By: Hojjat al-Islam Abdul Adheem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani
How should we begin relationships with women and satisfy needs in the process of finding a spouse?
Question: I frankly say that we, the young men of nowadays, see, hear, and understand the sexual matters that our fathers might have understood when they became thirty years old, and simply somehow. In this age, everything excites. The means of practicing sex, in most countries, are available even to children. What is the view of Islam concerning satisfying this pressing lust that our fathers do not understand?
The answer: We understand this feeling with all its details, and there is no shyness in religion. Thank you for your daring question and your search for the view of Islam about this important subject.
The natural inclination between man and woman has deep roots and is connected with the creation of man and woman, because Allah has made it as a bridge for the life of humankind to continue by reproduction on the earth. On the other hand, if this inclination is not satisfied, excited nerves become tired, and this is a continuous torture for both man and woman.
Looking, laughing, flirting, gestures, and soft tones excite and move the fiery sexual lust and cause torture for both the excited and the exciter. Every one understands this fact.
Such excitements make some husbands unsatisfied with their wives, and this leads to divorce and the destruction of families. The same is said about some wives who look at men, who are more handsome than their husbands, for the sake of pleasure and lust.
This is in our societies that are aloof from their Islam, but as for the western societies and their cultures of libertinism, sexual inclination has had an ardent color for the past century and then has developed into a scientific method through profound researches and studies in the fields of education and psychological medicine.
There is no doubt that politicians and businessmen, who have great capitals in the world, have played their malicious roles in exploiting the sexual lusts to bind peoples and societies and draw them towards their financial benefits.
Islam has its own view towards this natural instinct and its unique method in responding to it. Islam has established teachings and principles to achieve a balanced conduct in satisfying the sexual instinct and to arrive at the best method, which protects man from deviation and problems that can destroy families and their happiness.
Islam does not suppress the sexual lust, but it rectifies it and offers it to be satisfied with the best educational manners to save the entity of family from dissolution and destruction. A good family that follows Islam produces good children, who stand against the corruptions surrounding them in society.
Islam does not neglect the requirements of the sexual instinct, but instead Islam makes it submissive to man instead of subjecting man to the Satan and degrading his dignity and honor to make him as a worthless beast.
O young men, whoever submits to his lusts without limits is not free but is in fact a slave to his lusts. Free people are those who control their lusts that they could satisfy in any way but they do not do so.
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Whoever leaves lusts is free.’
He also said, ‘The worst enemies of man are his anger and lust. Whoever controls them is exalted and he reaches his aims.’
Since woman, as a whole, is beauty and excitement in her voice and doings, Islam has ordered her not to show her beauty, not to soften her voice, and not to do exciting gestures except for her husband.
We read in the Qur'an that Allah the Almighty has forbidden the Prophet’s wives from talking to foreigners with exciting tones that might move their lusts and then those with diseased hearts might covet them.
(O wives of the Prophet! you are not like any other of the women; If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; but speak a good word) (Holy Qur’an, 33:32).
Softening in speech, exciting gestures, joking, and jesting or any thing that is lawful only between a wife and her husband or a woman and her mahram, are not lawful to take place between a woman and a foreign man in order to not be as the beginning towards something else.
The Holy Qur'an also teaches us the manners of family and social relations between men and women in this way, (And when you ask of them (the wives of the Prophet) anything, ask it of them from behind a curtain. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts) (Holy Qur’an, 33:53).
These are the Islamic facts that the Muslims must pay attention to, but the reality that the society lives in is something else; and the question of the youth shows they are looking for an Islamic resolution according to the actual reality of the society.
Here, we advise of the following:
1. Early marriage; and if it is not possible due to a reasonable excuse, a young man should be patient and should fast, but if the lust overcomes him and he fears committing sin, he should practice temporary marriage until Allah makes him able to marry in eternal marriage.
2. Fathers and mothers have to understand these facts and comprehend the sexual needs of the youth in the lawful way; otherwise, parents unknowingly throw their children into corruption, and hence they will be punished on the Day of Resurrection with two punishments; one for prohibiting a lawful thing and the other for causing the youth to become involved in sin.
What Islam says about masturbation?
Question: What is the situation of Islam towards masturbation? Some youths say that doctors think it has no harm.
