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Offline Adil Husain

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Masturbation
« on: April 25, 2013, 02:38:40 PM »
Dear forum members ,
Peace be with you

Although Quran does not mention anything explicitly on this topic , i think we can not directly conclude that  'such acts not prohibited'.
I have seen this topic being discussed in a facebook group and some Quran centric muslims were trying to explain that since it is not prohibited in Quran 'explicitly' , it is OK to do it.

I want to know your views.
'I must strive for reformation of myself and the world'

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2013, 11:05:23 AM »
Dear Adil,

May peace be with you.

I would be inclined to sincerely question, can one honestly assert that during such a process of self-gratification and progressive arousal that one's mind and thoughts remain absolutely pure, clean and wholesome?  Can a state of such arousal be maintained whilst keeping wholesome thoughts?

If not, then this arguably falls under 'fahisha'.

When God refers to 'chaste' people such as Mary or righteous folk such as Zachariah or the mighty prophets and messengers, can one ever conceivably attribute such acts to these revered personalities?

Arguably not. They strived and endeavoured to remain wholesome and pure in their thoughts. God purified their thoughts with 'wholesome' thinking and remembrance of the Hereafter.

038.046
Indeed! We purified them with a pure thought (*akhlasnahum bikhalisatin), remembrance of the Home (of the Hereafter).

* khalasa - pure, exclusive.

023.005
"And who guard their modesty / private parts, except from their spouses or what their right hands possess (via the marriage bond), then indeed, they are not blameworthy. But those whose who seek beyond that (exceed those limits) are transgressors (al-adun)"

In verse 4:25, those who cannot marry free believing souls the reprieve to marry believers from those of the right hand is granted as a mercy. This is for those that fear committing sin (liman khashiya-l'anata minkum). However, ultimately God asks one to exercise self restraint / patience (wa-an tasbiru khayrun lakum). Why is the option not granted to indulge in self-gratification?

004:025
If any of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess: And God has full knowledge about your faith. Ye are one from another: Wed them with the leave of their owners, and give them their dowers, according to what is reasonable: They should be chaste, not lustful, nor taking paramours: when they are taken in wedlock, if they fall into shame, their punishment is half that for free women. This (permission) is for those among you who fear sin (liman khashiya-l'anata minkum); but it is better for you that ye practise self-restraint (wa-an tasbiru khayrun lakum). And God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”

In my humble opinion, these are mute discussions to which most people inherently know the answer to. Some matters although not explicitly mentioned in the Quran must be considered in the 'spirit' of the Quran's overarching message.

As with most things, such actions normally lead from thoughts which remain spiritually questionable. This is why deep meditation such as prayer and more importantly, constant remembrance of God is key to keeping one's thoughts clean, pure and wholesome.

029.045
"Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to you, and establish regular prayer. Indeed prayer restrains / prevents / desists (tanha) from immorality (fahshai) and evil deeds (munkari); and surely (without doubt) the remembrance of God is the greatest (thing in life). And God knows what you do."

I hope this helps, God willing.
Joseph.

'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Rose

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2013, 09:49:13 PM »
http://www.quranicpath.com/misconceptions/masturbation.html
There are times when a husband in unable to satisfy a wife due to impotence etc, or a wife is unable to satisfy husband due to infection/ pain etc.
It is possible for some that during masturbation ones mind and thoughts can remain pure and clean, and guilt is unnecessary.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2013, 11:05:48 PM »
http://www.quranicpath.com/misconceptions/masturbation.html
There are times when a husband in unable to satisfy a wife due to impotence etc, or a wife is unable to satisfy husband due to infection/ pain etc.
It is possible for some that during masturbation ones mind and thoughts can remain pure and clean, and guilt is unnecessary.

Dear Rose,

May peace be with you.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.  :)

Just to humbly clarify, my response was not intended in the realms of wedlock, between husband and wife but in the broader ambit of wilful self-gratification outside marriage. On the basis of verse 4:25, I do feel there is at least some argument for one to practice self-restraint as best they can (wa-an tasbiru khayrun lakum) outside the scope of marriage.

However, it is accepted that these discussions are implicit and deduced at best with a view to seek the best meaning / guidance from the Quran.

