For the explanation of Islam stance on the topic of masturbation, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani writes: “Masturbation is sinful, being prohibitively disliked, and having many personal and societal ill-effects that are known and recognized in sane traditional societies and by balanced people in the world over. The early Muslims used to say, “The one who weds his hand is accursed.” (Fath al-Qadir)

It is only allowed in the very rare situation where if the person did not do this, they would commit zina (i.e. unlawful sexual intercourse), because of their uncontrollable desire, on condition that they are unable to marry and have taken all reasonable means to lessen their passion (such as fasting, lowering their gaze, avoiding meat and dairy products, avoiding those things that stir their desires, such as bad company, spending unnecessary time outdoors, especially in public places such as shopping malls where there is fitna , avoiding watching TV and surfing the Internet, etc).

Even in such cases, it could only be done to lessen sexual desire, not for sexual gratification. Otherwise, it would remain sinful. These conditions are extremely rare.

[derived from: Ibn Abidin’s Hashiya, al-Lakhnawi’s Naf` al-Mufti wa’l Sa’il, and al-Nahlawi’s Durar al-Mubaha, Kamal ibn al-Humam’s Fath al-Qadir]”

In a very lengthy publication from Madrasah Arabia Islamia (South Africa), the scholars wrote:

…that masturbation is haram. This is the ruling of the 4 schools of thought viz. Malikiyah, Shafi’eyah and Hanafiyah and one riwayah (narration) from Imam Ahmed. They have drawn their conclusions from the following proofs: Proofs from the Qur`an Allah Ta’ala says:

“And those who guard their private parts save from their wives and those (slave-girls) which their right-hands own – so there is no blame upon them. Then whoever seeks beyond that (which is lawful), they are the transgressors.” (Al Mu’minun 23: 5 – 6) The intended meaning is clear. Allah Ta’ala has praised the believers for guarding their private parts from that which He has made forbidden upon them. Allah has permitted them to approach their wives and slave-girls. Thereafter, these Words of Allah Ta’ala follow: Whoever seeks beyond that which is lawful are oppressors who overstep from halal (permitted) towards haram (prohibited). Hafiz Ibne Katheer Rahmatullah alaihi writes: “Imaam Shaafie Rahmatullah alaihi and those who have agreed with him have concluded that masturbation is haram from this ayah.” He says: “Masturbation is excluded from these two types which Allah has made halaal, viz. wives and slave-girls.”

Similarly, these Fuqahaa (Jurists) have drawn their conclusion from the following:

“And those who do not find the means to marry should remain chaste until Allah gives them resources by His Grace.” (Al Mu’minun 23: 32)

This ayah shows masturbation to be haram because of two reasons: Firstly: In this ayah Allah Ta’ala has given the command of chastity and, according to the principles of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), a command (an imperative) denotes wujub (incumbency, obligation). Hence to remain chaste is wajib (obligatory) and wherever chastity is wajib it becomes wajib to refrain from that which is contrary to it, for example, adultery, fornication, and sodomy. This is due to the fact that obligatory chastity will not materialize except by complete refrainment from all that which is contrary to chastity.

Secondly, In this aayah Allah Ta’ala has made chastity obligatory on those who are unable to execute the command of nikah. Here Allah Ta’ala has not determined any connection or link between marriage and chastity. Hence, this demands that masturbation should be haram. And if assuming, it was permissible, then Allah Ta’ala would have mentioned it at this point because this was the place of its explanation. The silence maintained by Allah Ta’ala with regards to it at a place which requires its explanation, denotes that masturbation is haram. Imaam Qurtubi Rahmatullah alaihi has written in the tafsir (detailed explanation) of this ayah: “And when Allah Ta’ala has not determined any order between nikah and chastity, then this shows that besides these two, everything else is haram. However, this hurmat (unlawfulness) does not include slave-girls because another command of the Qur`an makes them mubah (permissible), viz. “That which the right-hands earn (i.e. slave girls).” Hence in this matter an addition of slave-girl has come. Masturbation, however still remains haram.”