The answer: Not all that doctors say is true. There are other doctors that say the opposite. What is important to us is what our Wise Creator says. He is more aware of His creatures. Islam, which is the speech of Allah, is clear in its verdicts. The Prophet (S) and his progeny have prohibited it.
Masturbation is a filthy doing. Some traditions have called it as “adultery with oneself”. It does not fit the dignity of a respectable man. The clearest evidence on its ugliness is that the doer feels disgust with himself after finishing this act.
Islam does not prohibit a thing unless it has a great harm. In this concern, masturbation weakens the sexual ability at the time when it is needed in marriage. This weakness appears in the sudden ejaculation or that the penis does not stand erect during making love, and this mortifies sexual pleasure and kills marital happiness, which, consequently excites the nerves of the wife and the husband and then their lives enter into the tunnel of problems and troubles.
Doctors think that one of the causes for itching in the genitals and the area around them is masturbation. This makes one who practices masturbation rub his genitals even before others. Among the harms of this bad habit are leanness, headache, sudden exhaustion, and fatigue.
These harms cause a dangerous psychological state that leads one to worry, melancholy, loneliness, and complexes, which are the factors of final failure.
Incidentally, I remember that in 1984 in India, Bombay, a young man from the Arab Gulf countries committed suicide by throwing himself from the window of a hotel, and the reason, as it was said, was that he became angry at his sexual failure (and that his sword could not stretch in his bitter sexual fighting) with an Indian prostitute. He took a knife, cut his genitals, and threw himself into Hell and the evil destination!
I do not think that colonialists, the producers of sex films, and the doctors, who are bound by these circles, want something for the youth besides this failure and collapse!
Dear young man, do you understand now why Islam has prohibited this bad habit?
The Prophet (S) has said, ‘He who makes love with his hand is cursed. (Mustadrak al-Wassa’il, vol.2 p.570)’
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said, ‘There are three persons, whom Allah will not talk to, look at, or purify and who will get painful torment on the Day of Resurrection; one who plucks out his white hairs (shaves his beard), one who makes love with himself (practices masturbation), and one who is sodomized on. (Al-Hikam adh-Dhahira, p.30).’
We must mention here that the prohibition of masturbation does not concern males only, but females also are not permitted to practice it.
How great the situation of Imam Ali (a.s.) was towards someone who had been accused of practicing masturbation! Imam Ali (a.s.) would beat him on his hand until it turned red and them he would make him marry by giving him money from the treasury. (Wassa’il ash-Shia, vol.18 p.574, vol.14 p.267).
Dear brother, I feel that you wish you were in an Islamic state which was ruled by someone like Imam Ali (a.s.) who would marry you from the revenue of the treasury that was specified for the welfare of the Muslims!
I say: take me with you in your wishes! Ali and his Islamic state remain as two orphaned examples on the page of history!
What is the solution for young people wanting to get married and avoid sin today in light of pressures to finish studies, get settled in jobs and pay very high costs for dowries and weddings?
Question: I am a young man. I want to get married according to the Sunna of Allah and His messenger (S). I do not want to be involved in the unlawful relations that are customary in our society, which follows the corrupt cultures of the West in all fields. However, the obstacles before me are many: my family, who says that I am still young and that I have to complete my university studies and find a job before all, besides the expensive dowries and high costs of weddings that young men like me cannot bear.The difficulties for a lawful marriage cause many youths to become involved in sin, which is easier and hidden from the eyes of parents, who are the main cause for the sins by placing obstacles before lawfulness and opening the door of unlawfulness. I, who cannot lawfully get married to the girl I want, can commit sin with her if I want, but I fear Allah. Do others fear Allah too?This problem, as you know, causes psychological complexes, makes the youth absent-minded in their studies, and unable to comprehend knowledge because of their being busy thinking of lusts and being away from religion and obligations, and consequently they fall into family troubles, moral scandals and… Then, what is the solution?
The answer: Dear faithful brother, what you suffer is a part of the tragedy that has afflicted our society in all fields. Concerning the matter of marriage and the indifference of parents towards it, the tragedy is something disgraceful.
The solution is not something easy because the war is general against all the Umma. Globalization with its technical tools via the internet and satellites has entered into the closed rooms and most parents do not know what these tools do to their sons and daughters; in fact they cannot believe or imagine the dangers!
Our misfortune is not one. Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea because of the evil that people have done. Great corruption has become evident due to refraining from getting married to good and faithful persons as Islam wishes.
