Al-Asaalah Magazine (Issue #3)
 Question: What is the ruling on masturbation?
Answer: We have no doubts regarding the forbiddance of such a practice. And this is due to two reasons, the first of which is the saying of Allaah, the Most High, concerning the description of the believers:
“Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their prayer with full submissiveness. And those who turn away from false and vain talk. And those who pay the Zakaah. And those who guard their chastity – Except with their wives or (slaves) that their right hands possess, for (in that) they are free from blame. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors.” [Surah Al-Mu’minoon: 1-8]
Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee used this ayah as proof for the forbiddance of masturbating. This is since, in this ayah, Allaah has placed two ways for the true believers to fulfill their desires – either by marrying free women or by enjoying the slave women and female war captives. Then He says: ”But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors” meaning: Whoever desires a way by which to transmit his desires, apart from these two ways of marriage and taking female war captives, then he is a transgressor and a wrongdoer.
As for the second reason, then it has been medically established that there are unhealthy consequences for the one who does such an act, and that there are harms to the health caused by this practice, especially for those who constantly engage in it day and night. It is reported on the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that he said: ”Do not harm and do not be harmed.” Thus it is not permissible for a Muslim to engage in anything that will cause harm to himself or to others.
There is one more thing that must be mentioned and it is that those who engage themselves in this practice fall under the statement of Allaah:
“Will you exchange that which is lower for that which is better?” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 61]
Also there has been reported on the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that which further confirms this forbiddance and it is his saying:
“O you group of young men! Whoever amongst you is able to marry then let him marry, for indeed it is the best means for lowering one’s gaze and the best way to protect one’s private parts. And whosoever is not able, then let him fast, for indeed it will be a shield for him.”