Salam, I am almost 16 and I struggle with 2 things. Masturbation and my sexual identity. When it first happened I only did it every once in a while now it has gotten to the point where I am doing it 2-3 every single month. I know this is haram but I can’t stop myself. I have tried many different things but none of them work for me. Everytime I do it it makes me feel less of a muslim. I haven’t told my parents about this because I am afraid of what they will say or do. I don’t want to feel any sort of sexual feeling toward the same sex. I am afraid that I will never get to have a halal relationship with a man because of this. Please help me!
Thank you for reaching out to us for guidance. It is certainly difficult this day and age to negotiate our identities in the US and I cannot imagine how lost and alone you must feel in trying to figure out your sexual identity as well. First and foremost I encourage you to find a support network, like this site, where you can share your feelings and concerns safely, especially if you feel that telling your parents is not a good idea or even harmful for you.
As far as the guilt you are experiencing, neither masturbation nor homosexuality takes you outside of the fold of Islam, so do not feel hopeless. If you wish to decrease the amount of masturbating you engage in I would suggest staying away from avoidable sexual stimuli (pornography, sexually explicit videos, movies etc.), increase your aerobic exercise, or fasting. My biggest recommendation would be to perhaps try channeling your creative energy into fulfilling projects, volunteer or relief work. If you fear that your masturbation is getting out of hand or is becoming an addiction I would recommend seeking addiction counseling. Pornography viewing has become an epidemic across the US and can be very damaging to personal relationships.
Sexuality is a more fluid concept than is typically understood. Try to picture it on a gradient rather than as a black and white concept. There is a diverse range of sexual attraction in human beings. It is possible for a person to feel attracted to only men, only women, both men and women, nobody at all, or any combination of different levels of partial attraction to both men and women. What is important for you right now is to figure out where your natural inclinations lie and what you are comfortable with. Attempting to forcibly change your natural inclinations can potentially be very damaging not only for yourself, but for the other member in your relationship. If you still have a certain level of sexual interest in men and would be comfortable in a marital relationship with a man it can still possibly work out. At the age of 16, however, if it is an option for you, I would encourage you to focus right now on yourself and your own personal goals before thinking about a marital relationship. Again, please seek out a support network that will help you process your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment, remember to continue to asking for help and guidance from Allah (swt) and never doubt the mercy of Ar-Rahman.
Your sister in Islam
First of all I want to say that you are one brave 16 year old to seek out help about such a private issue. I commend you for that.
Next, I want to point out that being a teenager is very confusing and overwhelming. This is because your body is changing (internally and externally), your personality is evolving, you are figuring out who you really are, the issues that you are compassionate about, the kind of people you are able to get along with, etc. The list is exhaustive. The internal changes aka hormonal changes are mostly in the driving seat for teens. What you are experiencing is natural part of growing up.
It is confusing and there is an element of guilt, shame involved because you are a Muslim and also based on Islam giving into such temptations is prohibited. But I want you to understand that Allah SWT is Merciful and Forgiving. He knows our shortcomings and the fact that we are not perfect. I want you to constantly remind yourself that Allah SWT’s mercy is greater. We as Muslims also believe that we will be tested throughout our lives with different things, be it relationships, our own nafs, family, friends, etc. What you are going through is a test for you. You have to try your very best to not give into temptations. Also seek guidance and help from Allah SWT by praying 2-nafl salaat whenever the urges are strong. When possible recite Surah-e-Yaseen and recite Astaghfaar using a tasbeeh.
I truly believe that you can overcome this and pass the test with Allah SWT’s guidance and help.
Your sister in Islam,
Walaikum Assalam sister, let me start by saying that I am a physician and not a religious scholar so I can’t give you a religious fatwa.
Being a physician I can tell you that I come across many youngsters who fall victim to the habit of masturbation. There are several factors that contribute to it. Most common being the fact that we live in a highly sexualized society. Children as well as adults are constantly bombarded with inappropriate sexual content in every sphere of life.
Second issue is the fact that you are at an age where you are going through a rapid hormonal shift. You may be experiencing feelings that are new to you, which may include sexual arousal by thoughts and images. Unfortunately, in Muslim families sex is such a taboo topic that no one wants to touch it, therefore, young adults (yes Islamically you are an adult once you hit puberty) learn about sex from sources that are not the best. Many a times the information they are provided is erroneous. Many Muslim adolescents believe that Islam somehow forbids sex. The reality of the matter is that Islam promotes and encourages it as long as it is between husband and wife.
As far as the issue of sexual identity is concerned, it is not uncommon for a person to find someone of the same gender attractive or beautiful. Very often people have “crushes” on people of the same sex. This phenomenon is very common in teenagers. Makeup and fashion industry exploits this to the maximum and make millions of dollars every year.
If you find someone of the same sex as you attractive, it does not mean that you are gay. Unfortunately the society makes it seem that It is the case, in an effort to normalize immoral behavior.
For people who have such urges it’s a test, and Allah SWT clearly says In the Quran that he does not test anyone more than what they can tolerate. Remember that Allah SWT is the final judge. He is Merciful and forgiving towards us. He will forgive everything as long as we repent sincerely.
Excessive masturbation can become a problem and can affect your ability to have intimacy with your spouse. In case where one is at risk of committing fornication, it’s better to masturbate than to fornicate.
Here are some of the suggestions I have for you:
I would recommend that you fulfill all your religious obligations regularly, specially your salah. Observe it on time five times a day. Allah SWT says in The Holy Quran, that salah protects us from immoral behavior. Ask Allah SWT for guidance and protection against the whispering a of the devil.
If the urges are too strong prophet Mohammad PBUH recommended fasting, as it reduces such urges and brings you closer to Allah SWT.
Avoid looking at things on TV and computer that may arouse you.
Change company of friends that may lead you in the wrong direction.
Educate yourself in the matters of Islam. Attend religious halaqas whenever possible.
Seek therapy from a Muslim counselor who can understand your issues and give you proper advice.
Last but not the least, get married as soon as you are old enough to do so. Having a spouse protects you as well.
I hope this is helpful. I pray to Allah SWT that he help you, guide you and have mercy upon you.
Your brother in Islam,