A MESSAGE FROM YOUR BELOVED BROTHER IN ISLAM, SAJID AHMED UMAR.
Praise be to Allah S.W.T, and peace and salutations be upon our beloved Prophet S.A.W,
I have been asked on various occasions regarding Islam’s position on smoking, a practice which is not foreign to many. In addition, we find in today’s day and age the phenomenon of smoking what is known as ‘Hukka’ or ‘Shisha’ becoming a widespread practice. As a result whilst seeking the assistance of Allah S.W.T, I write the following, and request your attention.
Islam, with all praises due to Allah (S.W.T), is a religion which is not just a way of life, but a complete way of life. It is a way of life governed by divine constitution.
As believers in one Allah (S.W.T), and the followers of the Final Prophet S.A.W; it is incumbent that we understand that the measuring stick in deciding what’s correct, and incorrect, is the commands of Allah S.W.T and teachings of his Beloved Prophet (S.A.W), and not our vein desires.
Before getting into the ‘gist’ of this letter, I bring your attention to the following words of our Creator:
‘It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allâh and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allâh and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error’.
From amongst the many goals of the ‘Shariah’, is the protection of one’s mind, and one’s self.
Allah S.W.T says regarding these aspects in his Book:
‘Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad (peace be upon him)) whom they find written with them in the Taurât (Torah) (Deut, xviii, 15) and the Injeel (Gospel) (John xiv, 16), – he commands them for Al-Ma’rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm has ordained); and forbids them from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism of all kinds, and all that Islâm has forbidden); he allows them as lawful At-Taiyibât ((i.e. all good and lawful) as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods), and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khabâ’ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods), he releases them from their heavy burdens (of Allâh’s Covenant), and from the fetters (bindings) that were upon them. So those who believe in him (Muhammad (peace be upon him)) honor him, help him, and follow the light (the Qur’ân) which has been sent down with him, it is they who will be successful. (Al-A’raaf:157)
And spend in the Cause of Allâh, and do not throw yourselves into destruction, and do good. Truly, Allâh loves Al-Muhsinûn (the good-doers)’. (Al-baqarah: 195)
‘And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allâh is Most Merciful to you’. (An-Nisaa: 29)
The reality of smoking and its dangers is no secret to us all. Allow me to bring your attention to the following:
About 442,000 people in the United States die each year from illnesses caused by cigarette smoking, what’s the world death toll like?!
Smoking accounts for nearly 90 percent of lung cancer deaths. Additionally, smokers are at increased risk for cancer of the larynx, oral cavity, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas.
One-third of smoking-related deaths are caused by coronary heart disease or chronic airway obstruction. Smoking also increases the risk of stroke by 50 percent—40 percent among men and 60 percent among women. Other research has shown that mothers who smoke give birth more frequently to premature or underweight babies, probably because of a decrease in blood flow to the placenta. Babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy are also at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome.
Cigar and pipe smoke contains the same toxic and carcinogenic compounds found in cigarette smoke. A report by the National Cancer Institute concluded that the mortality rates from cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, pharynx, and esophagus are approximately equal in users of cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Rates of coronary heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis are elevated for cigar and pipe smokers and are correlated to the amount of smoking and the degree of inhalation.
Studies have found that cigarettes are addictive because an unknown component of tobacco smoke appears to destroy an important brain enzyme known as monoamine oxidase B (MAO B). The enzyme is vital for breaking down excess amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that triggers pleasure-seeking behavior. Smokers have decreased levels of MAO B and abnormally high levels of dopamine, which may encourage the smoker to seek the pleasure of more tobacco smoke.
Even nonsmokers are at risk from smoking. Recent research has focused on the effects of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)—that is, the effect of tobacco smoke on nonsmokers who must share the same environment with a smoker. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that exposure to ETS, which contains all the toxic agents inhaled by a smoker, causes 3,000 lung cancer deaths and an estimated 35,000 deaths from heart disease per year among nonsmokers. Secondhand smoke can aggravate asthma, pneumonia, and bronchitis, and impair blood circulation.
The smoking habit and addiction to nicotine usually begin at an early age. In the United States, more than 90 percent of adults who smoke started by age 21, and nearly half of them were regular smokers by the age of 18. Despite increasing warnings about the health hazards of smoking and widespread bans on smoking in public places, smoking remains common among teenagers and young adults. In 2001 surveys of students in grades 9 through 12 found that more than 38 percent of male students and nearly 30 percent of female students smoke. Although black teenagers have the lowest smoking rates of any racial group, cigarette smoking among black teens increased 80 percent in the late 1990s. Advertisements aimed at a young audience are largely blamed for this new generation of smokers.
