldest thing that humans have on this subject is found in the antiquities of the pharaohs, where circumcision was normal. The situation changed with the occupation of Egypt by the Greeks (Alexander the Great), who opposed the circumcision and this is evident in their bare statues.
The Greek historian Herodotus pointed out 2,500 years ago, that the ancient Egyptians believed circumcision was a means of purifying and cleaning the body. The Equatorial African tribes have known circumcision for decades and are still followed by the arrival of men to the rank of warriors.
The native Australians also knew circumcision. The Phoenicians knew circumcision, and it was practiced in Syria and Palestine. The Jewish mythology tells us that Abraham circumcised himself by divine command.
The Jewish rabbis also consider that removal of the glans (foreskin) a symbol to put a seal on the contract document. At the beginning of the second century AD circumcision was confined to the ancient Christians and Jews as followed by the Nabatean Arabs (people who inhabited Northern Arabia and the Southern Levant), and was rarely present as a religious ritual outside this region.
In the 19th century, medical campaigns were launched in favor of circumcision. The English-speaking countries were the most responsive to the campaign, in addition to Korea. The numbers of circumcised men in these countries were rising and falling according to pro and against research. According to modern science the benefits of circumcision include the following: Circumcision reduces infl ammation, or genital infection or cancer.
Research has also shown that people who are circumcised are less likely than others to have sexual diseases such as AIDS and syphilis. The World Health Organization (WHO) advises male circumcision. Serious research in 2001 showed that women were less likely to develop cervical cancer if they married a circumcised man.
The disadvantages of circumcision, as rumored, are that they feel less sexual pleasure as a result of losing their foreskin, which has sensitive nerves but has not been scientifically proven. It is also believed that complications resulting from circumcision are not warranted, a procedure that is not medically necessary.
Circumcisions are often conducted for children who are not informed about the matter and may have another opinion when they grow up. It might also cause deformation in the body without the knowledge and approval of the person who is circumcised. As for female circumcision — female genital mutilation (FGM) despite its spread, especially in African countries, there is a medical and social consensus on its seriousness, not only on the health of the girl being circumcised, but also on the negative effects, psychologically and sexually, on women, especially after marriage.
However, it is usually an inherent custom that needs great and intensive efforts to stop the work and eradicate it from the depth of the minds of citizens of many countries, especially in remote and poor communities.
By Ahmad Al Sarraf