I do not want to offer theoretical solutions to you or others like you. The reality is painful and just words are unsatisfactory. There are some solutions in both frames of protection and cure.
As for protection, first, try to overlook sexual incitements such as unveiled girls in the streets, films, magazines, and books concerning stories of love and lusts! And second, practice fasting for the sake of Allah and busy yourself with studying, reading, practicing sports, and planning for your future!
As for cure, if you cannot bear it, you are to practice temporary marriage according to the legal limits that have been explained by the religious authorities in their books of jurisprudence, besides the moral limits that the pure nature imposes on the faithful youth like you.
Let young men and young women be certain that Islam has not left its followers to fend for themselves in times of crisis. Islam has given us successful solutions for both protection and cure, always and forever. Islam has wisdom in every verdict, and it does not say anything in vain. Far be it from Allah, the Aware, the Wise to reveal a religion without wisdom and then order people to follow it so they will all be in Hell! Allah is more Exalted than vanity and injustice.
Is it lawful for a young unmarried couple thinking of marriage to exchange feelings by phone and letters and to spend time together in public places like parks if no touching is involved?
Question: What is the viewpoint of Islam about the love between a young man and a young woman before the legal agreement of marriage, where they exchange their feelings via the telephone and letters or by going together to the park for example – of course without any touching with the hand or body? Some (religious) people say that this is lawful as long as it is as the initial step towards marriage. What do you think about the matter?
The answer: In the steps that precede marriage, it is sufficient to obtain information from relatives first, and then, as a second step, have a public meeting with family and without gestures or words that may excite lust. There is no objection if a young man looks at a young woman without her veil when there is a serious intention of marriage. But, if a young man intends to be deceitful just to get pleasure, the company and the meeting will be unlawful. It has been noticed in the cases of love between the youth in our present age that they are of the second kind, in which love relation continues until it reaches touching of the hands and body, because after the premises mentioned in the questions, lust overcomes both the young man and the young woman until they sleep together to satisfy their furious lust. Then, the young man goes to look for another victim and so on. As experience has proven, girls who are deceived by the words of love become the losers at the end.
The Islamic Sharia has prohibited these premises because it knows the consequences, which we witness in real life. Also Islam prohibits these things in order to protect the dignity of young women and to close the door before the youth who try to take advantage of the honor of young women and then leave them to look for a second victim to deceive and then a third, and so on…!
I do not think that Islam agrees with the present day love relations at all. Religious men and women have to be absolutely careful, for a reasonable person is one who takes lessons from the experiences of others.
I want to know what I should do to begin the process for marriage properly and avoid lustful sin while yet at a young age.
Question: I am a young man at the beginning of adulthood. I suffer from a fierce pressure of lust. As you know, Islam encourages early marriage lest the youth commit sins and disobediences in this critical age, but I do not know how I should venture into my future and from what point I should begin. Please, explain to me what I should understand in this age, and I have determined to get married Inshallah.
The answer: Dear brother, there are some things I would like to advise you of:
1. You should know that you are about to establish a joint life that has new concepts and manners. It is mixed with sweetness and bitterness, but its sweetness prevails if you choose the partner of your life according to reasonable steps, and its bitterness prevails if you choose due to the passion of lust and sentimental motives. Therefore, Islam teaches us, ‘If you want to get married, ask Allah for proper guidance and determination, and then offer two-rak’as prayer, and raise your hands and say, “O Allah, I want to get married. Prepare for me from the women the best of them in shape and morals, the most chaste, the best in keeping my honor and wealth, the most beautiful, and the most productive. (Said by Imam ar-Ridha (s), as in Wassa’il ash-Shia, vol.14 p.79)”
2. Thus, you encompass your desires and your religious values and spiritual honesty.
2. Know well that a new life, which is connected with your fate, is worth reading about before falling into its problems.
It is necessary for those who want to get married to read one book, at least, about the matters they will face at the time of marriage because after marriage, time is spent on sentimental relations, and then the joint life would be based on ignorance of the basis of happiness; therefore problems after problems will take place that may destroy the real pleasure of marriage which is happiness, calmness, love, and joy.
3. Try not to be rash in getting married! Make all preparations and secure your material ability as much as possible for the traditional requirements, but within the limits of reason! Beware of wasting or thinking of play and amusement in the wedding, because a marriage that begins with unlawful things will not have a good end because Allah will not bless it, and the Satan does not have any blessings to give!
