Use of tobacco in Islam – 2 [Archives:2007/1082/Health]

September 3 2007

Dr. Qazi Shaikh Abbas Borhany
[email protected]
For Yemen Times

Those who do not consider smoking as a sin, are in fact people of less understanding, because if one persists in a minor sin, then the minor sin transforms itself into a major sin. Smokers are parallel to the inhabitants of the Jahannam, who eat harmful dirty plants: No food will be there for them but a poisonous plant, which will neither nourish them nor remove their hunger. Rasulullah (S) says:

“There are five grounds for converting a minor sin into a major sin.

(1) Persistence in committing a minor sin converts it into a major sin.

(2) Minimization of the gravity of a minor sin converts it into a major sin.

(3) Happiness and shamelessness over committing a sin converts a minor sin into a major one.

(4) Boasting of committing a minor sin among the public converts it into a major one.

(5) The committing of a minor sin by the learned converts it into a major”.

These are the reasons which convert a minor sin into a major one. Minimizing the gravity of a minor sin is a wicked act and not taking any heed of it is like burning straws, which are burnt before setting fire to bigger piles of wood in order that they catch fire from them. Persistence in extravagance and evil acts, and committing sins openly among the people with a fanfare and gusto is a cause of divine punishment. To wage war against every evil is a Talim of Islam. To do Jehaad for this cause is a duty of every Muslim. The lowest grade of Jehad is, one should express hatred against a wicked act openly, if he/she is unable to stop it. The lowest grade of an ordinary Muslim is that one should hate it from the heart. From these examples it must be quite clear that Tobacco is a Har'am. It is not enough for the Government to mention on cigarette boxes that “Smoking is injurious to Health”. It is also incumbent on the Government, religiously, legally and ethically, to enforce Ban on Advertisements which encourage smoking through all effective means of media and communication. If the exploiters (manufactures, distributors and shopkeepers) stop this dirty business, the society may move onward towards a healthy condition. If the government overlooks the revenue, earned from cigarette manufactures, positive results should come.

Curse of tobacco

A smoker emits his poisons in the faces of his companions, wife, children, and the environment. It is well established that second-hand smoke is almost as dangerous as first-hand. Thus, whether they like it or not, a smoker's associates are forced to inhale the smoke and be themselves smokers as well. In addition to the poisons normally carried in the smoke, if a smoker has a contagious disease, such as tuberculosis or influenza, his exhaled smoke and coughing carry the disease to those around him. Furthermore, a smoker irritates people by the foul smell and poisonous nature of his smoking. If they suffer from asthma or allergies, they are forced to move away from his vicinity. A Hadith says:

“Anyone who believes in Allah and the Qiyamat should not hurt his neighbor”. (Narrated by Al Bukh'ari)

Thus, smoking constitutes a definite harm to other people; this is prohibited, it is Right of all people to ask to stop smoking at public places or where people get to gathers. No need to co-operate in this regard as Qur'an guided:

“Co-operate with one another in righteousness and piety, and do not cooperate with one another in sinning and transgression. And fear Allah; verily, Allah is severe in punishment.” (Surat al Maedah-No.5, Aytat No.2)

Health problems & cause of impotency

Smoking is harmful to the human mind and reason. An obvious demonstration of this is that one who is addicted to it passes through periods of severe craving, making it hard for him to think, concentrate, solve a problem, or do any important matter, until he smokes. When one smokes, his muscles slacken, and he passes through a brief period of delirium that curtains the thought. His digestive system is also affected, causing him frequent nervousness and trembling of the hands. He passes through periods of excitability, irritation, and insomnia. Thus, instead of being slave of Allah, a smoker becomes a slave to his cigarette. He develops a weaker control of his sense and reason. The faculty of reason, clear and unobstructed, is one of divine blessings to the people. Qur'an has praised it in numerous places; and called on people to use it to see the truth, and obey Him in a better way. Allah wants of the believer to be strong and capable of controlling the reigns of his desires. He said (what means):

“AIIah wants to let you into His mercy, whereas those who follow the desires want you to drift far away (from the right path)”.

(“Smoking: A Social Poison”, Muhammad al Jibaly, by Al Qur'an wal Sunnah Society of North America).

According to Hakim Sharif Khan, who died in 1807, Tobacco damages the senses and physical power, and it weakens the mind. According to Hindu Vaids, it weakens the body, slows the pace of breathtaking and impairs digestion. According to Arab physicians, Tobacco gradually weakens the heart. Hakim Sharif Khan in his famous book, “Bahare Shabab”, while discussing the causes of impotency, has mentioned that with the use of Tobacco and smoking besides general physical weakness, week nervous system, cerebral debility along with the problems of liver and heart, it is also a major cause of impotency. The French Researchers have reported, and published in the famous British Medical Journal 'Lancet' in 1986, that smoking destroys sexual power; it is a main cause of impotency. Unfortunately, in America, Europe and other parts of the world, smoking is considered as a sign of smartness. According to the latest report of the Royal College of Physicians, the greatest cause of death among men is Cancer. The recorded cause of death among women firstly is breast Cancer and secondly is Lung Cancer, due to smoking. Smoking is a cause of barrenness in women. Smoking also bring menopause in women quite early. Chances of a failure in pregnancy are greater in women, who smoke. Smokers not only destroy their own health, but their habit is also a grave danger for the health of non-smokers. Healthy persons, who do not smoke, have to live in an unhealthy environment, where Tobacco smoke is spread, and the people who are over there also inhale the smoke. This state of smoking is called “Unconscious Smoking”, because in such circumstances a person does inhale the smoke. This also causes cancer, and diseases of the lungs and the heart.

Verdicts against the use of Tobacco

Following Fatawa are enough to explain the heinous value of Tobacco.

