In the beginning, it is important to mention that one of the objectives of Islamic Shari`ah is protecting the welfare of human-beings. In addition, if we review the ordinances and rulings ordered by Islam in their totality, we will find that if Allah Almighty limits the choice of His servants in relation to certain things, He provides them with a wider range of more wholesome halal (permissible) alternatives. Thus, scholars of Islam say: Halal (things that are permissible in Islam) is always opulent. Smoking, therefore, is haram for the terrible harms it causes.
Mufti Ibrahim Desai, a prominent Muslim scholar, in this concern. states that:
It is a universally accepted that smoking has many serious health and life hazards amongst which is lung cancer. These hazards affect not only the smoker himself but those around him as well. Shari`ah has stressed the importance of being in good health to the extent that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) even advised Muslims in all ages to strike a balance in eating and drinking so as to evade any harmful effects on the health. He advised having dates, being hot in nature, with cucumber, as it (cucumber) has a cooling effect.
It is clear that cigarettes contain many harmful ingredients, for example, carbon monoxide, nicotine, tar and benzene vapor.
Therefore, smoking is harmful to the smoker as well as those around him. In his book, “Ninety Nine Harms of Smoking”, Muhammad Abdul Ghaffaar Al-Afghani stated that smoking results in many diseases which doctors have explained. These diseases number about ninety nine.
Doctor Salahuddeen Abdur-Rab An-Nabi, a neuro-surgeon inCairo says: “When a person becomes enslaved to the habit of smoking, it affects his health badly to the extent that it has a direct effect on his heart. As a result his heart beat and blood circulation become unstable and he experiences drowsiness from time to time due to the shrinking of his brain arteries. Sometimes, specially at an old age, a smoker suffers from high blood pressure and angina. Similarly, his digestive and respiratory systems are harmed and he loses his appetite. He is also afflicted with a kind of cough 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.’
In the annual conference of the American Doctors Council which took place in Chicago 1966, the main focus of the conference was the harms of smoking. Doctors, who were aware of the role of smoking in lung cancer, became alarmed when they heard that the least harm smoking causes is that it arouses anxiety. Doctor Edward Kweller Hammond, head of statistics in the Cancer Association of America said: “Verily, lung cancer which is caused by smoking cigarettes is not so serious in comparison to the injury caused by smoking with other bodily systems.” It is stated in the ninth edition of “World of Knowledge” magazine that the time has come wherein it has become necessary to expose all the harms of smoking. It should also be realized that these despicable substances even cause death.
It is also necessary to elucidate the harms of smoking in hope of saving many intelligent and educated youth, who will be astonished on how much has been written regarding this topic. In the above-mentioned magazine, we can read the following: “Cancer Caused by Smoking”: This fatal illness is the culmination of many illnesses which are the result of thin blood and other sicknesses which are related to the blood vessels. All these are connected to this loathsome substances. However, lung cancer is the most likely outcome of smoking.
Lung cancer was a very rare disease but the end of this century witnessed a high rise in its occurrence, primarily in men and thereafter in women. In the beginning of the sixties, the death rate due to lung cancer increased compared to before. Smoking also yields other health hazards besides its general and specific economic harms.
Proof for the prohibition of smoking:
Smoking did not exist in the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) but our great religion of Islam has laid down general principles from which many laws are derived. From these principles, Muslim scholars have come to the conclusion that smoking is prohibited (Haram).
In the Qur’an, we read: “be not cast by your own hands to ruin; and do good. Lo! Allah loveth the beneficent.” (Al-Baqarah:195). Smoking causes fatal sicknesses, for example, lung cancer, tuberculosis, etc.
In another verse, Almighty Allah says: “And do not kill yourselves.” (An-Nisaa’: 29). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said: “Whomsoever drinks poison, thereby killing himself, will sip this poison forever in the Hell-Fire.”
Cigarettes consist of many poisonous substances and furthermore, the smoker indulges in a slow suicidal act by smoking this poison.
In addition to the above, smoking is a waste of money and resources, which is prohibited in Islam. Allah Almighty says: “Lo! the squanderers were ever brothers of the devils, and the devil was ever an ingrate to his Lord.”
In this regard, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada , says:
There is no doubt that smoking is sheer wastage of valuable resources. The money thus squandered on tobacco could very well rid the world of poverty — if correctly utilized. Smoking wastes money that is originally granted to be spent wisely and for beneficial causes.
Moreover, smoking is a transgression as it harms not only the smoker but also all living-beings surrounding him. Allah Almighty says: “O ye who believe! Forbid not the good things which Allah hath made lawful for you, and transgress not, Lo! Allah loveth not transgressors”; and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) says: “There should be no causing harm or reciprocating harm.”(Ibn Majah)