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Is smoking haraam?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)


One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Dear Brother of Islam,

"Is smoking haram?" because i have heared that anything which makes u addict of it is haram and smoking does, if this is the case what about people getting addicted to normal tea or anything else (non-alcoholic).

May Allah bless you for the services you are giving to his servents,

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Is smoking haraam?

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Dear Brother, before we answer your question, let us first understand what is the basis of declaring intake of any substance Haram:


The basic premise is that anything that causes intoxication is Haram, because it prevents one from being able to think properly, be aware of one’s surroundings, or know what one is saying. Allah Subahno-Tallah, categorically prohibited intoxicants:


Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 5 Surah Maidah verses 90-91:

90 O ye who believe! intoxicants and gambling (dedication of) stones and (divination by) arrows are an abomination of Satan's handiwork: eschew such (abomination) that ye may prosper.

91 Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants and gambling and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?


An intoxicated substance such as alcohol or drugs, reaches the brain tissue by penetrating the blood-brain barrier, and weakens the brain efficiency. The brain cannot do the jobs it is depended upon to perform, and it becomes impossible to do acts of worship. Intoxicated people neglect themselves, their families, and their children.

Most of the social, moral, safety-related, and economic problems are results of intoxication. Many car accidents; rapes, murders; thefts; and violent, injurious crimes, take place during the influence of intoxication.


Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 3672 Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Abbas

The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “Every intoxicant is khamr (wine) and every intoxicant is forbidden.”


Now on the question of whether “Smoking is Haram or not”, we need to first understand the basis of declaring something Haram or not. The duly recognised evidence for religious rulings are the Quran, the  sunna, consensus and analogy. If a jurist is asked to give a ruling on a certain matter the first thing he does is to consult the Quran. Should he find no provision in the Quran with a direct bearing on the matter at issue he proceeds to consult the sunna of the Prophet PBUH. If he is still without the proper guidance the next legislative authority to consult is the consensus of opinion of scholars.


Smoking is not specifically mentioned in either the Holy Quran or the  sunna of the Prophet PBUH. A consensus of opinion on it was out of the question as smoking was unknown to the learned men at the time of the Prophet PBUH, and for a long time thereafter. For the same reason the founders of the four schools of Islamic fiqh, Imams Abu Hanifa, Malik, Al-Shafie, and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal did not deal with it. Smoking came to be known for the first time in the 16th century AD, through Spanish explorers who brought tobacco from the New World to their country, where it spread to various parts of the world, through France.


When Muslims came to know smoking in the late 10th or early 11th century of  hijra, scholars endeavoured to formulate an opinion on it but they were unable to reach a consensus. Most of them ruled that it was  haram. Some did not go as far as that, judging it as reprehensible (Makrooh).


However, Islamic Sharia treats “Smoking” not in the same league of Alcohol and Drugs because it does not cause intoxication to an extent that a person looses common sense. But there is no longer any doubt as to the health hazards caused by smoking. Modern science and medicine have proved smoking to be a major cause of some of the most serious diseases such as cancer, blood clotting and a great deal more. According to Dr Hiroshi Nakajima, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), “Each year, tobacco causes about 3.5 million deaths throughout the world and this will increase to 10 million annual deaths during the 2020s, with seven million of these deaths occurring in developing countries. Fifty per cent of these unnecessary deaths are occurring in middle age (35-69), robbing those killed of around 22 years of normal life expectancy”.


Islam takes great interest in the care of the human body and the need to maintain it in excellent working condition. Taking good care of the body and stressing health protection are manifested in the following verses from the Holy Quran:

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisaa verse 29: O ye who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves in vanities: but let there be amongst you traffic and trade by mutual good-will: nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah hath been to you Most Merciful.


Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 195:And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to your destruction, but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good.


In light of the above verse, let us now evaluate whether “Smoking” casts ourselves into destruction or not?


(1) Destruction of Health:   

Statistics compiled on smoking hazard show that the death rate before the age of 65 is twice as high among smokers as among non-smokers. The incidence of lung cancer is 70 to 90 times more among smokers than non-smokers. The ratio of smokers to non-smokers among those who absent themselves from work is as high as 3:1.


Smoking is closely associated with peptic ulcer and blood circulation malfunction. Women smokers reach menopause at an earlier age then non-smokers.


Furthermore, smoking causes countless number of perilous diseases, such as cancer of the mouth, the oesophagus, and the urinary bladder, as well as blood clots and other diseases. Smoking is indeed tantamount to the destruction of health and slow death.


The recent warning from the American Council of Science and Health details the “Irreversible health effects of cigarette smoking” on the following parts of the human body:

· Respiratory System

· Heart and Circulation

· Eyes and Vision

· Mouth and Throat

· Digestive Organs

· Reproduction

· The Skin

(2) Destruction or wastefulness of wealth

    A measure of extravagance and waste is involved in smoking. Islam forbids waste.

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 7 Surah Aaraaf verse 31:O children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: but waste not by excess for Allah loveth not the wasters.


Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 17 Surah Israa verses 26-27:

26 And render to the kindred their due rights as (also) to those in want and to the wayfarer: but squander not (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift.

27 Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the Shaitaan; and the Shaitaan is to his Lord (Himself) ungrateful.



Egypt, for example, imports 75,000 tonnes each year of tobacco from the United States of America. Duties payable to the public treasury on this quantity by the Tobacco Company in Cairo are estimated at 500 million pounds. By comparison the state allocates much more than one billion pounds to meet the costs of medicines, new hospitals and other facilities needed for the treatment of patients from diseases caused by smoking. That smoking poses a threat to the health of Egyptians, their minds and their financial means is now a foregone conclusion.

Meticulous statistics compiled in Europe and North America demonstrate that the total revenue obtained by various governments from heavy levies on tobacco is much less than the cost borne by these governments in the fight against smoking-induced diseases.


Even the richest countries see smoking as a burden. In Britain, for example, it is estimated that 50 million workdays are lost each year as a result of diseases caused exclusively by smoking (report of the Royal College of Physicians, 1977) and that smoking is responsible for the premature deaths of 50 000 people each year in Britain alone.


As regards the management of wealth, Islam calls for it to be preserved and put to good use and forbids improper spending, whether in wasteful or inappropriate ways, as both are considered objectionable. In a time where millions suffer daily pangs of hunger and many die of starvation, fertile land is used for growing tobacco instead of food, and many people spend a large proportion of their income on tobacco rather on food. Since no benefit to smoking has been identified, spending money on tobacco product is clearly wasteful.


(3) Destruction of Social Norms:

Islam stresses the importance of good smell and a clean environment, and exhorts Muslims to use the siwak for cleaning the teeth and to keep the mouth clean, and enjoins them to stay away from mosques and gatherings if they eat garlic or onions. Smoking causes bad breath, which is not allowed. Smoking is malodorous and offends non-smokers, especially at congregational prayers and similar gatherings.


(4) Destruction to others:

Smoking hazards are not restricted to smokers only. Passive smoking is as dangerous as Active smoking. Those who regularly inhale smoke by coming into close contact with smokers (children, other family members and friends) are in danger of developing chronic bronchitis. In the case of pregnant women smoking hazards are passed on by the mother to her unborn child, causing what is known as intra-uterine growth retardation.


Apologists for smoking claim that it soothes tense nerves, eases psychological strain and helps cure certain ailments. Yet, these claims are nothing but a figment of the imagination. The fact of the matter is that smoking is a malady and not a cure.


Dear Brother, I apologise for a long answer but it is highly significant that we first understand the Islamic ruling and secondly we understand the ramification of “Smoking”. The Muslim Ummah, certainly needs a healthy mind and body to nourish such Human Beings who would take the message of Allah and His Last Messanger (saws) to every corner of this world. The emphasis placed by Islam on health care is proof of the attention Islam pays to physical fitness. A believer who is strong is better and dearer to Allah than a believer who is weak. There is no denying that health is one of the greatest graces which humans are blessed with. Thus people have a duty to preserve it and thank Allah for it.


The Prophet PBUH says: "There are two blessings which many people do not appreciate: health and leisure" (narrated by Al-Bukhari).


In another saying the Prophet PBUH states that: "Whoever of you wakes up in the morning and finds that he is in good health, secure among his own people and in possession of enough food for the day, is as one who owns the entire world".


Brother, with regard to your question on “addiction to tea or anything else (non-alcoholic)” is haram, the above ruling will also apply. We need to assess whether the substance in question causes intoxication to an extent that we loose our common sense. If it does, then certainly it would be closer to the Haraam.


On the other hand some scholars have gone further than intoxication and have used judgement based on analogy, but observing all relevant considerations. Their ruling again as discussed above would be on the following points: (1) is it harmful to our health, (2) Does it cause waste of money, (3) does it cause destruction of social values or norms. (4) Does it cause harm to our fellow human beings or living things.


We too need to assess the substance in question does it fall under the above jurisdiction or not. If it does then we need to avoid it by all means and at all times.

Allah knows the Best.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your Brother in Islam,



Tauseef Ahmed




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