Smoking has been a subject of debate and concern in various societies and religious communities around the world. Among those who adhere to Islamic beliefs, the question of whether smoking is considered “haram” or forbidden in Islam has been a topic of discussion.
In this article, we will delve into the Islamic perspective on smoking, exploring the arguments and viewpoints that surround this issue. It is important to note that interpretations of Islamic teachings can vary, and opinions on whether smoking is permissible or prohibited in Islam may differ among scholars and individuals.
Nonetheless, a deeper understanding of the arguments on both sides can shed light on the complexities of this issue within the context of Islamic ethics and principles.
Table of Contents
- Smoking is a subject of debate and concern in various societies and religious communities, including among Islamic believers.
- Islamic scholars have reached a consensus that smoking is haram (forbidden) in Islam.
- Prohibition of harmful things is a central ethical principle in Islam, and smoking is considered harmful to individuals and society.
- Quranic verses and Hadiths are interpreted to address the harmful nature of smoking and discourage self-harm.
- Fatwas have been issued by Islamic scholars declaring smoking haram, especially due to its negative effects on human health.
- Various types of smoking activities, such as tobacco smoking, shisha/hookah smoking, marijuana/cannabis smoking, non-tobacco shisha, and vaping, are commonly considered haram by many scholars.
- Passive smoking is also considered haram in Islam.
Is Smoking Haram
Yes, contemporary Islamic scholars agree that smoking is haram. It goes against the Islamic principle of avoiding harm to oneself and others.
Prohibition of Harmful Things
In Islam, there is a strong emphasis on avoiding things that can harm people or society. This principle is important in Islamic teachings and laws, especially when it comes to health and well-being. It is based on the ideas of “welfare” (Maslahah) and “harm” (Mafsadah). Essentially, it means that anything that is proven to be bad for individuals or society should be discouraged or even forbidden.
One clear example of this is smoking. Islam places a high value on health and considers the human body a trust from God. Engaging in harmful activities like smoking, which can cause diseases like cancer and heart problems, is seen as a breach of this trust.
In Islamic law, the focus is on preventing harm rather than just seeking benefits. This is summed up in the idea that “preventing harm is more important than gaining benefits.”
When it comes to smoking, the harm it causes, including health issues, addiction, financial strain, and even negative social and environmental effects, far outweigh any potential benefits. That’s why smoking is considered haram, or forbidden, in Islam.
While the Quran does not explicitly mention tobacco or smoking, Islamic scholars have interpreted certain verses to address the harmful nature of smoking. These interpretations are based on the general principles of preserving health and avoiding self-harm as emphasized in the Quran. Here are a couple of relevant verses that have been associated with the prohibition of smoking:
Surah Al-Baqarah 2:195: This verse states, “be not cast by your own hands to ruin; and do good. Lo! Allah loveth the beneficent.” Scholars have interpreted this verse as a directive against self-harm and destructive behavior. Given the known health risks associated with smoking, such as lung cancer and tuberculosis, this verse is often cited to support the view that smoking is self-destructive and therefore discouraged in Islam.
Surah An-Nisaa 4:29: This verse reads, “And do not kill yourselves.” It is understood as a prohibition against actions that would lead to one’s own death or harm. Since smoking is linked to numerous health problems that can result in death, this verse is also referenced in discussions about the Islamic view on smoking.
Hadiths Regarding Smoking
While the Hadiths, the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), do not explicitly mention smoking or tobacco, Islamic scholars have interpreted various Hadiths to address the harmful nature of smoking. These interpretations align with the general Islamic principles of avoiding harm and preserving health. Here are a few Hadiths and their interpretations related to smoking:
Prohibition of Intoxicants: According to the Hadiths, all intoxicants are haram (forbidden), and tobacco is considered an intoxicating substance. This interpretation is based on the understanding that substances causing harm or intoxication are forbidden in Islam. However, it’s important to note that there is no direct Hadith that specifically mentions smoking.
