Turkey's top religious body head cites sections of Quran for why cigarettes are 'haram'

The thesis that cigarettes are haram (sinful) in Islam is based on the Maide and Araf sections of the Quran, said Ali Erbaş, the head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet). President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also a strong advocate of smoking cessation, calling the substance “haram” and explicitly urging his supporters to quit.

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Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) chair Ali Erbaş said cigarettes are haram ("sinful") in Islam due to the Maide and Araf sections of the Quran during a speech at a conference organized on Feb. 9, National Smoking Cessation Day.

"Maide Verse 32 says 'one who kills one person, from any faith or sect without right has killed all humans,'" said Erbaş.

Erbaş said that, in Islam, cigarettes fall under the category of things that are "malignant" or that harm oneself, others and the environment and look unpleasant, as described in Verse 157 of the Araf section of the Quran.

"Those who say cigarettes are haram point to this verse. It says, 'Clean things are halal and foul things are sinful.' Nobody says that cigarettes aren't foul,'" Erbaş said.

"I state once again that cigarettes are haram as they make humans stray from their essential quality of being a superior being."

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has been a strong opponent of smoking and cigarettes, explicitly urging his supporters to quit smoking.

"Don't be your own enemies," Erdoğan told the audience during the Presidency's 2019 Evaluation Meeting.

Smoking is haram, Erdoğan saysSmoking is haram, Erdoğan says