Smoking: A Social
By Muhammad al-Jibaly
Discovery Of Tobacco
Tobacco was discovered
by the Spanish sailors on the American shores at about 1500 CE
(900 AH). Since its discovery, the epidemic of smoking has continued
to spread all over the world. In our times, one seldom finds a
house not afflicted by it.
As early as the Seventeenth
Century, the European countries realized the dangers of smoking
and fought against it Laws were ordained in England, Russia, Denmark,
Sweden, Austria, and other countries, prohibiting smoking and
Nowadays, the Western
countries continue their attempts to protect their peoples from
the harms of smoking. They employ media means, ordain laws and
regulations, and apply other methods to discourage people from
smoking. Because of that, the rate of smokers has declined to
a certain degree in those countries.
Smoking Among Muslims
Smoking was introduced
to the Muslim countries by the Europeans around 1000 AH. Its spread
among the Muslims was similar to that in the West. The unfortunate
fact, however, is that in the Muslim countries, no similar measures
were exerted to protect the people from it. To the contrary, the
media continues to advertise smoking and encourage people to do
it. This caused the epidemic of smoking to continue to spread
in those countries to such an extent that it has become hard to
Smoking has become
the rule, and abstaining from it the exception. Often, people
look with astonishment and disdain at a person whom when a cigarette
is offered to him, declines to smoke explaining that he does not
to the guests has become among the first rules of hospitality.
Anyone who does not offer them to his guests or insist on them
to smoke would be violating the ethics of hospitality and generosity!
of those who pretend to represent the Deen are among the worst
addicts to smoking. When they are reproached or reminded of their
vice, they respond by providing weak excuses to justify it in
the name of Islam. They slyly remark that there is no clear text
prohibiting smoking. Therefore, they conclude, smoking is not
prohibited, but is only makruh (disliked). By this, they provide
a poor excuse for the ignorant, and establish a very bad example
Such statements have
influenced many Muslims, causing them to fall into the snares
of addiction to smoking. This is observed all over the world.
A striking example is that All-American airlines now prohibit
smoking, even on most international flights; on the other hand,
for Muslim airlines, one travels in a near-suffocation state,
even on short trips, because of the high number of smokers.
Thus, it becomes incumbent
to write an article which provides evidence concerning the ruling
of smoking in Islam. We hope that this will benefit our Muslim
brothers and sisters; and we ask Allah to accept it from us as
a sincere deed for His pleasure.
Smoking refers to
the action of lighting a cigarette, a pipe, a cigar, a water pipe,
or any other object made from tobacco or materials of similar
effects. The object 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 as a thick white smoke. "Smoking"
is now used to refer to the action of producing this smoke in
English, Arabic, and other languages.
Evidence for the
Prohibition of Smoking
There are many reasons,
any one of which sufficient to rule smoking prohibited. Most importantly,
it is harmful in numerous ways. It is harmful to the Deen, health,
environment, family, brotherhood and social relations, property,
etc. The following sections will briefly outline some of its harms
Haram To The Deen
Smoking spoils a person's
acts of worship and reduces their rewards. For instance, it spoils
the prayer, which is the pillar of Deen. Allah's Messenger 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(1)
Those with clean and
undefiled fitrah (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. Thus, a smoker is in
between two options, either to harm the praying people and the
angels with his foul smell, or miss the prayer in jama'ah.
Smoking also spoils
fasting. Fasting is very hard for 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 through the month
Ramadan, a smoker is reluctant to fast on other days. Thus he
loses the great reward of those who fast even one day in Allah's
Harm To The Human
No one can deny the
harm of smoking to the human body. The medical evidence for this
is well established and overwhelming. Because of this, the law
in the United States and many other countries requires including
a warning on any smoking advertisement.
Smoking contains poisonous
materials, such as nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, arsenic, benzopyrene,
etc., that the smoker swallows in small proportions. Their harm
accumulates with time to result in a gradual killing of the human
organs and tissues.
The hazards of smoking
to the health are hard to enumerate. 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 appear all at once, however a smoker is most likely to suffer
from some of them, and his suffering increases as he grows older.
Furthermore, statistics have established that smokers' age is,
on the average, ten years less than other people's.
This is sufficient
to prohibit smoking. Islam prohibits any action that causes harm
to oneself or to other people. Allah says (what means):
kill yourselves, Allah is indeed merciful to you."(2)
cast yourselves, with your own hands, into destruction.":
And the Messenger
says: No harm may be inflicted on oneself or others.(4)
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.(5)
poison, killing himself with it, then he will he consuming his
poison in the hellfire, and he will abide in it permanently and
Harm To The Mind
and Will Power
Smoking is harmful
to the human mind and reason. An obvious demonstration of this
is that one who is addicted to it passes through periods of severe
craving, making it hard for him to think, concentrate, solve a
problem, or do any important matter, until he smokes.
