Is Smoking Cigarettes Akin to Committing Suicide?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question

If someone’s lifetime is reduced due to smoking or he gets cancer due to smoking, then is it considered suicide?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

The scholars of the Hanafi school (especially the contemporary scholars) agree that smoking cigarettes are impermissible for multiple reasons:

  • It is proven to cause health risks, such as cancer, emphysema, and heart disease.
  • It is a waste of money
  • many more…[al-Mawsu’a al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya]

The first of these reasons is supported by the verse, “O believers! Do not devour one another’s wealth illegally, but rather trade by mutual consent. And do not kill ˹each other or˺ yourselves. Surely Allah is ever Merciful to you.” [Quran, 4:21]

Suicide

If a person smoked cigarettes intending to kill himself thereby, this is known as ‘active suicide’ (intihar bi’l-ijab). [al-Mawsu’a al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya]

However, It is unlikely that a person begins smoking cigarettes with this intention.

Thus even though the risks are clear, since it is not a certainty that one who smokes will get such diseases or the like, it is not considered suicide. It is possible for a smoker to not get cancer, even though unlikely.

Despite it not being considered suicide, smoking cigarettes is prohibited. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Hope this helps
Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.