Principles categorizing prohibitions in the Hanafi Madhab

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Fatwa ID: 01457

Answered by Mufti Abdullah al-Ma’mun


As salamu alaykum Mufti "The Fuqahā have exercised extreme precaution in categorizing prohibited acts and declaring something as Harām or Makruh". Please can you give me the qawa'id to categorizing prohibited acts in the hanafi madhhab like haram or makhru, can you give me the example with the cigarette and cocaine. Jazak Allah Khayran.



In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

The scholars have stated that the things which Allah has created and the benefits derived from them are essentially for man's use; hence they are permissible to use and consume. In Islam the category of prohibited things is very small In contrast to those that are permissible. Therefore, with regards to categorizing the lawful and the unlawful in Islam the principle is that nothing is haram except what is prohibited by a sound and explicit Nass (text).

Nass is that which denotes either a verse of the Quran or a clear, authentic, and explicit sunnah (practice or saying) of Rasulullah Sallallahu alihi wa Sallam. If the Nass is not sound, for example in the case of a weak hadithor if it is not clear in stating the prohibition, the original principle of permissibility applies. (It should also be noted that this principle is not without any exceptions.) There are only a small number of sound and explicit texts concerning prohibitions, while whatever is not mentioned in the Nass as being prohibited falls under the general principle of permissibility. This opinion has been adopted by the vast majority of Hanafi and Shafi'ee scholars. (See Shaami v1 p269 and v26 p292 also al-Ashbah wal-Nadhaa'ir pg56-57 DKI)

The scholars have derived this principle from the following verses of the Qur'an. Allah says: 

  1. “It is He who created all that is in the earth for you” (2:29) 

  2.  “Do you not see that Allah has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and what is on earth, and has showered upon you His favours, both apparent and unseen?” (31:20)

  3. “He has subjected to you, from Himself, all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth” (45:13) 

Thus if the prohibition is clearly stated by explicit Nass as mentioned above only then will it be classed as haram. Regarding classifying something as  'Makruh' or more explicitly 'Makruh Tahrimi' according the Hanafi school of thought, this is usually done when the harms or the evil effects of a particular thing is known but there are unclear no explicit Nass recorded to establish its prohibition.

Allamah Ibn Abidin states:

'Makruh Tahrimi' in contrast to 'Haram' is like the comparison between 'Wajib' (necessary) and 'Fardh' (compulsory). It is substantiated by that which is substantiates a 'Wajib' i.e. Dalil Dhanni (an Indefinite or ambiguous text that is open to interpretation).

(Shaami v26 p290)

As for the example of cocaine, it is completely unlawful i.e. Haram in Islam due to the various dangerous effects it has on its consumer. As a stimulant, cocaine increases the heart rate and constricts the blood vessels. This combination can result in heart damage all the way up to cardiac arrest. Heart attacks, convulsions, strokes and death sometimes result. When too much cocaine is consumed, the body temperature can soar which can lead to organ breakdown. Hallucinations may occur. As a stimulant, cocaine causes the user to lose the desire for normal amounts of food. Malnutrition may follow this loss of appetite. Injection cocaine users may contract communicable diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. Effects of cocaine use include poor judgment which can lead to risky sexual activity, resulting in additional risks.


There are clear and explicit proofs that establish the illegality of such drugs in Islam. Consider the following verses of the Qur'an:

  1. “and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction” (02:195)

  2. “and do not kill yourselves” (04:29)

This verse refers to the killing of one’s self as well as the killing of one another.

(see Ma'aarif al-Quran v2 p381)

Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has said: “Every intoxicant is Haram.”

(Bukhari no: 3997, Tirmidhi no: 3194, Abu Dawud no: 3210)

He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has also said: “That which intoxicates in large quantities is Haram in small quantities.”

(Abu Dawud no: 3196, Ibn Majah no: 3384, Nasa'ee no: 5513)

Scholars all over the world differ on the ruling of smoking. Arab scholars are of the view that smoking is Haraam as it is a slow method of suicide and commiting suicide is haraam in Islam. Furthermore, it creates bad smell and is a waste of money.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in the Holy Qur’an has said;

“And do not put yourselves into destruction.” (Surah Al Baqarah V.195)

“And do not squander recklessly. Surely, squanderers are brothers to Shaitan, and the Shaitan is very ungrateful to his lord. (Surah Bani Israaeel V.27) 

Scholars from the Indian Sub Continent are of the view that smoking is Makruh Tahrimi as there is not enough strength in the above reasons to say it is Haraam. Makruh Tahrimi is a disliked act very close to Haram. However, this does not mean that this view encourages smoking. Makruh Tahrimi should be avoided and if a person does a Makruh Tahrimi act he should repent and ask forgiveness from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

Only Allah Knows Best

Written by Mufti Abdullah al-Ma’mun

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham.

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