Q&A (Fatwa)

#166: Ruling on Masturbation in Islām 1



We say, and Allāh knows best, relying upon Allāh and seeking for His Tawfīq:

The Ulamā of Usūl from the earlier and later generations agreed that the matters of worship are generally Harām until there comes a textual evidence or its like that allows for it
Likewise, that any matter which is not of the acts of physical worship are generally permisible until there is found an evidence to the contrary
Imām An-Nasafī – rahimahullāh – said:

ولا مدخل للرأي في معرفة ما هو طاعة الله، ولهذا لا يجوز إثبات أصل العبادة بالرأي

“And there is no place for opinions in the arena of identifying that which is a form of worship to Allah. For this reason, it is not permissible to ascertain Ibādah with mere opinions”.

The master scholar and teacher Shaykh Muhammad Al-Amīn Ibn Muhammad Al-Mukhtār Ash-Shanqītī – rahimahullāh – explained this principle thoroughly in his Mudhakkirah on Usūl detailing the evidences and discuss of the very few Imāms that in the earlier generations disagreed with this Precept and explained the error in their arguments.
He said:
فباستقراء أصول الشريعة نعلم أن العبادات التي أوجبها الله أو أحبها لا يثبت الأمر بها إلا بالشرع، وأما العادات فهي ما اعتاده الناس في دنياهم مما يحتاجون إليه والأصل فيه عدم الحظر فلا يحظر منه إلا ما حظره الله سبحانه وتعالى
“And by way of studying the sources of the Sharī’a, we know that the Ibādāt that Allāh made obligatory or recommended upon us cannot be ascertained except by the Shar’. But for the ‘Ādāt, it is that which people are normalized upon in the affairs of their dunya of that which they need and require. The default ruling on this is that it isn’t impermissible. On that basis, nothing of it is impermissible but that which Allāh subhānahu Wa ta’ālā have made impermissible”.

This Precept is the agreed upon ruling in all the Madhāhib
That said, confronted with this matter – meaning Masturbation, the first question that presents itself is if this matter is one of those that can be referred to as been of Ibādāt or otherwise
It is clear that the satisfaction of the sexual desires does not in anyway translate as a physical worship of Allāh.

Though if one gets married with the right intentions, marriage itself will be an Ibādah, and one will be rewarded as a Sadaqah if one does the sexual act with his wife as the Hadīth explains. But generally, sexual satisfaction isn’t of the matters that can be regarded as physical worshipping of Allāh. And it falls categorically under the natural needs of man.

Will it then be said that any means of satisfying one’s sexual desires is permissible in the Sharī’a unless that which proof of evidence nullifies?
The generality of the Ulamā from the four Madhāhib answer this question : NO

This is because, the default ruling for the means of satisfying the sexual desires is Harām.

And only those which have been permitted by way of text are Halāl.
The evidence for this is the verse:

((والذين هم لفروجهم حافظون*إلا على أزواجهم أو ما ملكت أيمانهم فإنهم غير ملومين* فمن ابتغى وراء ذلك فأولئك هم العادون))
“And those who safeguard the chastity of their private parts, except to their wives or to she whom their right hand possesses. On these they are free of blame. And whosoever seeks other than that, then these are of the transgressors”

Imām Al-Baghawī – rahimahullāh – said in his Tafsīr:

“What is meant by safeguarding their chastity is protecting it from anything outside the two ways of satisfying themselves mentioned”

And based on this verse, any form of sexual satisfaction that does not originate from one’s wife or female slave is Harām.

Imām Al-Qurtubī – rahimahullāh – mentioned in his Tafsīr from Muhammad Ibn ‘AbdulHakīm who said:
“I heard Harmalah Ibn ‘AbdulAzīz say: I asked Mālik about a man who masturbates so he recited this verse…”

Imām Ibn Kathīr – rahimahullāh – mentioned in his Tafsīr that Imām Ash-Shāfi’ī – rahimahullāh – and the highly placed Imams of his school use this verse as evidence for the forbiddance of masturbation.
This is the same evidence used by the Imāms in the Hanbalī school
If we all look at the verse keenly, we will see that Allāh began with the generality of not letting lose the sexual desires.

