Q50: Is Mutaa Forbidden?

What should a young person do if he finds it difficult to control his sexual desire while he refrains from sexual immorality and masturbation? He can't afford to marry, but though he can afford to marry temporary (Mutaa) for at least 3 days, he cannot perform this Mutaa as it is not recognised by the Marriage Law of Tanzania.

A. Non-recognition of 'Mut'aa' does not mean that it is a crime. It just means that if there is any dispute the courts will not recognize the parties as husband and wife.


(a) Mutaa amounts to nothing but adultery?

(b) If a woman married in Mut'a is in a better finaneied position than her husband and refuses to accept maintenance from him, is it allowed in Islam?

(c) In the above case, if the woman is married in permanent marriage, can she forego her maintenance?


(a) Is not the "marriage" (in all its forms) just a legalized adultery? All conditions which are necessary for a Permanent Marriage are necessary in 'Mut'aa" (Temporary) Marriage. Even the word "Permanent marriage" is misleading, because in Islam no marriage is a" permanent".

The husband can terminate the marriage by the simple device of Talaq. So where is the "permanency"?

A Sheriat which recognizes Talaq, cannot ridicule Mut'aa, because "Marriage + Divorces = Mut'aa.

(b) There is no maintenance in Mut'a marriage; so this question does not arise.

(c) The wife of permanent marriage is entitled to maintenance. It is her right. But every right may be waived by the right-holder, and the wife may, accordingly forego this right if she so desires.


I am a healthy 27 years old man with normal sexual desires. Due to some extremely serious unavoidable circumstances, it is virtually impossible for me to marry at present. In East African environment at present it is impossible to do "Mut'aa' with a woman.

Now in order to relieve my sexual tension, without involvement with a prostitute or committing adultery (Zina); is there anything wrong if I do masturbation? I know Islam forbids masturbation but then in the circumstances mentioned above, is it not the best solution? If not, why?

A. You better try to find some woman (even Sunni or Christian will do) for Mut'a.


Why shouldn't sex education be introduced in schools? I was faced once with a tough question. A person asked me if masturbation was not a good way to release tension which otherwise would result in a sexual intercourse with the opposite sex. He showed me an article which appeared in an American newspaper.

The article says at least twice a week one should masturbate if he wants to lead a comfortable life without heart attack. The article was by a Professor in one of the American Universities.

A. Masturbation is Haram in Islam. It is not possible to write on this subject in a short letter. In a medical encyclopaedia, it is written that masturbation becomes harmful "only when it exceeds the limit, and then medical treatment becomes necessary".

Two of the harmful effects of exceeding the limit (which have not been mentioned in that book) are as follows:-

First, the base of penis becomes thinner compared to the rest of the organ; the penis becomes curved to the right or left, (if left hand is used, then to the left, and vice-versa). Secondly, the will-power gradually weakens, and even if the person concerned wants to leave that habit, he cannot. It is habit-forming; and in view of this, the pious admonitions of the psychologists "not to exceed the limit" looses all its weight.

Many people say that masturbation is "a natural" thing. Why? Because, some young bulls or other animals have been observed to indulge in it.

If we accept this "logic" as valid, we will have to sanction many other things also. For example, marriage between brother and sister, between mother and son. And why marriage at all? Sexual intercourse without any "religious sanction" has been practised in the animal world since time immemorial. Therefore, it is "natural" And therefore, it should be allowed and advocated! What kind of logic is this?

Others go so far as to declare that there is no difference between masturbation and normal sexual intercourse.

They apparently forget that in the normal sexual intercourse all the senses contribute to the stimulation and orgasm: Man and Woman see their partner, touch each other, say endearing words to each other and hear the stimulating words and sounds; and likewise the senses of smell and taste are utilized.And penetration of male organ inside the female ultimately leads to the final excitement and orgasm.

But in masturbation the only source of stimulation is imagination, in which no other sense takes any part. The whole burden is loaded upon mind; and, as a result, while the normal sexual intercourse results in happiness and joy, masturbation creates depression. (I am not talking about physical fatigue which is a normal thing. The talk is about emotional and psychological effects).

I hope this short discourse will satisfy your friend that masturbation is not "a normal and harmless thing".

So far as "sex education" is concerned, Islam expects the elders to teach the youngsters everything concerning Janabat, monthly course, child birth etc., and about the Nikah and all that it involves. In the Indian society, this subject is "taboo"; while in Arabia and other Isiamic places, women openly ask about the so-called "secret" Masael.


