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Is Sheesha/Hookah Haram In Islam?


Question
I was wondering if sheesha/hookah smoking is haram in Islam or not ?because recent studies shows us that sheesha contains products which are as harmfull as cigarretes.I have seen the majority scholars saying tat it is haram based on a verse of the Quran which says not to kill or harm ourselves.However we have lot of things which can have long term harmfull effects on us such as drinking too much coke or other bevarages. So i wondering if there are any verses from the Quran or hadith which sheds some light on this issue?

Question from Bangladesh
Answer
The Shari'ah (Islamic Law) does not address smoking hookahs so it does not prohibit their use. The prohibitions in Islam are not related to health; rather, they are related to the spiritual well-being of the individual. Thus, even cigarettes, with all the harm they pose, are not forbidden. When you refer to the "majority" of scholars having said opinion we would have to be presented with facts supporting that statement. We realize that there are some scholars that opine that smoking is forbidden but their opinion is not the Shari'ah.

The following is the verse to which we believe you are referring:

And [for this fight against these enemies of God and His messenger,] spend in the way of God [out of your wealth]. And do not arrange for your doom with your own hands [by avoiding to do so]. And [when you spend your wealth, in God's ways] do it in the best of manners. Indeed God loves those, who do their deeds in the best of manners. - Al Baqarah 2:195
 
From the context, it should be clear that this is not related to health but rather our responsibilities as Muslims. By not living up to these responsibilities we potentially harm ourselves more than we may realize. Thus, there is no ground to forbid smoking based on this verse.

One of the purposes of Islam is to refine the self and guide the soul. On the other hand, one's health is left up to them. One may posit the pork argument but it too falls under the same category. Filth must be avoided because what is on the outside will reflect on the inside and vice-versa. The old adage applies, "you are what you eat" in the sense that what you consume effects you even if you do not perceive it.  We are to be clean and to achieve that we must take a comprehensive look at our lives. It is in this same sense that alcohol is forbidden. Not because of its harmful effect on one's health but its harmful affects on the mind that may defile our being and thereby harm the soul. Smoking may introduce toxins into the body but that is a health issue. If, however, smoking becomes so addictive that one cannot commit to their religious duties then, while we cannot say that it is haram, it is cause for serious concern and is very much disliked from a religious point of view.

Mind, body and spirit are intertwined and effect each other in one form or another. From the religious perspective the moral issue is of utmost importance to this formula, which we employ to reach out to the Almighty.  This is the reasoning behind the restrictions of what we may put into our bodies in Islam.

I hope this helps.

God knows best.


Answer published by Ronnie Hassan

Last Updated on Monday, 23 May 2011 17:32