By Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Posted: 2 Jamad-u-Thani 1423, 11 August 2002

Q.) What ruling does the Shariah give with regards to smoking cigarettes and Hukka (a type of water pipe). [Zubair Patel, Leicester UK]

A.) It is a universally accepted and indisputable fact that smoking has many serious health and life hazards, for example, lung cancer, etc. to the smoker as well as those (non-smokers) in his environment; therefore, it is not permissible. Shari'ah has explained in great length the importance and virtue of good health to the extent that Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam even advised to maintain a balance in eating and drinking as an imbalance could be harmful to health. He advised having dates, being hot in nature, with cucumber, as the latter has a cooling effect. (Shamaail). On one occasion, Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam even stopped Sayyidna Ali, Radi-Allahu anhu, from eating dates upon recovering from his illness and advised him to have vegetables instead.

Although date is not only nutritious but also a means of obtaining blessing, but in certain conditions, since it could be harmful, Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam advised against it. From that, one can gauge the extent of abstaining from cigarettes which contain many harmful ingredients, for example, carbon monoxide, nicotine, tar and benzene vapour.

Muhammad Abdul Ghaffaar al-Afghan in his book, 'Ninety nine harms of smoking' has listed ninety-nine sicknesses resulting from smoking. Doctor Salatuddeen Abdur-Rabbi Nabiy, a neuro surgeon in Cairo says, 'When a person becomes enslaved to the habit of smoking, it has a very harmful effect on the smoker's health, especially to his heart. As a result his heart beat and blood circulation becomes unstable and he experiences drowsiness from time to time due to the shrinking of his brain arteries. Sometimes during old age, he suffers from high blood pressure and angina. Similarly, his digestive and respiratory systems are harmed and the smoker loses his appetite. He is also afflicted by a cough which is known as the smoker's cough. When his nervous system is affected the smoker feels a prickly sensation, a numbness in his limbs and also a pain in the nerves.' However, lung cancer is the most likely outcome of smoking.

Proof For The Prohibition Of Smoking

Smoking did not exist in the time of Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, but our magnificent Deen has laid down general principles from which many laws are derived. From these principles, many Ulama (Allah's mercy be upon them) have come to the conclusion that smoking is haram.

An verse of the Noble Qur'an states, 'And do not throw yourself into destruction with your own hands.' (Al-Baqarah 2:195). Smoking causes fatal sicknesses, for example, lung cancer, tuberculosis, etc. In another verse, Allah Ta'ala says, 'And do not kill yourselves'. (An-Nisaa 4:29). Nabi Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, 'Whosoever drinks poison, thereby killing himself, will sip this poison forever and ever in the fire of Jahannum.'