Masturbation (“ASTAMNA’A” in Arabic) from Islamic perspective.

It’s a pandemic of our times. Easy accessibility to explicit, stimulating material is the main cause for indulging in this practice.

Muslim scholars have pondered upon this issue from various logical and practical angles. There are several reasons why a person, male or female, may resort to this mode of satisfaction. I used this sentence deliberately because God has put in place an auto-piloted system of satisfaction—through wet-dreams—without the burden of sin or sense of guilt. One more thing which is worth remembering here is that; sin itself is not as grave as the contemplation thereof; for sin lasts a few minutes, whereas the contemplation thereof could last as long as the contemplator wants his fantasy to continue. It is the contemplation of the sin which leads to its execution, whereupon one is rendered blameworthy.

In Islam, there is a tested and trusted way to ward off the lecherous thoughts. That is through piety, frequently worshipping and fasting. This way is often prescribed by the devout to the novice. One who cultivates his body by means of gluttony serves his lust because when a man’s belly is filled with food he desires foolishness and his lust waxes great and his lower soul rises to seek her pleasure. (Sahl  b. Abdallah Tustari).

Prophet (PBUH) and Qura’an both have instructed one to get married to stave off any sex-related offense or crime. God promised financial well-being to those who would get married, despite their poor financial standing, to avoid indulgence in a sex related sin. (Surah Munafiqun # 64, V-9) Now it remains simply a matter of one’s determination and taqwa (piety).

After presenting the remedial suggestion here is what most Muslim scholars resorted to, declaring masturbation absolutely forbidden. Surah Al Ma’arij #70, V 27-30-31. Which reads: “Indeed the torment of their Lord is not something to be fearless from. And those who guard their private parts except, from their wives and slave girls, owned by their right hand, are not blameworthy. But the ones who seek sexual gratification beyond that are the transgressors” In verse # 32 & 33 it also says “and those who are careful about their trust and covenants & those who are upright in their testimonies” are not blameworthy.

What Scholars deduced here, is the applicability of general meanings of the verses to the particularity of masturbation; in the sense of abusing the private parts (self-indulgence for the sake of sexual pleasure).; It tantamounts to a breach of trust, which God placed in man by endowing him with these parts for good purposes.

On the judgment day, when sinners would be denying their sins, God will make them shut up and make their body parts testify against them. These parts would thus be confirming the breach of trust committed by the sinners. (Surah Yasin 36, v-65)(Surah Al Noor 24, V-24)

                     A worth reading dialogue regarding the parts testifying

“I was amazed at how a servant will dispute with his Lord on the Day of Resurrection. He will say, “My Lord, did You not promise me that you would not treat me unjustly” Allah will say, “Yes.” The man will say, “I will not accept any witness against me except, from myself.” Allah will say, “Is it not sufficient that I and the angels, the noble scribes, are witnesses” These words will be repeated several times, then a seal will be placed over his mouth and his organs (or limbs) will speak about what he used to do. Then he will say, “Away with you! It was only for your sake that I was arguing!”)” It was recorded by him and Ibn Abi Hatim. It was also recorded by Muslim and An-Nasa’i. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Burdah said that Abu Musa said, “The disbeliever or the hypocrite will be called to account and his Lord will show him his deeds, but he will deny them and say, `O Lord, by Your glory, this angel has written about me something that I did not do.’ The angel will say to him, `Did you not do such and such on such and such a day in such and such a place’ He will say, `No, by Your glory O Lord, I did not do it.’ When he does that, a seal will be placed over his mouth.” Al-Ash`ari, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I think that the first part of his body to speak will be his right thigh.”

 

Here is an interesting anecdote, specific to masturbation. A young man asked Ibn Abbas, a religious figure of a high station. “I am an unmarried young man and at times I fear hardship upon me, therefore, I masturbate” Ibn Abbas turned his face from him and said “Alas! It would be better to even marry a slave girl, and yet it is better than adultery” It suggests three options. (1) Marrying a slave girl and bringing a child into slavery, (2)masturbating,  (3) and the worst, committing the adultery, so the masturbating ranks the least evil of the three options; when resorted to prevent the worst; which is adultery, yet it does not render it permissible.(From Ahya Ulum-Ad-Din—-Revival of religious sciences).

 

This is how it is interpreted in Islamic fiqha Jurisprudence by various learned scholars/Imams.

Maliki, Shafaii and Zaidites-Absolutely forbid it. (In the light of Surah # 23, V-1 to 7) This opinion is shared by most of the “jurists” scholars.

Hanafites-–Forbid in cases like sexual gratification—but—-declare it obligatory when fornication is feared (ijtihad based conclusion). Hanbalites concur with Hanafites.

Sayyidna Ata (R.A) declared is (makroh) reprehensible.

 

The notion that the hand of the masturbator, will emerge pregnant in the hereafter, andSayyidna Sa’id Ibn jubair (R.A)’s narration that a nation; who used to fondle their private parts, was destroyed and also a Hadith saying that “Cursed is he who married his hand” are  all weak, uncorroborated and lacking chain of narrators.

(I seek God Almighty’s refuge, should there be any inadvertent misinterpretation or misrepresentation in this treatise).

 

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