(1) Syed Jamaluddin Afghani has also waged war against Tobacco and smoking. He referred the matter of Tobacco to the Ayatullah al Uzma, Mirza Buzurg, Mirza Hasan Sherazi, in Samrah, Iraq. He issued an explicit Fatwa against Tobacco and clearly said: “From today the use of Tobacco in the form of Huqqah, Cigar, Cigarettes and every other kind is war against the Imam al Zaman”. Ayatullah Mirza Hasan Shirazi did his best to save the Muslim Ummah from the Lanat of Tobacco. He clearly said: “Tobacco is not only injurious for health but it is Har'am”.

(2) Fatwa of Imam Kabah, Mufti Shaikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz: “One who smoke or eats Tobacco commits a Har'am, because it is included in vices”. ('Majallat al Jameat ul Islamiyah', Madinah, page 109, March 1971).

(3) Fatwa of Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaikh Karamuddin Salfi: “Tobacco produces intoxication; it is of bad smell and damages senses and intellect power. Its use is Har'am is proved by the Qur'an and the Sunnah and the research of physicians and common sense”.

(4) Fatwa of Mufti Shaikh Ahmad Sanhori of Misar: “Tobacco is a Har'am practice”.

(5) Fatwa of Mufti Shaikh Mustafa Hamami of Misar: “Tobacco is Har'am”, (Nahzat al Islahiyah).

(6) Fatwa of Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmad Maliki: “It is not lawful to offer Salaat behind an Imam who utilize Tobacco. When the harm of a Har'am thing has been proved, to say that its use is most common is no argument of making it Halal according to Shariat. In today's society, interest is very much common; every business is involved in it. Does this prove that interest is Halal and Jaez”?

(7) Mufti of United Arab Emirates, Shaikh Saeed bin Khalifah al Kharusi, issued a Fatwa on Jumuah, the 15th April 1991, “Smoking is Har'am in Islam”.

(8) I believe and follow the wordings of Syedi Abdlqadir Hakimuddin, a prince among the friends of Allah, at India. Some three centuries ago he described the uses of Tobacco as follows: “Tobacco is an injurious plant of bad odor and bitter in taste. Eating, chewing, smoking and smelling of Tobacco come under the category of Har'am, according to the principles of the Shariah. Therefore, its use even as Medicine is not Halal, because by affecting the brain it greatly injures the nervous system”.

(9) It is unjust to ignore the efforts of Dr. Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin to eliminate the practice of utilization of Tobacco in any form. Due to his efforts thousands of people have left the habit of chewing or smoking Tobacco. War with weapons is easy; but through the pen and words is very difficult. It is the wish and will of the friends of Allah that they use every moment to bring people in to the fold of Shariat. At every such step pious people is needed to guide and show the way to the people as to how one should control ones mind and remain aloof from the evil acts. He further has drawn the attention of the Muslims through his sermons at different countries. He says: “People who are addicted should realize that the place we pronounce the name of Allah and His Rasul (S), we put non pious thing like Tobacco in it? Smoking leads far away from the path of righteousness. Therefore drawing attention towards this matter, All these persons who have been habituated to it, should try to leave it up as soon as possible. They should seek help of Allah and strength to abandon this habit”.

(10) It is a fact that in Pakistan there is “Smoke Free City”. Yes, 'Hunza'! in the northern area of Pakistan, where people neither sell cigarette nor use it. On the explicit instruction of their spiritual head, Prince Karim Agha Khan, the natives of Hunza strictly follow the practice to eliminate the use of Tobacco. The 'Order' and the 'Obeying' make the valley an ideal place of the world. Prince Agha Khan said: “Do not think that by puffing smoke into the air you are behaving intelligently or in a healthy manner I strongly advise my spiritual children to stay away from cigarette smoking, pipe smoking, cigar smoking, all types of smoking. It is in your own interest, it is for your own health .that this is a habit which can cause great unhappiness and great ill health, not only to you, but in your families generally. This is matter of importance ” (Mumbai, India -23 Feb.1969)

Nefarious Role of Health Ministry & Media

Due to the negligence of Federal Minister of Health and his Ministry, not a single smoker of our country have sense, knowledge and information to understand how much their bad habit can annoy non-smokers. The pleasure of a visit to any public place can be ruined and turns into torture by having to sit near a smoker. Passive smoking is much dangerous. Passive smoking means inhaling other people's Tobacco smoke. This not only produces headache, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, but is also harmful on the equal level of active smoking. Every educated knows what effects are caused on society by propagation through media. Today the Western nations who imposed smoking in the form of a contagious disease are imposing restrictions on publicity of smoking although alongside they are allowing its use openly and are cultivating Tobacco extensively. But alas smoking is being promoted because Cigarette Companies are sponsoring various games and TV programs, players and artists. They spend huge amounts for sponsoring sports in different countries for sports fans. In doing so what other purpose they have that people attract towards smoking and that thereby their business should continue to prosper. Vices are like plague and they infect other people like infection and contagious diseases. Those who try to eschew them are saved and this is called Taqwa and piety. Minister of Health and Minister of Information should pay attention on this critical matter in the cumulative interest of poor nation. It is not an ordinary matter as it plays a vital role in making the future of the Nation, a prey to various diseases and the wastage of the national wealth. Government must frame such an effective law that cigarette manufacturing Companies should find it extremely hard to carry on their business and the import of foreign cigarettes should be altogether banned. An effective campaign should be launched against the use of Tobacco.

Dr. Qazi Shaikh Abbas Borhany. PhD (USA), Shahadat al Aalamiyah (Najaf, Iraq). The Writer is Attorney at Law & Religious Scholar and member, Ulama Council of Pakistan.