Question # 302: I masturbated while I was fasting during this Ramadan. However, I did not see the semen coming out… Does this invalidate my fast and what is the expiation for it?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: No doubt masturbation is haraam according to most of the scholars. All the more so, if this happened in Ramadan, the sin is even more severe. From the time the maniy (semen) is ejaculated, the fast is broken, but the person should still fast for the rest of that day. It is not permissible for him/her to stop fasting, because of the sanctity of the month. Also, if climax is reached as a result, it is obligatory to do ghusl (full ablution). Although he/she does not have to offer any expiation, the person has to repent for breaking his/her fast by deliberately ejaculating and fast one day to make up for breaking the fast. Also, increase the number of good deeds (hasanaat) and observe naafil (supererogatory) fasts, for good deeds (hasanaat) cancel out bad deeds (sayi’aat). However, if masturbation is not accompanied by emission of semen, then the fast is not invalidated, according to the scholarly opinion. Nevertheless, the person has to repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness.

Long Answer: It has been narrated by al-Bukhari and Ahmad from Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) said: ‘Fasting is for Me and I shall reward for it. He gives up his food, his drink and his desires for My sake…’” Masturbation comes under the heading of desire; therefore, it invalidates the fast, just like food and drink.

Shaykh Muhammad al-Mukhtaar ash-Shinqeeti said: “The word “his desire” is general in meaning and includes sexual desire, whether that is by way of intercourse or by way of masturbation. If a person ejaculates, he has fulfilled his desire, which is sexual desire. Based on that, he is regarded as no longer fasting, because the one who fasts gives up this desire, but the one who masturbates has not given up this desire.” (Sharh Zaad al-Mustaqni‘)

[Hence,] no doubt masturbation is haraam according to most of the scholars, as Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said. Imam Shafi’i stated that masturbation is forbidden based on the following verses from the Qur’an: “And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts). Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, – for them, they are free from blame. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors.” (Soorah Al-Mu’uminuna, 23:5-7)

[However,] if this happened in Ramadan, this is worse, and if there was ejaculation of sperm because of the masturbation, the violation of the sanctity of the fast is even more severe in sin. From the time the maniy (semen) is ejaculated, the fast is broken, but the person should still fast for the rest of that day. It is not permissible for him/her to stop fasting, because of the sanctity of the month. Also, if climax is reached as a result, it is obligatory to do ghusl (full ablution). The person has to repent for breaking his/her fast by deliberately ejaculating… and fast one day to make up for breaking the fast. Increase the number of good deeds (hasanaat) one does and observe naafil (supererogatory) fasts, for good deeds (hasanaat) cancel out bad deeds (sayi’aat).

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “If a fasting person masturbates and ejaculates, this breaks his fast, and he has to make up the fast of the day on which he masturbated, but he does not have to offer any expiation, because the expiation is only required of one who has intercourse. And he has to repent from what he did.” (Fataawa Arkaan al-Islam)

[On the other hand, if] no semen came out as a result, then the fast is not invalidated, according to the soundest scholarly opinion, because what matters is the emission of semen. But whatever the case the person has to repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness for wasting the fast by doing such things. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Sharh al-Mumti’: “If he masturbated without ejaculating, this does not invalidate the fast.”

(The above reply is based on various answers provided by Islamqa.info on the topic)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam