page Require male circumcision
In the Bible, Abraham was commanded by God to undergo circumcision, as a sign of the divine covenant established between them. This requirement was subsequently inherited by all of Abraham’s male descendants; accordingly, it has since remained an established practice throughout the long history of Judaism. According to the Torah (the first section of the Hebrew Bible), male Jewish newborns are to be circumcised on the eighth day after their birth. This occasion is commonly known as a bris (short for “covenant of circumcision”), and has the status of a religious ceremony. The actual procedure is performed by a trained Jewish specialist known as a mohel (“circumciser”), and a celebratory meal follows the ritual. Although it is not commanded by the Quran, male circumcision is mentioned approvingly in hadith collections (compiled sayings or deeds of the prophet Muhammad, looked up to by faithful Muslims as a reliable guide to understanding and behavior). Muhammad himself was circumcised, as were previous prophets going all the way back to Abraham. Consequently, male circumcision (known as khitan or tahara) has been a common standard practice — a virtual requirement — in Islam since its earliest days. Most Muslims consider the rite obligatory, and even those who may not still regard the practice as religiously meritorious and highly recommended.
Specific timing and associated customs regarding the rite of circumcision vary from Islamic culture to Islamic culture. In some area, boys traditionally undergo it as a puberty rite, or similar youthful rite of passage (for example, upon memorizing the Quran in its entirety); elsewhere, it may be performed shortly after birth, by a doctor in a modern hospital. While no particular age is specified for the rite, somewhere around the age of seven is a common and widespread practice. In contrast with their Judaic and Islamic cousins (all three being regarded as Abrahamic faiths), most Christians do not regard circumcision as a religious obligation.
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