Death caused by smoking is not suicide
Fatwa No: 304192

  • Fatwa Date:25-8-2015 - Thul-Qi'dah 11, 1436
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Question

Assalamualaikum,Death caused to a person by smoking or chewing tobacco is it suicide in Islam ? As it is very clear that cigarette smoking is haram.But when I encounter certain smokers they deny that death due to smoking is not suicide as its not intentional to kill oneself and if that is the case they say then fat and obese people who die because of overeating is also suicideSome smokers are of the view that if they are afflicted by a life taking disease caused by smoking they have a chance of tauba and say Allah is Gafoor and it won't fall under suicide.But what about those people who are afflicted with cancer/tumour caused by smoking are of the view that they have not wronged themselves and they are dying because their time has come and their deaths cannot be suicide as they haven't planned to kill themselves.Please shed some light on this matter.Is it suicide if anyone dies because of smoking cigarettes and he'll repeat the same act of suicide all his eternal life as mentioned in ahadith about people who commit suicide or its not suicide at all -its just that you'll be answerable hopefully you can go to jannah.And what will happen to those smokers whose smoking had harmful effects on the other non-smokers and resulted in the death of that non smoker ?will the smoker be termed a murderer ?Jazakallah khair

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His Slave and Messenger.

We previously mentioned in Fataawa 119776 and 81345 the prohibition of smoking in such a way that eliminates the need for repetition.

Despite the view that smoking is prohibited, a smoker is not considered to be committing suicide in Islam, even if physicians describe it as "slow suicide". Shaykh Ibn ʻUthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was once asked if someone who dies as a result of smoking is considered to have committed suicide, and he replied,

Do you think that someone who smokes does so to die? Does he do so for that purpose? (Questioner: "No.") There is a difference between someone who intends to kill himself and someone who does not intend to. However, it is said that if it is obvious that smoking leads to death, then this is among the strongest evidence that it is forbidden. I have no doubt that smoking is forbidden, given its physical, moral and financial harms…. There is no doubt that smoking is forbidden; however, we cannot say that the person who smokes is killing himself because he does not intend to kill himself by doing so.” [Al-Baab Al-Maftooh]

As for the judgment on smokers who cause harm to non-smokers, by doing so they will have committed a prohibited act by causing harm and disease to others. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “There shall be no harm nor reciprocal harm in Islam.” [Ahmad and others]

Since the smoker is not guilty of committing suicide in Islam, he is not considered a murderer of others with all the more reason, even if he causes harm on non-smokers.

We would like to point out that the person who commits suicide is effectively the same as someone who commits any other major sin – Allaah The Exalted may forgive those who commit major sins or punish them as He wills and they will be admitted to Paradise after receiving their due punishment.

It is also worth highlighting that it is wrong to draw an analogy between smoking and overeating, because Islam considers the consumption of lawful food permissible and there are plenty of lawful and good benefits to it. It is forbidden to exceed the proper limits and excessively consume lawful food because of the harms it causes to the body and not because of the food being consumed. Smoking, on the other hand, is harmful and bad in and of itself. It is well-known that Islam forbids evils and everything that causes harm regardless of the quantity being consumed. For instance, alcohol, the source of and gate to all evils, causes intoxication in large amounts, and therefore a small amount of it, and not just the amount that causes intoxication, is also unlawful. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Every intoxicant is unlawful and whatever causes intoxication in large amounts, a small amount of it is (also) unlawful.” [Ahmad, An-Nasaa’i and Ibn Maajah - Al-Albaani graded it Hasan Saheeh]

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 237229.

Allaah Knows best.

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