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Help Me

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!

Ramadan Mubarak


Assalaamu Alaikum,

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. 

Sincerely,

Your sister in Islam

“Fatima V”

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Salaam,

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. 

Sincerely,

Your sister in Islam,

“Fatima U”

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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.

Sincerely,

Your brother in Islam,

“Fatima S”

7 thoughts on “Help Me

  1. The Olive Tree

    Walaikum asalam dear brother or sister,

    You don’t have to feel less of a muslim every time you masturbate. To sin is human. A muslim is a person who turns to Allah after sinning and asks for forgiveness. This is a never ending cycle.
    There is no need to tell your parents about this. We should hide our sins from people. Our sins are between us and Allah. If we have harmed another person, then we should ask them to forgive us.
    You said that you don’t want to have sexual feelings towards the same sex. Allah will not punish you for what you feel as long as you don’t act upon your feelings. Even after that the doors of forgiveness are always open.

    Please give me feedback by replying to my comments. Let me know if this was helpful. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Your brother in Islam

  2. I go through the same struggles on a daily basis don’t feel like your the only one. Its an ongoing struggle until a halal relationship I suppose, the key is to never stop in this fight with your own self. It is haram in Islam because its harmful to our bodies and soul and don’t forget humans were created weak. “The greatest jihad is to battle your own soul, to fight the evil within yourself.” (Prophet Muhammad). Imam Ali (a) said: “One who struggles against himself so as to obey God, in the eyes of God, his station is that of a pious martyr.”

    Brother in Islam

  3. Oh by the way, about your tendencies towards the same sex, click the “Homosexuality” topic in the Browse Topics. MashaAllah, the “Fatimas” on this site have helped so many others with similar tendencies. Also, the supportive comments are also really helpful.

    One person shared an article which I thought was really awesome, even though it’s about a Christian man with a similar struggle, I thought it was so inspiring.

    http://www.joshweed.com/2012/06/club-unicorn-in-which-i-come-out-of.html

    I’d be curious to see if you find any of the “Fatima” responses, the comments on this site, or articles helpful…I hope you post comment or post again to let us know how you’re doing or if we can help you further!

  4. Salaam Beloved. The was a time in my life, after trauma of loss and unknown depressing, that I found myself having more intense sensual urges. I thought the need of some type of sexual release was needed to find my balance. At least I found it hard not to think about. As I prayed and begged Allah for releif I realised I was looking for some type of affection from outside myself that I wasn’t getting. I realized that I was having trouble accepting myself. Couldn’t see my worth. Didn’t feel appreciated. Then I began to figure out how to have a love affair with myself, being gentle with my feelings, experiences, short comings and all. I began to feel less inclined to have those feelings for sensual touch. In would tell myself Breathe… You can make it through this. You are an amazing person , loving and kind. I love the person Allah created in me and know I have much love to share and much love to get. Breathe… Less and less the need would over take me and I became more reflective of being in peace with myself and circumstances. Check in with your feelings of lonelyness and reconnect yourself to people, places and things that were halal and brought you peace that you may have stopped doing recently. Lastly, I just want to say, be easy with yourself. If you are anything like me, I was my own worst enemy. Seek to please Allah and you assistance will come.
    Insha Allah
    Your sister

  5. Salaam Sister,
    MashaAllah, I’m so happy to see your commitment to yourself and your well being! Sometimes I feel most of us, including myself, don’t have the courage to acknowledge the things we do that we know are ultimately hurting our own well being, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, so I’m so proud of you to be as mature and care so much about yourself to acknowledge it and look to others, like this site, to find the strength within yourself to overcome your weakness.

    A few ayat from the Quran are coming to mind:
    1) 95:4 “La qad khalaqnal insaana fi ihsani taqweem” (Indeed We created humankind in the most excellent mould). MashaAllah, Allah has made you such a beautiful human being from inside and out. Don’t ever forget that! Shaytaan will always try and make us feel weak and helpless but Allah loves us so much that He’ll always keep trying to remind us how awesome we are and what amazing potential we have.

    He goes on to say 95:6 “Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: For they shall have their reward unfailing.” So I’d say do all the righteous deeds that “Fatima” suggested and believe that Allah loves you so much, that He’s giving you these tests so you can become stronger and grow towards your utmost potential.

    Think of your tests in your personal life like tests in school. Why do we study and work so hard to make sure we pass our tests in school? Because we know those tests are there to push us to grow and challenge ourselves so that we can push ourselves to be the best we can be and have the best future. So Allah does the same thing with our personal lives, He gives us tests to push us to the potential He knows He put inside of us.

    2) 13:11 “Allah does not change the condition within a people until they change what is within themselves” If Allah just made things totally simple, it would be like someone helping you cheat on an exam. If you cheat, how will you grow and become the amazingly awesome person you have the potential to be? So Allah wants you to make yourself strong enough and work hard enough, like you would for this huge exam in school, to overcome these tests, because once you breakthrough, life will be so awesomely amazing in the long run!

