Islam and masturbation

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Masturbation is Haraam in Islam. There are varying opinons on the permissibility of masturbation (Arabic: استمناء‎, translit. istimnā’‎). It is forbidden in Shi'a jurisprudence.[1] It is considered haram according to the Malik. [2][3]


Scholars of Islam do not generally approve of masturbation, except in extenuating circumstances. There is a statement in Quran "And those who guard their chastity, Except from their wives for then, they are free from blame; But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are transgressors." (23:5-7) Scholars of Islam also encourage Muslims to fast to reduce sexual desire if they cannot marry, as this was the recommendation of the Prophet, although masturbation is still permissible but disliked as a lesser evil to turn to.[4]

In Islam, sexual engagement outside of marriage is a major sin, which causes the doer to be punished in this life and in the afterlife (Qiyama). Yet if one's desire is so overwhelming one might perform a greater wrong by having sex outside marriage, masturbation becomes permissible as a necessity 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.[5]

So Quran says "But let them who find not [the means for] marriage abstain [from sexual relations] until Allah enriches them from His bounty. And those who seek a contract [for eventual emancipation] from among whom your right hands possess - then make a contract with them if you know there is within them goodness and give them from the wealth of Allah which He has given you. And do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life. And if someone should compel them, then indeed, Allah is [to them], after their compulsion, Forgiving and Merciful." (Qur'an, 24:33)

Scholars have also stated that masturbation would not be necessary if one realises the flexible approach Islam takes to marriage. For example, according to Sheikh Shomeh Yerkity , 'against the clear teachings of Islam, marriage has been rendered another difficult process today due to warped customs and conventions and undue expectations. When we approach marriage from the point of view of pristine Islam, we shall find less and less people being forced to exercise the above type of exceptional rulings'.[5]

Masturbation, like any form of sex in which seminal or vaginal fluids have been released, breaks one's fast if performed during the daylight hours and requires a major ablution if any seminal or vaginal fluids were released.

According to Sheikh Hamed Al-Ali: "Masturbation during the daytime of Ramadan breaks the fast, based on the Hadith that a fasting Muslim gives up eating, drinking, and sexual desire for the sake of Allah. Since masturbation is a kind of sexual desire, a fasting Muslim must avoid it. Therefore, masturbation invalidates the fast as does food and as it is one of the sins that if someone does it he or she would be violating the sanctity of this month."

It is considered permissible for spouses to masturbate each others, with the only sexual acts between spouses forbidden in Islam being anal intercourse and vaginal sex during menstruation.[6]

Shi'a view[edit]

Masturbation is forbidden altogether in the Shi'a sect. The Qur'an says, "The believers are... those who protect their sexual organs except from their spouses... Therefore, whosoever seeks more beyond that (in sexual gratification), then they are the transgressors." (23:5-6) [7] and it is not allowed in any situation, unless it is meant for the assessment or treatment of a serious medical conditions.

Sunni view[edit]

The four Sunni schools of jurisprudence (known as Madhaahib - the Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki and Hanbali schools of Fiqh) have differing stances on the issue. Some see it forbidden in certain cases (i.e. if it leads a man/woman to ignore their spouse sexually) but recommended it when they see it as a lesser evil to illicit sex. It is generally prohibited according to the Hanafi and Hanbali Mazhabs, unless one fears adultery or fornication, or is under the desire pressure, in which case, it is permissible to seek a relief through masturbation. It is prohibited all the time according to the Maliki and Shafi`i Mazhabs.[8]

Sufi view[edit]

Since Sufis emphasize the mysticism and interior pathways to God, while deemphasizing external rules and obedience, this may not play a role in Sufi jurisprudence.[9] Sufi scholar G Bennett states that "for all those who are not committed to working on themselves for their transformation, masturbation acts like a safety valve for the sexual energy and allows it to be wasted without destructive consequences".[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rizvi, Muhammad (1994). "3. The Islamic Sexual Morality (2) Its Structure". Marriage and Morals in Islam. Scarborough, ON, Canada: Islamic Education and Information Center. 
  2. ^ The Lawful And The Prohibited In Islam, Yusuf Al-Qardawi - 1997
  3. ^ The New Arab Man: Emergent Masculinities, Technologies, and Islam in the Middle East, p 168, Marcia C. Inhorn - 2012
  4. ^ [1] Sahih al-Bukhari; Book of Wedlock, Marriage (Nikaah); Hadith 4
  5. ^ a b [2] AskTheScholar by Sheikh Ahmed Kutty What does Islam teach about masturbation for both males and females?
  6. ^ [3] AskTheScholar by Sheikh Ahmed Kutty
  7. ^ Marriage and Morals in Islam
  8. ^ Marriage in Islam - Part 1 by Hussein Khalid Al-Hussein, Ph.D. Refer to: Section Al-`Alaqat Al-Mubahah (Allowed Relationships)
  9. ^ Appreciating All Religions: Religious Literacy in Small Bites - Page 121, Paramjit Singh Sachdeva - 2010
  10. ^ Palmistry: The Universal Guide - Page 113, Nathaniel Altman - 2009