From the age of 13 to the age of 14 I have masturbated almost daily. Now I am trying to control, but I fail every time. About e months ago, I had succeeded in stopping to masturbate for two weeks. But nowadays I seem to fail and have started again.

The result of this is that I have become very thin and weak. And the worst result is that my beliefs in religion are fading away.

I would be very pleased, if you would find me an alternative to leave masturbation. I think I can leave masturbation if I visited a prostitute once in two weeks, though I have not yet visited a prostitute. But I don't know whether visiting a prostitute once in two weeks is better and has less sin than masturbating almost daily.

A. The best way to get rid of your habit (which you have mentioned) is to strengthen your will-power. Unless you firmly decide not to indulge in this anymore, you will not be able to leave this habit.

Another thing which will help you is not to remain alone at any time. If you are in company of others you will not get a chance to do it.

The third thing is to concentrate more and more on religious things.

And the fourth is to adopt some hobby, like football, etc. which will provide you an outlet for energies of your body. But, for God's sake, never think of going to prostitutes. It will ruin you, not only in life-hereafter, but in this world also.

Apart from financial ruin, you may get veneral diseases as syphilis and gonorrhoea which will affect the health of your children for generations to come; and "zina" (having sexual relations with a woman other than wife) is more sinful than masturbation.


Is giving divorce to a woman during the period of Haidh and Nifas allowed if the woman has committed a great fault towards her husband? A. She cannot be divorced during the period of Haidh (monthly period) or Nifas (Bleeding after delivery of child).


Is it Haram to listen to songs? Why? I have come to understand that this is because of music accompanying it. Is it, therefore, haram to listen to songs without the accompaniment of music? Is singing (without the aid of music) haram?

A. Music is defined in Shia Shariat as prolongation and vibration of sound with variations in pitch to such an extent that people may say that 'he/she is singing'. It is one of the great sins; and is Haram whether it be vocal or instrumental. To recite (or listen) to the words of a song, without any music, is permissible, provided it is not obscene and/or immoral.


I heard many Khojas claiming this verse as hadith. "Al Ghinaao ashaddo minazzina' which mean. Songs, Music and so on are worse than Zinaa. Is this right? If it is, explain, with details.

A. The correct hadith is(Music is the magic of fornication). The so-called 'hadith' mentioned by you is not found in books of Ahadith.


I am an American Shia Muslim. Prior to embracing Islam I was an avid lover of music. After entering the fold of Islam, I retained -although to a lesser degree - my love for that art. From some Muslims I have heard that all forms of music is haram; others told me that only some forms of it under certain circumstances and conditions are haram.

I have been struggling vainly for the past 4 years to learn of the Islamic position regarding music. Aren't musical talents of musicians a gift from Allah to an artist? And didn't Allah say "do not forbid the beautiful things of this life'?" Will you, please, clarify this matter and quote sources from the Qur'an, Sunnah of the Prophet and Ahlul-Bait - permitting or forbidding music.

A. I am sending (by air mail) a book "Music And Its Affects" and the April, 1974, issue of the Light, from which you will know the view of the Shia Sheriat.

Now coming to the second part of your question: You know very well that a greater part of art consists of statues and paintings. But in Islam painting the likeness of a living thing and/or making its statue is Haram. And there is no difference of opinion on this subject among the various sects of Islam. Therefore, your "argument" by quoting the talents of the artists, I am afraid, has no basis at all.

Allah has not said "do not forbid the beautiful things of this life." Perhaps you wanted to quote Ayat 87 of Sura Al-Maidah. Its translation:

"O ye who believe! Forbid not (to yourselves) the good things which Allah has made lawful for you; and do not transgress the limits. Verily, Allah loves not the transgressors". And the meaning of the word good things) is explained in this very Ayat by the words "which Allah has made lawful for you".

So the question of allowing "the beautiful things of this life" does not arise at all. What has been allowed by Allah is good; what has been forbidden by Him is bad. And we have been warned not to transgress the limits imposed by the sheriat of Allah, because Allah does not love the transgressors.


It is known that it is 'haram' to see Films,Why?

A. The Films is general have following features, any one of which is enough to make it a "Gunah-e-Kabira": (1) Vocal Music; (2) Instrumental Music; (3) Obscene Songs; (4) Obscene Scenes; and (5) Dance. Also, as is now accepted by many social workers, it teaches hooliganism and is a major factor in the ever-increasing rate of juvenile delinquency.