Shari’ah Prohibits Cigarettes & Tobacco

All praise is due to Allah alone, and may the Peace and Blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallaam) the last of the Prophets.

I was asked about the ruling concerning tobacco, in which many ignorant and fooling people are enamored, inspite of the fact that every person knows that we have stated its prohibition. We, our scholars and teachers, their teachers and all the truth seeking scholars and the rest of the Muslim world, from the time of its onset around 1010 A.H until this day, have stated its prohibition, all basing their evidence from the principles of the Madh-habs and observations.

For this reason, I had at first felt that it was not appropriate to answer this question, but since it was the due right of the questioner, and since this Khabeeth, as one would never expect, has become so prevalent, I decided to proceed in answering it.

So I say:

There is no doubt that cigarettes are something Khabeeth and putrid, and that at times have intoxicating attributes, while at other times they act as a sedative. Its prohibitio  is based upon authentic texts from the Qur’an and Sunnah, sound reasoning and also from the statements of the physicians and others who are well-informed in its regard.

The First: Authentic Sources

Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:

“And those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read or write, whom they find written with them in  the Tawraah (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospels), ordering them with al-ma’roof (all things ordained by Islam) and prohibiting them with al-munkar (all thing prohibited by Islam), and allows for them at-tayyibaat (all things good and pure) and prohibits them al-khabaa’ith (repulsive & evil)” [Surah al-A’raaf 7: 157]

It has been related in a Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari on the authority of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), who said that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayi wasallam) said:

“Every intoxicant is considered Khamr (wine) and every khamr is haraam (impermissible)”

.  .  . and in the wording of Muslim:

           “. . . And every intoxicant is haraam”

And it has also been related by Tirmidhi (which he stated as a hasan hadith) and Abu Dawud:

“Every intoxicant is haraam and anything of which a large amount intoxicates, even a small amount is haraam”

All of these noble verses and authentic Ahadith establisb its prohibition, for at times, this khabeeth is an intoxicant, and at other times a sedative, and none object to this fact except those who reject the reality of their senses. Without any doubt, these texts also confirm the prohibition of all other types of intoxicants and sedatives.

It has been related by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud on the authority of Umm Salamah (radhiyallahu anha), that she said:

“The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prohibited every intoxicant and sedative”

Al-Hafidh Az-Zayn Al-‘Iraqi says,

“Its Isnad is sahih”, and as-Suyuti also declared it to be sahih in his book, Jaami As-Sahih

In a Hadith found in the Sahihayn, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Verily Allah has made forbidden for you: disobedience of parents, burying alive of daughters, and demanding your rights while not giving it to others, and Be has hated for you: vain talk, persistent questioning and squandering of money”

What will follow from the statements of the forerunners of the 4 Madhaahibs will clarify what was i tended here by the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

From the fuqaha of the Hanafi Madh-hab, Shaykh Muhammad al-‘Ayni mentioned in his treatise that there were four factors that leads to its prohibition:

1) Statements of Physicians and others who have knowledge in this issue have confirmed that smoki g is detrimental to one’s health, and all things that are harmful to one’s health are prohbited by the consensus of scholars.

2. Physicians consider it a drug, and all drugs are prohibited in the religion. This is established from the Hadith  of Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud on the authority of Umm Salamah (radhiyallahu anha), that she said:

“The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prohibited every intoxicant and sedative”

It is considered a sedative by the unanimity of the physicians, and their statements are considered an evidence by the consensus of the fuqaha from both the earlier and later generations.

3) Its repugnant odour that offenses others who do not smoke, particularly in the gatherings of prayer. In fact, it displeases the angels as well. It has been related in the Sahihayn on the authority of Jabir (radhiyallahu anhu), that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Whoever has eaten garlic or onion is to keep away from us and our Masaajid and is to keep to his house”

It is a matter of fact that the odor which emanates from cigarettes is not less displeasing than the odor of garlic or onions. In another hadith in the Sahihayn, also in the authority of Jabir (radhiyallahu anhu), the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“The Angels are irritated by what Humans are irritated by”

In another hadith, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Whoever causes distress to a Muslim has caused me distress and whoever causes me distress has causes distress to  Allah” [Related by at-Tabarani in Al-Awsat on the authority of Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) with a hasan isnad ]

4) It is a waste and excessiveness, for it does not contain any permissible benefit, nor is it devoid of harm. Rather, according to the people knowledgable in this field, there is genuine harm in it.

