What is the Islamic ruling on touching the private parts?
It is somewhat disliked (makruh tanzihan) for a man or woman to touch his or her own private parts (sexual organs) without need, since it entails going against religious propriety (adab) and modesty (haya) that Islam encourages for its followers.
Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) passed by a man of Ansar who was admonishing his brother regarding modesty. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Leave him, for modesty (haya) is part of Faith.” (Sahih al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim)
However, if there is a need; such as when cleaning oneself after using the toilet, bathing, applying medicine, scratching, etc, then it is permitted to touch without dislike. In this case, it is recommended to wash one’s hands after touching, but not necessary, and even better if one performs ablution (wudu).
As for ablution (wudu) being nullified by touching the private parts, the position of the Hanafi School and many Companions and classical Imams such as Ali ibn Abi Talib, Ammar ibn Yasir, Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, Abdullah ibn Abbas, Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, Sufyan al-Thawri (Allah be pleased with them all) is that one’s wudu is not nullified regardless of whether one touches with or without a barrier, and with the palm or the outer hand. This is due to the following hadith:
Sayyiduna Talq ibn Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that a man asked the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), “A man touches his private parts during prayer; does he have to perform wudu?” He replied, “No, for it is a part of your body” (Sunan Tirmidhi no: 85, Sunan Abi Dawud and others, with a sound chain of transmission)
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK