Masturbating to avoid pornography; reading sexual advice; avoiding bad deeds

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

I am visiting USA these days and want to find out a few things. I am away from my family for some time now. The nature of my job is that I am on the internet most of the time. Now during my browsing and looking for different things on the internet, there are a lot of pop up advertisements that come up, and these are mostly half naked women, or about dream resorts etc. Sometimes ladies invite to view their web cams. All this I have been restraining my self due to the fear of ALLAH, but sometimes Shaitan takes over and I do visit these sites. Then suddenly I realize that I am not doing the right thing. Sometimes I feel the extreme urge to have sex with my wife. My  Questions are as follows:

1. Is masturbation allowed under these circumstances, I mean this will stop me from seeing naked pictures. It will stop me from the Zina of eyes.

Allah Most High said:

And a soul and Him Who perfected it, and inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it.

He is indeed successful who purifies it, and he is indeed a failure who stunts it.”

[Qur’an, 91.7-10]

  A wise man said,

“If you do not busy your soul with the good,

it will busy you with the bad.”

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam,

This is a false dichotomy: masturbation, which is strongly prohibited [see below], is not the solution to looking at the unlawful.

Rather, the simple solution is that you have to stop looking at such things. If you know something about computers, there are many ways to prevent such images from appearing.

  What to do when a bad thought occurs to you

Whenever a bad thought occurs to you:

a) seek Allah’s forgiveness [saying, Astaghfirullah (‘I seek Allah’s forgiveness’)];

b) seek protection from the Shaytan [saying, A`udhu billahi min ash-shaytan ar-rajeem (‘I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed shaytan’)]

c) cut out the things that result in that bad though immediately [e.g. shut the window with such images]

d) then thank Allah, wholeheartedly, for enabling you to overcome your desires and shaytan [saying, Alhamdulillah (‘All praise is due to Allah’)]; this makes Shaytan despair, and strengthens one’s resolve.

If you keep erring, keep repeating these 4 quick and simple steps, and making dua with your prayers that Allah protect you. If you keep turning to Allah sincerely, He’ll accept your entreating, and free you of these problems.

Allah Most High has promised,

“As for those who strive in Us, We surely guide them to Our paths, and lo! Allah is with the good.” [Qur’an, 29.69]

2. I look for ways on the internet to have better and pleasurable sex with my wife. This does not include naked pictures at all, these are general discussions. I look for different sex positions. Am I being a pervert when I do this. Am I allowed to do research on such stuff. Sometimes I feel that I am too obsessed with having sex with my wife. I mean only my wife. I don’t think about anybody else. I want to please her both sexually and morally. We both are trying hard all the time to be better practising Muslims. Our only source of entertainment is visiting people and sex. We don’t have TV in our house, we don’t watch movies, We do go out to eat and parks. Play with our children. But that’s it.

There is nothing wrong with sex. In fact, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself explained that one is rewarded for fulfilling one’s desires in a lawful manner with one’s spouse.

  Reading sexual advice

It is permitted to read ‘respectable’ discussions of sexual advice. The condition for the permissibility of reading such matters is that:

a) The content not be of a perverse or inappropriate nature;

b) One does not look at the unlawful;

c) One does not think about that which is haram (such as individuals other than one’s lawful spouse); and

d) It does not lead one to do the haram (such as masturbate, even if later).

Many medical sites have good material that does not contravene the first 2 conditions. The other two return to the individual.

  The Human Soul

Allah swore by a long list of oaths in the Qur’an regarding the soul:

091.001 By the sun and his brightness,  

091.002 And the moon when she followeth him,

091.003           And the day when it revealeth him,

091.004           And the night when it enshroudeth him,

091.005           And the heaven and Him Who built it,

091.006           And the earth and Him Who spread it,

091.007           And a soul and Him Who perfected it

091.008           And inspired it with its wrong its  right

091.009           He is indeed successful who purifies it,

091.010           And he is indeed a failure who stunts it.” [Qur’an, Surat al-Shams]

Imam Sulaiman al-Jamal explains these last two verses in his Hashiyat al-Jalalayn [4.542] by stating that this success of the soul is by purifying it from bad deeds and being busied by good deeds; its failure, stunting, and abasement is through by sins.

This is why the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said,

“Fear Allah wherever you are; follow a bad deeds with a a good one and it will wipe it out; and deal with people with excellent character.” [at-Tirmidhi, from Abu Dharr and Mu`adh ibn Jabal (Allah be pleased with them)]

Abu Malik al-Ash`ari reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said,

“Purity is half of belief. ‘Praise be to Allah’ fills up the balance, and ‘Glory be to Allah and praise be to Allah’ fills up everything between the heavens and the earth. The prayer is a light. Charity is a proof. Steadfastness is an illumination. The Qur’an is a proof for you or against you. Everybody goes out and trades with his own self, either setting it free or destroying it.” [Muslim]

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani