Smoking Sin

Oct 31st, 2007, in News, by

Whether smoking is sinful in Islam.

In a country where cigarette production is high, providing a living for millions, and consumption also high, the Clerics' Council, Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), is having a difficult time deciding whether to issue a fatwa against smoking, or make it haram within Islam.

Maruf Amin of the MUI said on 25th October that the fate of the farmers who grow tobacco and the workers in cigarette factories had to be considered, and this would make an anti-smoking fatwa unlikely.

In countries like Saudi Arabia, where fatwas have been issued against smoking, there were no tobacco farmers or cigarette factories, but things were different in Indonesia.

Any MUI fatwa against smoking would have to be preceded by government programs to find an alternative living for people dependent on the cigarette industry, he said. detik

Meanwhile Akhmad Muzakki, a young Muslim intellectual, says the MUI should pay attention to serious problems like corruption, and the habit of people/companies to take "commissions" and "incentives" in building or development projects.

In any case, Akhmad said, MUI fatwas were not binding on anyone and Muslims tended to pay more attention to mass organisations like NU and Muhammadiyah, anyway. republika


21 Comments on “Smoking Sin”

  1. avatar Josef says:

    If asked to choose between Djarums and Islam, I think Islam may be in trouble.

  2. avatar Arema says:

    In a country where cigarette production is high, providing a living for millions, and consumption also high, the Clerics’ Council, Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), is having a difficult time deciding whether to issue a fatwa against smoking, or make it haram within Islam.

    Any MUI fatwa against smoking would have to be preceded by government programs to find an alternative living for people dependent on the cigarette industry, he said.

    Very funny.

    If it’s a sin, it is a sin no matter what. If it is not a sin, it is not a sin no matter what. That is the characteristics of law from God. God is not plin-plan like MUI.

    Let’s consider similar case: I have no actual numbers, but quite a percentage of our population works for the government right? and a great percentage of them are actually corruptors right? Is that why MUI never issued a fatwa against corruption? Because they need to find an alternative living for corruptors? LOL!

    Okay, I’m not condemning smoking as bad as corrupting people’s money. Smoking is bad for health, everyone knows that. It is worse for non-smokers, everyone knows that. So what should be banned is smoking in public. But if someone, despite his knowledge that smoking is bad for him, choose to continue smoking, it is his choice. He can do that as long as he’s not doing harm to others, especially non-smokers, which means that he shouldn’t smoke in public place.

    But yeah, tobacco farmers should look for something else to plant. Cigarette companies should know that they are selling something that ruining future generations and making hospitals happy. They should all repent and do something that is truly beneficial for society. But what can we do… we can’t force people… and there’s this thing named GREED too… that makes everything halal as long as there’s money coming in, and not prohibited by law.

    If asked to choose between Djarums and Islam, I think Islam may be in trouble.

    Yeah Josef, that maybe their main reason why they withdrew. =p

  3. avatar Ihaknt says:

    Mmm…when will breathing also be deemed as sinful? It’s like everything is haram these days.

    Smoking IS bad for your health and everyone knows it, but banning it wont solve the problem. It’s not like we live in drug prostitution free world do we? And they are illegal activities and yet the problem is not solved.

    Any MUI fatwa against smoking would have to be preceded by government programs to find an alternative living for people dependent on the cigarette industry, he said. [1]

    Do they realise the magnitude and the domino effect of this? They’re talking as if there were only 1 person in the industry.

  4. avatar Anita McKay says:

    Ikhant:

    Smoking IS bad for your health and everyone knows it, but banning it wont solve the problem. It’s not like we live in drug prostitution free world do we? And they are illegal activities and yet the problem is not solved.

    I think they don’t need to ban it altogether, but it should strictly be banned from public places. For so long non-smokers have to put up with the smokers. Even up to now some offices in high rise building still allow its occupants to smoke inside the building, which leads to the high cost of air conditioning maintenance.

    In UK smoking now is banned from all public space including bars, bus stops and football stadiums, starts since July (and there was huge public debates before that). It’s funny to see those smokers gather together outside the building for a ciggy break in freezing cold weather.

    I heard that the US is trying to apply the same rules but they have big tobacco companies, I don’t know if the rule is already applied? If yes, then the tobacco companies most likely will push their sales in countries like Indonesia.

  5. avatar iamisaid says:

    The clerics at the M–U–I–K–E–Y M–O–U–S–E Council ought to know better. The Indonesian ingenuity will not be fazed by fatwas.

    “Haramkan” smoking tobacco and Indonesians will increase and replace it with that other smoking pleasure – which undeniably be even more gratifying than tobacco.

  6. avatar Chris says:

    I enjoy Ramadan, when the “true” Muslims don’t smoke (nor eat nor drink); the KTP Muslims still do.

    I wonder whether smoking would have been banned (like drinking alcohol and gambling) if it was around (like alcohol) in the sixth century AD.