And from them is Abul-Hasan al-Misri al-Hanafi who said the following:

“Evidences from authentic traditions and deductions from sound intellect decree the prohibition of smoking.

It first appeared around the year 1000 A.H in the lands of the Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians (Majus). It was brought over to the Western Lands of Islam (al-Maghreb) by a Jew, claiming to be a man of medicine, who invited people to partake in it. The firat person to import it to Ar-Rum (Byzantium) was a person named Ataclean, a Christian.

The first person that grew it in the lands of Sudan was a Zoroastrian (Majus). It was then brought over to Misr, Hijaaz and rest of the lands.

Indeed Allah has prohibited every intoxicant. If one argues that cigarettes are not an intoxicant, it still acts as an analgesic, sedating the smoker’s whole body internally and externally. Intoxication is any type of obscuration of the mind, even if it is not associated with pleasure, and there is no doubt that this occurs when one consumes a cigarette for the first time. But if he still does not conform to the fact that it is in fact intoxicant. It does remain an analgesic and a sedative.

It has been related by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud on the authority of Umm Salamah (radhiyallahu anha), that she said:

“The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prohibited every intoxicant and sedative”

The scholars have stated that a sedative is anything that causes sedation and narcotizes the extremities. This Hadith should well suffice as evidence for its prohibition, but to add to this, smoking causes much detriment to the consumer’s body and soul. It corrupts the heart, enfeebles strength and causes a yellowess in the smoker’s color.

Physician’s agree that it is detrimental. It causes harm to a person’s body, character, honor and financial condition. This is because it resembles the action of the transgressors, for the majority of the people who smoke are the disobeidient and the vile. The smoker also acquires an detestable odor.

Amongst the fuqaha of the Hanaabilah, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, after mentioning the textual evidence regarding the prohibition of intoxicants and the statements of the scholars concerning its definition, said the following in his response to tobacco:

And from what we have mentioned from the statements of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and the statements of the scholars, it should now be obvious to you that the tobacco which has become prevalent in this time is strictly prohibited. And it has been established by countless sources and witnesses that it does indeed intoxicate at times, especially, if it is consumed in a large quantity. Likewise, if the smoker ceases to consume it for a day or two and then takes to it again, it intpxicates and effects the mind to the extent that the smoker could pass gas in front of people without even knowing it! We seek refuge in Allah from this sort of humiliation.

So it is not befitting for the one who believes in Allah and the Last Day that he looks of the saying of any other if the sayings of Allah and His Messenger have become clear to him in the likes of these issues, as the testimony that Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is the Messenger of Allah constitutes obeying what he commanded, refraining from what he has prohibited and admonished, and believing in everything he informed us.

Shaykh Abdullah Ababtayn said the following in his response to tobacco:

What we believe is that it is prohibited and the reason for it is twofold:

The first reason is that if the smoker were to cease to smoke for a period and then take to it again, or if he smokes a large amount, it results in intoxication. If it does not result in intoxication, it does result in analgesia and sedition. In a marfu’ hadith related by Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah):

“The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prohibited every intoxicant and sedative”

The second is that it is repulsive to those who are not accustomed to smoking, and the scholars have based their evidence on the saying of Allah Ta’ala:

“And He prohibits them al-Khabaa’ith”  [Surah al-A’raaf 7:157]

But as for those who are habituated to it, they do not perceive it to be khabeeth, just as a dung beetle does not perceive the replusiveness of excrement.

