I have been told that masturbation is allowed as long as it stops your from having sex. Is this correct?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
The act of masturbation is a harām and sinful act that is condemned by Sharī`ah. It is incorrect to say that the default position regarding masturbation is “allowed” as long as it stops you from having intercourse. Such a statement is a result of misunderstanding and misconstruing the actual ruling regarding masturbation.
In principle, it is impermissible to engage in the act of masturbation; however, if one is in such a state where he fears that his desires will completely overwhelm him, thus forcing him to resort to zinā, then only in this situation have some jurists allowed such people to resort to this heinous act.
Nevertheless, it is important to understand this ruling from its proper perspective. This “permission” does not imply that by default, masturbation is “always allowed” as long as one does not have the means to perform intercourse. In fact, this act isharām by default, and only when one fears that he will commit an even greater harām (i.e. fornication), then only will one be excused to do such an act in order to save one self from committing this greater evil. For example, someone is coerced by another into consuming swine or alcohol to the point that if one does not do so, he will lose his life. In such a situation, in order to save oneself from a greater evil (i.e. losing one’s life which is, in reality, a trust to Allāh Ta`ālā), one will be excused for consuming swine or alcohol. This definitely does not mean that one is “always allowed” to eat swine and drink alcohol as long as it keeps him alive.
Similarly, while masturbation itself is impermissible, if someone has a genuine fear that they will fall into a harām act that is greater than masturbation itself, then one will merely be excused for engaging in this act in order to save oneself from that evil.
In summary, this is merely a leeway to commit a harām granted to specific individuals under very specific conditions. In that situation too, one has to repent for committing the heinous and sinful act.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Student Darul Iftaa
New Jersey, USA
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.