“Those who seek beyond this (i.e. wives and slave girls] are transgressors.” (Surah Ma’aarij : Verse 31) Under the tafseer of this aayah, Qadhi Thanaullah Paani Patti writes: “Imaam Baghawi has deduced from this aayah that masturbation is haram.

Proofs from the Hadith

  1. Similarly, the Fuqahaa have drawn their conclusion from a hadith reported by Abdullah bin Mas’ud Radiallahu anhu in Bukhari and Muslim. He says that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “O group of youth! Whoever from amongst you can marry should do so because it keeps the gaze low and it protects the private parts. And he who cannot marry should make it compulsory upon himself to fast because it breaks lust.” (Bukhari : vol.6, pg.117; Muslim: vol.10, pg.172)
  2. Nabi (SAW) has directed the person who is incapable of bearing the burden of nikah towards saum (fasting). If assuming, masturbation was permissible Rasulullah (SAW) would have mentioned it at this point. Hadhrat Anas (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (SAW) said:

“The person who performs nikaah with his hands (i.e. he masturbates) is cursed.” (Tasfseer Mazhari: vol.12, pg.94)

Sayings of our Pious Predecessors with Regard to Masturbation Sa’eed bin Jubair Radiallahu anhu says: “Allah Ta’aala will inflict a punishment on a group of people because they played with their private parts.” Attaa Rahmatullah alaihi says: “Some people will be resurrected in such a condition that their hands will be pregnant, I think they are those who masturbate.”

The Harm of Masturbation

Every harm is the result of sins. Hence, the harms of masturbation proves that it is a sin. Why should it not be so when sins are the root of misfortune and the key to all vices. Ibne Qayyim (RA) says:

“The reason for every loss, misfortune and evil in this world and the hereafter is sin and opposing the Laws and Commands of Allah Ta’aala. Moreover, sin destroys bounties and blessings as fire burns wood. It is possible to divide the harms of this vile act as follows:

Shar’i (Religious) Harms

The Shar’ee harms are many. Some of them are as follows: a decrease in taufiq (success granted by Allah Ta’ala); corrupt ideas; hard-heartedness, an aversion towards people, cheerlessness in the heart and to be deprived of knowledge. The greatest spiritual harm caused by this evil act is the inability to remain steadfast on Deen. As long as a person is entangled in this evil habit, shaytaan will gradually remove him from his friends until he dislikes their company. Thereafter, shaytan will draw him into the mud of desires until he is deprived altogether from remaining steadfast on Deen. How many youth have been deprived of Tahajjud, fasting, recitation of the Qur`an, acquiring knowledge, associating with friends, etc. because of the commission of this evil. A person who commits this sin becomes weak in front of shaytan and his nafs-e-amarah (lowly-self) instructs him to do evil. Hence, he will not have the ability to oppose his nafs in order to carry out the Commands of Allah Ta’ala. Hasan Basri Rahmatullah alaihi has said: “A person deprives himself of performing Tahajjud by committing sins.” Moreover, masturbation causes the bladder to become weak. Consequently, involuntary urinal and seminal discharges occur from the private parts. This causes complications in wudhu (ritual ablutions), salah (prayer)  and cleanliness of the clothes.

Physical Harms

Undoubtedly, masturbation causes physical harm – although some have exaggerated its harms – nevertheless, medical science has proven that masturbation is a cause of a number of diseases. Amongst them are: It weakens the sexual organs and creates partial looseness in it. It weakens the nerves generally – a result of the exertion caused by this action. It affects the growth of the limbs especially the outer part of the urethra (duct through which urine is discharged from the bladder and the testicles). Hence it does not reach the limit of it’s normal growth. It creates seminal (spermatic) inflammation in the testicles which causes quick ejaculation of sperm. It causes pain in the vertebra column, the spinal column from which semen is ejaculated. This pain creates crookedness and twisting in the back. It causes some limbs like the legs to shake and shiver. It creates weakness in the cerebral glands of the brain which in turn weakens the power of perception and reason. Similarly, it leads to the weakness of memory. It weakens the eye-sight and reduces it’s normal limit of vision. It causes a person to become old before time. It weakens the very delicate and fine nerves and veins of the sexual organs resulting in sexual impotency. It causes an excessive loss of sperm by way of nocturnal emission (wet dreams). It decreases the natural resistance of the body. It causes harm to the four principal organs in the body viz. the heart, brain, liver and stomach. It decreases the natural animal heat in the body, heat which strengthens the soul and body. It causes an excessive loss of blood. Remember it takes 80 drops of blood to produce one drop of sperm. It weakens the bladder.

