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To Smoke or Not to Smoke? Islam’s View on Smoking

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Smoking is notorious for being one of the most harmful practices among people. The amount of toxins that a cigarette holds is almost endless. However, it is the main addictive substance that holds most of the negative effects of smoking: nicotine. What does Islam say about smoking? Is it halal or haram? Read this article on Islam4u to find out more.

What Things Are Harmful?

As a general rule, in Islam, the use of anything that causes substantial harm to the body is unlawful (haram). This includes edible and non-edible things. The consumption of certain food and drinks is prohibited in Islam, including alcohol and pork. For example, alcohol causes serious damage to the brain, liver, kidneys, and gut. Of course, the chief reason it is haram is because it is an intoxicant, and any intoxicant is unclean and haram to consume. Nevertheless, one of the main reasons drinking alcohol is haram in Islam is the harm it does to the body. Smoking is also harmful to the body. However, some say that it is only harmful in excess just like other things. Water in excess is harmful, sugar in excess is harmful, salt in excess is harmful, caffeine in excess is harmful, and so on. If one knows that eating even a little bit of something that is generally considered halal is extremely harmful to their health, it becomes haram for them because it may seriously damage their health.

Therefore, the rule stating that anything that causes substantial harm to the body is haram can be applied to almost anything. However, our maraji‘ have stated whether doing things such as smoking is haram or not. They do have differences of opinion in some regards. Let us see what they have said.

The General Fatwa of Maraji‘ on Smoking

A group of maraji‘ essentially say that if smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products cause serious harm to one’s health, their consumption is haram. However, its prohibition can differ from one person to another. In other words, if someone knows that smoking occasionally will not harm them, it may be allowed. On the other hand, if a person knows that smoking even one cigarette is extremely harmful to their health, smoking would be haram for them. Nevertheless, it should be noted that science has proven that nicotine and the toxins in tobacco products such as cigarettes are a risk factor for cancer. Smoking how many cigarettes a day and for how long can cause cancer? No one knows. Is smoking two packs of cigarettes a day allowed in Islam? Most probably not as there is no doubt of the serious harm it can do to the body. At the end of the day, different factors must be considered and your mileage may vary. However, when all’s said and done, most people would assume smoking is haram based on the fatwa of jurists and common knowledge.

Does the Quran Say Anything About Smoking?

While obviously the Quran does not make a direct reference to the act of smoking, it does give a rule that can be applied to activities such as smoking. In verse 195 of Surah Baqarah, the Quran states:

وَأَنفِقُوا۟ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَلَا تُلْقُوا۟ بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى ٱلتَّهْلُكَةِ ۛ وَأَحْسِنُوٓا۟ ۛ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ ‎﴿١٩٥﴾

Spend in the way of Allah, and do not cast yourselves with your own hands into destruction; and be virtuous. Indeed Allah loves the virtuous. (2:195)

The verse says do not harm yourself with your own hands or do not bring your own death with your own hands. Well, is this not what happens when one smokes? You yourself are harming your health by smoking. Of course, different people may have different interpretations of this verse. Nevertheless, given the fact that studies have shown the serious harms of smoking, it is safe to say that smoking is one of the things that applies to this verse.

The Harmful Effects of Smoking

We here are in no way advocating the use of tobacco products and smoking. Smoking has always been linked to various diseases in recent and previous studies. Smoking can potentially cause over ten types of cancer, including cancers of the lung, larynx, oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, stomach, colon and rectum, liver, and kidney. Of course, there are many other harms that it can cause, such as impotence, hair loss, muscle atrophy, tartar, coronary heart disease, and stroke. In fact, some studies show that smoking even one cigarette a day significantly increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Of course, one may say that other daily habits also influence the contraction of such diseases.

Smoking is not just harmful to the smoker; the smoke that they exhale is also detrimental to the health of those around the smoker. This is known as second-hand smoke. Therefore, married men who smoke not only risk their own lives but also put the health of their families at risk. Perhaps after quitting alcohol, which every Muslim must not be consuming in the first place, giving up smoking is the best thing to do.

What About Other Tobacco Products?

As for other tobacco and nicotine products, such as cigars, hookah, vape, and pipe, the general ruling and fatwa still apply. If their use causes serious harm to one’s health, it is haram. How should one know whether they can cause serious harmful effects? We can rely on what science and studies say about them. When their harm has been proven to us, why should we think independently? At the end of the day, it is your body and your call. However, it is advisable to stay clear of all kinds of smoking.

Conclusion

Smoking is not a very healthy habit. It is now a well-known fact that smoking is very harmful to one’s health. What does Islam say about smoking? Islam says that the consumption of anything that causes serious harm to one’s health is prohibited and haram. Is smoking also included? Most probably yes.

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