I just wanted some help. I am a 21 year old male and ashamed to say that I have a bad habit of masturbating. I just cannot stop this habit. Would you be able to give me some tips that would help me get rid of this habit?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
To begin with, it's good to know that you are concerned about this unfortunate practice, Al-Hamdulillah. This is the first step. May Allah Most High make it easy for you to free yourself from this problem, grant you strength and make you, and all of us, pious and righteous individuals with whom Allah and his beloved Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace) are pleased, Ameen Ya Rabb!
Masturbation is an extremely unhealthy practice, considered unlawful and sinful in our tradition, which has many personal and societal ill-effects known and recognized by Muslims and many non-Muslims alike. It affects a person in the long-run, ruining one's marriage, impairing one's physical health, reducing one's ability to be proactive in the daily chores, and harming one's religious and spiritual growth by distancing one from one's Lord. Once an addiction is formed to masturbate, the habit continues even after marriage, and in some cases, till one's old age. Masturbation can also lead to psychological impotence. Becoming accustomed to a specific form of sexual gratification, a man will prefer watching porn and satisfying himself instead of having sexual relations with his wife. Hence, this practice must be shunned immediately.
As for practical ways of getting rid of this habit, I suggest the following:
1) Take all necessary means to control your sexual desire (shahwa), and avoid anything and everything that may lead you to masturbate. As such:
a) Guard your gaze against casting it lustfully at women. Avoid going unnecessarily to areas where there is fitna and a greater likelihood of you seeing women dressed immodestly such as shopping malls and town-centers (especially on weekend nights). Try your best in finding alternatives for places of Fitna. For example, use your car to commute rather than a public mode of transport like the underground tube. When travelling abroad, do not wonder around the shops and coffee places at the airport; rather, go and sit in a quiet place and read a book. In the plane, try reading a book or going to sleep instead of looking around and chatting with female air stewardesses. If your work or studies involve being around a lot of women, consider alternatives. See if you can find a job where there is relatively less fitna, and if that is not possible, avoid spending unnecessary time there especially around immodestly dressed females. Make sure to turn your gaze as soon as you see anything inciting such as a billboard advertisement which has immodest images. Completely avoid places where there is casual free mixing of the opposite genders.
b) Do not watch TV even for news or sports. Avoid surfing the internet unnecessarily, especially when you are alone. When there is a need, try using the internet in a public place or when your family members are around you. In particular, avoid YouTube and other similar sites where there is a greater risk of seeing something Haram.
2) Always be around family members and other people; try not being alone unless when necessary. Do not sleep alone in your room, and do not have TV or internet to yourself.
3) Avoid bad company, and endeavor to stay in the company of the pious and righteous, in the Mosque, and with learned Ulama as much as possible.
4) Try and fast as much as possible, and generally eat less especially foods that may stir your sexual desire such as meat and dairy products.
5) Continually ask Allah, especially after the Fard prayers, to free you from this habit.
6) Involve yourself with acts of worship as much as possible, like reciting the Qur'an, Dhikr and Salawat.
7) Consider marriage. The jurists (fuqaha) state that if one is overwhelmed with sexual desire to the extent that they fear committing a sin, marriage becomes obligatory. Speak to your parents and start looking for a suitable spouse with whom you can fulfill your desires in a Halal way.
8) Finally, there is nothing more effective in helping you avoid this sinful habit than exercising your will-power (himma) and fighting against your lower, desiring self (nafs) and your sexual appetite. It may be a good idea to impose a monetary or another form of penalty on yourself every time the sin is committed. Continue the struggle wholeheartedly and you will see the benefits, InshaAllah. For more on this, read the books of Imam al-Ghazali (Allah have mercy on him) in particular his Ihya Ulum al-Din.
May Allah protect us all, Ameen.
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK