Smoking and the Tariqa Muhammadiyya
The great sufi masters of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya movements all spoke out against smoking and criticized it strongly. Here are some explanations on why they considered it to be haram.
We begin with Abd al-Aziz al-Dabbagh (d. 1719) because of his historic precedence and because the book of his teachings, al-Ibriz, is one of the most widespread and highly valued Sufis works today . He said, “Tobacco is forbidden (haram) because it harms the body, because those who smoke it have an addiction to it that keeps them from worship of Allah and cuts them off from it…and because the angels are hurt by its smell.”
His student asked, “But garlic and onions and the like have a bad odor and eating them is not forbidden.”
He replied, “If the right of the human and the right of the angel came into conflict, then the right of the human is given precedence because everything was created for the sake of humans, and therefore that which benefits humans is not forbidden even if it harms angels. And in garlic and onions are clear benefits, in contrast to smoking for it has no benefit….” (1)
Another great shaykh among the Muhammadiyya turuq was Ahmad Tijani (d.1815), founder of the Tijaniyya. He declared Tobacco to be forbidden based on the Prophetic tradition that “All that causes a state of weakness is prohibited”, and tobacco causes a state of weakness because of the smoker’s addiction and dependency.
Al-Tijani also demanded that smokers repent or they will not die a good death, and when one of his followers was dying, he started uttering vulgar words and was not able to say the Shahadah, despite having been a pious man of much worship. When al-Tijani found out that he smoked, he said that this was why he could not utter the Shahadah on his deathbed and that he must repent immediately.
Al-Tijani’s companions refused to give the litanies of the path to any seeker who smoked Tobacco, and if they found out that someone smoked they forced them to quit their litanies until they stopped smoking. (2)
Then came the student of al-Dabbagh’s student, the great scholar Ahmad ibn Idris (d. 1837). He was just as strongly opposed to smoking. When teaching a Prophetic hadith about Allah’s hatred for money squandering, he said,
And the greatest waste of money is in Tobacco. For I heard that in a previous year in which it was scarce, people used to buy it for 11 Riyals a pound. What mind does such a person have? Is there a mind behind this? No, it is far behind! Did he clothe he who has no clothes, or feed the hungry? And it doesn’t nourish or satiate…. And it causes illness: do you not see the chimneys of kitchens, how their shafts become blackened from the smoke that passes through them? So how do you think is the chest and throat of the smoker? Rust has piled up in them, so what benefit is sought from a person whose state is thus? For we have known many who quit it and became much happier, had lesser expenses, and their disposition came back to balance as they have told us; and they were able to sleep better, sleep being the source of man’s rest and mental stability. So what waste of money is worse than this waste?
And I was told by him in whose truthfulness I have no doubt, and in whose story I trust, that he saw the Prophet (pbuh) in his sleep and said to him: ‘Oh Messenger of God, is tobacco halal or haram‘? So he turned to Aisha who was next to him and said: ‘If she smoked it I would not come near her’. So he said, ‘Is it halal or haram’? He said, ‘If she smoked it I would not come near her’ three times. The man of the vision said, “I thought about saying to him: Did you forbid it in the Sharia? And if so, in which part of hadith? But I forgot because of the state I was in.”
So look at that which, had Aisha the mother of the believers smoked, the Messenger (pbuh) would have parted with her. What greater catastrophe is there than the separation of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and the Mother of the Believers, and what greater exposition of its prohibition than this? And he who has seen the Prophet (pbuh) in a dream has truly seen him, and he who has seen him in sleep is as if he has seen him in waking. (3)
Ahmad ibn Idris’ grandson Muhammad al-Sharif relates that a scholar asked Ahmad ibn Idris to help him see the Prophet (pbuh) in a dream. So when Ibn Idris saw the Prophet (pbuh) he said: ‘Oh Messenger of God, so-and-so wants to see you in his sleep’, but then the Prophet turned away from him. Then the next time he saw him he mentioned the same thing and the Prophet turned away from him again and it happened a third time. So Ahmad ibn Idris wondered why the Prophet turned away every time he mentioned this man, and the Prophet turned back toward him and said: “This man smokes, and I do not go to him who smokes.” Ahmad ibn Idris told this to the scholar the next time he saw him, which caused him to cry until he fainted. After this he repented for who he had been doing and God accepted his repentance and the Prophet visited him in his sleep for the sake of shaykh Ahmad ibn Idris.
Muhammad al-Sharif also relates about his father Abd al-Aali, Ibn Idris’ son, the following: A man came to my father and said, “This is the price of the wheat, and this for the fava beans, and this for the tobacco.” So Abd al-Aali said with anger, “subhanAllah brother! Who told you to plant tobacco on our land?” And he refused to take the money from the tobacco, and ordered the man to leave the land a whole year without any plant until it is purified.
Finally, Muhammad bin Ali al Yamani, the great grandson of Ahmad ibn Idris through his other son Muhammad al-Qutb, was once invited to the house of a man in Dunqula, Sudan. He accepted the invitation. Before that day came, he passed by the store of the man who invited him and saw him selling tobacco so he said: “subhanAllah brother, you sell tobacco? Your food is haram and I withdraw my acceptance of your invitation”, and he did not go to his house. (4)
There are many more examples from other turuq and other shaykhs, but these shall suffice to show how serious of a sin smoking was considered for these Muhammadan Sufis: It annulled your permission to recite the path’s litanies, it kept the Prophet (pbuh) away from you, it made any money made from it haram, and therefore your food and that which you bought with your money haram, and it prevented you from every Muslim’s greatest wish: husn al khatimah, sealing one’s life with a good end.
And think about this: If tobacco makes the land on which it is planted impure, then what of the body that inhales it?
1. al-Lamati, al-Ibriz min Kalam Sidi Abd al-Aziz al-Dabbagh, Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyya, pg 260-1.
3. Ahmad ibn Idris. al-Iqd al-Nafees, Cairo: Dar Jawami’ al-Kalim, pg 60-1.
4. Saleh al-Jaafari. al-Muntaqa al-Nafees, Cairo: Dar Jawami’ al-Kalim, pg 93.
Technorati Tags: Islam, Smoking, Halal vs. Haram, Fatwa, Tobacco, Sufi.