    Take the steps that “Fatima” said, because Allah also says when my servant comes to me walking, I come to him running. Work hard to keep walking towards Him and you’ll see when He comes to you running, it will be the most amazing thing, greater than you could have ever dreamed!

    Remember, every single one of us faces weaknesses and struggles, some people just give in to them which makes them weaker, like someone who doesn’t study for tests in school and keeps failing, but eventually, when you make up your mind and decide you really care about yourself, and keep pushing yourself, you will create a life for yourself better than you could have ever imagined.

    I pray that Allah gives you strength and love (especially for yourself) so that you can bring out the best in yourself and see what an awesome future He knows you can create for yourself!

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    As Salaam Alaikum and Ramadan Mubarak

    I want to first thank you and commend you on being able to seek help on such a sensitive and personal issue. I think first it’s important to understand why masturbating can be harmful to us and then some ways that might help you stop. Biologically, masturbating can affect our brain and body chemistry because it can overproduce sex hormones and neurotransmitters. This overproduction impacts each person differently, and can range from fatigue, pelvic pain, vision changes, lower back pain, testicular or ovarian pain, or hair loss. You might also start feeling less connection with other people and can develop unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of a sexual relationship when you do marry. So how do I stop? Whether your struggle is at the initial stages of guarding your gaze and thoughts, or at the level of looking at porn, masturbation, or actual adultery, these are some suggestions and tips to help in battling the temptation:

    1. Check Your Heart. While you might think the problem lies in the attractiveness of others, sins don’t materialize unless the heart itself is vulnerable. Whichever heart absorbs it, a black spot is blotched on it, and whichever heart deflects it, a white dot is spotted on it. This continues until hearts become one of two states: a whitened heart that is not harmed by any trial so long as the heavens and the earth remain, or a blackened, deviant heart that knows no good and rejects no evil except what it absorbs of its desires.

    2. Strengthen the Resolve. You have to want to stop. If you are not committed to making the change, then you’ll give in too the temptation. Take some time to make a sincere intention to put an end to your bad habits for Allah’s sake. Every time you think of letting go again, remember your commitment, your desire to please Allah, and the benefits that await you in this life and the hereafter if you stay patient.

    3. Know the Consequences. If you can’t grasp the sins’ effects, you probably won’t have the drive to change. Know that these sins drain the imaan in your heart and distance you from Allah; they spoil your mood with feelings of guilt and depression, and decrease your inner happiness. 

    4. Boost the Imaan Dosage. With this struggle, you’ll need to up your connection with Allah – so rather than just praying 5 times a day, keep up with the sunnahs and nafls. Also try connecting with Allah outside of Salat – form a relationship with him, and what better time to start then now in this very blessed month. Infuse your days, hours, minutes, and seconds with reflective dhikr and recitation of the Qur’an, and consciously feel the meanings with your heart before your tongue utters the words. Don’t give up if you can’t feel anything! Keep trying and trying until you do. Be more consistent with your fasting so it can curb your urges and make you feel closer to Allah.

    5. Block the Means. Find the problem and sever it from its roots.

    6. Replace Harmful Actions with Good. Set a certain commitment for yourself, like for every time you fall you give charity or fast 5 consecutive days. Enforce the commitment every time you slip. Soon enough, your desire to not be broke and to eat will outweigh the need to fulfill your other desire. 

    7. Keep Yourself Occupied. Make sure you stay busy and make yourself useful; read books, write articles, go jogging, work out, visit old people, do community service, teach children, paint. All of these will not only keep yourself busy from having the time to masturbate, it will also help your mental state. You are doing good, or working out and all of those release happy endorphins into your body. 

    8. Stay with the Righteous. Don’t let your feeling of shame and embarrassment get you to avoid the people who can help you change! Find the people who remind you of Allah, and stick to them like bees to honey. 

    9. Make Mad Supplication. Last but not least, talk to Allah; show him how much you really want to change! Make Allah your best friend. Aks him for guidance and forgiveness. 

    Also try reciting this dua as often as possible:
    Allahumma `ālim al-ghaybi wa’l-shahādati fātir al-samāwāti wa’l-ardi rabba kulli shay’in wa malīkah; ash-hadu an lā ilāha illa ant, a`ūdhu bika min sharri nafsī, wa min sharri’l-shaytāni wa shirkih (sharakih), wa ‘an aqtarifa `ala nafsī sū’an aw ajurrahu ilā Muslim.
    “O Allah, Knower of the unseen and the evident, Maker of the heavens and the earth, Lord of everything and its Possessor, I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but You. I seek refuge in You from the evil of my soul and from the evil of Satan and his helpers (or traps); and from bringing evil upon my soul and from harming any Muslim.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi)

    May Allah purify the heart of every struggling soul and keep us all firm on the straight path. 

     Sincerely,
    Your Sister in Islam,
    “Fatima X”