And from the Fuqaha of the Shafi’i Madh-hab, the scholar known as Shaykh Najm al-Ghazzi ash-Shafi’i stated the following:

Tobacco first appeared in Dimishq (Damascus) in the year 1015 A.H. The smoker claimed that it did not intoxicate. Even if we were to yield to this notion, it is still a sedative. It is just as well prohibited due to the hadith related by Ahmad, on the authority on Umm Salamah (radhiyallahu anha),

“The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prohibited every intoxicant and sedative”

He went onto say,

To consume it once or twice is not regarded as being of the greater sins (al-kabaa’ir), except if one were to be persistent in it and the same principle applies to the rest of the smaller sins (As-Sagha’ir).

Scholars have mentioned that the smaller sins have the same ruling as the greater sins if they consist of any one of the following characteristics:

⚫ That one be persistent in it.

⚫ That importance not paid to its magnitude, by lessening its significance and not having concern for it.

⚫ That one be content or appeased by it.

⚫ That one boasts of it to people.

⚫ For it to ensue from the scholar or anyone else who is taken as example by others.

Shaykh Khalid bin Ahmad from the Maliki Madh-hab respinded by stating the following:

The Imamate of the one who smokes tobacco is not permissible, and like any other intoxicant, its trade is not permissible either.

The following are some other scholars who have prohibited tobacco and stated its impermissibility:

1)  From the scholars of Misr: Shaykh Ahmad as-Sanhouri al-Bahooti al-Hanbali.

2)  From the scholars of al-Maghreb: Abul-Ghaith al-Qashshaash al-Maliki

3)  From the scholars of Dimishq: an-Najm al-Ghazzi al-‘Aamiri ash-Shafi’i

4)  From the scholars of Yemen: Ibraheem ibn Jumu’aan and his pupil, Abu Bakr al-Ahdal

5)  From the scholars of the Haramayn: Al-Muhaqqiq Abdul-Malik al-‘Isaami and his student Muhammad bin Allaan, the commentator of Riyadh us Saaliheen and As-Sayyid ‘Umar al-Basri.

6)  From the lands of Rum: Shaylh Muhammad al-Khawaajah, ‘Eesa al Shahaawi al-Hanafi, Makki bin Farukh, As-Sayyid Sa’d al-Balkhi al-Madani, and Muhammad al-Barzanji al-Madani ash-Shafi’i.

He also added:

I saw someone who was smoking at the time of his death.  Those around him were saying to him, “Say Laa Ilaaha Illa Allah,” but instead, he said, “This cigarette is great!”

All these scholars of the Ummah and the greatest of the Imaam’s stated its impermissibility, and prohibited partaking in it in any way.

The Second: Sound Intellect

From direct observations and countless attestations, we come to know that it is detrimental to one’s health, body and mind.  Death, unconsciousness and arduous diseases, such as coughing which leads to tuberculosis, cardiac arrest, and contraction of the blood vessels have all been witnessed as a result of smoking.

When one sees these and other results of smoking, they become firm in their conviction that smoking is strictly impermissible. As sound intellect decrees that one endeavor to attain that which contains benefit and results in sound health, it also decrees that one be far removed from that which causes detriment, as it devress its prohibition.

And there can be no consideration given to those whose doubts and desires have taken root in the organs of their reasoning, until they are bewitched by false theories and notions, and they are left prisoners of their own desires.

The Third: Assertions of the Physicians

The earliest of Physicians are in agreement of the great harm found in cigarettes. One can find that they warned against three main factors:

1) Its detestable Odor,

2) Its Ashes,

3) Its smoke and fumes, their books being permeated in discourse of this factor.

Contemporary Physicians are also aware of this Khabeeth plant, and we will summarize what they have mentioned of its harm  and its constituents that cause it.

The sypnosis of what they said is as follows:

It is a leafy plant, an analgesic that is sour to the taste. After due investigation and observation, we have come to know that tobacco is of two kinds, both belonging to the family of the most poisonous plants, like henbane. It is comprised of pottasium and ammonium salts, and another substance called nicotine.

It is utilized in different manners:

1)  The first is by chewing it in the mouth, and this is the most harmful and detestable. Its analgesic effects are strong: its poisonous substances are quickly absorbed through the intestines and have a heavy effect on the nervous system.

2)  The second is by inhaling it along with other stimulants. Because it comprises of various poisonous substances, it is harmful as well.

3)  The third is by burning and smoking it, the most common of which is a cigarette, though it is also smoked through pipes and water-pipes. In all of these methods,  the smoke reaches the mouth in a state of high temperature.

Physicians have affirmed that it causes tremendous harm. Its constituents first settles in the body, and then its harm gradually becomes apparent overtime.  They have mentioned that the smoke that rises from the leaves of the tobacco contains numerous toxic substances, such as nicotine. When it enters the mouth and the lungs, it has both a general and a localized effect; when it enters the mouth, the poisonous substances found in it irritate the mucous membrane, causing an increased amount of saliva to be secreted. The chemical composition of the saliva is changed in that its digestive properties are decreased. Similarly, it also affects the secretions of the stomach, causing digestive problems. When the smoke reaches the lungs by the way of the larynx, the poisonous substances increase its secretions, possibly leading to  chronic inflammation.  The larynx is irritated resulting in cough, by which it tries to dislodge the large amount of accumulated secretions, commonly known as phlegm. Smoking also causes disruption of the pulmonary arteries and other incurable diseases of the chest. Traces of smoke (tar) are deposited on the inside of the trachea and the heart, putting pressure on its openings and decreasing the inflow of oxygen. Thus resulting in sortness of breath.

Cigarettes also causes dizziness, vertigo, headache and vomiting in those who are not used to it and those who smoke for the first time. It also causes flaccidity  of the muscles and drowsiness, which are tantamount to sedation, an inherent property of tobacco by consensus. Whosoever becomes habituated to it is afflicted with many adversities, like adulteration of taste, digestive conditions and loss of appetite, all of which are clear and obvious results.

Excessive smoking unquestionably leads to death. Whether over a period of time or instantaneously. This actually occurred in a situation  when two brothers placed a bet as to who could smoke more. One of them died before the seventeenth cigarette, while the other died before he completed the eighteenth.

Smoking causes damage to the red blood cells, interference in the regularity of the heartbeat, loss of appetite, and de-escalation of the general vitality of the nervous system, which is quote apparent to the analgesia and vertigo that ensues after its consummation by one habituated to it.

Professor Mustafa Hamaami once narrated an incident that took place:

One day I was walking with a student, when we came accross someone selling cigarettes. The student bought two from him. He lit one of them and made a solemn oath that I would tey the other. So I smoked the cigarette; I drew in its smoke and exhaled from my mouth, without fully inhaling it. He took note of it and said: “Inhale what you draw in, fpr that is what my oath was.” I did not stop and did what he said, I took one breath, and by Allah, I did not increase more than that when everything started spinning around me like a spinning mill! I immediately sat on the ground, I thought that this would be the end. I had now started to think bad thoughts about my companion. With great difficulty, I arrived at my residence. I arrived by car, and he was there helping me. After that, I stayed at home until about the end of the next day, until I did not feel the way I felt before. I told this incident to many people, exposing what was hidden from me regarding cigarettes. They informed me that cigarettes have this effect on everyone not used to it. I said, “If one breath did all this to me, then what about those who are used to it, while not a day passes and he smokes, especially those that do it excessively!”

Smoking also causes psychological disorder known as withdrawal, in which an addicted person, if he tries to forsake it,  is not able to function properly and cannot even perform his day-to-day affairs until he smokes, his condition returns to normal.

Many leading scholars and physicians have mentioned that sound intellect, let alone the religion, calls to the obligations of preserving health and preventing diseases that lead to death by abstaining from smoking. This is even more particular to those who are weak in body, the elderly who do not have the power to resist diseases, and those who have a disposition to phlegm related disorders.

And for this reason, many people try to leave it, fearing its harmful effects and detestable odor. They even say that they will divorce their spouses if they return to it, intending by that to finally give it up, but when their need for it overcomes them, they are not able to abstain. They take to it again, even if it entails divorcing their spouses, for it takes full control of the one addicted to it and affects his mind by calming him in types of frustration and anger.

And Allah knows best.

And may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon His slave and Messenger Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), and upon all his family and companions.

[Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraheem]


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