Masturbation at the time of necessity
Fatwa No: 82271


Assalaamalaikum I would like your advice on a personal matter. Before I reverted to Islam I used to masturbate and even now I still occasionally get the urge. As I am not married I feel there is no other way to control it. I read in some hadiths that I should fast to remove desires but this is not enough to remove the desire. Please advise me.


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.


Masturbation is forbidden according to the view of the Hanbali School of jurisprudence. Whoever practices it deserves a punishment. It is permissible only at the time of necessity. Necessity means the time when one fears to commit Zina (adultery/fornication) or when one fears disease from the gathering of sperm and he is not able to get married. Imam Ahmad  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him is of the view that masturbation is disliked. It is also narrated from him that it is forbidden even when one fears Zina. Imam Ahmad supported this opinion as it is written in the book "Funoon". 'Because sexual acts are rendered forbidden except with wives, so masturbation is forbidden; the Law Maker, i.e. Allah, and His Prophet has made fasting an alternate to marriage. The wet dream diminishes the sexual desire and reduces it.'

One should know that when the Muslim Scholars say “it is permissible if one fears Zina" it means the time when a person strongly faces sexual drive and the sources of Zina are not only available but they are close to him. There is no doubt that every healthy youth sometimes faces a dire sexual drive even though the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) did not prescribe any solution other than marriage, or fasting if one can not marry. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "O young people! Whoever can marry should marry, as it helps to lower one’s gaze, and protects one’s private parts, and whoever is not able to marry should fast, as this helps him to protect his private parts (from committing illegal sexual intercourse).”  [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] One should have a strong faith in what the Hadeeth establishes that fast helps and protects the youth from sexual desires.

As for the ways which help one become pious and avoid all evil, then we recommend the following:

1. Avoiding all kinds of forbidden activities such as looking and listening to unlawful matters. Hence, whoever enjoys unlawful matters such as obscene pictures or songs, his desires would be excited and would be induced to bad thoughts.
2. Using one's leisure time in good physical activities which consumes one's energy.
3. Keeping company with righteous people who help him in doing good deeds and avoiding bad deeds.
4. Keeping away from a bad company as much as possible. For more details please refer to Fatwa 81150.

Allah knows best.

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