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‘Do not harm yourselves or others.’

Historically Islamic scholar’s views on Cigarettes and tobacco have been mixed and until recently there has not been a clear, fatwa on whether smoking is allowed (halal) or forbidden (haram) for Muslims. 

The term haram refers to prohibitions on behaviors by Muslims. Forbidden Acts that are haram are generally those clearly prohibited in the religious texts of the Quran and Sunnah and are regarded as very serious prohibitions. Any act that is judged haram remains prohibited no matter what the intentions or purpose behind the act.

A fatwa is a legal pronouncement handed down by a Grand Khadi, Mufti, or consensus of experts in religious law dealing with a specific issue. It provides a means for making a judgment on acts and behaviors not clearly described or spelled out in the Quran and Sunnah. Generally, the issues will be one involving new technologies and social advances, such as cloning or in-vitro fertilization. Smoking also falls into this category of modern day new development.

Evolving views on the subject of cigarettes smoking came about because cigarettes are a more recent invention and was not a known act at the time of the revelation of the Quran. Therefore, one cannot find a direct verse of  Holy Quran, or  Hadith, saying clearly that “cigarette smoking is forbidden.”

However, there are many instances where the Quran gives us general guidelines and calls upon us to use our reason and intelligence, and to seek guidance from Allah about what is right and wrong. …he [the Prophet] commands them what is just, and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good, and prohibits them from what is bad… (Quran 7:157).

Traditionally, Islamic scholars use their knowledge and judgment to make new legal rulings (fatwa) on matters that were not addressed in the directly in the two books. In more recent times, as the dangers of tobacco use have been proven beyond any doubt, Islamic scholars have become unanimous in pronouncing that tobacco use is clearly haram (forbidden) to believers.  Thus, growing, trading in and smoking of tobacco cigarette are judged to be haram (forbidden). This consensus is based on the Hadith as well as Quran prohibitions of the use of injurious items and intoxicants. Furthermore, tobacco is unwholesome, and God says in the Qur’an that the Prophet, peace be upon him, ‘enjoins upon them that which is good and pure, and forbids them that which is unwholesome.  ‘O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants (khamr), gambling, [sacrificing on] stone altars [to other than God], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful’…. Qur’an 4:43,

Source: Permanent Committee of Academic Research and Fatwa, Saudi Arabia).

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