Avoiding Self-Harm: In the context of smoking causing fatal illnesses like lung cancer and tuberculosis, scholars refer to the Hadith where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whomsoever drinks poison, thereby killing himself, will sip this poison forever in the Hell-Fire.” This Hadith is used to argue against self-harm, which smoking can cause due to its health risks.
Right of the Body: The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) emphasized taking care of one’s body. He stated, “Your body has a right on you.” This Hadith is interpreted to mean that engaging in activities like smoking, which harms the body, goes against this teaching.
Preventing Harm to Others: Another Hadith states, “there should be neither harming, nor reciprocating harm.” Also, “Anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt his neighbor.” These teachings are applied to smoking, particularly in the context of second-hand smoke, which can harm others around the smoker.
Fatwas Regarding Smoking
Fatwas, or Islamic legal pronouncements, regarding smoking have evolved over time, particularly as the understanding of tobacco’s health effects has become clearer. Here are some key points from different fatwas on smoking:
General Prohibition Due to Health Effects: Smoking is widely considered ‘impermissible’, undesirable, and unlawful in Islam because of its negative effects on human health. A tobacco fatwa often refers to a ruling that prohibits the usage of tobacco by Muslims. The reasoning behind this prohibition is grounded in the harmful nature of smoking, which aligns with Islamic principles of preserving health and preventing harm.
Regional Variations in Fatwas: There are regional differences in the approach to smoking in the Islamic world. In Arab Muslim countries, smoking tends to be prohibited. Despite high smoking rates in some of these countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the prevalent religious view is against smoking. Conversely, in South Asia, smoking is generally considered lawful but discouraged, highlighting a more lenient stance on the issue.
Specific Rulings on Smoking: There are three major types of fatwas regarding smoking tobacco and cigarettes:
- Smoking is outright haram (forbidden).
- Smoking is allowed, provided it does not cause substantial harm to your health.
- Smoking is haram to start, but if you are already a habitual smoker, it is allowed, though you should try to stop, even gradually. This view recognizes the addictive nature of smoking and provides a pathway for smokers to quit.
Recent Fatwas Declaring Smoking Haram: In a recent development, several Islamic scholars gathered at a conference organized by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) and the Islamic Ideology Council (CII), where a ruling was issued declaring smoking haram. This reflects a growing consensus among Islamic scholars about the prohibited nature of smoking due to its health risks.
Governmental and Scholarly Actions: In addition to religious rulings, many Muslim-dominated governments have formulated laws, policies, centers, and rules that ban or restrict the production, distribution, and consumption of tobacco. These governmental actions often align with the fatwas issued by Islamic scholars, further reinforcing the stance against smoking.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is passive smoking haram?
Passive smoking is considered haram (forbidden) in Islam, in line with the broader Islamic prohibition on harming oneself or others. The harmful effects of passive smoking, such as involuntary inhalation of cigarette smoke by nonsmokers, are well recognized. This aligns with the Islamic principle of avoiding harm, as the Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said, “Do not harm yourselves or others”.
2. What is the punishment for smoking in islam?
While smoking is considered haram or makruh (prohibitively disliked) by many contemporary scholars due to its health risks and harmful effects, there is no specific punishment outlined in Islamic teachings for smoking. The act of smoking is seen as sinful due to its major individual and societal harms as established by modern medical research. However, the emphasis is more on the spiritual and health consequences rather than on legalistic punishment.
3. Is there a surah to stop smoking?
While there is no specific Surah dedicated to stopping smoking, Islamic teachings generally advocate avoiding anything harmful to the body. The Holy Quran in the Chapter of A’raaf [7:157] describes what is lawful (tayibaat) as good and wholesome and what is unlawful (al-khba’ith) as harmful or malignant. Applying this to smoking, the general consensus is that smoking is prohibited due to its harmful effects on the human body. This is supported by verses such as “And do not kill yourselves, surely Allah is most Merciful to you” [4:29] and “And do not throw yourselves into destruction” [2:195], which can be interpreted as discouraging harmful habits like smoking.