    Then again, people didn’t work out the negative health consequences until relatively recently.

  7. avatar Ihaknt says:

    It’s funny to see those smokers gather together outside the building for a ciggy break in freezing cold weather.

    I get amused too to see it in Sydney. Suckers! Sometimes I think if they dont die from the cancer or whatever disease they’re giving themselves, they could die from pneumonia. Hehhehhe, anything for a fix, but I guess that goes for any addiction.

    I dont think anyone can ever stop people from smoking. The industry makes too much money and too money people depend on it. As Arema said, it’s one’s choice, everyone knows it’s bad, but it’s a matter of choice. Oh well, we’ll see.

  8. avatar Bang Jebud says:

    Arema Says:

    Very funny.
    If it’s a sin, it is a sin no matter what. If it is not a sin, it is not a sin no matter what. That is the characteristics of law from God. God is not plin-plan like MUI.

    Ihaknt Says:

    Mmm”¦when will breathing also be deemed as sinful? It’s like everything is haram these days.

    The hala-haram status of goods or deed might change under specific circumstances. For instance, rice may become ‘haram’ to eat if it is obtained from stealing. Similarly, according to Koran, cigarette per se is not haram, but it can turn to ‘haram’ if it is deemed to bring about more adverse effects (mudlarat) than good effects (manfaat) on the human life and its environment. Most ulema including those in MUI agree that the law status of smoking is MAKRUH. It means that you won’t get either sins nor rewards if you smoke, but you’ll get reward if you can avoid doing so.

  9. avatar Tuan says:

    I was reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X (a famous American civil rights leader who was Muslim) mentioned during his trip to the middle east, that while drinking and drugs were forbidden in Islam, there was leniency towards smoking. Of course he added, that if smoking existed during Muhammad SAW’s time, it would’ve been clearly forbidden.

    ~Tuan Indoneisan-American Muslim

  10. avatar Dragonwall says:

    I just wonder that much were spoken of, has smoking got anything to do with drugs or drinking. A great majority who were muslim in any country smoke. So whoever you maybe whether Ulamas or Indian Brazilian muslim of whatever, is smoking a sin?
    When abuse is a sin and priviledge is not, how far the foresight of those people trying to adopt something as a way of their life, should not affect others.

  11. avatar heavenlysword says:

    If you knew smoking is hazardous to your body ie health and you keep on doing that, you’re not being responsible to yourself and your creator, therefore it’s a sin. If by smoking you make others inhale that ridicullously stupid smell, and therefore slow-poisoning others, then it’s a sin.

    That’s how I look at it.

  12. avatar Stefan says:

    A great majority who were muslim in any country smoke.

    Really? I think a great majority of all homans (including muslime and non-muslims) doesn’t smoke. Or is the percentage of smokers under muslims higher then under non-muslims and if yes, then it would be interesting to hnow why.

    I heard that the US is trying to apply the same rules but they have big tobacco companies, I don’t know if the rule is already applied? If yes, then the tobacco companies most likely will push their sales in countries like Indonesia.

    The same tobacco companies are heavily lobbying against smoking bans in Europe and I have heared that they are also present in Indonesia. I have made a funny observation here in Europe. Some countries with smoke friendly traditions such as Italy or Ireland have already banned smoking in pubs and restaurants. But other than expected the number of guests in pubs and restaurants hasn’t dropped, in fach it has increased because the smokers don’t stay away (They just go outside to satisfy their addict) and more non-smokers are attracted to visit the now smoke-free pubs and restaurants. Now there is Germany, one of the last smoke-havens in Europe. Currently most states are considering smoke bans but it seems that the restaurant and pub owners are not interested in having more guests because they are still lobbying against smoking bans.

    But imagine the MUI had issued a fatwa that declares smoking as haram. How many Indonesian muslims would have quit smoking almost immediately? Enough to make a significant number of tobacco farmers unemployed? I don’t think that many would quit smoking, so I may have to ask on which planet these MUI guys are living. Are are they already lobbied by the tobacco industry?

  13. avatar Peter says:

    Oh my God… people are actually taking practicalities into consideration before issuing a fatwa?? Pinch me.

    Haha if smoking is haram then all of Indonesia is going to hell in a handbasket.

    Smoking is clearly not a skillful decision, to put it nicely, but.. going to hell for merokok? I guess the rationale is that smoking harms your body.. kind of like blowing yourself up, kan? I wonder, have they issued a fatwa against that?

  14. avatar Arema says:

    heavenlysword:
    If you knew smoking is hazardous to your body ie health and you keep on doing that, you’re not being responsible to yourself and your creator, therefore it’s a sin. If by smoking you make others inhale that ridiculously stupid smell, and therefore slow-poisoning others, then it’s a sin.

    That’s how I look at it.