Before mentioning the exemptions to the Rule
And then a declaration of anything outside both to be an aggression
For this reason, the generality of the Ulamā considered Masturbation to be Harām without reservations except for a very few minority whose statements are very weak and combatted by the verse above.

There are other evidences that support the position the Masturbation is Harām
Of them is the Hadīth in which the Rasūl – salallāhu alayhi wasallam – said:
يا معشر الشباب ، من استطاع منكم الباءة فليتزوج فإنه أغض للبصر ، وأحصن للفرج ، ومن لم يستطع فعليه بالصوم فإنه له وجاء
_”O assembly of youths, whosoever among you has the wherewithal should get married for indeed it helps more to lower the gaze and preserve the chastity. And for whosoever is not capable, upon him is fasting for it is a protection for him”_
It is recorded by both Al-Bukhāri and Muslim in the Sahihayn
Had there been an alternative outside marriage, the Rasūl – salallāhu alayhi wasallam – would have guided us to it.

Another evidence that is used by the Ulamā is that masturbation is a form of wastage….
Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Sālih Al-Uthaymīn – rahimahullah – mentioned this position in his Sharh on Bulūgh Al-Marām
The semen is that which Allāh created for the purpose of procreation and the multiplication of man. To throw it without its rightful source is a form of waste, remembering that there are people out there who suffer from impotence.

Another evidence that the Ulamā mention is the very many side effects of the act
It is known that most youths that masturbate in their pre-marital days suffer from premature ejaculation in their married lives and often times require help to put them back in line
This is because the goal behind masturbation is to satisfy the sexual desires by mere ejaculation
While in real intercourse, its a mutual act between the couple
There are very many other effects in masturbation that have been identified such as lack of confidence, etc.

Now, in generality, the position of the Ulamā on masturbation can be explained as follows:
That it is Harām without reservations. This is the position of the Hanafī, the Mālikī and the Shāfi’ī schools
That it is Harām generally but permissible by way of a pressing necessity for the one who has a legitimate fear of falling into _’Anat_ (Zinā or Homosexuality), or for someone who immense illness is feared for if his semen becomes too much.

This is the official Hanbalī position
This is mentioned in the Zād
The Hanbalī Imams gave this room on the basis that one who falls into Zinā or Homosexuality is worse that he who masturbates and his sin is less.
The Mujtahid Imām Ibn Taymiyyah disagrees with this position though he is of the Hanbalis:

He said:
_”And Allāh, despite the fact that He permitted getting married to slave girls when one has no wherewithal and fears falling into ‘Anat, He said: “and that you should be patient is better for you.” This shows that it is possible to be patient despite the fear of falling into ‘Anat…”

He continued saying:
_”And masturbation is not permissible according to the generality of the Ulamā among the predecessors and the successors whether or not he fears ‘anat. And the statement of Ibn ‘Abbas and Imām Ahmad to that effect refers only to he who severely fears falling into ‘anat – which is Zinā and Liwāt. He fears for himself that he would definitely fall into that. So they permiitted that for him so as to break the might of his desires. But for the one who does that as a way of satisfying his desires and to attain pleasure, or by imagination, or is accustomed to it in such a way that he imagines an image during the course of his masturbation like he is in sexual inter course. All of this is Harām. None of the scholars permitted this. Instead some of them obligated a punishment for such a person. To be patient from this is of the things that are Wājib and not of the recommended.”_
Ref: _Majmū’atu Al-Fatāwā_

*Bārakallāhu fīkum*.

*Jazākumullāhu Khayran*

*7th Jumadal Ulaa 1438AH*

📚 *Islam Node*


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