Male & Female Masturbation in Islam
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Scholars in Islam have differed over the topic of Masturbation. While their differences are divided they all agree on two areas;
- A non-spouse isn’t allowed to use their hand to masturbate the opposite sex.
- Masturbation isn’t allowed to be done if the purpose is to only release pleasure.
The difference of opinion is in the area of impressibility out of necessity and the fear of committing illegal sexual acts, a poor person traveling and is unable to marry ,and other reasons. This focus has the scholars divided on their positions into 3 sides;
- Masturbation is totally prohibited. This is the view of the majority of scholars.
- Prohibited, but allowed with necessity. This includes a person afraid of falling into fornication or adultery, an illness. This was the view of a group of the companions, the Ta-bee’een and Imam Ahmed.
- Masturbation is only disliked and this is the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah.
Imam Ash- Shawkani [1250H] mentioned that Ibn Al-Qayyim narrated that Ibn Aqeel [513H] said: “If the man has the ability to marry then masturbation is Haraam for him. And if he has no wife and is unable to find a bride, then in this situation masturbating would only be considered disliked and not prohibited. Moreover if the poor person fears that he will commit fornication then it’s allowed for him take pleasure with his hand. Imam Ahmed mentioned that some of the Prophet’s (ﷺ) companions used to do this during their battles or while travelling.”
In summary this view is supported by Imam Ahmed and scholars from his jurisprudence, but only out of necessity. What’s more is they consider it strongly Makruh[ disliked] if a man does with the image of another woman in his mind or uses a device.
Ibn Najjar[972H] mentioned in ‘Muntaha’ that the Hanbali school of Fiqh view masturbation to be Haram when there is no need for it. This applies to both a man and a woman, but if they do it due to fear of fornication then it’s allowed.
Amr ibn Deenar said: “There is no harm in masturbation.”
Ibn Abbass said: “It’s better than committing Zina”
The other side say masturbation is Haraam ,no matter what. Among those scholars who authored a detail reason as to why masturbation is Haraam in Islam was Imam Muqbil ibn Hadi [1422H]. Shaykh Muqbil’s book is refutation against Imam Ash-Shawkani’s. Shaykh Muqbil mentioned Allah said:
And whoever of you have not the means wherewith to wed free, believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess, and Allah has full knowledge about your Faith, you are one from another. Wed them with the permission of their own folk (guardians, Auliya’ or masters) and give them their Mahr according to what is reasonable; they (the above said captive and slave-girls) should be chaste, not adulterous, nor taking boy-friends. And after they have been taken in wedlock, if they commit illegal sexual intercourse, their punishment is half that for free (unmarried) women. This is for him among you who is afraid of being harmed in his religion or in his body; but it is better for you that you practise self-restraint, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.[ An-Nisa’ 25]
Allah didn’t mention that whoever doesn’t have the ability to marry then let him masturbate. “Allah is never forgetful “
Allah said: And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts)6. Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame; 7. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors [Al-Mu-minoon 5-7]
Allah said: And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts from illegal sexual acts) .30. Except with their wives and the (women slaves and captives) whom their right hands possess, for (then) they are not to be blamed,31. But whosoever seeks beyond that, then it is those who are trespassers. [ Al-Muarij: 29-31]
Imam Muqbil said: Allah didn’t say except masturbation because it’s allowed.”
Allah said: And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah enriches them of His Bounty. [ An-Nur: 33]
Following these verses from the Quran Imam Muqbil [ رحمه الله تعالى ] mentioned authentic ahadith.
The Messenger of Allah [ﷺ] said: ‘Whoever among you can afford to get married, let him do so, and whoever cannot afford it should fast, for it will be a restraint (Wija) for him.”‘
Shaykh Muqbil said: The Prophet [ﷺ] didn’t say whoever can’t afford to marry then let him masturbate.
Sa’id b. al-Musayyib reported:I heard Sa’d (b. Abi Waqqas) saying that the idea of ‘Uthman b. Maz’un for living in celibacy was rejected (by the Prophet), and if he had been given permission they would have got themselves castrated.
Narrated Ibn Masud:
We used to fight in the holy battles in the company of the Prophet (ﷺ) and we had no wives with us. So we said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Shall we get castrated?” The Prophet (ﷺ) forbade us to do so.
Shaykh Muqbil said: “The Prophet didn’t allow them to masturbate and it was known during their era.”
‘Ali said: “During the time of Khaibar, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) prohibited Mut’ah with women and eating the meat of domesticated donkeys.
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
When a woman fascinates any one of you and she captivates his heart, he should go to his wife and have an intercourse with her, for it would repel what he feels.
Shaykh Muqbil said: The Prophet didn’t say whoever doesn’t have a wife then let him masturbate.”
These are some of the evidences from the Quran and the Sunnah that Shaykh Muqil mentioned which show the Prophet [ﷺ] never instructed his companions to masturbate to avoid falling into Zina.
Imam Ash-Shawkani responded to a scholar in his era about 2 arguments he presented in favor of the prohibition. However the answers the Shaykh Muqbil presented weren’t addressed in that discussion.