Regards,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Rose

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2013, 04:30:08 AM »
Thank you for your reply. Please explain why you do not agree with the following from the link:
"
Understanding 23:5-7

"...who guard their private parts, except from their spouses or whom their right hands possess - these are not blameworthy. But anyone who seeks more than this, then they are the transgressors." (Qur'an 23:5-7)

This verse is in the context of sexual intercourse with people. Only with one's "spouse" or those "whom their right hands posses" (who also have to be married - 4:24) can one have intercourse with. When one has intercourse with any other than these they become "transgressor" ( الْعَادُون ). This is because that becomes adultery / fornication which is strictly forbidden in Qur'an 24:2 and for which a punishment is prescribed.

The expression "these are not blameworthy" used for those who only engage in sexual acts with married spouses and the word "transgressor", used for those who do it with unmarried people, are indications that the verse is in reference to adultery and fornication.

Therefore, the expression "anyone who seeks more than this" is in reference to anyone seeking someone who is not their married spouse for sexual intercourse rather than masturbation. The intention of the verse is to make a point of marital tie/agreement being a necessary prerequisite for sexual intercourse with another person. Therefore, it cannot be related to masturbation, which is unrelated to the context of discussion. "

Offline Irfan

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2013, 05:50:35 AM »
Bro. Joseph:  I tend to agree with Rose. Self-pleasuring has been around since time immemorial—not only among humans but also among animals.  People have always engaged in it, regardless of any social or religious restrictions. I guess the question is the same that was alluded to by the original poster “Does the Qur’an forbid self-pleasuring?”  Do we think Allah, the all Knowledgeable, forgot to mention it? If He didn’t, then, perhaps we can rely on Allah’s implicit mercy and relieve ourselves from a potentially extremely compulsive and literally explosive situation.  The natural law is  that the water will flow through the first accessible pathways. I do value your reference to remembering God in the Salaat in those times, but, given man’s ever frailty (4:28), I submit that even though remembrance of God and meditation do help to an extent, the human patience can still easily start wearing thin at some point. So I believe if God did not will to mention it, it is out of his infinite mercy!  God certainly knows that if He burdened humans beyond what they can bear (2:286), they would likely be prone to fall prey to even graver sins.  Masturbation is done under strenuous conditions—conditions of a BASIC human need.  Allah knows that forbidding it will not stop people from doing it—because this is how He built humans—with a basic need of sex.

The verses of the Qur’an about fahisha are related to interpersonal sins and sexual involvements with fellow human beings.  Also, we do not have ‘luxury’ of marrying “those whom the right hands possess” anymore. So perhaps, given our circumstances, perhaps some young folks can resort to the ‘oldest form of relieving sexual stress’, namely, masturbation.  After all, it is a private thing and it does not invade another person’s privacy and dignity—which would be true ‘fahisha’. 

Maybe by forbidding this act to ourselves, we are making something haram that God did not make haram.

10:59 Say: "See ye what things Allah hath sent down to you for sustenance? Yet ye hold forbidden some things thereof and (some things) lawful." Say: "Hath Allah indeed permitted you, or do ye invent (things) to attribute to Allah."
Irfan

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2013, 02:24:13 PM »
Dear brother Irfan and sister Rose,

As-salam alaykum

Thank you for your thoughtful responses. It is truly appreciated  :)

Notwithstanding any of your highly respected comments and insights, I'd like to respectfully present in a more academic fashion, the reasons behind why I take the position that I do from the Quran. Also sister Rose, I trust that the first response below answers your specific question to me.



EVIDENCE 1 - The expression 'lifurujihin hafizun'

In verses 23:1-7, God describes successful believers as those that have humility in their prayer (23:2), they avoid vain talk (23:3), give zakat / engage in purification works (23:4) and those who 'guard their modesty' - lifurujihin hafizun. (23:5)

A more literal understanding of the word 'farj' (plural furuj) in the expression 'lifurujihin hafizun' is a reference to the private parts of both males and females. It is a reference to the 'pudenda' (sex organ) which is considered indecent to expose. 

The argument here is that this is not merely a reference to sexual intercourse but to any sexual act.

The exception of wedlock is granted where one is not considered blameworthy (ghayru malumin) 23:6. However, whoever seeks beyond that has transgressed (ada) - 23:7

I do respectfully feel that this is an important reference and must be carefully considered.

I do respect that none of us would want to make unlawful which God has not forbidden, but equally we would not want to sanction something which on deeper reflection was not within the spirit of the Quran's teaching or overarching guidance.

Of course even in grey areas, the mantra 'err on the side of caution' is quite an apt consideration especially in religious matters.



