23 January 2020   26. Jumad-ul-Ula 1441
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SMOKING: The Islamic Perspective

SMOKING: The Islamic Perspective

The Islamic Ruling

Many Ulama (Islamic scholars) are of the view that smoking is harâm. This view is substantiated by those verses of the Holy Qur'ân and Ahâdith of Rasûlullâh Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam which prohibit harming one's physical well being, causing distress to others and squandering wealth


The primary basis of this ruling is that a smoker slowly destroys the body that Allah has granted him. The human body is a trust from Allah and has to be safeguarded and protected at all costs. A strong healthy believer is better than a weak one. One who smokes, inevitably destroys one's good health. Rasûlullâh Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said that one should cherish one's good health before one's illness. The harms of smoking are very well-known today, especially when every cigarette advertisement warns of the harms of smoking.

Allah states: "And do not throw yourself into destruction with your own hands." (Qur'ân 2: 195)

Most medical authorities agree that smoking is a major cause of lung cancer among men and women. Smoking also causes cancer of the larynx, lip, oesophagus and urinary bladder. Smoking greatly increases die risk of dying from chronic bronchitis and emphysema. in another verse of the Holy Qur’ân, Allah says: "And do not kill yourselves. (Qur'ân 4: 29)

Nabi Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: "Whoever drinks poison, thereby killing himself, will sip this poison forever in the fire of Jahannam."

Cigarettes consist of many poisonous substances. Furthermore, the smoker indulges in a slow suicidal act by smoking this poison.


Composition of Cigarettes

Cigarettes comprise of many poisonous ingredients of which nicotine is not the only poisonous ingredient as many people misconceive, but includes other harmful ingredients as well. From amongst its poisonous ingredients are:

  1. Carbon monoxide which prevents oxygen from reaching the brain and the heart and other muscles.
  2. Poisonous lead which accumulates and the body fails to break it up.
  3. Nicotine: This is a very poisonous substance. A mere 50 mg of it can kill a person if it is injected into the arteries. A typical cigarette contains one milligram of nicotine. Nicotine raises the blood pressure, increases the heart rate and contracts blood vessels near the skin.
  4. Tar: This is a sticky yellowish substance which makes the teeth yellow, causes tooth decay and inflammation of the gums. A single cigarette may contain from 3 to 40 milligrams of tar.

During smoking, the larger particulates (tiny particles) get deposited on the mucus lining of the lungs. Over time, the large particulates and certain gases in the cigarette smoke scar the lungs and damage the cillia, thousands of little hairs that line the airways. In heavy smokers, the cillia are paralysed, and the pollutants remain in the lungs. As a result, a smoker's chances of developing bronchitis and influenza increases. Deposits of small particulates in the smaller airways of the lungs can lead to a lung disease called emphysema. 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.

Allah Ta'aala describes the mission of Nabi Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam: "He commands them to do good and stops them from evil and makes halâl for them that which is pure and makes harâm upon them that which is impure." (Qur’ân 7:157)

This verse clearly shows pure things to be harâm and impure things to be harâm. An intelligent person would no doubt regard smoking to be from among the impure things.

Squandering of Wealth

Allâh says in the Holy Qur'ân:

"And do not squander (your wealth). Indeed those who are extravagant are the brothers of Shaytân." (Qur’ân 17:27)

Nabi Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam states: "And disliked for you is hearsay, excessive questioning and the squandering of wealth."

Causing Distress

Nabi Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam also said: "Whoever eats garlic or onion (raw) should keep away from us, keep far from our masâjid and he should sit at home."

One partaking of these two vegetables was prohibited because of the foul odour caused by them, so what about the repulsive stench of cigarettes which harms the smoker and irritates other people? Its foul smell is more aggravating than the smell of garlic and onion.

Increasing evidence indicates that cigarette smoke also harms non-smokers. Research shows that non-smokers who for many years have worked closely with smokers suffer decreased lung efficiency.

Smoking is also an act that wastes one's precious time. Smokers are ill more often and miss more days of work than do non-smokers.

Some Ulama are of the opinion that it is makruh-tahrîmî which in reality implies that it is harâm in practice. Furthermore, to persist in doing something that is classified as makrûh also renders it as harâm.

Published by: Madrasah Arabia Islamia, Azaadville, Krugersdorp, South Africa.

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