Monday, June 14, 2010

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Fatwa of the Day #5

So far I’ve been focusing on Fatwas that have received a fair share of publicity. For this post, however, I’ve chosen one from a website that issues Fatwa’s by the dozen, every day. Those Fatwas are in the form of Q & A; any Muslim, who has a concern or a question about a certain matter, can log in to this website/forum and submit a question. A group of religious scholars (Imams and Muftis) moderate the question and reply to each and every one. They offer “evidence” from the Sharia Law and refer to conversations from the Hadith. When I found this website I knew I have discovered the mother-ship of Fatwa’s.

Question number 11471 (they maintain a serialized system on this website), is titled:


“What is masturbation? And why is it haraam [a sin]?”

Funny "Masturbation is Bad"

Masturbation (or Solo Sex as it appears in the reply), is considered a sin in all three Abrahamic Religions, and in each doctrine we find a different reasoning on this matter. In the response to this query, they divide the answer into two parts: Scientific reasoning (or what I’d like to call Pseudo-scientific) and by reference to the Hadith.

In the first part, they quote a “dignified physician of the Unani medicine”, who’s referred to as Miftahi. After doing some research I found that this supposedly physician is Mufti Zafeeruddin Miftahi, a practitioner of Unani medicine, which is an alternative medicine, based on the belief that the body holds a mixture of the 4 elements: fire, water, earth and air. This Mufti (or religious cleric)—a reliable source according to the academic issuing this Fatwa—states in his book the following:

“[Masturbation] is such an evil practice that has ruined many families and many more are being ruined today… [It] affects equally the heart, the brain, the liver, the stomach, the kidneys along with the reproductive organs. This practice makes the muscles and the nerves of the reproductive organ sagging and lifeless. Accumulation of fluids in the veins makes it unfit for its normal function. There is extreme feebleness in the power of erection. The heat of the friction between the delicate muscles of the organ and the tough hide of the hand damages the former beyond repair."

After offering this pseudo-scientific answer they move to a more scriptural reasoning. Similar to the formation of all Fatwa’s, the scholars try to refer to conversations by the Prophet Mohamed and his followers in order to develop a “reliable” answer. In this case, they cite the Quran:

“The Believers are those who abstain from sex except with those joined to them in marriage bond, or those whom their right hand possess for (in their case) they are free from blame, but those who crave something beyond that are transgressors."

Other sources were alluded to as well, but I’m not going to mention them since they all approach the issue in the same manner; they claim that masturbation is a sin because the prophet said so. However there are two sentences which I would like to highlight:

Oppression of Muslim Women“Beyond the wife and slave woman all ways and means of sexual satisfaction are unlawful.”


“… [Masturbation] was only permitted when it was performed by the hand of a man's wife or concubine, for he has a right to the enjoyment of her hand as he has to the rest of her body."

I quoted those two sentences just to underline the unreasonable approach to sexual affairs in Islamic doctrine. It seems masturbation is Haram but female sex-slaves are a queerly tolerable concept!

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