    That’s my stand (and my church’s stand) as well.

    We are taught to be responsible for our own body and not to harm others. By smoking, we do the opposite. But since the Bible never mentioned anything about smoking, we are not trying to add anything into it by saying that it is a sin. But nevertheless, our church strongly discourage us to smoke, and strongly encourage those currently smoking to quit, based on the above reason.

  15. avatar Idam H. says:

    Since I am a non-smoker, I support the MUI decision if they issue fatwa on banning smoking. However, for the sake of many of my friends who are heavy smokers and since the fatwa should consider many things, I recommend MUI to ban smoking only for one circumstance: if it affects non-smokers’ health. To put it shortly, embrace the DKI regulation in banning smoking in public spaces.

    Two goals can be achieved by banning this way. First, there would be a sharia-based regulation in DKI. Isn’t that beautiful the capital city is starting embracing sharia law? Second, sharia law would be viewed in par with the regulations in developed countries where smoking affecting nonsmokers is prohibited. This would make sharia law more attractive to western people.

    Don’t take my advice seriously. I am just joking.

  16. avatar Husam says:

    In the Middle East, many of the scholars say smoking is haram, but there are plenty of smokers there. In Malaysia, the fatwa council there said smoking is also haram, but cigarettes are sold everywhere and people still smoke.

    I would say that smoking is haram, but because it does not affect everyone the same (e.g. not everyone gets sick from smoking. Approximately 50% of long-term smokers die of a tobacco-related disease..this means the other half don’t.) I don’t think it should be haram.

    I know people who have died from smoking and people like my grandfather who are 86 years old and quit smoking when he was 83. He’s alive and healthy today after 60 years of smoking.

    Smokers and nonsmokers agree that smoking is bad for you. There is no debate about that.

    I like the Shi’a (Syiah) position on smoking. They said it is haram for anyone to start smoking, but for those who have been smoking since before the danger was known and are trying to quit – it is makruh for them.

    A better approach is for non-smokers to stop harassing smokers and for smokers to not smoke indoors. No need for a fatwa. I think this would solve the problem, except in DPR where worthless people like Yuzril Mahendra still light up their cigarettes, defying the ban. I’ve seen it on Swara TV: Yuzril lighting up and so are many other DPR members, even though it was banned two years ago.

    Indonesian government is so corrupt.

  17. avatar Andrew says:

    A better approach is for non-smokers to stop harassing smokers and for smokers to not smoke indoors. No need for a fatwa. I think this would solve the problem, except in DPR where worthless people like Yuzril Mahendra still light up their cigarettes, defying the ban. I’ve seen it on Swara TV: Yuzril lighting up and so are many other DPR members, even though it was banned two years ago.

    Those people think they’re above the law and regulations. They think they own the country exclusively. I’d be interested to hear what Yusril himself say about his behavior. Hey Yusril, why don’t you comment on this. IN ENGLISH.

  18. avatar Yoshi says:

    In NYC, smoking is illegal indoors. You can smoke it outdoors though.
    I don’t think cigarettes are haram, unless you smoke enough to put yourself in danger. Like someone here said, 50% of heavy smokers die of diseases caused by the smoke. I know plenty of people that only have 2 – 4 cigarettes a day. Logically, that can’t be harmful at all.

    People love to exaggerate the effects of drugs. Just as I believe cigarrettes aren’t haram, I also don’t believe marijuana is haram. Logically, it makes no sense for them to be haram. Unless Allah Himself intructed me that these things are haram, it won’t make sense to me.

  19. avatar cokki says:

    guess what?

    it is simply one of very-very fundamental reason that some mujahidants wanna make this country become an Islamic Country. as Ulama and their corps cant force any sinner at all. and the police officer (also judges and attorneys) looking only for their own benefit within the rules. while those (some) good people stay in jail but the sinner living in well prosperous wealth and luxury facilities from the country.

    they cant help awaiting then to revolts.

  20. avatar prof.rupi says:

    What is a “sin”?

    Sounds interesting, forbidden, thrilling!!! Maybe I miss something if I wouldn´t try it?

    However, there are no sins in the world. A grown up person must know what to do. Smoking is very unhealthy! I did it for many years (a lot of money changed to smoke) and stopped this silly habit, because of health reasons. My health is now much better and I have a lot of Euros for more interesting things than burning tobacco!!!

  21. avatar Dawah2All says:

    I find it interesting the comments by Maruf Amin “..farmers who grow tobacco and the workers in cigarette factories had to be considered, and this would make an anti-smoking fatwa unlikely”.

    The Quran and Sunnah dictates that anything that causes bodily harm is prohibited. So if Smoking is considered to cause death, by the Surgeon General in USA, meaning it is similar to committing suicide, why isn’t MUI considering this.

    If you issues fatwas based on welfare and economic needs of the community, then you will allow Ribaa (Interest) too.

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