EVIDENCE 2

On the basis of verse 4:25, respite is granted to those that fear committing sin (khashiyal-anata). The sin is not described but in light of 23:5 cited above, masturbation ipso facto cannot be ruled out.

One is strongly encouraged to seek marriage and the option cited by the Quran was arguably relevant to the social context of the narrative. It is useful to remember that the expression 'fatayatikumu' is not simply a reference to slave girls but to a young woman, comrade, servant, maid etc. (fatayat is a plural of 'fatat'). This expression has only been used twice in the Quran (4:25, 24:33).

I do feel that based on the above verse, there is at least some scope to suggest that one should incline to practice self-restraint as best they can (wa-an tasbiru khayrun lakum) outside the scope of marriage.



EVIDENCE 3 - Verse 6:151

In verse 6:151, the Quran talks about 'fawahisha' (transgressions / lewdness / immoralities) of what is 'zahar' (apparent) and what is 'batana' (concealed).

006:151 (part)
"... And do not go near immoralities (of) what is apparent of them and what is concealed..."

This is repeated in verse 7:33 and generally implied in verse 6:120.

007.033 (part)
Say: my Lord has only prohibited shameful deeds / lewdness (Arabic: Fawahisha), whether open or in secret / concealed..."

From my humble perspective, it is a valid question to ask what those concealed acts of transgressions / immoralities are that the Quran refers to? Even if one were to argue that the remit was vague, this does not dispense with the notion that it is arguably better to err on the side of caution on religious matters. It does appear that the verse expected its audience to know what 'concealed' transgressions were.

In this regards, a point bear noting is that it has always been Satan's will to invite human's to 'lewdness' (2:169, 2:268, 24:21) and there are many instances that one finds lewd practices being given sanction in the name of religion, such as sex with slave girls (outside wedlock), practice of 'al-azl' (coitus interruptus) with them, temporary marriage (Nikaah al-Mut'ah) et al. 

However, there seems to be a general understanding of a prohibition with regards masturbation which would be a relatively easier practice involving sexual organs to sanction in the name of religion.

The above is not a lean on ‘majority consensus’ but to best understand what the remit of the Arabic expression ‘what is hidden / concealed’ (batana) entailed.



EVIDENCE 4 - Verse 24:33

024:033
"And those who do not find (means to) marriage (able to marry), let them continue to be chaste / have restrain (walyastaʿfifi) until God enriches them from His bounty..."

Here the discussion focuses on the expression 'walyastaʿfifi' and the verb 'yasta'iffu' from the main verb 'ista'affa' which carries the literal meaning to be abstinent.

One would need to carefully consider whether masturbation would be considered permissible within the spirit of the above guidance of remaining 'yasta'iffu'?



EVIDENCE 5 - Inference 1

Can one keep their thoughts pure at a time of self-gratification? It is one thing to quell a thought that suddenly appears in one’s mind, it is arguably quite another to intentionally facilitate it. 

It is useful to consider how these acts at times lead to further acts of transgression such as viewing pornography etc in situ. There is an argument that it is the seeking of such carnal desires that has also contributed to a vast gratuitous industry.

Such practices may be considered a private matter, but once we sanction this in the name of religion there is a societal consideration that needs to be made. What knock-on effect does this have?

I have received emails from genuine readers who seek to control what they call is 'their addiction' to pornography which they describe is a tool they use for self-gratification. They have found that what started as a carefree, innocent enjoyment has progressed into a serious perversion.

Some perversions include making use of household items and even transportation.

There was even a question of whether animals could be used as the Quran does not expressly forbid sex with animals!

Therefore I know this is real problem for some people.

A couple of verses are key to note in this regard.

"...and do not follow the footsteps of the Satan. Indeed he is your open enemy (2:168), for he only commands you what is evil and shameful / indecent (fahshai) and that you should say of God that of which you have no knowledge (2:169)"


OTHER POINTS

  • It is indisputable that the main purport of the Quran's guidance also seeks to keep one not only physically, but spiritually pure.
  • As you will both no doubt appreciate, any behavioural comparison with the animal kingdom can be a little tedious at times especially as humans are considered to be a species with a higher state of consciousness.
  • We must remain careful when we consider the remit of 'what is natural' and its subjective appeal. For those with homosexual tendencies, their practices are 'natural'. To cite a more common example, those that are prone to 'anger' are still asked to refrain.

Finally to all respected readers, please do note my caution with regards this topic. My humble view (as with others) is only deduced with a view to seek the best meaning / guidance from the Quran's narratives.

