Smoking is seen by the majority of Muslim scholars as haraam on the grounds that it is harmful to one's health. But tobacco is not the only harmful substance that has wide spread use.

As an example; sugary soda drinks. They have little to no nutritional value, and are in fact a leading cause in childhood obesity. Diseases like diabetes and morbid obesity are on the rise because of substances like soda drinks and junk food. In fact, some reports suggest that childhood obesity might be more dangerous than smoking.

Does that mean these substances are haraam as well?

3 Answers 3


Scholars (Sunni) said smoking is haram because it comes under the heading of al-khabaa’ith (that which is evil and unlawful), and Allah and His Messenger have forbidden al-khabaa’ith (that which is evil and unlawful). Allah says, describing the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him):

“he allows them as lawful At-Taiyibat ((i.e. all good and lawful) as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.), and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khabaith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.),” [al-A‘raaf 7:157].

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

The evidence for the prohibition of that which is harmful is to be found in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.

From the Qur’aan:

“and do not throw yourselves into destruction” [al-Baqarah 2:195]

“And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another)” [an-Nisa’ 4:29]

The prohibition on killing oneself is also a prohibition on the means of doing so. Whatever causes harm is haraam.

The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.” We might also quote as evidence the verse in which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“But if you are ill or on a journey or any of you comes from answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (i.e. sexual intercourse) and you find no water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth” [al-Maa’idah 5:6].

The point here is that Allah enjoined tayammum for the one who is sick so as to protect him from harm and to offer him an alternative to water, which may harm him if he uses it when it is cold and he is sick and so on. .

Ash-Sharh al-Mumti‘, 15/12, 13

He also said:

In the case of that which is harmful in conjunction with something else, such as if this food is not compatible with that food, in the sense that if you eat the two foods together it will result in harm, but if you eat them separately that will not result in harm, and the doctor has advised this dietary restriction for one who is sick and has told him, “If you eat it, it will harm you,” then it becomes haraam for him.

If a person feels that some kind of food will cause him harm or give him indigestion, then it becomes haraam for him.

If a person says: If I fill my belly with this food, I will need water, and if I add water to it I will hardly be able to walk and it will bother me; and if I sit it will bother me, and if I bow it will bother me, and if I lie on my back it will bother me, and if I lie on my stomach it will bother me. In this case, he says:

If he fears that it will harm him, then it becomes haraam for him to eat it. And what he said is correct, because it is not permissible for a person to eat that which will harm him or to wear that which will harm him or to sit on that which will harm him. Even the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them), with regard to prostration, if the heat would harm them, they would spread out their garments and prostrate on them, lest they be harmed and so that they might be at ease in prayer.

And he said:

If it is said to a man who has diabetes: Do not eat dates or sweets, then dates and sweets become haraam for him, because they are harmful for him and he has to avoid them, but they are halaal for others. Liqaa’aat al-Baab al-Maftooh, 229

So what we understand is there is no general prohibition on these foods. However, if someone eats it extravagantly and it causes him health problems, it becomes haram for him since he is ruining his life.

Source and further reference: Coffee, tea and sugar can be harmful; are they haram like cigarettes?

  • I would also think there is a distinction of something that harms immediately in any normal amount (smoking, drinking) and that which is harmful in excess (Too much sugar, too much fat too much protein (and nothing else)). If all those were haraam there would be nothing to eat! Aug 1, 2012 at 19:30

Unhealthy can have two conditions. One condition is that it is harmful for body. Other condition is that it is not useful but still has no benefit. If you mean harmful to body then yes anything harmful to body is Haram.

There is a law in Fiqh that anything harmful to body is haram. But deciding if a specific substance is harmful for body or not it is not an Islamic matter. But it is a scientific matter that scientist and doctors should specify it. Islamic scholars only say the general law.




It gets complicated in below case that what is halal and what is haram. A pregnant woman has danger to give birth and there is a situation that only one life could be saved. What is halal? To save baby or to save mother? Till my knowledge of fiqh, saving child is necessary.

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