Opinion, June 2003, Al-Jazeerah.info



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Is Smoking Forbidden?

 Adil Salahi


Arab News

Q. An increasing number of scholars are endorsing the ruling that smoking is forbidden in Islam, pointing out that it is the responsibility of every Muslim to look after his or her own health. They also mention the fact that smoking is addictive, though not mind-altering. But many smokers are angry because they feel that it is a matter of personal choice. Please comment.

Parveen Mohammad

A. The first ruling on the prohibition of tobacco smoking is more than a hundred years old. However, it was not based on health reasons, because the health risks of smoking were not known at the time. More than 20 years ago, a group of prominent scholars in Saudi Arabia issued a fatwa making tobacco smoking, growing and selling forbidden under Islamic law. Later, ten leading scholars from Al-Azhar in Cairo, the oldest Islamic university in the world, issued a series of ten fatwas, with eight making it clear that smoking was strictly forbidden, while the other two saying that it is close to being forbidden.

More and more scholars have come to the same conclusion. It should be said that the Al-Azhar scholars based their fatwas on reports submitted to them by the World Health Organization explaining the health risks of tobacco smoking. Sheikh Al-Qaradawi says: ďOn such matters, when doctors say that something is certainly harmful, Islamic scholars have no option but to pronounce it as forbidden.Ē

The health risks of tobacco smoking are too clear to be overlooked. It is the direct cause of more than 25 killer diseases. Its harmful effects are not limited to the smoker, but include his family and colleagues at work as well as those who are in close proximity to him. Besides, it is an addiction which is very difficult to break. You say that it is not mind altering. I have my reservations about that statement. It works very slowly and gradually, but it certainly alters the smokerís mind. This is why smokers consume more cigarettes in both states of sadness and joy.

There is no doubt in my mind that smoking is forbidden. Muslim countries should adopt health policies that aim to make their territories tobacco free over a period of time. This will be a great service to their populations.

Calling Oneís Wife Mother

Q. Is it permissible for me to call my wife ĎMammaí to express my appreciation of her kindness?

S. Yasin

A. The Arabs of pre-Islamic days had a practice of punishing their wives by considering them like their mothers. A man might say to his wife that she was to him like his motherís back. In this way, he terminates the marriage without divorcing his wife. Islam forbids this practice and prescribes a very heavy punishment for it. Scholars agree that if one calls his wife like a mother, out of kindness or respect, he does not fall in the same category. However, it is better not to resort to such appellations. A husband may express his appreciation of his wifeís love or kindness in a variety of ways. Why should he call her by a name that is normally given to mothers?


Earth, a planet hungry for peace


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).
The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).



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