|Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Wa Alaikum Salam,
Ulamaa all over the world differ on which word is used to rule cigarettes. Some say it is absolutely Haram because it is a slow method of suicide and suicide is Haram in Islam. Some base it on the following too:
– Danger to health
– Environment – Disturbing people around
– Bad Smell – Disturbing people around
– Waste of money
– Some even say it intoxicates the body
The best opinion regarding smoking is Makrooh At-Tahrimi as there is not enough strength in all the above points to say smoking is Haram. Makrooh At-Tahrimi is a disliked act very close to Haram. Most of the above points are disliked acts in Islam as well as Haram. E.g. Bad smell is disliked whereas Harming other Muslims is Haram.
Please note, the following are not views to encourage smoking. Makrooh should be avoided to the extent of full regret and Tawbah (Repentance). The following are reasons why to avoid the Muslims questioning why we do not say smoking is Haram.
The reason why the above points can not be valid to say that smoking is completely and clearly Haram is as follows:
1. Slow Suicide, Killing ones self slowly:
a) Suicide is indeed Haram. However, it is almost impossible to prove that smoking is decreasing life span.
Our Aqaaid (Beliefs) is that Allah has written the time of death referred to in the Qur’aan as “Ajal” (Fixed Time). Therefore, how can one claim smoking decreases life?
b) Many men have died due to smoking heavily and were confirmed by doctors as smoking being the cause. On the
other hand, there are old men at the ages of 80+ who still smoke. This shows it is not whether they smoke or
not that matters, it is how much and to what level of tobacco is inhaled. Due to this, in certain
circumstances, smoking can become Haram. However, it is not enough to clarify it Haram in general.
2. Danger to health:
There is no doubt and no individual from the common people to educated scientists deny the fact smoking does harm the health. Indeed it harms health. The ruling of Haram can not be based on this? Verses such as the following have been used to come to this decision:
“…make not your own hands contribute to your destruction…” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:195);
“…nor kill yourselves…” (Surah al-Nisaa 4:29)
The first verse refers to destroying yourselves and making yourselves weak by not spending in the path of Allah (Jihad) as stated in the early portion of the verse and described in Tafaaseer books such as Tafseeru Qurtubi, Jalalayn, Tafseeru Uthmani, Tafseer Ibn Kathir etc. When using this verse as the reason for smoking to be Haram, only the middle portion of the verse is used and also in the litteral meaning.
The second verse refers to killing each other amongst Muslims as described earlier in the verse for which reason it is also the preferred meaning according to Mufassireen.
Even if this was the case, besides cigarettes, how many other products are out there that harm your health?
Should all this become Haram too for this reason? The conclusion is simple. Islam does not encourage in any way unhealthy products including cigarettes but it will not neccessarily become “Haram”
Again, although addiction is very dangerous spiritually, physically and financially, the term “Addiction” itself is not enough to rule something Haram. Drinks, certain foods and many other things can be addictive to different types of people. Addiction to something can not make something Haram generally.
Bad Smell, disturbing others around
This has also been stated backed up by Ahadeeth regarding harming the neighbours. Firstly, in this matter,
smoking would not harm the neighbours, and if “neighbours” is interpreted as “those around you (close),”
then it would mean that any smell, whether from smoking, or eating something oily to even sweating should be Haram in the presence of others. Therefore, although smoking in public is harming others with the dangers of
passive smoking etc. hence, disliked and sinful, smoking itself would not be ruled Haram.
Allah (swt) clearly states in the Qur’aan regarding Israaf (To use more than necessary). In this case, wasting money. Israaf is Haram.
This is where the Ulamaa differ again. Some say that smoking is Israaf as there is no benefit and maximum harm which we all understand and accept. Some say smoking would not fall under Israaf if one smokes as smoking is the smoker’s choice of provision. If the smoker had excessive amount then it would fall under Israaf.
As there are unlimited amounts of acts, deeds and choices of Muslims that fall under the first category, many everyday life things would also be Haram under that view. With the second view, Haram is not avoided, it will be Haram but only when a person chooses to smoke more than needed.
This is an endless debate.
Smoking does not intoxicate therefore it can not be Haram. A statement by Martin Broughton, the chairman of the British American Tobacco to the Common Health Committee states:
Smoking does not intoxicate, does not require ever-increasing consumption to maintain its pleasure, is not a short-term risk to health, does not cause family violence and is not a destabilising risk to society. Today in the UK, even though over a quarter of the adult population smokes, there are more ex-smokers than smokers.
In the light of the above, a conclusion can not be made regarding smoking being Haram. It can be at the most Makrooh At Tahrimi which is a prohibited act but not invalid as Haram would be. The misconception between Haram and Makrooh At Tahrimi are the main causes for this ruling.
InshaAllah after the above which could have been much lengthy without need, a Muslim should come to know that Smoking is neither encouraged, nor fully accept in Islam. It must not only be avoided, one must also try and not promote such products that harm the body like tobacco as has been discovered recently. As Ahmad has said in his correct statement, when the ‘Ulamaa discovered that continous consuming of tobacco from cigarettes can kill, it has become Makrooh-at-Tahreemi.
And Allah knows best