In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 4, Number 243:

Narrated Aisha:
The Prophet said, "All drinks that produce intoxication are Haram (forbidden to drink).

Is smoking Halal or Haram?

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. (1)

Smoking Among Muslims

The Europeans around 1000 AH introduced smoking to the Muslim countries. Its spread among the Muslims was similar to that in the West. The unfortunate fact, however, is that in the Muslim countries, no measures are exerted to protect the people from it. To the contrary, the media continues to promote 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 control.

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 smoke.

Offering cigarettes 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!

Furthermore, some 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 for others.

Such statements have influenced many Muslims, falling 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 (SWT) to accept it from us as a sincere deed for His pleasure.

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 and evils.

Harm To the Human Body

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. It reduces smokers' life expectancy by 15 to 25 years, and is the single most preventable cause of death. In one study only 42% of male lifelong smokers reached the age of 73 compared to 78% of nonsmokers.

Cigarette smoking kills nearly about 420,000 people a year, making it more lethal than AIDS, automobile accidents, homicides, suicides, drug overdoses, and fires combined. (2)

This is sufficient to prohibit smoking. Islam prohibits any action that causes harm to oneself or to other people. Allah (SWT) says:

<> (An-Nisa' 4-29)

<> (Al-Baqarah 2:195)

And the Messenger(SAW) says:

No harm may be inflicted on oneself or others.(Recorded by Ahmad and Ibn Maajah from Ibn `Abbaas and `Ubaadah; authenticated by al-Albaani and others.)

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. (Recorded by at-Tirmithi and others from Ibn Mas`ud and AbO Barzah , authenticated by al-Albaani.)

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-Bukhaari and Muslim from Jaabir)

Harm 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 (SAW) 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-Bukhaari and Muslim from Jabir and other Sahaabah)

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 way.

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 itation, 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 (SWT) 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 (SWT) said :

<> (An-Nisa 4:27)

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 (SAW) said: Anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt his neighbor.( Al-Bukhaari)

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 hadith:

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 odor from him, or he would burn your clothes.( Al-Bukhaari and Muslim)

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 (SWT) says:

<>(An-Nisa 4:5)

<>(Al-lsra' 17:26-27)

And the Prophet (SAW) said:

Allah hates for you three things: gossiping, begging, and wasting money.(Al-Bukhaari and Muslim)

Furthermore, there are numerous cases of burnt carpets, furniture, and even complete houses and establishments that have resulted from this disastrous vice.

Moral Decadence

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/she does not have the money to buy cigarettes. He/She is ill mannered with his friends and family, especially when he/she misses taking his necessary "dose" at the usual time.

Evil Substance

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 (SWT) says:

<<(The Prophet) 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) uponthem.>>( Al-A'raf 7:157)

Resembling The 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 plants:

<>( Al-Ghaashiyah 88:6-7)

Bad Example

A smoker, whether he/she likes it or not, makes of himself/herself an example for his children and others to follow. He/She leads them to commit this evil. Actions sometimes have a stronger effect than words. Thus, even if he/she advises them or forbids them from smoking, his/her 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/her harm becomes more emphasized, because more people take him/her as guide and example, and are thus lead astray by him/her. This multiplies his/her sins and increases his/her burden.

Hostility Toward 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.

Scholars' Verdict

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.

Some Fatwas

Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee has passed a ruling on smoking that says:

Smoking has definitely been proved to be detrimental to health as stated by knowledgeable persons and international medical conferences. It has been established that smoking causes cancers of the lung and larynx and poses serious hazards to the arteries. Furthermore, it wastes money being spent on something that brings no good to human beings. The Prophet PBUH has banned everything that causes harm to both health and wealth, whether of oneself or of others. Therefore, we are of the opinion that it is haram to smoke, import, export or trade in tobacco. God knows that which we do not know.

The International Islamic Conference to Combat Intoxicating Substances and Drugs, at which scholars declared that smoking, growing and trading in tobacco were haram. (Held in Al-Medina al-munawarah, 27-30 Jumada Al-Ula 1402 AH (22-25 March 1982). )

Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim al-Sheikh, former Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia. In his ruling he declared that smoking was undoubtedly foul, noxious, languorous and sometimes intoxicating. He further stated that smoking was haram on the basis of authentic quotations, sound judgment, and the opinion of authoritative physicians. (Smoking according to medicine and religion, by Sheikh Ahmad al-Qattan)

Dr. Yusuf Al Qaradawi in his book " The Lawful and Prohibited In Islam" wrote the following:

"…. we may say that if it is proved that the use of tobacco is injurious to health, it is haram….." (3)

Sheikh Shirnibali of the Hanafi school. In no ambiguous terms Sheikh Shirnibali decided it was haram. He summed up his ruling in the following statement: "It is forbidden to sell or smoke tobacco. To smoke while fasting undoubtedly breaks the fast".

Sheikh Ibrahim al-Laqqani of the Maliki school ruled it to be haram.

Sheikh Al-Najm al-Ghazi of the Shafie school quotes the author of Addur al-mukhtar as saying: "Even if one does not dispute the smoker's claim that smoking is not intoxicating there is no denying that it causes languor, and is therefore haram on the basis of the saying of the Prophet quoted by Ahmad through Umm Salama to the effect that whatever caused intoxication and languor was haram. Indulging in smoking once in a while may not constitute a major sin, however if the ruler forbids its use, it becomes categorically haram, as its use may harm the body. And, like all minor sins, persisting in it makes it a major sin."

Hanbali scholars of Najd: Sheikh Mustafa al-Rahibani says: "In all the four schools of fiqh there are those who ruled that smoking was haram, those who ruled it was reprehensible, and those who ruled that it was permissible. Most Shafie and Hanafi scholars were of the opinion that it was either pemissible or reprehensible, but some of them went further and declared it haram. Maliki scholars, on the other hand, are mostly of the opinion that it is haram; so are our Hanbali scholars, especially those of Najd. However, it has not come to my attention that any of our Hanbali colleagues has explicity ruled that it was haram." (Mataleb ulin nahi fi sharh ghayatel muntaha)


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, etc.

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 (SWT) says:

<> (Al-Maidah 5:2)

Also, Allah's Messenger (SAW) said: Indeed when Allah prohibits something, he prohibits eating its price. (Recorded by Ahmad and Abu Dawud from Ibn `Abbas; authenticated by al-Albaani )

Some suggestions on treating the Disease of Smoking

Only few of those addicted to smoking are able to stop it. The reasons for this are many, among which are the following:

a. The addictive nature of the poisonous substances contained in it.

b. The smokers are not totally convinced of its prohibition.

c. 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:

<>( Al-'lmran 3:159)

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:

<>( Al-Maa'idah 5: 91 )

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 of smoke.

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 (T) says (what means)

<> (Al-`Imraan 3:175)

<>(An-Nisaa' 4:76)


Muhammad al-Jibaly




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