In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Mercy-Giving.
All praise is due to Allah. Peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
Inhaling tobacco in any shape or form is definitely considered haram for it has been established beyond a shadow of doubt that tobacco is highly detrimental to our health.
As has been confirmed in numerous studies, by inhaling tobacco, one is ingesting thousands of chemicals, most of which are lethal poisons, resulting in cancers, heart diseases, etc.
Once a thing has been so plainly proven to be harmful to one’s health resulting in death, and causing damage to one’s health, there is no way a believer can look at it indifferently.
The principle of jurisprudence is crystal clear, ‘that which is clearly harmful shall be deemed as haram’.
Besides the deleterious effects of smoking on one’s health, it further entails squandering away one’s precious resources, which could have been otherwise used on far more beneficial purposes.
How can we tolerate this wastage when so many millions in the world are starving to death for want of essential nutrients and water?
Some may wish to draw a line of distinction between cigarette smoking and hookah, for the general tendency has been to consider it as less harmful; however, such a distinction seems to be purely arbitrary.
For as stated in a recent study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, “The concentration of cancer-causing and addictive substances in water-pipes can be higher than those found in cigarettes, the heat involved being sufficient to generate carcinogenic nitrosamines, and the smoldering charcoal adding carcinogenic hydrocarbons as well as heavy metals to the smoke. The passage of the smoke through the water does not remove any toxic compounds from the smoke. Ironically, use of the hookah may increase the smoker’s toxic exposure, in that studies have shown that the typical hookah smoker spends more time per episode of smoking than do other smokers, presumably because the smoke is less immediately harsh or irritating. A study of Egyptian couples found an association between water-pipe smoking and infertility.”
Moreover, hookah breeds laziness and sloth. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was wont of seeking refuge in Allah from sloth and laziness. How could we then look favorably to an activity which breeds such habits condemned by Allah and His Messenger?
Furthermore, Muslims in the modern world ought to exert themselves to their utmost in order to catch up with the rest of the world. Then how can a believer conscientious of the deplorable state of the Ummah and its dire need for drastic changes tolerate or condone such habits? Mind you it is our habits that bring us either to success or failure. May Allah help us shun all habits and life-style that breeds sloth, complacency and laziness; and may He endear hard-work to us, for Allah orders His Messenger, “When you finish one chore, be prepared to start the next one.”
Let us condition ourselves to incorporate the following supplication of the beloved of Allah into our daily wird (dosage of dhikr):
Allaahumma inee a`udhu bika mina al-ajzi wa al-kasali wa `audhbu bika mina al-jubni wa al-bukhli
(O Allah, I seek refuge in You from helplessness, sloth and laziness, I seek refuge in You from cowardice and miserliness.)
Almighty Allah knows best.