Nicotine Addiction: How Do I Fast in Ramadan?

20 April, 2021
Q As a Muslim convert and smoker, I find it difficult if not impossible to fast. I have been through five Ramadans and haven't successfully fasted a single one. I feel that I am getting too far behind to make up the fasts and I don't know how well I will do in this one. I find fasting is not as difficult as quitting smoking. I don't know what to do. I am finding that Islam is not an easy religion as we believe it is, or maybe it is just me.


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

If you fast and turn to Allah for assistance, you can overcome your smoking habit. 

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario and Canada, states:

Fasting is primarily an institution for spiritual discipline and self-control. It has been ordained as a religious duty for the Muslims to subdue their desires and keep their appetites well within reasonable bounds so that man may not become their slave and lose control over himself.

Therefore, it is a precious opportunity for a Muslim to give up bad habits and acts.

One of the purposes of the institution of fasting in Islam is to help us break our bad habits and learn positive and life enhancing habits and thus equip us to face the challenges of life.

If, therefore, you fast and turn to Allah for assistance, you can overcome your smoking habit. Many people have overcome such bad habits through fasting.

So many of them have quit smoking cold turkey during the month of Ramadan after being addicted to it for ten to twenty years or even more; they have never turned back.

You can also do the same, but before doing that you must summon enough courage and inner strength by talking to yourself about the negative aspects of smoking. No one can quit any bad habit if he still continues to glamorize it deep in his heart.

It seems you are conditioned to thinking that smoking is great. So take yourself out of this habit by consciously visualizing all of the negative things about smoking you can think of as well as picturing all the pain, suffering (cancer, etc.) that it entails.

Also, think of the valuable resources you are squandering which could have been used to feed many who are deprived of even the most basic necessities of life.

After having convinced yourself and created enough self-motivation, turn to Allah and concentrate on dhikr (remembrance of Allah). Thus every time you are prompted to light a cigarette, cancel that thought by repeating subhan-allah (Glory be to Allah), al-hamduli-llahi (Praise be to Allah), Allahu akbar (Allah is most Great). Plead to Allah to grant you enough strength to master this monster. He will surely help you. Imagine that what you are praying for is already given to you.

If you are sincere, you will be rewarded in your efforts. Islam is hard, and yet it is easy for those for whom Allah has made it easy. You can expect Allah to help you if only you turn sincerely to Him and surrender yourself to Him.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.