I cannot afford to get married, so please advise me on what to do to avoid lustful sins in a way that is actually practical and effective.
Question: I am from a poor family; therefore, I cannot think of marriage at any time in the near future. What shall I do with my pressing lust? I am religious, and I do not want to become polluted with the sins that invite me towards them everyday. Please, give me a scientific solution, for theories neither nourish nor do they release one from hunger!
The answer: The Prophet (S) has said, ‘O youth, whoever of you is able to get married, let him get married, for it is better to protect his eyes from unlawful looking and his genitals from sins; and whoever is unable, let him fast, because fasting is as a protection to him (stops his lust). (Mustadrak Wassa’il ash-Shia, vol.2 p.531)’
Based on this Prophetic tradition, I say, dear brother, there is no way before you except to either get married or to fast. There are two kinds of marriage. One is permanent marriage, which is required firstly and lastly. I advise you to this kind of marriage in spite of your financial difficulties. Look for a young woman who accepts your weak financial condition and tell her: Allah has promised to enrich us with His favor after marriage. Let us believe in Him and His promise and rely on Him. He has said in His Book, (And marry those among you who are single and those who are virtuous among your male slaves and your female slaves; if they are needy, Allah will enrich them out of His grace; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing) (Holy Qur’an, 24:32).
Once, a young man from the Prophet’s companions came to the Prophet (S) and said to him, ‘My mother and I have had nothing at all for lunch today.’ He expected that the Prophet (S) would give him something, but the Prophet (S) said to him,
The young man thought that the Prophet (S) did not hear him properly, so he said again, ‘O messenger of Allah, I have had nothing even for lunch today. How can I get married?’
The Prophet (S) said again, ‘Get married!’
The young man repeated his saying and the Prophet (S) said to him, ‘Get married!’
The young man was astonished that the Prophet (S) did not give him anything, though the generous Prophet (S) would give his clothes and food even to his enemies.
The young man went back to his mother and told her what the Prophet (S) had said.
The mother said, ‘Surely, the Prophet (S) sees a wisdom in that.’ She asked for her son’s permission to ask for their neighbor’s hand. He agreed and the girl came to her husband’s house so simply and with no cost that the wedding was on the same day.
The young man thought to himself that he could not leave his wife with no means of livelihood. Therefore, he went out of the town to collect some firewood. He sold the firewood for two dirhams. He bought some food with one dirham and saved the other to buy an axe. When he had collected four dirhams, he could afford to buy an axe to cut firewood with, in order to not hurt his hands with thorns.
After some days, he could afford to buy a camel to carry the firewood on to the market. Every morning, he went to the desert to collect firewood with his axe and then carried it on his camel to the market to sell it. On the fortieth day of his marriage, the Prophet (S) saw him in Medina leading his camel. The Prophet (S) asked him about the camel. The young man told the Prophet (S) his story. The Prophet (S) said to him, ‘Did I not tell you to get married?’ Later on, this young man became one of the wealthiest people of Medina.
Dear brother, do not fear poverty, because fearing poverty will keep you in it! Rely on Allah sincerely and try your best to find how the promise of Allah will shine in your joint life with your wife!
However, if you cannot get married and your lust is furious as you say, you can extinguish it through fasting and worshipping. If this cannot extinguish your lust, you have to practice the last solution: temporary marriage, which Allah has made lawful but some ignorant people have prohibited and therefore, they have involved themselves and their followers in adultery and psychological complexes that result from suppressing this instinct.
Temporary marriage, if you obtain the acceptance of the other side (a divorced woman or a widow), is a preferable solution in certain cases. Do not trouble yourself since Allah has permitted this thing! The wording of the agreement of this type of marriage, after agreeing with the other side on the dowry and the period of marriage, is that she should say first (I marry myself to you on the specified dowry and for the specified period) and then you reply by saying (I agree). Then, you both have to adhere to the legal conditions of this marriage. The most important condition is that she must, after the period of your temporary marriage ends, undergo the idda and then divorce between you takes place automatically. You can remarry again if you want but with agreeing on another period and dowry. The idda of temporary marriage is the passing of two menstruation cycles if the woman intends to get married with another man, but with the same man, there is no need for the idda. I advise you not to let a child be formed, because it will be your legal child and then you must undertake its rights as your and her child, and hence, this requires you, due to morals, to get married in a permanent marriage and live happily.