When one smokes, his
muscles slacken, and he passes through a brief period of delirium
that curtains the thought. His digestive system is also affected,
causing him frequent nervousness and trembling of the hands. He
passes through periods of excitability, in irritation, and insomnia.
Thus, instead of being
Allah's slave, a smoker becomes slave to his cigarette. He develops
a weaker control of his sense and reason. The faculty of reason,
clear and unobstructed, is one of Allah's great bounties on people.
He praised it in numerous places of the Qur'an; and He called
on people to use it to see the truth and obey Him in a better
way. Allah wants of the believer to be strong and capable of controlling
the reigns of his desires. He said (what means):
to let you into His mercy, whereas those who follow the desires
want you to drift far away (from the right path)."(7)
Harm To The Environment
A smoker emits his
poisons in the faces of his companions, wife, children, and the
environment. It is well established that second-hand smoke is
almost as dangerous as first-hand. Thus, whether they like it
or not, a smoker's associates are forced to inhale the smoke and
be themselves smokers as well.
In addition to the
poisons normally carried in the smoke, if a smoker has an contagious
disease, such as tuberculosis or influenza, his exhaled smoke
and coughing carry the disease to those around him.
Furthermore, a smoker
irritates people by the foul smell and poisonous nature of his
smoking. If they suffer from asthma or allergies, they are forced
to move away from his vicinity. The Prophet (saws) said:
Anyone who believes
in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt his neighbour.(8)
Thus, smoking constitutes
a definite harm to other people; this is prohibited, as was indicated
in the hadith cited earlier.
Also, a smoker is
certainly a bad companion to sit with, as is depicted in the following
Verily, the example
of a good companion and a bad one is like that of a perfume merchant
and a blacksmith: As for the perfume merchant, he would either
grant you (some perfume), or you would buy (some perfume) from
him, or (in the least) you would get a good smell from him. And
as for the blower of the bellows (ironsmith), you would either
get a foul odour from him, or he would burn your clothes.(9)
Harm To The Property
A smoker wastes his
wealth on that which harms and has no benefit; he will be asked
about his wealth and how he spent it, as has been cited in the
hadith earlier. His wealth belongs to Allah, so how would he dare
to waste it in disobedience to Him? Allah says (what means):
"And do not
entrust to the imprudent ones the possessions that Allah has placed
in your charge.. (10)
"And do not
waste (your resources) extravagantly. Indeed the squanderers are
the brethren of the devils"(11)
And the Prophet (saws)
said: Allah hates for you three things: gossiping, begging, and
are numerous cases of burnt carpets, furniture, and even complete
houses and establishments that have resulted from this disastrous
Smoking is a form
of moral decadence. It is most spread among the low-class immoral
people. It reflects blind imitation of the non-Muslims. It is
mostly consumed in bars, discos, casinos, and other: places of
sin. A smoker may beg or steal if he does not have the money to
buy cigarettes. He is ill-mannered with his friends and family,
especially when he misses taking his necessary "dose"
at the usual time.
Smoking involves the
consumption of an evil substance (khabeeth). It has a foul smell,
foul taste, and is harmful to the body. This is sufficient to:
prohibit it, because Allah says (what means):
who will enjoin upon them the doing of what is right, forbid them
the doing of what is wrong, make lawful to them the good things
of life, prohibit for them the evil things, and lift from them
their burdens and the shackles that were (previously) upon them."(13)
People Of The Fire
A smoker inhales the
smoke that does not give him any nourishment. This is similar
to the action of the people of the Hell fire who eat harmful thorny
"No food will
be there for them but a poisonous thorny plant, which will neither
nourish them nor still their hunger."(14)
A smoker, whether
he likes it or not, makes of himself an example for his children
and others to follow. He leads them to commit this evil. Actions
sometimes have a stronger effect than words. Thus, even if he
advises them or forbids them from smoking, his partaking of it
provides them with a strong excuse to do it.
The problem is worse
when the smoker is of known piety or knowledge. In such case,
his harm becomes more emphasized, because more people take him
as guide and example, and are thus lead astray by him. This multiplies
his sins and increases his burden.
The Good People
The majority of good
people avoid smoking and stay away from smokers. Therefore, a
smoker would be forced to stay away from them - at least while
he smokes. He puts himself in a selective exile, creating a spiritual
distance and hostility between him and the good people, and a
closeness to the evil people. The effects of this become more
apparent and acute with time.
Note that this applies
equally to any sin that a person commits, small or large.