Therefore, albeit granted that there may be extenuating circumstances where one relieves themselves such as in a situation of incarceration, where marriage is not possible etc, I do feel that there is some scope to consider this matter 'disliked' (makruh) in light of the evidence cited above even if it may be argued by some that it is not 'explicitly' forbidden (haram).

Of course, others may respectfully argue that the above citations lend to obvious deductions which inclines one to recant the permissibility of masturbation in light of explicit verses.

I hope this helps in some small way, God willing.

Regards,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Irfan

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2013, 05:07:04 AM »
Dear br. Joseph:
You have made some valid points.  This issue may border on "to err on the side of the caution" and I can understand that.  I agree with most of the points you made through the Qur'an. However--and this is a big however-- it is a fact that the Qur'an could have explicitly forbidden masturbation but it hasn't.  Conversely, it could have explicitly allowed it, but it remained silent.   I take great solace in the fact that we cannot question the Divine Wisdom why God did not choose to touch upon this extremely important human aspect of human life so pervades our thoughts so profusely everyday—also something that has been known from antiquity. This is not the only thing the Qur’an preferred to stay away from, there are some other things as well.  To me at least, that is all understandable.  Brother, I am thinking about a young male (could be a female, too) who is beginning to feel the influence of “extremely” powerful hormones. He cannot marry because he cannot support his wife and handle a family. The hormone are “literally” jumping up and down from head to toe and the victim, being not an angel, feels under tons of pressure.  If we say to him “masturbation is forbidden by the Qur’an—you cannot do it—you must fast or seek help in prayer”, he might listen to us for a while but we may be asking him to ‘hold on to it’ for several years! The question is:  how long will he be able to put a lid on the boiling pot? I almost guarantee that the damn will break, sooner than later! And it will break not just once but hundreds of times till he gets the wherewithal to marry!  In the meantime, he may end up committing an offense far more serious—such as, molesting a neighbor’s daughter/sister or  some other innocent girl.  Perhaps there is a much better alternative ‘slip’ the lid for a few minutes and the storm would be over.  I humbly submit that God the Almighty knows man very well and He often turns to him in mercy in many ways—this is one of those instances where God’s mercy comes in a form akin to “Don’t ask, Don’t tell”.  I think that even if masturbation comes within the ambit of ‘fahisha’ (which I am not sure either way), it is a form where God may be more than willing to mercifully turn a ‘blind eye’.
I think the “the concealed fahisha” acts your referred to in your post could find expression in other unintended forms, some of them could be very dangerous—and perhaps that’s the kind of “hidden fahisha” the Qur’an is referring to.  Along the same lines, all the verses that I saw quoted in your undoubtedly elegant email, can be looked from alternative angles circumventing masturbation. 
On the other side of the coin—from the medical point of view, I have seen articles on masturbation, both admiring it in terms of its wholesome effect on personality, as well as criticizing it.  Mayo Clinic’s Health Book actually recommends it.  I realize this is not the argument for this forum, but if it can be definitively proven—and I am not saying it has been proven beyond doubt—perhaps that can shine some light on the Divine Wisdom of not touching this subject in the Qur’an.  I am just thinking aloud…
 
a fact that the Qur'an could have explicitly forbid masturbation and it didn't.  We know that we cannot question the Divine Wisdom

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2013, 03:46:04 PM »
Your input and your wisdom is appreciated as always dear brother Irfan. Thanks as always for sharing your perspectives :)

Your brother in faith,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Rose

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2013, 07:55:58 PM »
Dear Brother Irfan,

Thank you so much for your input. I totally agree with your "thinking aloud" as it makes so much SENSE. Although brother Joseph believes maturbation is okay within marriage, I think it is much more necessary in the absence of a legitimate partner to satisfy one's natural desires. I am sure that this has protected many from fornication and adultery? 

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2013, 10:12:27 PM »
Dear Rose,

As-salam alaykum

I have cited comprehensive reasons with the support of Quranic verses as to why I take the position that I do.  If you do not accept them as you do not find them a cogent response, that is of course your prerogative which I respect. My intention of course is not to persuade anyone.

However, I am very disappointed that you have misrepresented my position with a view to raise a contention.

You assert:

Quote
"Although brother Joseph believes maturbation is okay within marriage,"

This is a wholly incorrect assertion on your part as I never categorically stated this.