The issue that Imam Muqbil mentioned as proof that the Prophet didn’t guide or advise his companions to masturbate was rejected by Imam Ash-Shawkani. Imam Ash-Shawkani said: “ Being that the Prophet didn’t instruct Abu Hurayrah to masturbate then no scholar said everything the Prophet didn’t advise his companions to do is Haraam. The Sunnah is only his speech, his actions, and his tactic approval. The Sunnah isn’t what he didn’t instruct his companions to avoid. “
Among the other scholars who allowed masturbation, but considered it disliked was Ibn Hazm[ 456H]. He said: “If a woman rubs her vagina without letting something enter then this is makrouh[disliked] and she wouldn’t be a sinner. Similarly if a man did the same thing then the same rule would apply, because it’s permissible for a man and a woman to touch their private area with their left hands. And there is a consensus about this. Touching this area is Halal and there isn’t anything extra to add to it except a person would touch their private parts until they have an ejaculation and this isn’t Haraam based on the verse. “ while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, [ Al-An-am 119] and this doesn’t prove that it isn’t allowed . Allah said: He it is Who created for you all that is on earth. [ Al-Baqarah:29] However is consider it bad manners so I view it to be Markruh.”
Those are the arguments for all sides, so let’s look more carefully at them and analyze them in detail.
Shaykh Salih ibn Sa’d Al-Husan mentioned some arguments for the side who allows masturbation and the other side which is against it
- The argument that it’s Haraam under all circumstances is found in the verse “And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts)6. Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame; 7. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors.[ Al-Mu’minoon 5-7]
This proof shows that an ejaculation is only permissible with a wife, slave, or captive and every other means would be considered a sin. While others say this verse only applies to Zina and masturbation couldn’t be included, because illegal sexual relations are transgression according the Arabs and not masturbation; however masturbation during Jahiliyah was known amongst the Arabs. It was considered a task of just relieving the self just like going to the bathroom.
A principle in Fiqh is, “If the word can be either imply a principle or imply an emphasis ,then the principle is stressed and accepted.” Therefore masturbation is a separated verdict derived from the verse.
- Allah said: “And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah enriches them of His Bounty. [ An-Nur: 33]
In this verse Allah ordered people to remain chaste, and a command means it’s a MUST. An obligation means a person must avoid everything that goes against the command. And in this case not remaining chaste would include; fornication, sodomy, and masturbation.
Moreover, Allah made remaining chaste an option for the one unable to marry due to a financial strain, and He didn’t offer any other option between marriage and remaining chaste.
- The Messenger of Allah [ﷺ] said: ‘Whoever among you can afford to get married, let him do so, and whoever cannot afford it should fast, for it will be a restraint (Wija) for him.”‘
Ibn Hajr [852H] said : The Maliki Jurisprudence school use this hadith to show that masturbation is Haraam,since the Prophet [ﷺ] ordered the one unable to marry to fast, because fasting suppresses desires and if masturbation was allowed, then he would have instructed him to do it.
- Some people say masturbation is, “The lesser of two evils”.
This is rejected as well, because instead masturbating, fasting was ordered as an exchange ,and likewise remaining patient. Another reason why the principle “The lesser of two evils” is wrong in this situation is because harm isn’t removed with harm. The doctors in the medical field have mentioned that masturbation is harmful to the health.
- The scholars who say it’s disliked say masturbation is like blood-letting/ cupping.
This view goes against the apparent meaning of the verse, But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors.[ Al-Mu’minoon 5-7]. Based on the wording “beyond that,” requires evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah.
- Ibn Hazm’s view that the verse, ‘’ is a proof that masturbation is allowed is also rejected since masturbation is reliving oneself in an unlegislated manner and this isn’t considered safeguarding the private part. Allah said: “And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts)”
Shaykh Muqbil mentioned some the harmful side effects of masturbation are;
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Unable to have an erection or a strong erection
- Mental stress
- Prostatic fluid release without sexual desire
- Premature ejaculation
- Weakness in eyesight
- Inability to have children
- Spinal injury
- Chest pain
The way to cure this disease is ; Fear of Allah and be aware that He sees you, Patience ,Fight your souls desires, Lower your gaze, Choose good companions, Get married , Read books written about Jannah and Hell, Make Dua.
In conclusion, I lean towards the position that masturbation is Haraam in Islam for both men and women. There are some harmful side effects and cures that need to be considered alongside the texts. Throughout my correspondences over the years the people I advised who suffered from masturbation weren’t tested with the inability to marriy, but instead they were addicted to porn. And this is another hot topic that needs to be addressed and Allah’s help is sought.
Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Battle
Doha, Qatar 1438©
 منتهى الإرادات /143-144 Vol 5
 Musanaf Abdur Razzaq/ #13594
 Ibid # 13590
 Sahih Al-Bukhari vol 9/112]
 Sahih Muslim :1402
 Sahih al-Bukhari 5071
 At-Tirmithi #1794
 Muslim #1403
 Al-Muhalla 11/392
 Refer to :أحكام الإتصال الجنسي by Salih ibn Al-Husan and reviewed by Al-Alamah Abdullah ibn Abdil Aziz Aqil[رحمه الله
 تحفة الشباب الرباني by Imam Muqbil ibn Hadi the Muhaddith of Yemen.