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You Need To Know: MASTURBATION/ISTIMNA

Peace be upon us all.
Firstly, what is "Istimna" (masturbation)?
Masturbation is the forceful act of stroking ones' private part in order to enjoy the pleasure coming from it.

But some fuqaha’(scholars) allow masturbation if a person fears for his religious commitment or physical well being, under the heading of committing the lesser of two evils. Imam Ahmad has two opinions: one that it is permissible according to necessity (Fitnah); and the other that it is haram, because he can resolve to fasting instead.

(Al-Mowsou'a Al-Fiqhe 4/98). Follow me through this journey of opinions of our great scholars of our time .

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about a man whose desire overwhelms him and he masturbates, and he knows that this may be dealt with by fasting but it is too difficult for him. He replied: With regard to water (semen) that is emitted involuntarily, there is no sin on him for that, but he has to do ghusl if the water came out gushing. As for making it happen by choice, by means of masturbation, this is haraam according to most scholars, and it is one of the two opinions narrated from Ahmad; rather it is the stronger of the two. According to one report, it is makrooh, but if he is compelled to do it, such as if he is afraid of committing zina or becoming ill if he does not discharge semen, (for so men they have tommy ache), if their wife is on period and they do not have an option of another wife, or even by coincidence the wives are all in their menstrual period, then in this case there are two well-known scholarly opinions. In this case, several of the earlier and later (scholars) granted a concession allowing it, but others forbade it.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The one who masturbates unnecessarily should be given a disciplinary punishment.” … “unnecessarily” means without having any need for that. Needs are of two types: spiritual and physical. As for spiritual needs, they are when a person fears that he may fall into zina(fornication), such as if he is in a country where it is easy to commit zina, so we say: If his desire becomes too strong, he will either extinguish it with this action
(masturbation) or he will go to a place where he can find prostitutes and commit zina. So in this case we say to him: This is a legitimate need, because the principle in sharee‘ah is to ward off the greater of two evils with the lesser. This is in accordance with sound reasoning. If this person must fulfil his desire, in one way or the other, then in that case we say to him: This action is permissible because it is a case of necessity.

SCHOOL OF THOUGHT VIEW

There are varying opinions on its permissibility. It's forbidden in the Twelve school of the Shi'a denomination of Islam and all its associated subdivisions. It is considered haram (unpermissble) according to the Matila Madh'hab. The Hanafi school has a more permissive outlook. According to Ibn Hazm and the Hanbali Madh'hab, It is halal (permissible) only under two conditions. First, the fear of commiting fornication or adultery, and second, not having the means to marry.

Sheikh Assim al-Hakeem stated that "masturbation is halal but only if one is otherwise definitely going to fornicate". Varous scholarly thoughts concluding it being halal include the following.

-Ibn al-Qayyim, a 14th century Sunni Islamic Scholar:
Ibn Aqil said: 
"and many of our scholars have ruled that masturbation is 'makrah' (dislike), and never explicitly said that it was haram"..
Next he cites the opinion of Ibn Aqil on the conditions that make a masturbation halal.
"If a man is turned between continued desire or releasing it, and if this man does not have a wife and he fears he will suffer because of this (someone like a prisoner, or a pauper), then it is permissible for him to masturbate," and Ahmad (Ibn Hanbal) is explicit on this.

And afterwards Ibn al-Qayyim said,
"And the right for me is that it is illegal, because the prophet (saw) guided one who has a desire, and could not marry to fast."

Those of the view that it is haraam are;
* Imam Malik Ibn Anas
* Imam Muhammad Ibn Idris ash-Shafi'i
* Imam Abu Hanifa an-Nu'man
* Imam Ibn Kathir
* Imam Al-Qurtubi
* Shi'a sect. They rather have(Muta'a)         temporary marriage.

Imam Shafi’i stated that masturbation is forbidden based on the following verses from the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning):

"And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts). Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, - for them, they are free from blame. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors." 23.5-7 Here the verses are clear in forbidding all illegal sexual acts (including masturbation) except for the wives or that their right hand possess. And whoever seeks beyond that is the transgressor.

Some have quoted one narration from Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.

QUR'AN VIEW

The Qur'an itself is silent on the subject of masturbation, however many scholars have quoted certain ayats that claim state that masturbation is forbidden.

Allah says:
"And those who guard their private part save their wives and those (slave girls) which their right hands own- so their is no blame upon them. Then whoever seeks beyond that (which is lawful), they are the transgressors" (surah Al-Mu'minoon: verse 5&6)

Ibn Omid Stanakzai, a 14th century Sunni Islamic Scholar said that Imam Shafi'i and those who have agreed with him have concluded that masturbation is haram from the above verse. He says;
"Masturbation is excluded from these two types which Allah (swt) has made Halaal, viz, wives and slave-girls".
Under the exegis of this verse, Qadi Thanaullah Panipati writes:

Imam Bagahawi has deduced from this Aayat that masturbation is haraam"

HADITH VIEW

Some Hadith that are quoted be in support of masturbation being Haram include;
A narration attributed to Abdullah Ibn Mas'ood reports;
"We were with the Prophet (saw) while we were young and no health whatsoever. So Allah's Messenger (saw) said "O young people! Whoever among you can marry should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. His private parts from comitting illegal sexual intercourse etc) and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power" (Bukhari 5066).

