Overall Meaning: Meaning of abstinence:
`Iffah linguistically: It is keeping away from what is unlawful and unbeautiful. It is said: One `affa (abstained) from impermissibilities and lowly selfish desires. Isti`faf is seeking out `afaf - abstinence. [431] Mukhtar al-Sihah, al-Razi (4/1405); Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (9/253).
`Iffah technically: It is controlling oneself away from desires, and sufficing one with what preserves the body and its health. It is avoiding excessively engaging pleasures, and seeking out moderation. [432] Tahdhib al-Akhlaq, al-Jahiz (p. 21).

Commandments of abstinence in the Qur’an and Sunnah:
❖ Allah, sanctified, says, “Let the ones who do not find the means to wed keep abstaining until Allah enriches them of His bounty.” (al-Nur: 33)
❖ He, exalted, also says, “Charity is for the needy who are too engaged in the cause of Allah to move about in the land for work. Those unfamiliar with their situation will think they are not in need because they do not beg. You can recognize them by their appearance. They do not beg people persistently. Whatever you give in charity is certainly well known to Allah.” (al-Baqarah: 273)
❖ Abu Hurayrah, Allah be pleased with him, said, “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, ‘Three types of persons have a right upon Allah that He aids them: The one who fights in the path of Allah, the slave who has a contract of manumission and wants to buy his freedom, and the one seeking marriage to keep himself chaste.’” [433] Reported by al-Tirmidhi (1655), al-Nasa’i (31200, and Ibn Majah (2518). Al-Tirmidhi graded it as sound, and Ibn al-`Arabi authenticated it in `Aridat al-Ahwadhi (3/5). Al-Albani graded it as sound in Sahih Sunan al-Tirmidhi (1655). These are difficult matters which may break a person. Had Allah not aided them in said matters, they would not have been able to realise them. The most difficult among them is chastity as it is overcoming one’s innate, built-in desires. [434] Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi, al-Mbarakfuri (5/296).
❖ Abu Sa`id al-Khudri, Allah be pleased with him, narrates, “Some of the Supporters asked Allah's Messenger ﷺ that he gives them, and he did. They again asked him and he again gave them. Then again they asked him and he gave them until all that was with him finished. He then said, ‘If I had any good, I would not withhold it from you. Whoever abstains from asking others, Allah will make him content. Whoever seeks self-sufficiency, Allah will make him self-sufficient. Whoever keeps to patience, Allah will make him patient. Nobody can be given a blessing better and more expansive than patience.’” [435] Reported by al-Bukhari (1469) as well as Muslim (1053) and this is his wording.

Quotes of the predecessors and scholars on abstinence:
❖ `Umar ibn al-Khattab, Allah be pleased with him, said, “Decency is of two types: A manifest decency and a hidden one. Manifest decency is vesture, and hidden decency is abstinence.” [436] al-`Iqd al-Farid, Ibn `Abd Rabbih (2/150).
❖ `Abdullah ibn `Umar, Allah be pleased with them both, said, “We, the clan of Quraysh, count forbearance and munificence as eminence, and we consider abstinence and purifying wealth as decency.” [437] al-Adab al-Shar`iyyah, Ibn Muflih (2/215).
❖ Ayyub al-Sakhtayani said, “A man is only noble if he gains two characteristics: Abstinence from people’s wealth and letting them off.” [438] al-Dhari`ah ila Makarim al-Shari`ah, al-Raghib (p. 319)

Categories of abstinence:
Abstinence is of two types: One is abstinence from the inviolable, and the other is abstinence from sins.
Abstinence from the inviolable is itself of two types: The first is controlling one’s privates from engaging the unlawful, and the second is withholding the tongue from others’ honour.
Abstinence from sin is also of two types: The first is not being publicly tyrannical, and the second is admonishing the self from secret treachery. [439] Adab al-Dunya wa al-Din, al-Mawardi (p. 329) with adaptation.

Impacts of abstinence and its benefits:
1- Society being safe from obscenity. 
2- The chaste is one of the seven to be shaded by Allah when there will be no shade but His. 
3- Abstinence is a reason to be safe from trials and annoyances.

Conditions of abstinence:
Is that one’s abstinence from a thing is not with the intention to be given more; Or because it disagrees with one; Or his lack of a desire for it; Or out of fear of the consequences of taking it; Or because one is forbidden from receiving it; Or because one is ignorant of it, out of deficiency. All this is not abstinence. It is one of opportunism, choosiness, sickness, deficiency, inability, or ignorance. [440] al-Dhari`ah ila Makarim al-Shari`ah, al-Raghib (p. 319), with adaptation.

Forms of abstinence:
Abstinence from what people have. Abstinence from what Allah deemed unlawful. Abstaining the tongue from delving in other people’s honour.

Barriers and hurdles to acquiring abstinence:
1- Media.
2- Mixing.
3- Women flaunting themselves.
4- Listening to songs and music.

Means to acquiring abstinence:
1- To be conscious of Allah in public and private. 
2- To supplicate to Allah that He keeps one safe from evil and obscenity.
3- Raising children upon an Islamic upbringing. 
4- Marriage. 
5- Closing the doors of potential evil. 
6- Establishing penal codes. 

Examples of abstinence from the life of the Prophet ﷺ, companions, and righteous predecessors:
❖ The Prophet ﷺ reached the highest levels of abstinence. Abu Hurayrah, Allah be pleased with him, narrates that al-Hasan, the son of `Ali, took a date from a bunch intended for charity and put it in his mouth. Thereupon the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Uh uh uh! Throw it away. Have you not learnt that we do not take charity?” [441] Reported by al-Bukhari (1491) and Muslim (1069) and this is his wording.
❖ Hakim ibn Hizam, Allah be pleased with him, said, “Once, I asked Allah’s Messenger ﷺ for something and he gave it to me. Again I asked and again he gave; and then another time. He then said to me, ‘Hakim, this property is like a sweet fresh fruit; whoever takes it without greed is blessed in it, and whoever takes it with greed is not blessed in it, and he is like a person who eats but is never satisfied. The upper giving hand is better than the lower receiving hand.’ I said to Allah’s Messenger ﷺ, ‘By Him Who sent you with the truth, I shall never accept anything from anybody after you, till I leave this world.’ Later, Abu Bakr called Hakim during his caliphate to give him his share from the war booty but he refused to accept anything. Then `Umar did the same during his caliphate but he refused. On that, `Umar said, ‘Muslims, I would like you to witness that I offered Hakim his share from this booty and he refused to take it.’ Hakim never took anything from anybody after the Messenger of Allah ﷺ till he died.
❖ Sa`dan said, “Some folks told an incredibly beautiful woman to get in the way of al-Rabi` ibn Khuthaym so that she may tempt him, rewarding her if she does with one-thousand dirhams. She therefore wore her finest dress, put on her finest perfume, then came in his way as he came out of his mosque. He saw her and was awe-struck. She came close to him in her flaunting state. al-Rabi` said to her, ‘How would you fare if a fever afflicts you and changes the colour of your skin and your glow?! How would you fare if the Angel of Death comes down for you, cutting your lifeblood?! How would you fare if you were questioned by Munkar and Nakir?!’ At that, she screamed and lost consciousness. When she awakened, she traversed a path of devout worship: When she passed, it was like she was a burnt tree.” [442] Sifat al-Safwah, Ibn al-Jawzi (3/191).

Abstinence in poetry:
The poet said,
“Every adornment to a person is beautification,
And the prettiest is adornment with abstention.” [443] Rawdat al-`Uqala’, Ibn Hibban al-Busti (p. 150).