By A Student of Darul Uloom
Holcombe, Bury, U.K.
Since the first discovery of tobacco was made in America in the fifteenth century, the aepidemic of smoking has spread continuously around the world. As early as the Seventeenth Century, the European countries realised the dangers of smoking and hastened to ordain Laws in England and various other countries to prohibiting smoking. The Western countries, even today, continue their attempts in combating smoking. They employ means of media, pass legislation and apply multiple methods to discourage people from smoking.
Smoking has, to an extent, become the rule and abstaining from it the exception. Often, people look down with astonishment and contempt at a person who when a cigarette is offered to him, declines explaining that he does not smoke. Offering cigarettes to guests has become a matter of hospitality!
Furthermore, those who pretend to represent the Deen are among the worst addicts. When they are reproached or reprimanded of their vice, they respond by providing weak excuses to justify it. They slyly remark that there is no clear text prohibiting smoking. Whereby they conclude that smoking is not prohibited, but is only makruh (disliked). In this manner they provide a poor excuse for the ignorant and establish a bad example for others.
Thus, it has become necessary to write an article which provides evidence regarding the ruling of smoking in Islam. We hope that this will benefit our Muslim brothers and sisters; and we ask Allah Ta’ala to accept it from us as a sincere deed for His pleasure.
Smoking refers to the act of lighting tobacco or materials of similar effect, which is then sucked on with the lips to extract smoke. This smoke is inhaled into the chest and then exhaled from the nose and mouth. "Smoking", is now used to refer to the action of producing this smoke in English, Arabic, and other languages.
There are many reasons, any one of which are sufficient, to rule smoking as prohibited. Most importantly, it is harmful to the Deen, health, environment, family, brotherhood and social relations, property, etc.
Smoking damages a person’s act of worship, and reduces their rewards. For instance, it ruins the salaah, which is a pillar of Deen. The Prophet said: ‘Whoever eats garlic or onion, let him avoid us and our masjid, and stay in his home. The angels are surely hurt by things that hurt the human beings.’ (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Those people, with clean and pure nature, have no doubt that the smell emanating from the mouth of a smoker is worse and more foul than that from the mouth of one who ate garlic or onion. Therefore, a smoker has two options, either to harm the praying people and the angels with his foul smell, or abstain from the prayer with jama’ah.
Smoking also ruins fasting. Fasting becomes very hard on the smoker. As soon as the day is over, he hastens to break his fast on an evil cigarette instead of sweet dates or pure water. Even if he fasts throughout the month of Ramadhaan he will be reluctant to fast on other days. Thus he loses the great reward of those who fast even one day in Allah’s path.
The harm that smoking does to the human body is undeniable. The medical evidence for this is well established and overwhelming. Because of this, the law in the United Kingdom and many other countries requires including a government health warning on the packet and on any advertisement.
Smoking contains poisonous materials, such as nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, arsenic, benzopyrene, etc., which the smoker inhales in small proportions. Their harm accumulates in time, resulting in a gradual damage of the human organs and tissues.
The hazards of smoking to health are hard to count. Cancer, tuberculosis, heart attacks, asthma, coughing, premature birth, infertility, infections in the digestive system, high blood pressure, nervousness, mouth and teeth diseases, etc., are among the many health hazards that have been strongly linked to smoking.
These diseases may not all appear at once, but a smoker runs the risk of suffering from some of them, and his suffering increases as he grows older. Furthermore, statistics have established that smokers, on the average, reduce their age by ten years.
This in itself is sufficient to prohibit smoking. Islam prohibits any action that causes harm to oneself or to other people. Allah Ta’ala says :
‘Do not kill yourselves, Allah is indeed merciful to you.’
‘Do not cast yourselves, with your own hands, into destruction.’
And the Messenger says: ‘No harm may be inflicted on oneself or others.’
(Ahmad and Ibn Maajah from Ibn Abbaas and Ubaadah)
‘The feet of a human being will not depart, on the day of Judgement, from his standing before his Lord, until he is questioned about five things: his lifetime - how did he pass it, his youth - how did he used it, his wealth - where did he earn it and how did he spend it, and how did he follow what he knew.’
(At-Tirmithi and others from Ibn Mas‘ud and Abu Barzah )
‘Whoever consumes poison, killing himself with it, then he will he consuming his poison in the hellfire, and he will abide in it permanently and eternally.’
(Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Jaabir)