Smoking is haram, Jakim’s sermon reminds Muslims in defence of ban

PETALING JAYA: The Friday sermon at mosques in the federal territories today reminded Muslims of fatwas declaring cigarettes, shisha and vape as haram, as a smoking ban imposed by the health ministry at restaurants nationwide enters its 11th day.

The sermon prepared by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) defended the ban, saying it was to protect the health of the majority of Malaysians who do not smoke.

“This effort is clearly aimed at protecting the public, especially the non-smokers, from being exposed to the dangers of cigarette smoke and to cultivate a culture of no smoking among Malaysians,” it said.

It reminded Muslims of several decisions by the fatwa committee of the National Council for Islamic Affairs, which declared smoking haram.

“The ban on smoking was done based on three main reasons: smoking harms the health of smokers, it harms the surrounding people and the environment, and it is a waste of money, time and energy.”

It warned Muslims not to treat the problem lightly.

“Studies show that a person who smokes only inhales up to 30% of the smoke from his cigarette, while 70% of the remaining (smoke) permeates into the air.

“This excess smoke threatens the rights of the majority. Islam forbids its followers from doing something that will harm themselves and others,” the sermon added.

It said smokers should seek help through various treatment programmes by the health ministry, adding that people should “always persuade and advise” smokers to kick the habit.

The ban on smoking at eateries nationwide came into effect on Jan 1.

The health ministry said it would refrain from issuing summonses on those violating the ban in the first six months of the year.

Those who light up can be fined up to RM10,000 or jailed up to two years. Restaurant operators who fail to display no-smoking signs face a fine not exceeding RM3,000 or jail time of up to six months. They can also be fined RM5,000 or jailed for six months if they allow smoking on their premises.

The ban applies to eateries in shop lots and on private land or any other place that serves food such as food trucks, food stalls and rooftop restaurants.

The health ministry said it might extend the ban to laundrettes, hotels as well as schools and universities.