Smoking has been around since ancient times, dating back to almost 5000 years. It was an important part of religious rites in Chinese, Hindu and Babylonian religions. Commonly smoked substances include opiates, hashish, cannabis and tobacco. Smoking cannabis was a common habit in the Middle East before tobacco was introduced in the region. It was particularly famous amidst the wealthy and affluent because it was hard to obtain, required preparation with leisure time and was a symbol of royalty. Famous poets and philosophers would often indulge in it, claiming that it put them in a higher state of mind.
Quranic Verses About Smoking
The Sharia Law clearly declares anything injurious to health and self-harm to be haram. Moreover things and acts such as intoxicants, alcohol, pork and infidelity in marriage are considered haram. However, smoking is not directly considered to be haram. There exist numerous Quranic verses and hadith which indirectly describe its effects and label such substances which fall under this category to be haram. The interpretation of the following Quranic verses about smoking offers more explanation on the matter.
“Don’t make your own hands the cause of your own destruction” (Surah Al-Baqarah Ch:2 V:195).
This Quranic verse directly advises Muslims not to seek their own destruction through their own hands. This includes acts such as self-harm, intoxication, bad social habits and a foul mental state. All of such actions ultimately result in damaging the person themselves. Smoking tobacco is also classified under such actions since it is injurious to health. A person is themselves responsible for the decision of smoking and it is thus synonymous to calling for one’s own destruction.
“O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful” (Surah Al-Ma’idah Ch:5 V:90).
This verse of Surah Al-Ma’idah clearly instructs Muslims to steer away from intoxicants and all forms of gambling. This is because they are the work of Satan and rely on chance, not skill. Moreover, intoxicants have yet once again been condemned. Smoking dulls the senses and creates a craving, whose absence causes erratic behavior. This ranges from mental issues such as anger and impatience to physical issues such as smokers lungs and cardiovascular issues.
“And do not kill yourselves” (Surah An-Nisa’ Ch:4 V:29).
This verse of Surah An-Nisa’ does not just mean suicide. It also means other means of killing one’s self physically, mentally and spiritually. These include having bad thoughts, adopting bad physical habits that contribute towards one’s swift demise deviating from religion. Among these is smoking, which causes numerous health issues. These include cancer, pneumonia, emphysema, cardiovascular issues, and lung complications. These slowly and surely lead towards a painful death. Consequently, one should completely refrain from smoking.
“And makes lawful to them the good things and makes unlawful to them impure things” (Surah Al’-A’raf Ch:7 V:157).
This verse of Surah Al’-A’raf directs Muslims to integrate healthy things within their life. This isolates them from the damages of harmful things, both physical and abstract. Tobacco contains numerous carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances along with tar and nicotine, which are poisonous and addictive. They are so dangerous that even someone standing nearby a smoking is exposed to them. This is called second-hand smoking, which is caused by inhaling the exhaled smoke from a smoking person.
“And do not spend wastefully, Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful” (Surah Al-‘Isra’ Ch:17 V:26-27).
Smoking is expensive and a complete waste of money. It does not provide any benefit to the body. Instead, it causes harm to general health. It is sinful to waste money and smoking falls under the same category in which other wasteful habits are classified.
“And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression” (Surah Al-Ma’idah Ch:5 V:2).
This verse of Surah Al-Ma’idah Ch:5 V:2 directs Muslims to engage in good deeds and refrain from sinful habits. Smoking is a sinful habit that encourages committing more sins. It is wasteful for money, detrimental to health and a waste of time. As such, it is a sin in itself which promotes more sins.
They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit” (Surah Al-Baqarah Ch:2 V:219).
Distilled alcohol can be used for medicinal purposes in Islam. This is verified according to fatwas established on the basis of Ijma and Qiyas. However, it must be completely distilled to remove any other traces. The alcohol must be used in small quantities to avoid the chances of intoxication. Smoking on the other hand in comparison has no use whatsoever. It is, therefore, a useless, damaging and ugly habit that all Muslims should avoid. Even vapes fall under this category.
“And pointed out to him the two conspicuous ways” (Surah Al-Balad Ch:90 V:10).
Allah has reminded us that He has given us free will. Human beings have the right to choose right over wrong and vice versa. In the end, it is ultimately our choice to either choose intoxicants such as smoking or refrain from them.