However, prophet Muhammad (saw) recommended Fasting and did not mention Masturbation.

1- Observing fasting, because it bolsters one's faith, preserves chastity, and protects one from evil thoughts.

2- Observing moderation in eating and drinking in order to avoid stimulating your desire.

3- Keeping away from anything that is sexually stimulating, such as pornographic pictures, erotic films and love songs.

4- Choosing good and righteous friends.

5- Keeping yourself busy in worship and spiritual acts.

6- Interacting with activities of the society in such a way that it keeps you away from thinking about sex.

7- Avoiding gatherings and places that bring men and women physically close to each other.

8- Trying to admire natural things such as flowers and beautiful scenery, which do not stimulate one sexually, instead of admiring girls and women.

If you find the previous things useful, then it is forbidden for you to masturbate. However, if you find that you cannot relieve yourself except through masturbation, and you fear you may lapse in adultery if you do not masturbate, then the juristic rule which states that the lesser evil is to be suffered in order to fend off the major one applies to you, as masturbation is deemed to be the lesser of two evils in this case. But, we would like to stress that this may be done only in the case of dire necessity, when all solutions prove to be of no avail.

CIRCUMSTANCE THAT LEADS TO MASTURBATION

Some of the few reasons that lead to it is; attaining certain age for men from 20 above, for women 30 to 45 it is said they have very strong desire of sex. If a woman is about this age and isn't married, or her sexual life in marriage is not satisfying, either she doesn't complain to her spouse, so he doesn't think she's one sex machine, or when he doesn't even acknowledge by seeking for solution to fix their sexual life which a key to a happy marriage.

COMFORT; When people are quite comfortable with the basic amenities of life, like good and healthy food, cosy place to sleep, taking enhancers like rich multi fruit drinks, rich milk etc etc. All these leads to raising sexual urge naturally in both gender. Especially if they aren't married.

The only legal text used as evidence for the prohibition of masturbation is Allah’s saying describing the believers: “Those who guard their sexual organs except with their spouses or those whom their right hands possess, for (with regard to them) they are without blame. But those who crave something beyond that are transgressors.” (Al-Mu'mun: 5-7)

Commenting on this verse, some scholars hold the view that this habit (masturbation) falls under the category of those who seek fulfillment of their sexual desires outside the framework of marriage, and as such they are deemed transgressors. Those scholars put masturbation under the list of the forbidden categories of sexual fulfillment since it constitutes transgression of boundaries. This view is held by the Shafi`ites (followers of the Shafi`i school of Fiqh).

However, some other scholars believe that the transgression meant in the aforementioned verse refers to extra-marital relations and what falls under the category of Zina (adultery). According to this view, masturbation does not fall under the meaning of this verse. This is because masturbation has no Hadd(punishment in Sharia). This view is very close to the opinion held by the Hanafites (followers of the Hanafi school), who maintain that masturbation is basically forbidden, but it may be permissible under the following conditions:

1. if the person is unmarried and can't afford it financially.

2. if he or she fears that without masturbation he/she will commit Zina, and

3. if the masturbation here is, rather than fulfilling a sexual desire, just to release the sexual tension resulting from stimulation.

I conclude that the general principles of Shari`ah go against this habit, because it is not the normal way of fulfilling sexual desire; however it is a deviation – and that is enough to condemn it, even though this act does not fall under the category of absolute prohibition like Zina. However, the law of necessity, which is one of the principles of Shari`ah, should also apply here. For example, if someone is afraid that he would commit a greater sin like Zina or he will be harmed by some psychological disorders, then the ban on masturbation would be relaxed just to remove the hardship, based on the Shari`ah principle that states that “necessity is judged according to the circumstances that warrant it.”

That means going to the extreme in masturbating is not permissible in all cases, for the following two reasons:

1. it would be resorted to not as a case of extreme necessity to release the tension and the pain resulting from sexual arousal, but to fulfill the sexual desire anytime the person wills.

2. it is harmful to one's health, and whatever is physically harmful is not allowed in Shari`ah, according to the consensus of the Muslim scholars.

In addition to the two conditions stipulated by the Hanafites, I would add two more conditions based on the general rules of Shari`ah:

1. the difficulty of getting married for reason of financial incapable.

2.The inability to fast.

ALLAH KNOWS BEST!!!


Ghazali Muhammed

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