(The above information was extracted from various thesis’s, majority of which were done in the United States)
Careful reading of the above shows the dangers that smoking has not only to our selves, but those around us. What sin have those innocent people around us done, to fall into the category of passive smokers. This is without doubt oppression, and Allah says regarding oppression:
‘And Allâh guides not the people, who are Zâlimûn (wrongdoers.)’ (Al-Baqarah : 258)
What does Islam teach us regarding those around us?
Imaam Bukhari and Imaam Muslim both report in their authentic compilation upon the authority of Jaabir (R.A)- (that the angels are affected by that which affects the people)
And in another Hadith; upon the authority of Anas (R.A.) that the prophet (S.A.W) said: (whoever harms a Muslim, has indeed harmed me, and whoever harms me, has harmed Allah)
Reported by At-Tabaraani in Al-Awsat, with a ‘good’ (hasan) chain of narrators.
Imaam Bukhari and Imaam Muslim both report in their authentic compilation, again on the authority of Jaabir (R.A) (The one who eats garlic and onions, should stay away from us and our masjids, and should remain in his home)
The scholars explain the wisdom behind this Hadith in the fact that the evil smell that does emanate from the responsible person’s mouth disturbs those around him/her, which is against the concept of Islam. It’s no secret that smoking causes a smell much worse than the smell of onions and garlic, and undoubtedly has detrimental attributes.
Also, in this evil habit is an unnecessary expenditure, and a spending towards one’s own demise.
Know and understand, my dear brother and sister in Islam- that you will stand in front of Allah on the day of Qiyaamah, and answer for every penny spent. (May Allah save us all)
Wasting ones wealth is detested by Allah Almighty. Allah says in Chapter 17, Verse 27:
‘Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the Evil Ones; and the Evil One is to his Lord (himself) ungrateful’
And in the two Authentic Compilations of Bukhari and Muslim, it is reported that prophet (S.A.W) said: (Allah has forbidden you to waste your wealth)
Also cognizance should be given to the origins of this evil practice. History shows that European explorers who arrived in the Western Hemisphere in the 1500s observed Native Americans smoking tobacco plant leaves in pipes. The colonists who followed them grew tobacco plants as a cash crop for export, and smoking became part of European culture by the 1600s. Most tobacco was consumed in pipes and cigars or as snuff (finely pulverized tobacco inhaled into the nostrils). This pattern changed by the early 20th century, by which time smokers consumed more than 1,000 cigarettes per capita (by each person) each year in the United States and some European countries.
Looking at the media and focus of non-muslim individuals in regards to smoking today, we find an enormous campaign aducating against smoking. In fact, on the same boxes that inhabit these cigarettes, we find messages discouraging the habit!
Now if the Non-Muslims advise against a habit such as this, should we as Muslims really be contemplating whether this practice is Islamically correct or not?! Are we not more deserving of staying away from it?
What do the Ulamaa say in regards to smoking?
Sheikh Muhammed Al Aynee, a Hanafi scholar, mentions in his rulings that smoking is HARAAM. It’s harmful to ones health, stenches ones mouth, constitutes wasting of ones wealth, and it’s a practice started by the disbelievers.
Sheikh Abdullah abaa Bateen, a Hanbali scholar, mentions in his rulings that what seems clear to him in the practice of smoking is that it’s HARAAM.
Sheikh Shaheer Al-Gazza, a Shafi’e scholar, mentions in his rulings that smoking is HARAAM.
Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed, a Maaliki scholar, mentions in his rulings that smoking is HARAAM. And it is not allowed to perform Salaah behind a person who smokes.
What about ‘Shisha’ (Hubble-Bubble smoking)?
Research shows that smoking ‘Shisha’ has pronounced dangers just as in smoking. in fact, in some areas, carries a higher risk factor! Thus, falls under the same islamic ruling as smoking.
Further information in regards to this can be extracted from the research carried out by Dr. Sana al-Mutairi who is a participant in the faculty of medicine at the Kuwait University.
Also in smoking ‘shisha’ is wasting of one’s time and wealth. Especially in practices we witness today, whereby groups of individuals gather for hours on end, engrossed in this act which is retrogressive to one’s mind, development, health, body, and last but not least- religion..
Take account of your seconds my dear Muslim, before Allah does it for you.
It’s extremely clear from all presented that the practice of smoking, whether cigarettes or ‘Shisha’ is a harmful one.
An intelligent individual knows the dangers that exist in persisting negative activities, from both a worldly and religious avenue.
This evil habit is a ‘Cancer’ to every faculty in the life of the Son of Adam.
Oh people of understanding, my dear brothers and sisters, the choice is in your hands.
And Allah (S.W.T) knows best.
Your brother in Islam
Sajid Ahmed Umar