Chewing of pan and smoking cigarettes.

Q. Please explain to me if chewing of pan is permissible or not according to the shariah? And what about smoking of cigarette, cigar and marihuana?

A. If, in Cigar or Cigarette, there is any substance which intoxicates or befogs the mind then it will be totally Haram to use. Marijuana is known to intoxicate and befog the mind, hence it is totally haram (unlawful) to use.

As for the tobacco which is normally placed in cigarette or cigar, then it is not unanimously agreed that it intoxicates or befogs, hence, it’s illegality in the shariah is also not unanimously declared by all scholars. Most jurists have declared it to be allowed and not haram.

However, while there may be no clear cut evidence in the shariah to prove that using the tobacco by smoking cigarette and cigar or is haram, there is certainly sufficient evidence to show that it is discouraged and dislike in Islam.

First of all, through the act of smoking, a foul smell emanates from the mouth. This foul smell is sometimes worst than the scent of garlic and onion about which the Propet (S.A.S.) said, ‘Whoever eats garlic or onion, let him avoid us and our masjid, and stay in his home. The angels are surely hurt by things that hurt the human beings’. (Bukhari, Muslim).

The hadith shows clearly that the Prophet (S.A.S.) prohibited from coming to the masjid those who ate garlic and onion. This prohibition was due to the foul scent emanating from their mouths. When this is the case with garlic and onion, then to a greater extent it will be applicable to those from whose mouths emanate a foul scent due to smoking.

In another tradition recorded by Imam Muslim, Abu Saeed Khudri (R.A.) narrates that once the Prophet (S.A.S.) as well as his companions passed closed to an onion field. Some companions rested there and having done so, some of them ate onions and some did not eat. After this, they all came to the Prophet (S.A.S.), upon which he (the Prophet (S.A.S.)) allowed those who did not partake of the onions to assemble close to him and as for those who ate onions, he told them to remain at the back of the gathering until the foul smell went away. (Muslim).

The hadith shows that partaking or using anything which leaves a foul smell in the mouth is totally undesirable.

In addition to the above, it is also established medically that smoking cigars and cigarettes is dangerous to one’s health. Poisonous substances such as nicotine, tar, etc. are what the smoker inhales in small proportions. The harm then accumulates in time thus resulting in a gradual damaging of the human organs and tissues.

The harms may not appear all at once, but a smoker runs the risk of suffering from them over a period of time, especially as he grows older.

Thus, it is clear that through smoking, one is actually bringing harm to his body and health, which then leads to such chronic diseases that destroy the individual. The Holy Quran has clearly instructed the believers, ‘Do not kill yourselves, Allah is indeed Merciful to you’. (Sura Nisa (4:29)).

In another verse, Allah says, ‘Do not cast yourselves, with your own hands, into destruction’. (Sura Al Baqarah (2:195)).

The hadith of the Prophet (S.A.S.) has also instructed ‘No harm may be inflicted on oneself or others’. (Recorded by Ahmad).

These evidences have clearly instructed that one must not harm himself in any manner. As such, when it is known that smoking cigars and cigarettes bring definite harm then one should avoid them.

With respect to the chewing of ‘Paan’, then it would be allowed when there are no unlawful, harmful or poisonous substances placed in it.

Paan, in reality is the name of the betel-leaf in which small amounts of different eatables are placed. For example, a small amount of coconut, jam, other nut etc. are placed into the leaf and it is then chewed. As such in this case it is permissible and lawful to chew and use, when the contents or the substance chewed is lawful in Islam.

As a rule, if any such ingredient is chewed and consumed in the paan which intoxicates or befogs the mind, then it will be impermissible to use.

If the paan is made of such substance that a person chewing it becomes ‘high’, ‘doped’ or feels the same as others may feel while under the influence of drugs, then it will be impermissible to use. Chewing it for this purpose will also be totally haram and unlawful.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan