As a foreword, I would say that anyone is free to believe or not. This article is devoted to believers, rubbernecks and to those who have some time to waste. I will start this series on religions with the Muslims because they are the first, in number, to get interested on theological forums by e-cigarettes.
Regarding the method, I made use of a certain religious culture acquired by practicing the profession of undertaker, tapped into my library with an extensive documentation on the subject, and spent a few calls to some Imams. You should not then read too much nonsense.
Are e-liquids Halal?
The question that may firstly be asked is “Can an e-liquid be Halal?”. By Halal, one understands any object or action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law, the Shari’ah. Three points have to be considered:
Islam bans alcohol because regarding wine and gambling (verse 219, Surah 2 entitled “The Cow”) “In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.” However, alcohol is tolerated if its use is required for the conservation and the e-liquid does not taste alcohol. Hence, the vaper has no other choice than vaping the e-liquid containing alcohol. Alcohol is “Haram”, forbidden, if ingested as a beverage but “Makruh”, blameworthy, if vaped.
Nobody knows exactly from where some of the constituents of e-liquids come, and pork can be found hidden in many things like gums, for example, or candies.
If one considers nicotine as a stimulant which can lead to death in high concentration, a poison, then nicotine is strictly forbidden. A muslim must preserve his health and nicotine would be “Makruh”. If one considers that nicotine also creates dependency, it is then “Haram” (verse 195, Surah 2 entitled “Cow”) “do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction“.
One could conclude that vaping, preferentially with alcohol-free and nicotine-free e-liquids, would not be forbidden. Could it be so far qualified as “Mubah”, permissible? It would be too easy…
Is vaping haram?
You might say “The Koran gives no advice about e-cigarettes, and for obvious reasons”. Of course, there are good reasons for that. Nevertheless, muslims may not just refer to Koran but also to the Hadith, in other words the reports describing the words, actions, or habits of the Prophet Muhammed.
The Prophet Muhammad is considered the reference of Islam and all Muslims, in case of doubt, should refer to Koran or to the Hadith: “If Allah doesn’t say it, what would Muhammad do in this case?”
First point, Muslims should not cause any harm to anyone. Even if secondhand vaping is not harmful, other elements of secondhand vapor like the vapor itself or the flavor may be sources of aggression to the other and should be avoided. It is venial but true.
Second point, Muslims must always be exemplary in public, from the point of view of the Islamic tradition. Vaping, if seen by any other, can raise questions: Firstly, the observer has no mean to know if the vapor contains nicotine or not, and secondly, the ambiguity of the gesture could be interpreted as an incitement to sin, whatever is vaped with the e-cigarette.
Vaping in public is then “Haram”, strictly forbidden. (“My community is forgivable except those who sin in public” – al-Bukhari)
The second part of the answer is given by verse 26-27 of the chapter 17 “And give the relative his right, and [also] the poor and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully. Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful.”
The e-cigarette is considered a waste if only dedicated to pleasure. The only case where it could be authorized would be to stop smoking, providing that the believer uses it in this goal only, without looking for any other aspects than its efficiency, and providing that he stops vaping as soon as weaned off tobacco. Two out of the three Imams reached on the phone when writing this article told me that they would prefer patches for their discretion and the fact that they do not incite to sin.The last Imam recommends prayer and willingness.
What to conclude?
Muslim vapers, to follow the precepts of their faith, must vape alcohol-free, nicotine-free and pork-free e-liquids. In addition, they must vape alone, in a room where nobody else can see them. In this case, they sin, but it is a sin that is forgivable. Except if they sin while pretending that their sin will be forgiven anyway, which might mean treating the divine mercy lightly. Well, to make it simple, vaping for the Muslims, is forbidden.
We will soon see that it is not so different in other religions…