Circumcision was introduced to the Iranians through Islam and is a right of obligation amongst the Jews. However the
practice has a long history in ancient Middle East and was closely related to the rituals dedicated to ancient gods and goddesses
of fertility. Ancient Mesopatomian had festival where the actual organ of a young boy was cut off and dedicated to the fertility
goddess. Tha action was later reduced to inducing an incision instead.
The blood was offered to the goddess, and the occasion was celebrated publicly.
In the Old Kingdom of Egypt there was a god of circumcision to guarantee the fertility related to the River Nile,
and early Egyptian myth contended that blood from circumcision of another god fell down and created the universe. In one document
from ancient Egypt a man is stating that he was circumcised with 120 males and 120 females.
In Jewish tradition circumcision and reasons for it are stated in the Jewish holy book, Torah. A Covenant is made between
God and Abraham that God would make Abraham a rich and powerful man and the father of a nation, and in return Abraham's people
would adhere to a certain way of life (described in the Torah).
According to the Torah, God commanded Abraham to "circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, as a sign of the covenant between
Me and you. At the age of eight days you shall circumcise every male child born to you through-out the generations".
To this day Jewish people renew the covenant each time a boy is circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. The eight
day is chosen because the first seven days represent the first days of creation of the physical world.
On the eight day the baby is said to have transcended the physical word, and is ready to enter the covenant made between
God and man.
But where Judaism is very clear about the imperative, the Islamic motivation remains shrouded in mystery.
Judaism can point to the verses in Genesis (17:1-14) as the precise point at which circumcision becomes representative
of the Covenant and the distinguishing mark of the Jewish people.
The Quran however remains silent in both the requirement and the reason behind it.
Circumcision was practiced by some pre-Islamic Arabs and was a common practice in Africa from very early times.
With the Muslims, it is not mentioned in the Quran but is regarded as a tradition of the Prophet and has become obligatory.
The Prophet Muhammad himself is quoted as saying "It is an ordinance in men and an Honourable in women" indicating that
the practice is very strongly urged, if not required outright.
Many Islamic theologians have insisted that Muhammad and the prophets were born circumcised.
One account related that the earth cries out to God in anguish in account of the uncircumcised.
The most common hadith attributed to the Prophet himself, mentions circumcision in a list of practices known as
"fitrah", meaning natural way or instinct.
Abu Hurayra a companion of the prophet quotes him saying, "Five things are "fitrah": circumcision, shaving the body with
a razor, trimming the mustache, pairing the nails, and plucking the hair from ones armpits. (al-Bukhari, al-Jami' al-sahih). Expressing
in short, that these five things human have discovered by instinct with or without organized religion.