Psychological and Social Harms

The psychologists say:

“Here the awareness of a misdeed and the feeling of a sin occurs to those youth who practice this vile act in such a way that within themselves there is struggle between the desire to practice this vile act and the remorseful feeling of a sin.” Excessive practice of this vile act leads to cowardice, an increase in nervous agitation, no confidence in oneself, overwhelming disgrace, a decrease in the urge to study and desire towards isolation and introversion. Similarly, excessive practice of this evil act leads towards it’s addiction and attachment. Instead of practising it to rid oneself of an irresistible desire or to unleash a violent eruption of desire within oneself a person does it as a habit to attain and satisfy his carnal appetite and desire. Ibn Qayyim Rahmatullah alaihi has said: “Many sinners sin without deriving any pleasure from it and without any urge to do it except that they experience pain in quitting it.”

The Treatment

In fact, many people are well aware of Islam’s ruling with regard to masturbation and they are convinced of it’s hurmat (unlawfulness) and the resulting harm which is, of course, the first step in it’s treatment. However, there exists a deficiency in understanding the way to treat this chronic disease, the way to release oneself from the captivity of this defiant desire and the knowledge of the means which will help in subjugating the nafs and carnal appetite in order to free oneself from this bad habit. In addition, there also exists a lack of those words which will breathe into a person the spirit of determination, the power of intention and the revival of the sweetness of Iman and the nur of yaqeen (conviction) in the heart. This is most needed by those involved in this bad habit. Hence, it is necessary to give importance to this topic. It is hoped that Allah Azza wa Jalla will grant benefit by some of the treatments mentioned hereunder especially from that which has been taken from His Words, the words of His Rasulullah (SAW) and the words of the ‘Ulama.

Lowering the Gaze

The temptation to look at that which Allah Ta’ala has forbidden is the root of all evil desires. Ibne Qayyim (RA) writes:

“The gaze is the prowler and the messenger of desires. It’s protection is, in reality, the protection of the private-parts. The person who does not control his gaze throws himself into the places of destruction. Allah Ta’ala has made the eyes the mirror of the heart”.

To Develop a Firm Will / Determination

Only those people whose intentions and firm will has weakened have become the slaves of their desires. Hence, they are incapable of controlling their desires and opposing their passions. How many people are there who know that this affair is forbidden and that this matter is a sin yet they are too weak to abstain from it. For example, look at those who smoke cigarettes. In reality, we find most of them knowing the harms of smoking. Despite this, if you address any smoker and remind him of its harms, he will reply to you that he knows all this very well and desires to free himself of this “killer friend” but yet he is unable to do so. Why? Because he does not possess a firm intention by means of which he will be able to abandon this bad habit. For this reason, if a person reads all the books on bad habits and comes to know of all the means which will free him from these bad habits, but he does not possess a strong intention nor a firm will, then he will not progress a step forward. Therefore, it is necessary upon all of us to make an effort to develop our intentions, strengthen our resolutions and build our minds and souls by observing the following points: To strive to acquire good character. Good character like knowledge, tolerance, patience are such that it is within a person’s scope to acquire. Nabi (SAW) has said: “The person who seeks chastity, Allah Ta’ala keeps him chaste. The person who seeks independence, Allah Ta’ala makes him independent and the person who is patient Allah Ta’ala grants him patience.” When a servant burdens himself with a firm intention and he strives to acquire it, it becomes his nature and character. Allah Ta’ala says:

“And those who strive in Our Way We will definitely guide them to Our Paths.” To inculcate good character gradually. Good character is not acquired all at once or by a little effort. To acquire good character, it is necessary for a person to practice upon it gradually until it becomes his nature which he can do without any strain or inconvenience. A person should realize the Greatness, Loftiness, Oneness and Independence of Allah Ta’ala. He should not rely on his own strength and power. He should rely only on Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala says: “Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah. And Allah Ta’ala loves those who put their trust (in Him).”