Low Self Esteem
A smoker despises
himself, because he feels that a little cigarette is controlling
him. Realizing his weakness before desires, this creates in him
a feeling of defeat in the face of hardships.
Since smoking became
known to Muslims, all of the great scholars who have the capability
of Ijtihad (deriving verdicts in new situations) agree to its
prohibition. Thus, there is no value for baseless opinions, conflicting
with this, provided by self-proclaimed lesser scholars.
In discussing the
subject of the prohibition of smoking, there are some important
warnings that need to be mentioned:
1. As indicated before,
the prohibition of smoking is not restricted to cigarettes, but
applies as well to other objects that have similar effects such
as cigars, pipes, water-pipes, chewing tobacco or sniffing tobacco,
2. The reasons mentioned
above for prohibiting smoking apply as well, and more strongly,
to various types of drugs and hashish such as marijuana and -tat.
These materials have additional problems such as causing drunkenness,
death, madness, etc.
3. The prohibition
of smoking is not restricted to consuming it, but applies as well
to offering it to people, sitting with those who are smoking,
or selling it. All of this involves helping people commit sins,
which is prohibited, as Allah says (which means):
another in righteousness and piety, and do not help one another
in sinning and transgression. And fear and revere Allah; verily,
Allah is severe in punishment."(15)
Also, Allah's Messenger
said: Indeed when Allah prohibits something, he prohibits eating
Treating the Disease
Only few of those
addicted to smoking are able to stop it. The reasons for this
are many, among which are the following:
1. The addictive nature
of the poisonous substances contained in it.
2. The smokers are
not totally convinced of its prohibition.
3. They do not have
a strong determination to refrain from it.
The following are
some suggestions to help a person stop smoking:
1. Rely on Allah sincerely,
with full determination not to return to smoking, in compliance
with Allah's command:
decide on a certain course of action, place your trust in Allah."(17)
2. Stop immediately
instead of claiming it is best to do it gradually. The gradual
approach is the way of one who does not trust his determination
and the will power that Allah has granted him. Let the example
be taken from the Sahabah who, as soon as Allah's command reached
them regarding alcohols:" Will you not then desist?"(18)
They immediately poured out all the alcohol that they had and
said, "We desist our Lord, we desist!" They did this
despite the fact that alcohol has a greater addictive power over
those who drink it.
3. Avoid the bad company
of smokers and smoking environments that are full with the smell
4. Change the food
diet by abstaining from foods and drinks that would entice the
craving to smoke such as spices, meat, tea, and coffee; and eating
a lot of vegetables and fruits.
5. Use medically tested
and established procedures to help stop smoking, as directed by
physicians, such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum, etc.
6. Expel the secret
whispers of Satan who continuously dictates to the human being
that he is weak and incapable of refraining from sinning, as Allah
says (what means)
"It is but
Satan who instills (into you) fear of his allies; so do not fear
them, but fear Me if you are (truly) believers.. "(19)
against the allies of Satan; indeed, Satan's guile is weak.. "(20)
"The Ruling of
Smoking" by Muhammad bin Ibraaheem (r)
"The Ruling of
Smoking" by `Abdur-Rahman Bin Naasir as-Sa`di (r).
"The Ruling of
Smoking" by `Abdul-`Aziz Bin 'Abdullaah Bin Baaz.
"The Ruling of
Smoking" by Muhammad Bin Salih al-'Uthaymin.
Hukm ul-lslami fit-Tadkhin
by Muhammad Jamil Zinu.
Hukm ud-Dini fil-Lihyati
wat-Tadkhin by 'Ah Hasan al-Halabi.
Its Effects on Health" by Dr. Muhammad 'Ali al-Barr.
(1) Al-Bukhaari and
Muslim from Jabir and other Sahaabah .
(2) An-Nisa' 4-29.
(3) Al-Baqarah 2:195.
(4) Recorded by Ahmad
and Ibn Maajah from Ibn `Abbaas and `Ubaadah; authenticated by
al-Albaani and others.
(5) Recorded by at-Tirmithi
and others from Ibn Mas`ud and AbO Barzah , authenticated by al-Albaani.
(6) Al-Bukhaari and
Muslim from Jaabir
(7) An-Nisa 4:27.
(9) Al-Bukhaari and
(10) An-Nisa 4:5.
(11) Al-lsra' 17:26-27.
(12) Al-Bukhaari and
(I3) Al-A'raf 7:157.
(15) Al-Maidah 5:2.
(16) Recorded by Ahmad
and Abu Dawud from Ibn `Abbas; authenticated by al-Albaani.
(I7) Al-'lmran 3:159
(18) Al-Maa'idah 5
(19) Al-`Imraan 3:175.
(20) An-Nisaa' 4:76.