Smoking in Islam

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Most Muslims are aware of and try to avoid the major sins in Islam – murder, suicide, adultery, alcohol, gambling, usury, etc. Muslims are forbidden to harm themselves or others. Yet millions of Muslims all over the world are doing just that – harming, even killing themselves and their families. Islamic scholars have historically had mixed views about tobacco, and until recently, cigarette smoking has not been unanimously forbidden or even discouraged.

The mixed views on the subject came about because cigarettes are a more recent invention and did not exist at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an in the 7th century A.D. Therefore, one cannot find a verse of Qur’an or words of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saying clearly that “Cigarette smoking is forbidden.” However, there are many instances where the Qur’an gives us general guidelines, and calls upon us to use our reason and intelligence, and seek guidance from Allah about what is right and wrong.

In the Qur’an, Allah says, “…he [the Prophet] commands them what is just, and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good, and prohibits them from what is bad…” (Surah al-Ar’af 7:157).

And  Allah says, “…make not your own hands contribute to your destruction…” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:195); “…nor kill yourselves…” (Surah al-Nisaa 4:29). It is universally understood that cigarette smoking causes a number of health problems that often ultimately result in death. Men who smoke contract lung cancer at 22 times the rate of non-smokers. Smokers are also highly at risk for heart disease, emphysema, oral cancer, stroke, etc. There are hundreds of poisonous and toxic ingredients in the cigarette itself that the smoker inhales straight into the lungs. In an authentic hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that “Whomsoever drinks poison, thereby killing himself, will sip this poison forever and ever in the fire of Jahannum (Hell).” Over 3 million people worldwide die from smoking-related causes each year.

May Allah guide us.