My statement was a specific response to yours where you shared:

There are times when a husband in unable to satisfy a wife due to impotence etc, or a wife is unable to satisfy husband due to infection/ pain etc. It is possible for some that during masturbation ones mind and thoughts can remain pure and clean, and guilt is unnecessary.

Therefore, my response was:

Quote
my response was not intended in the realms of wedlock, between husband and wife but in the broader ambit of wilful self-gratification outside marriage.

Intimacy is clearly sanctioned between spouses.

This is a rather different proposition to asserting that I sanctioned all forms of masturbation if one were married. Is it permissible that a male masturbates thinking of another woman whilst he is married defending his position by suggesting that it will stop him being promiscuous?

Therefore, as I do not note in your responses any academic rebuttals to my citation of evidence, with respect, I therefore do not accept your dismissive contention against mine.

Respected brother Irfan has given his perspectives which I have appreciated with respect and I have shared mine to which he has evidently accepted the validity of some.

May I please request that you do not assert something in my response which I have not stated.

Finally, I do find that there is little consideration being given to my nuanced view that: "On the basis of verse 4:25, I do feel there is at least some argument for one to practice self-restraint as best they can (wa-an tasbiru khayrun lakum) outside the scope of marriage."

I personally find that although philosophical arguments have a place, they only come secondary to the explicit guidance of the Quran and any direct inferences that they can be drawn from them.

I feel I have exhausted my view on this topic, so please accept my response as the last on this thread.

With respect,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Irfan

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2013, 06:11:35 AM »
Salamun alaikum, Br. Joseph,
The Qur'anic perspective is of course has to be the final argument.  I agree with you that a convincing argument can perhaps be made against self-pleasuring from within the Qur'an and you have done that in your posts.  Personally, I don't think it is a matter of pride for me to encourage folks to engage in this practice in a habitual manner. Being a human, however, I do feel that God recognizes our irresistible physiological pressures and perhaps He chooses to let us use some of His 'back doors' on purpose with a 'wink' of the eye, so to speak. In other words, the Most High, understands our special stressful situations and may let us take a 'lesser evil' route with an implicit backing of forgiveness. In support of this argument of mine, I find an analogy in the Qur'an where normally consumption of the swine flesh is explicitly declared haram but may become halal under duress, or even suspension of faith can be faked during certain times of the social/political oppression (16:106, 40:28).
I think you will agree that resorting to self-pleasuring is certainly a much lesser evil compared to engaging unlawfully with the opposite sex. I just hope that, given all the weaknesses and the shortcomings of my human nature, God treats me the way I hope to be treated ---as God tells us humans are created weak (4:28) and there will be times we will succumb to forcing temptations.
I just shared my views I have held for many years without change on this specific topic.  Of course, I don't claim accuracy of my views on this, or any other matter.  I still look to God's infinite Mercy and His guarantee that He, the Most Compassionate, has not made His Deen difficult for us beyond we can bear (2:285) as well as the fact that I have opted to use the ‘back door’ somewhere hidden in the wall of the absence of an explicit Divine command regarding this specific issue. 
Since I have not said anything radically new in this post, I feel that I am at the end of my rope here.  If I can think of a new perspective on this, maybe we can revive the thread.  These topics never really die as the humans do.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2013, 01:15:30 PM »
Of course dear brother Irfan. I completely understand the position you have respectfully argued.

As I shared with you in my last post to you,

Quote
'your input and your wisdom is appreciated as always dear brother Irfan. Thanks as always for sharing your perspectives'

My last response was merely to sister Rose as I felt that my views had been misrepresented / misconstrued, therefore I sought to respectfully clarify.

Your brother in faith,
Joseph.  :)
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Duster

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2013, 03:42:09 PM »
Shalom / peace bro Irfan

I thank you and bro Joseph for providing such great discussion... I have a question. You mentioned:

>>>>>In support of this argument of mine, I find an analogy in the Qur'an where normally consumption of the swine flesh is explicitly declared haram but may become halal under duress, or even suspension of faith can be faked during certain times of the social/political oppression (16:106, 40:28). <<<<

Do you not think this weakens your position because the Quran could have provided an exception for masturbation as it does in so many things like you show, but as far as I know it did not in this case?? So given that the Quran does give clear exceptions, is it right then to infer masturbation is O.K because the Quran does not say so?

 

Offline Rose

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Re: Masturbation
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2013, 07:35:13 PM »

Salaam brother Joseph,

May Allah reward you for taking time to respond to my email.
Please forgive me for misconstruing your views.
regards