Hanafi Madhab and Smoking


Please find below a presentation of a range of opinions from the hanafi school on the issue of smoking, extracted and adapted from Sh. Salah Abul Hajj’s work ‘Al-Bayan’ (p.185-186).

There are a varying opinions within the hanafi school on the issue of smoking, some of the scholars have said that it is:

i) Unlawful (Haram), this was the position of al-Shurunbulali (d.1069) in his ‘Sharh al-Wahbaniyyah’ wherein he said:

And forbidden is the selling of tobacco and its smoking[1]

ii) Disliked (Makruh), this was the position of al-Luknawi (d.1304) as mentioned in his ‘Tarwih al-Janan bi Hukm Sharb al-Dukhan’ and ‘Zajr Arbab al-Rayyan an Sharb al-Dukhan’. He said[2]:

If the karahah is tahrimi, then the committing of it is from the major sins, because the makruh tahrimi is close the unlawful (haram) as was clearly stated by a group of the notable (scholars), even if it is regarded by some as being from the minor sins.

If it is tanzihi its committal is a minor sin, but when done whilst being content with it, and its becoming a habit is a major sin. It therefore becomes apparent the smoking of tobacco necessitates the committing of a major sin according to the view of the majority of scholars, and that is what the evidences point towards.

iii) Permissible (Mubah), this was the position of Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi (d.1143) in his ‘Al-Sulh bain al-Ikhwan fi Ibahah Sharb al-Dukhan’ wherein he said whilst discussing whether smoking is unlawful or disliked:

Unlawful and disliked are two legal rulings which require a proof, and there is no proof for it. For it is not established that it intoxicates…nor that it causes harm. But rather benefits have been proven for it, it therefore falls under the principle: The basis of things is permissibility.[3]

Note: It has however been established by medical experts that smoking is in actual fact harmful to a persons health, and Allah knows best.

[1] See Rad al-Muhtar (2/395)
[2] In Tarwih al-Janan (p.22)
[3] See Rad al-Muhtar (6/458)

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