Question: A Mufti says that smoking is only makrooh tanzihi. It is not haraam. His argument is as follows:
He said, “The karaahat only comes about because of the disturbing smell it gives off. Otherwise, it is jaaiz. Most of our Akeebireen including Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi rahmatullahi alaih used to eat paan, which is also tobacco like in cigarettes. Hence ruling it haraam will lead to making tafseeq of many of our great Akaabireen. As for the Saudi fatwa of it being haraam because it is harmful to the body, then this is incorrect. If one goes with this reasoning, then he’ll have to say chips, sweets, chocolates, panado, disprin, juices etc. are all haraam because all of it are very harmful to the body too. Therefore the most we can say is makrooh e tanzeehi.”
Is the above correct?
Answer [by Mujlisul Ulama]: It is palpably incorrect. Smoking cigarettes is haraam. We have written several articles in the past on this issue. The Molvi Sahib who claims that this harmful, poisonous, wasteful and stinking habit is makrooh tanzihi is in error. The vile stench emitted by the mouth of a smoker chases away the Malaaikah from even the Musjid or at least causes great distress to them. The arguments of the Molvi Sahib are spurious. The facts we know today about smoking were unknown to our Akaabireen and to the Ulama even before them.
Cigarettes may not be analogized on the basis of paan. The analogy is silly, laughable and fallacious. Paan is not a valid mustadel. Paan itself is in need of a daleel for the determination of its status. If it is established that paan too is as harmful as cigarettes, then we shall unhesitatingly label it too haraam.
The claim of tafseeq of the Ulama is not valid. The Ulama had stated their views on the basis of the information available to them, hence the question of tafseeq does not develop. The charge of tafseeq against a person applies to the scholars for dollars – to the slaves of the nafs – to those who halaalize carrion – to those who betray the Deen. It does not apply to the true Ulama who base their views on dalaa-il. Among the Fuqaha and Aimmah Mujtahideen were those who held diametrically opposite views on an issue. The one says that it is halaal and the other says that it is haraam. Thus no one makes tafseeq of Imaam Shaafi’ for holding the view of the permissibility of hyena meat or seal meat nor of Imaam Maalik for saying that dog meat is halaal. On the contrary, the scholars for dollars blurt flotsam without daleel.
Their nafs is their only daleel, hence tafseeq is applicable to them, not to the Akaabireen who had based their fatwa on the information available at the time.
In fact we do say that chips, chocolates, soft drinks and the like are haraam. Thus, this is not a daleel against us. We do not follow the Saudi Fatwa. Our view is based on our own Tahqeeq (research).
Regarding artificial juices, panado, etc., the Molvi Sahib agrees that these items are “very harmful”. In the Shariah Dharar is a Sabab-e-Hurmat. The Molvi Sahib is unaware of this fact, hence despite conceding the existence of the element of Dharar, he illogically maintains that the view of permissibility of these harmful substances. The honourable Molvi Sahib has missed the bus.
For Detailed Ruling on Prohibition of smoking please continue to read: Shari’ah Prohibits Cigarettes & Tobacco