Answered by Shehzad Saleem
How should an unmarried Muslim boy cope with the sexual urge that arises in him at adolescence?
First and foremost, it must be realized that the appearance of sexual urge at puberty or adolescence is a natural phenomenon. Thus boys or girls who find this urge in themselves at this stage should neither feel guilty nor afraid. It is the way God has made us that at a certain period of our life cycle we begin to have sexual feelings for the opposite gender. Nocturnal emission is the natural way in which the body responds to release the sexual urge that arises in it.
This urge can perhaps be classified as internally produced and as externally stimulated. In the society we live in, external sexual stimuli are so potent and so rampant that they greatly augment the internally produced urge. The result is that boys and girls at this age generally experience an intense and frequent sexual urge.
Now, in order to address this issue in the Islamic perspective, we need to first go into some background.
It is surely the desire of every Muslim to succeed in the Hereafter. To him or her, entering Paradise is the supreme goal of all endeavours. Thus the very objective of the religion we follow is to attain tazkiyah (purification) because we know from the Qur’an (87:14-15) that only people who have purified their souls will enter Paradise. Thus a Muslim should cherish living in an atmosphere which is morally pure and healthy and indulge in activities which do not contaminate his soul. Trying to remain in such an atmosphere generally helps adolescent boys and girls to shield themselves from external stimuli that augment this urge.
Now, according to Islam and most divine religions, the proper way to satisfy one’s sexual urge is through marriage. However, in most social set-ups it is almost impossible to marry as soon as one reaches puberty. Therefore, the question arises that what should un-married boys and girls do to satisfy this urge. Following are some guidelines which might be useful in this regard.
1. A person should try to remain in as morally pure an atmosphere as possible. The starting point for this is that he or she should guard the eyes from taking undue liberty. Besides other measures, it is recommended that TV programs, movies, novels and magazines which are sexually provocative in any way should be avoided as much as possible. Any blemish in this regard should be followed by repentance and seeking refuge with the Almighty. It is only with His blessings that one can counter such difficult situations.
2. Care should be exercised in meeting or talking to the opposite gender in seclusion. One should also be careful in indulging in lose talk with them. Such gossip and lose talk often pave the way to stimulating the sexual urge.
3. One should try to regularly keep fasts each month for this is helpful in controlling the sexual urge. The Prophet (sws) has recommended this measure.
4. One should foster a deep relationship with God by being very diligent in the prayer. According to the Qur’an (29:45), the bond with God through the prayer helps a person in combating lust and indecency.
5. One way to keep one’s sexual desires in check is to engage in healthy mental, physical and social activities which help a person channelizing his or her energy on constructive lines. The more idle a person is, the more prone he may become to giving in to sexual impulses. 1
Now, the more a person protects himself from provocative situations and stimuli, the more are his chances of over-coming his sexual urge through will-power whenever it may grip him.
We know that the Prophet Joseph (sws) was confronted with a very alluring situation before he was called to prophethood. The first lady of his times offered herself to him. The Qur’an (12:24) says that in this delicate situation the Almighty helped him with His special burhan which is the divine spark found in every human being. According to a divine law, in people who duly honour it and protect it, it grows stronger and brighter and in often in delicate circumstances protects a person from succumbing to evil.
In short, the most effective way for un-married people to cope with their sexual desires is to make an effort to remain in a morally clean and healthy environment.
If at times one is not able to control one’s desires then one can sublimate them through masturbation. There is no divine directive which categorizes it as a sin.
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