New UAE fatwa bans smoking in public


Dubai : A new fatwa or Islamic edict has been issued in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which states that smoking in public is forbidden under Islam as it causes harm to others.

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The fatwa, issued by the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GEA), states that 17 violations of Islamic law are committed when people smoke in public, The National newspaper reported.

The GEA is in charge of implementing the UAE’s policy for Islamic affairs and endowments.

Smoking is said to “dope the eyelids and limbs, which could cause intoxication for some people when they take up the habit, and the Prophet has forbidden all things that intoxicate and dope”, the report quoted the GEA statement as saying.

“It is no longer a mystery to anyone that it has ill-effects on the smoker’s health, money, children and those that surround him,” it said.

“Many scholars have issued fatwas forbidding it. If smoking was forbidden for the smoker, even if he was not hurting anyone else, then the argument for forbidding smoking that brings harm to others – like smoking in a public space – is even stronger and more convincing,” the GEA stated, adding that there is now a law from the UAE authorities forbidding smoking in public and that this should be obeyed en masse.

It also stated that second-hand smoke was harmful and has a foul smell to those who may not smoke, like the smoker’s spouse.

“Smoking is now without any doubt harmful to the body in many ways… as it is one of the leading causes of lung cancer and heart disease among other dangerous and nasty ailments.”

The fatwa, according to the report, was issued after The National posed a question about the legality of smoking in a public place since science had proved second-hand smoke could damage people’s health.