As-salamu `alaykum, Basha.
Thank you for your questions.
Your first question is about the necessity of circumcision. In fact, circumcision is the surgical removal of the skin surrounding the head of the penis. It is a very simple operation and normally does not cause any complications. Here is a scientific view of the matter:
The hygienic value of circumcision has today been generally conceded, and some physicians recommend the operation as a routine measure for all male infants, it is part of the routine of bathing an uncircumcised boy, to draw back the foreskin and sponge the head of the penis. This is for general cleanliness and also to remove pasty white secretion called smegma, which accumulates under the foreskin and may lead to local irritation unless it is regularly cleansed. Whenever a new born is found to have a tight foreskin (phimosis), the physician usually recommends circumcision.
In Islam, it is a strongly recommended Sunnah custom (a practice of the Prophet) to be emulated by all the males among Muslims. According to the Shafi`i’ School, it is obligatory for all Muslim males.
As for your second question, it is based on misinformation. It is necessary to remove only a small portion of the foreskin that covers the head of the penis, as mentioned above. The entire foreskin is never removed as it is misunderstood. The whole process is now done by qualified doctors whom you can trust in these matters.
Your third question is, can the Prayer, call to Prayer, and conversation with Allah be done only in Arabic?
The ritual Prayer, called Salah, and the call to Prayer, called Adhan, must be done five times a day in Arabic. The Prophet taught us like this and we have no authority to change it. But whatever we feel like asking God we can do in any language. For instance, a student who appears for an examination can pray for his success in any language, as God knows all languages. As for using Arabic only for the daily ritual of Salah, please don’t forget that a Muslim is never an isolated entity from the whole Muslim Ummah body. Muslims pray Salah individually and in congregation. Using one common language is a symbol of the unity of all Ummah (nation) members. This never means that all Muslim have to speak no other language or cannot use other languages in their supplications.
Question: If I embrace Islam, is it necessary that I recite the words of testimony in Arabic, which I don’t know? Why can’t I do so in English or Hindi?
In the case of the Shahadah, the usual practice is to recite the words of Shahadah in Arabic first and then repeat the meaning in the person’s language. When the meaning is given in your language, you understand the full import of what you are declaring. Yet, you might need a specific opinion of Shari`ah, whether saying it in your language is enough or not. You would also receive the opinion of a specialized scholar by sending your questions to Ask the Scholar service.
Question: Why should I recite the Prayers of Salah only in Arabic and not in any other language? I do not know Arabic and I do not like the language:
Salah is a form of worshiping the Almighty God of the universe as taught by the Last Prophet, and our duty as Muslims is to emulate the Prophet as closely as we can. For one thing, if individuals are given a choice here, the present uniformity and unity of the Muslim Ummah would be undermined. So, we must perform this rite of worship in Arabic only. If you do not know Arabic, you can learn it, at least as much Arabic as is necessary for practicing Islam, as millions of new Muslims have been doing during the past centuries.
A point to note is that when we try to translate the Arabic Prayers to another language, an interpretation sets in, whether we know it or not. For instance, instead of Allah, you may use the Indian word Ishwar or Brahma or Siva, and immediately one of the idols worshipped by the Hindus comes into the mind of the worshiper. This amounts to the sin of shirk, meaning associating others to be deities, along with the One and Only God.
The same is true of other words too. For instance, if, instead of iyyaka na`budu in Arabic, you say, “We do puja (worship) only for You,” the word puja brings in the semantic associations of that word in the Hindu culture as represented by the Sanskrit language, and the meaning is obviously distorted. So, in the authentic Islamic form of worship known as Salah, we must use Arabic only.
Question: Is there any valid archeological proof, or any other proof, for the details of other prophets like Salih, Yahya, Jacob etc, which are not mentioned in the Bible or Torah, but only in the Qur’an?
In fact, Yahya and Jacob are mentioned in the Bible. As for Salih, note the following:
In AH 9, the Last Prophet and his followers came across the archeological remains of the Thamud people, to whom Salih came, while in an expedition to Tabuk against the Roman forces. Also, there are indications that the recently excavated rock city of Petra in present day Jordan was a Thamud city. Thus, we have some archeological proof of prophets mentioned by name in the Bible and or the Qur’an.
But you know that the Qur’an as well as the Hadith clearly state that there were thousands of prophets who preached the religion of God to their respective peoples in different periods of history. And so, it is not necessary for a Muslim to get archeological proof to believe the clear statements in the Qur’an such as this verse which means:
Or, this verse which means:
(To every people [was sent] an apostle: When their apostle comes [before them], the matter will be judged between them with justice, and they will not be wronged.”) (Yunus 10: 47)
And Allah knows best.
(For We assuredly sent amongst every People an apostle, [with the command], "serve God, and eschew Evil": of the People were some whom God guided, and some on whom error became inevitably [established]. So travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who denied (the Truth).) (An-Nahl 16:36)
I hope this answer is informative for you. In case you need to ask anything else, please make sure to write to us immediately.
Thank you and please keep in touch.
Why Must Muslims Pray in Arabic?