Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah was asked about masturbation and he replied: With regard to masturbation, the basic ruling is that it is haraam according to the majority of scholars, and the one who does it should be given a ta'zeer punishment, but it is not like zina. And Allaah knows best. [Al-Fataawa al-Kubra, 3/439.] -- Islam Q&A

Masturbation is a sin for which a person can also be punished by the Islamic court. Of course, the nature of the punishment is upon the judge's discretion. Once a person was caught masturbating and was brought to Imam 'Ali. The Imam punished him by beating on his hands until it turned red; then he made arrangement for his marriage on government's expenses. -- Al Islam

Which leads to the question:

Question: What ta'zeer punishment is given for masturbation?

I'm essentially after a ballpark idea of what punishment is applied (when punishment is applied) in a modern-day setting.

In the West, the idea of punishing someone for masturbation is peculiar. To illustrate, in the movie The Lobster, a man was punished by having his hand forcibly placed in a toaster and burned; a (parody) proposed law in Texas (H.B. No. 4260) proposes "a $100 civil penalty for each emission".


2 Answers 2


The very nature of a Tazeer punishment is that the punishment is not fixed and its upto the Qadi (judge) to impose something that will be sufficient as a deterrent while suiting the gravity of the crime.

If the Qadi sentences the person to flogging, they can be no more than 10 lashes, according to this Hadith:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "No Punishment exceeds the flogging of the ten stripes, except if one is guilty of a crime necessitating a legal punishment prescribed by Allah." [Saheeh Bukhari]

The section on Tazeer Punishments in the Shafi, Minhaj-Al-Talibin:

Contraventions that are not punishable with some definite prescribed penalty, and involve no sort of expiation, should be punished at the discrétion of the court either by imprisonment, whipping, a slap, or a reprimand. The nature and gravity of the punishment are at the discrétion of the Sovereign or his deputy the judge ; except that, according to some authorities a simple reprimand is not sufficient if the offence is committed against men, but only when it is committed against God. Whipping should always be under twenty strokes in the case of a slave, and forty in the case of a free man ; though some think that twenty is the limit for any person. Moreover, the principle that a punishment at discrétion should always be below the minimum pronounced as a definite prescribed penalty extends to ail contraventions.

Section on Tazeer punishments in Hanafi, Hidayah:

The maximum limit of ta`zir is thirty-nine lashes, while the minimum is three. Abu Yusuf (God bless him) said that the maximum for tazir is seventy-five lashes. The basis for it are the words of the Prophet (God bless him and grant him peace), "One who reaches the level of the hadd in matters other than the hadd is a transgressor." When enforcement of the hadd is obstructed, then Abu Hanifah and Muhammad (God bless them) take into account the minimum number for the hadd, which is the hadd for a slave in the case of qadhf, and they adopted this. It is forty lashes and they reduced one lash from it. Abu Yusuf (God bless him) considered the minimum hadd for freemen, because the original rule is that of freedom, and then reduced one lash from it, according to one narration from him, which is also the view of Zufar, and is based on alalogy. In the narration that we have mentioned, he reduced five lashes, and this is reported from Ali(God be pleased with him), and he followed his opinion. THereafter, he determined the minimum in the Book as three lashes, as what is less than that does not serve as deterrent. Our Masahaik(jurists) have determined that the minimum is what the imam considers to be so, therefore, he determines it to be the minimum that will act as a deterrent, because it differs for different people.

If the imam is of the opinion that he should combine with lashes, awarded as tazir, imprisonment as well, he may do so, because it is suitable by way of tazir. The shariah has laid it down in general terms,, therefore, it is permitted that he deem imprisonment as sufficient or he may combine it with lashes.


As the other poster said, Ta'zeer is something up to the Qadi. Aside from this, why do you think that masturbation would be punished in a court of law? That would never happen except in some sort of highly authoritarian government, and even then, it seems unlikely.

Besides, it's not something prohibited in every circumstance either. And some scholars permit it, although I'm not sure how "followable" those opinions are. And Allah knows best.

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