Assalam o Alykum, dear shaykh, please shed some light on these Questions:

Is masturbation haram, and if it is, then why is masturbating haram?


All praise to Almighty Allah, and peace be upon His Messenger:

There has been a rising question in our youth over the past few years what is the ruling of Masturbation الاستمناء باليد in Islam?

Before answering this question, we must know that Islam came with maqasid and purposes to fulfill its, not just a law or black-and-white rules.

One of the most significant purposes of Islam is to prevent obscenity and protect the purity of people, which Imam al-Ghazali presented as حفظ النفس (protection of oneself) and حفظ العرض (protection of reputation).

So whatever can harm these two purposes, Islam won’t permit it.

Ruiling on Masturbation in Islam

Alla Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala said in Quran:

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ إِلَّا عَلَىٰ أَزْوَاجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ فَمَنِ ابْتَغَىٰ وَرَاءَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْعَادُونَ

And those who protect their chastity, except for their wives or dependents, are not blamed, but whoever seeks anything beyond that, then they are transgressors.

(Al-Mu’minoon: 5-7)

Based on this verse, the majority of scholars derived the ruling that masturbation is not allowed in Islam because this verse limits sexual pleasure only to two types of categories:

1) Spouse

2) Dependent (الجارية/الامة)

other than that one who tries to seek pleasure, he is blameworthy.

One of the giants of Islam Imam al-Shafi said:

فكان بيّناً في ذكر حفظهم لفروجهم إلا على أزواجهم أو ما ملكت أيمانهم، تحريمُ ما سوى الأزواج وما ملكت الأيمان. وبيّن أن الأزواج وملك اليمين من الآدميات، دون البهائم. ثم أكّدها فقال عزّ وجل: {فمن ابتغى وراء ذلك فأولئك هم العادون}. فلا يَحِلُّ الْعَمَلُ بِالذَّكَرِ إلا في الزوجة أو في مِلْك اليمين، ولا يَحِلُّ الاستمناء

This verse protects chastity except for the spouses and dependents and prohibits anything other than these two. And both wives and dependents are from Human rather than cattle. Then Allah emphasized by saying: They are transgressors who seek anything beyond that. So it is not permitted to use private parts except for wife and dependent, and masturbation is not allowed.

[الام: 94/5]

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:

أما الاستمناء باليد فهو حرامٌ عند جمهور العلماء. وهُو أصحّ القولين في مذهب أحمد. وكذلك يُعَزّرُ من فَعله

As far as masturbation is considered, it is not allowed in the opinion of the majority of scholars, and it is the correct opinion in the school of Ahmed. Also, whoever does it would be punished.

[مجموع الفتاوي: 35|229]

Ibn Umar Radhiallahu was asked about masturbation, and he replied:

It is intercourse with oneself.

[مصنف عبدالرزاق: 13587 واسنادہ جید]

Imam Ibn Hazm said:

أننا نكرهه لأنه ليس من مكارم الأخلاق ولا من الفضائل

We dislike it because it’s neither from good characteristics nor virtues.

[المحلی بالآثار 11/392]

Is Masturbation Haram?

Based on the evidence and scholars’ opinions, masturbation is now allowed, and it’s a sin.

Why Masturbation is Haram?

As we discussed, Islam emphasizes protecting chastity and reputation and preventing obscenity and vulgarity on both individual and social levels. And masturbation leads to obscenity, and it also damages mental health, which is also against one of the purposes of Islam حفظ العقل (protection of intellect).

Disadvantage of Masturbating

Masturbation is not a healthy practice. Instead, it destroys the person on both individual and social levels. It affects marital life so much that most of those addicted to masturbation don’t feel satisfied with their partner on the bed because of the imagination and pornographic visuals they keep in their mind.

Downsides of Masturbation

Many people who have an addiction to masturbation expressed feeling depressed, guilty, and empty after finishing this process. Which gradually eats the mental peace of the person.

Moreover, a believer would feel more depressed because somewhere, he knows that this practice is disliked and is from the dark side of his personality.

Narrations about Masturbation

There are some narrations against those who masturbate, but all are weak, and no one has a good enough chain we can accept.

Some of those narrations are:

The curse of Allah, angels, and all of the people upon how intercourses with his hand.

Ata said:

Some people will have pregnant hands, and I think they are those (who masturbate).

All of these narrations and any narration which prohibits masturbation are weak.

Is Masturbation permissible

Some scholars believe its permissibility based on the argument that it is better than fornication; if one feels the sexual urge and fears getting involved in fornication, one can masturbate.

But this opinion is like allowing someone to eat pork when one fears death out of hunger, and it’s not general permission.

How to leave Masturbation?

As we know, masturbation is not a good habit, and one must leave it. Most people adopt this practice because they delay marriages and have the least amount of patience.

Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala says:

وَلْيَسْتَعْفِفْ الَّذِينَ لا يَجِدُونَ نِكَاحاً حَتَّى يُغْنِيَهُمْ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ

those who can’t fine the spouse, must protect the chastity, untill Allah provides them indpenedence from his Grace.

[Al-Noor: 33]

How to avoid Masturbation?

One can avoid these vulgar practices by acquiring themselves with taqwa and good deeds like fasting:

Narrated `Abdullah ibn Mas’ood Radhiallahu Anhu:

We were with the Prophet (ﷺ) while we were young and had no wealth. So Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.”

[Sahi Bukhari: 5066]

In the end, we ask Allah to protect us from all evil and vulgar practices and provide us with the strength to safeguard our chastity.

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