In this manner, a person will become strong enough to abandon that which is more difficult. With regard to this, a poet says: The nafs is like an infant, if you leave it, it will grow up with the love of suckling and if you wean it (accustom it to food other than it’s mother’s milk) it will abstain.

To Struggle against One’s Inclinations, Thoughts and Desires.

It is known that actions are originally thoughts, which occur in the mind. These thoughts then turn into desires. Thereafter, these desires become firm intentions and, finally, these firm intentions are transformed into actions. From this, you could conclude the importance of thoughts. If there is correctness of thoughts, then desires and actions will be correct, and similarly, if there is corruption in thoughts, then this will lead to evil desires and actions. According to the Hadith Shareef, Allah Ta’ala overlooks thoughts as long as these thoughts are not given practical expression. There are five stages in thoughts viz.

Hajis – This is a thought which in the beginning produces no reaction in the nafs.

Khaatir – If one fails to eliminate the hajjis thought and it establishes it’s presence in the nafs, but the nafs does not give it practical expression then this thought enters the Khaatir stage.

Hadithun nafs – In this stage the nafs ponders whether it should put into action or negate the thought which has established itself without giving preference to any side.

Ibne Qayyim Rahmatullah alaihi has advised us:

“Save yourself from establishing shaytaan in the house of your thoughts because he will ruin and destroy it to such an extent that it will be difficult to repair it. Shaytan will fling at you various types of destructing temptations and thoughts and he will intervene between you and beneficial thoughts.”

Hereunder follows some ways whereby thoughts could be rectified: Absolute knowledge that Allah Ta’ala is surely acquainted and aware of these thoughts. To realize that like our actions, our thoughts also have to be according to the Pleasure and Command of Allah Ta’ala. To realize that evil and bad thoughts produce nothing except regret, shame and disgrace and nothing is achieved by it. It is like a hungry person who thinks of food and drink which he cannot eat or drink. An ardent desire to remove and repulse these evil thoughts from the mind gradually, and to replace it by creating good thoughts like reflecting and pondering in the Blessings and Bounties of Allah Ta’ala on mankind. To think of the vices of the nafs and the shortcomings of A’maal and ways of rectifying it. To think of ways and means of calling people towards goodness. To ponder about Jannah, Jahannum, death and the horrors of the Aakhirah (Hereafter) and to think about ways of living an upright life.

The following incident quoted by Maulana Siddique Ahmed Saheb Mudda Zilluhu illustrates how a student of Deen rectified his evil thoughts: It is narrated that a student was studying in the city of Dehli. This student lived in a masjid. In that locality, a young lady was on her way to visit some of her relatives when, incidentally, a riot broke out. The young lady could not find any place of refuge except this masjid. The night had already set in. When the student saw this young lady, he excused himself and ordered her to leave the masjid. He told her: “It is not appropriate for you to remain here because if the local people see you here, then this will be a cause for my disgrace. They will remove me from the masjid and this will cause harm to my studies.” The young lady explaining her condition said: “A riot has broken out in the locality and if I leave the masjid I fear that I would be dishonoured.” The student kept quiet and asked her to sit in one corner. Thereafter, the student returned to his room and engaged himself in studying the whole night. While studying he continuously placed his finger tip on the flame of his lamp. The young lady carefully observed this. At the break of dawn the student told the young lady: “The riot has subsided and the road is safe. Let me take you to your home.” The young lady said: “I will not return home until you reveal to me the secret for repeatedly placing your finger tip on the flame of your lamp.” The student said: “You should not concern yourself with that.” Nevertheless, the young lady persisted with her request. The student finally said: “Shaytan repeatedly whispered into my heart and encouraged me to do evil with you. Hence I placed my finger tip on the flame and addressed myself thus: When you cannot bear the heat of the fire of this world then how will you ever bear the painful fire of Jahannum. Allah, through His Grace, protected me.” Hearing this, the young lady returned to her home. She was the daughter of a wealthy person and she was about to be engaged to the son of another wealthy person. After this incident, she refused the proposal and said: “I desire to marry a certain student who lives in such and such a masjid.” Her parents and relatives tried to convince her and many began entertaining bad thoughts about her. When she observed this, she explained to them the whole incident and said: “I will only marry him because he has the fear of Allah in his heart and whoever fears Allah cannot cause harm to anyone.” Finally, she was married to that student and he became very wealthy. (Aadaabul Muta’allimeen: pg.23)

