There are currently more than 1.5 billion Muslims in the world and many of these individuals are also smokers. Ecigs offer a tobacco-free alternative and have gradually been embraced in Muslim-majority countries, but that might change in the near future. This week, Islamic authorities announced that using electronic cigarettes is forbidden. The Office of the Mufti deliberated on the issue before making an announcement on Facebook that Muslims should avoid vaping in order to live righteously.
Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri said that Muslims should avoid ecigs because Islamic authorities believe they are unhealthy. “The reasoning for this makes it appear as though it was ‘halal’, which led to widespread use of electronic cigarettes,” Zulkifli said. Leaders claimed that vaping was actually worse than using tobacco. “Specialists also stated that they were more detrimental to health than cigarettes. This has been considered a very strong foundation for (the ruling), as its ‘mafsadah’ (harmfulness) was indisputable, as recognized by experts and authoritative bodies.”
Zulkifli also said that Muslims should not use ecigs because they give the appearance of indulging in non-Islamic culture. Instead, he believes people should use that money for something less self-serving. “It would be better if the money we use to buy e-cigarettes was put to other uses, such as donating to mosques, orphans or giving food to the poor, apart from attending to their needs,” Zulkifli said.
This announcement is the first time we have seen any major religious group offer guidance on the use of ecigs. Islam oftentimes issues strange rules, but no one anticipated a public condemnation of electronic cigarettes. After all, wouldn’t they be helpful to help the world’s Muslim smokers to stop using cigarettes? Now Muslim smokers face a difficult decision. Will they avoid ecigs to follow religious edicts or will they disobey their leaders and vape anyway? How do you think Muslims will respond?