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Views within Islam and Hinduism.

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Islam, the second largest religion in the world:

Shaykh Muhammad s Al-munajjid of Islam writes that masturbation is forbidden in Islam for both men and women.

The Qur'an states:

  • 23.5-7: "And those who guard their chastity. Except from their wives or that their right hands possess, - for them, they are free from blame. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors."

    The writer interprets chaste behavior as avoiding all stimulation of one's sexual organs including masturbation. This passage appears to apply only to men but is generally interpreted as applying to women as well. The "right hands possess" apparently refers any slaves or captives that man may owe.

  • 24:33: "And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah enriches them of His bounty." 1

    Again, "chaste" is generally interpreted as avoiding all sexual stimulation outside of marriage.

The Hadith:

  • (Bukhari:5066) quotes Muhammad as saying:
    "O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power." 1
    "Guard his modesty" again is interpreted as avoiding sexual acts including masturbation.

  • A narration attributed to Hasan ibn Arfah states that Allah will not look upon a person who masturbates on the Day of Qiyaamat, no willhe purify them or include them among the learned. Allah will send them to Jahannam (Hell). However, Hell can be avoided by repenting of their sin. The Hadith equates masturbation with taking either the active or passive role in anal intercourse, being a perpetual drunkard, one who hits his parents or neighbors heavily, and adulterers. 2
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Hinduism, the third largest religion in the world:

There is a general agreement that the Hindu scriptures are silent on the topic of masturbation, as are the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. However, spiritual principles derived from those scriptures have been used to criticize the sexual practice.

Brahma Madhava Gaudiya Sampradaya, an authority on Hinduism, wrote:

"Sex in hinduism is only for procreation (progeny), and not meant for pleasure because we'll tend to get carried away and loose sight of the real meaning for our existence: to return to the spiritual world or back to Godhead, goloka-vrndavana."

"So yes, masturbation is sin, and pre-martial sex is sin [be]cause again its all for sense gratification. Pornography is what is making you want to masturbate and have sex in the first place. If you have never watched porn would you be masturbating or having pre-martial sex ?" 3

Some Hindu teachers have been quite passionate about their opposition to masturbation:

  • Swami Sivananda described frightening symptoms resulting from:

    "...the evil after-effects that follow the loss of seminal energy! Persons are physically, mentally and morally debilitated by wasting the seminal power on so many occasions for nothing. The body and the mind refuse to work energetically. There is physical and mental lethargy. You experience much exhaustion and weakness. You will have to take recourse to drinking milk, to eating fruits and aphrodisiac confections, to make good the loss of energy. Remember that these things can never, never repair the loss completely. Once lost is lost for ever. You will have to drag on a dreary, cheerless existence. Bodily and mental strength gets diminished day by day."

    "Those who have lost much of their Veerya [vital energy] become very irritable. Little things upset their minds. Those who have not observed the vow of celibacy become the slaves of anger, jealousy, laziness and fear." 4

  • Srimad Devi Bhagawatam wrote:

    ""If anybody, out of his amorous passion casts his semen privately [masturbation] on the surface of the ground, he will have to suffer the torments of hell for as many years as are the numbers of dust particles on that area." 5

On the other hand, Geetha Gopakumar, an advisor on the knowledge trading web site, noted that:

"The famous Kama Sutra is the work of an Indian Hindu Saint- seeks not to repress sexuality, but to perfect it. By perfecting the act of divine sex, including masturbation, as seen depicted at the 10th century Hindu temple of Khajuraho, one clears the mind of earthly desires, leaving the soul on a higher level devoid of such worries, filled with bliss, and relaxed." 6

William Schindler, a.k.a. "Brother William," an author with a M.A. in clinical psychology, is the founder and spiritual director of Ashram West. He picked up on Gopakumar's theme. He wrote:

"... if one desires to become an adept in Yoga, and by Yoga I mean meditation and other practices intended to advance one toward spiritual liberation, some control of sexual energy is often highly beneficial, so avoiding over stimulation is recommended. It is a practical issue, however, not a moral one, as it is represented in some of the religions that originated in the Middle East. Unfortunately, some of the moralistic attitudes common in Christianity and Islam entered into Hinduism during periods of cultural and political domination of India by the English and the Moguls, respectively, but a more authentic Hindu cultural attitude toward sexuality can be found in the Kama-Sutra." 7

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Related essays:

See also the masturbation menu for links to essays explaining the diverse teachings on masturbation found among Christianity denominations, religious liberals, and Wicca.

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The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Shaykh Muhammad s Al-munajjid, "Ruling on masturbation and how to cure the problem," Islam QA, at:
  2. "Islam and Masturbation," Wikipedia, as on 2011-AUG-28 at:
  3. Brahma Madhava Gaudiya Sampradaya, "Hindus/sex in Hinduism," 2008-OCT-02, at:
  4. Swami Sivananda. "Effects of Sexual Indulgence." Sacred Sex, at:
  5. S'rÓmad DevÓ Bh‚gawatam, Ninth Book, Chapter Ten. Quoted at: Sacred Sex at:
  6. Geetha Gopakumar, response to question on masturbation, at:
  7. William Schindler, "Hindus/hindu/sex." All Experts, 2010-JAN-22, at:

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Copyright © 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-AUG-31
Author: B.A. Robinson

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