To Occupy One’s Time and to Utilize One’s Capabilities Correctly

Free time is amongst the major doors through which desires penetrate and sins enter. When a person has free time and he does not occupy it in the obedience of Allah Ta’ala then inevitably, it will be used in the disobedience of Allah Ta’ala. Therefore, you will find most of those involved in this evil act complaining about free time which draws them into this sin. Beloved brothers! If you wish for salvation and freedom from this sin as well as others, then have the sincere desire to utilize your time in that which pleases Allah Ta’ala. Take advantage of seconds before hours pass by, occupy your time with obedience and worship and be cautious of free time because this is the root of all misfortunes.

Similarly, have a sincere desire to utilize your capabilities correctly and benefit from them according to your ability. The person who feels that he has abundance of strength and power should, instead of directing it in the disobedience of Allah Ta’ala, use it in the obedience of Allah Ta’ala and in those avenues which will be beneficial to him in this world and the Akhirah (Hereafter). For example, he should engage himself in the acquisition of knowledge. in giving da’wah (calling) towards Allah Ta’ala (i.e. by participating in the work of Tableegh and Da’wah), in the spreading of good amongst mankind, by sitting in the company of the ‘Ulema etc. Nabi (SAW) said: “Take advantage of five things before five: of your youth before old age, of your health before illness, of your wealth before poverty, of your free-time before occupation and your life before death.” (Mustadrak lil Haakim)

To Occupy the Nafs when Desires Overwhelm a Person

When there is a persisting inclination to commit this bad habit, a person should make it compulsory upon himself to occupy his nafs in whatever way possible. For example, he should leave his home to visit one of his friends if the time is appropriate or he should mix with his family members. He should not remain alone. He should recite the Qur`an, make dhikr(remembrance of Allah) or he should do some prescribed physical exercises, etc. The important thing is that he should not be driven towards sin by these evil and bad thoughts.

The Recollection of Depression and Sorrow after the Fulfilment of Desires

A person drowned in desires should reflect upon his condition after he has fulfilled and satisfied his desire. He should ask himself: Have I found the pleasure and comfort that I am searching for after fulfilling my desire? It is the Wisdom of Allah Ta’ala that whenever a Muslim fulfils a forbidden desire, he feels unhappy, distressed, depressed, miserable and ashamed to such an extent that these feelings compel him to repent. Thus, a sinner is afflicted with an unending sadness, misery and disgrace. Ibne Mubarak (RA) has said: “I have seen sins deadening the heart. It’s addiction causes disgrace. The abandoning of sins is life for the hearts. It is best for you to oppose your nafs.” Hence an intelligent person will sacrifice temporary pleasure which results in unending misery for eternal pleasure.


Why cannot dua`aa be a treatment? Dua`aa is a guaranteed way of seeking a cure from that Being who is Kind, Merciful, Forgiver of mistakes and errors. Dua`aa means to implore and to beg before that Being Who is All Powerful and by whose command everything happens. Verily, dua`aa is the most beneficial treatment and it has many benefits especially when a person earnestly makes those dua`aa which have been narrated from Nabi (SAW) by sincerely turning towards Allah Ta’ala and considering the times of acceptance. Allah Ta’ala says:

{Call Me and I will answer you} (Al-Ghafir 40: 80)

