Upon all the questions I get from all over, there is this one common question that never interests me to answer. It begins with the “M” letter. I know you already know it’s masturbation!

Well, it interests me now as I seem not to find a very clear answer on the internet that seekers are looking for.

I would like to take the easy approach and just say “If in doubt, please don’t do it”. That’s one of my favorite hadith though, reported by Hasan Ibn Ali that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him said:

“Leave what makes you doubt for what does not make you doubt. Verily, truth brings peace of mind and falsehood sows doubt.” – Sunan Al-Tirmidhi 2581

“Leave what makes you doubt for what does not make you doubt. Verily, truth brings peace of mind and falsehood sows doubt.” – Sunan Al-Tirmidhi 2581Click To Tweet

You can only find goodness in a peace of mind. As for doubts, it comes only with evil. May Allah Protect us!

This might seem a little personal, but I must admit that I like this particular hadith so much. The first time I read it on my phone app I was awesomely filled with excitement of its wisdom.

The fact is that many of us masturbate and feel horribly guilty about it. This is my first answer for you if you wonder whether masturbation can be practiced in Islam. Guilt feelings naturally come when you feel you did something wrong.

Guilt is a gift from Allah warning you that what you are doing is violating your soul - Nouman Ali KhanClick To Tweet

We agonized so much about this act and finally pleaded with Allah. But then we’d find ourselves, again and again, falling into the same act. Can’t you notice the signs of Satan in this?

As we all should know, Satan will only push you do commit something which will destroy you unnoticed. Beware!

Masturbation is only triggered as a result of lust. And we all should know that sin is a result of lust (wrong selfish desire). This fact alone forms the primary basis for making things clear.

When we read from the holy Quran, Allah said:

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنَا ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا

And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.” Quran- 17:32

Some will not think enough and just conclude that masturbation is allowed since they can’t find a particular verse that reads “Masturbation is a sin in Islam”.

Well, Allah mentioned this too in the Glorious Quran by saying:

وَلِيَعْلَمَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ فَيُؤْمِنُوا بِهِ فَتُخْبِتَ لَهُ قُلُوبُهُمْ ۗ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَهَادِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

“Those who have knowledge are the quickest of people to understand the truth and believe in it.” (Quran al-Hajj 22:54 )

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Now let’s think together on this verse that warns us not to come near unlawful sexual intercourse.

First of all, ask yourself these two questions;

  1. What is unlawful sexual intercourse?
  2. And what influences this unlawful act?

Obviously, I think we all know their answers, but let’s revise on what we already knew to the second question, what influences unlawful sexual intercourse?

The general answer is SATAN! But through what means does he do that. He fills our minds with lustful thoughts. Satan will influence you to lust sexually about almost everyone. This is a serious matter to ponder.

These thoughts then influence you physically, leading you to do something you shouldn’t have done, such as rape, fornication/adultery, and masturbation.

Now let’s highlight the reason why masturbation is also a sin in Islam just like fornication, rape or adultery.

First of all, lust is the source of our sins!

Lust will compel you to commit fornication!

Lust will compel you to commit adultery!

Lust will compel you to commit rape!

Lust will compel you to masturbate!!!

Can you now see the connection? If not, let’s also put it this way:

Allah mentioned in the Glorious Quran that we should never come near unlawful sexual intercourse. So if you are lusting sexually over people who aren’t lawful to you, it means you are approaching unlawful sex, which means you are disobeying this verse of the Holy Quran. Remember what it says, “Don’t come near”.

And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.” Quran- 17:32Click To Tweet

Now, lusting sexually is a sin and it leads to bigger sins like fornication, rape, and adultery. It also leads to masturbation making it also a sin. If what leads to something is a sin, then it is obvious that the thing it leads to is a sin as well, simple as that!

Moreover, masturbation is contrary to Allah’s plan for sexuality to be self-giving with love. As an act of self-pleasure focused on lust, masturbation cheats both the individual and the spouse or future spouse out of the powerful potential that Allah built into human sexuality.

We all know that intimacy was created to draw us into lawful relationships. The goal of masturbation is to drive pleasure to oneself, basically outside of relationship. For this reason, don’t you think that masturbation is selfish and misusing the gift of sex?

Can one masturbate to avoid Zina?

Regarding this particular question, a well-written answer has been answered on Islamqa, let’s just read from there Insha-Allah:

Masturbation is only permitted if a person fears that he may end up committing Zina; no doubt the prohibition on Zina is more emphatic, and it is more abhorrent and reprehensible. Hence it is permissible to commit the lesser of two evils so as to ward off the greater.

Ar-Ruhaybaani (may Allah have mercy on him) said: If a person, man or woman, masturbates with no need to do so, that action is haram and he should be given a disciplinary punishment for it, because it is a sin. But if he does it because he fears falling into Zina or homosexuality, or because he fears physical harm, then there is no punishment.

End quote from Mataalib Ooli an-Nuha Sharh Ghaayat al-Muntaha, 6/226

Al-Mirdaawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

We learn two things from this:

  1. That masturbation is not permissible except in cases of necessity
  2. The ruling for women on that matter is the same as the ruling for men, if a woman fears falling into Zina.

This is the correct view, as stated in al-Furoo‘.

End quote from al-Insaaf, 10/252

To make things simple, I will say, if one’s desire is so overwhelming one might perform masturbation but in that case, it will be like eating the flesh of a pig to survive from major hunger or starvation when no other food is available.

Now regarding the other evidence, let’s read again from Islamqa:

Masturbation (for both men and women) is haram (forbidden) in Islam based on the following evidence:

First from the Qur’aan:

Imam Shafi’i stated that masturbation is forbidden based on the following verses from the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning):

“And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts). Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, – for them, they are free from blame. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors.” 23.5-7

Here the verses are clear in forbidding all illegal sexual acts (including masturbation) except for the wives or that their right hand possess. And whoever seeks beyond that is the transgressor.

“And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah enriches them of His bounty.” 24.33. This verse also clearly orders whoever does not have the financial means to marry to keep himself chaste and be patient in facing temptations (including masturbation) until Allah enriches them of His bounty.

Secondly, from the sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him):

Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood said, “We were with the Prophet while we were young and had no wealth whatsoever. So Allah’s Messenger 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.” Bukhari:5066. The hadeeth orders men who are not able to marry to fast despite the hardship encountered in doing so, and not to masturbate despite the ease with which it can be done.

There are additional evidences that can be cited to support this ruling on masturbation, but due to the limited space we will not go through them here. Allah knows what is best and most correct.

So stop masturbation and turn to Allah. He alone understands our questions and struggles. Even in issues so embarrassing like masturbation, don’t be afraid to turn to him and ask for his forgiveness, specific direction, and wisdom.

Jazakallah Khairan Katheeran