To Avoid Those Things Which Stimulate the Desires

Normally, the natural desire in man remains stable as long as it is not exposed to those scenes and sounds which incite it. When it finds a stimulating factor – whether sound or picture it is incited. At such an instance a person is forced to give practical expression to his desire. Now if a person does not have a wife in whom he can find tranquility, or such Iman which will contain this desire, then certainly, such a person will resort to this evil habit of masturbation… Hence, it is necessary for those youth who intend to safe-guard and cure themselves to abstain from places of temptation and evil and all other stimulating factors. Scantily clad, naked women should not be looked at. Theatres and playhouses should not be visited. Serialized and evil films should not be viewed. Shameless and morally deprived songs should not be heard. Shopping centres or schools set aside exclusively for women should be avoided. Co-educational institutions should not be attended. Institutions where non-mahram teachers are employed should also be avoided. Evil magazines and newspapers should not be allowed into the house and shameless novels should not be read. Telephonic conversions with strange women should be avoided. A strange woman should not be addressed in a loving and soft tone. As far as possible a person should strive to avoid even the means of fitnah (mischief). A person who circles around the border is likely to fall therein. Strange is the condition of that person who intentionally stimulates his desire and inflames his natural impulse after which he goes to the Ulema saying: “I want a solution!!!, I want a taweez (amulet)!!!”

To Sleep Only when it is Necessary & to Sleep in a state of Taharah (Cleanliness) and by Reading the Dua`aaBefore Sleeping

Many of those entrapped in this evil habit feel a strong urge to practice it when they retire and prepare to sleep especially after having eaten excessively. Therefore, it is necessary that such youth should not retire to bed unless there is a real need to sleep. They should sleep in the state of taharah on their right-hand sides. The dua`aa for sleeping which are reported from Nabi (SAW) should be read. Evil-thoughts should be dispelled by reading Subhaanallah, La ilaha illallah, Lahawla walaa qUwata illa billah, the recitation of the Qur`an or listening to it until sleep overpowers one. If possible it is better to sleep in the presence of another person. A person should meditate while lying on the bed that sleep is the sister of death. It is possible that he will not awake from this sleep for how many people went to sleep but never awoke there from.

Good, Pious Friendship

This is a very important part of the treatment. It applies in the beginning, middle and end, rather the treatment is incomplete without it. A person should spend everything within his ability to acquire good friendship. The importance of good, pious friendship cannot be over-emphasized. Good company is so blessed that the dog of Ashaabe Kahf (the Companions of the Cave) was honoured because of their blessed company.

Generally, it is impossible for a person to live alone, without any friends who will walk along with him on the path of life. When a person is deprived of pious, sincere friends who will remind him about the truth then most certainly his evil friends will take him to an evil environment. Here he will live in a world which is filled with drugs, adultery, fornication, liquor, etc. Many youth who are involved in this evil learnt it because of bad company. Rasulullah (SAW) has explained to us the importance of good, pious, sincere friends.

Nabi (SAW) said: “A person is on the religion of his friend. Hence, you should see who you befriend.” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ahmad) In another Hadeeth it is reported that a pious companion is better than solitude. (Baihaqi)

To Consult A Physician / Hakim

Some youngsters need to consult a psychologist or a urologist (a doctor who is well versed in the sexual organs) so that they could be helped in the treatment. There are some medicines which dampen and calm the natural passion. Sometimes psychological factors also cause a person to practice this vile act. Therefore, a treatment should be sought by consulting those well-versed in this field.


The most beneficial treatment of this vile habit is marriage. It is a recommended Shar’ee means to satisfy the natural desire.

Rasulullah (SAW) said: “O Assembly of youth! Those who are able to marry should marry because it lowers the gaze and protects the private parts. And those who are unable to marry should make fasting compulsory upon themselves because it breaks the desires.” Because of the indication of this hadith many `Ulema are of the opinion that marriage is Wajib (compulsory) upon the person who is capable and in need of marriage especially when there is a fear offitnah (temptation). And what greater fitnah is there than a person performing that act morning and evening which Allah Ta’aala has forbidden. By marriage a person satisfies his natural desires upon which he is created. He attains tranquility, contentment of heart, a pleasant life and he frees himself from all such thoughts and dangers which invite him towards this vile act.

A Final Word

It should be clear that the matter demands an effort and sacrifice. Do not think that the treatment will be accomplished by taking a mere tablet or by drinking a mixture of medicine. Mujahadah (sacrifice and striving) coupled with tazkiyah-e-nafs (cleansing of the inner self) is necessary. All praise belongs to Allah, the Almighty, the Great and may Allah’s Choicest Blessing and Peace be upon our Nabi, his Family and his Companions.

*By `Abdul-Lateef Abdullah