A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Smoking

Believers have also raised the question about smoking during Bahá’í meetings. It is entirely within the authority of Local and National Spiritual Assemblies to prohibit smoking in meetings held under their auspices. An Assembly may well feel that it does not wish to raise an additional barrier to seekers by prohibiting smoking at public meetings in a society where it is the accepted practice to smoke. On the other hand, it might be wise for the Assembly to caution the Bahá’ís to restrain their smoking at teaching meetings and firesides in case it is offensive to some seekers.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 24-25)


But there are other forbidden things which do not cause immediate harm, and the injurious effects of which are only gradually produced: such acts are also repugnant to the Lord, and blameworthy in His sight, and repellent. The absolute unlawfulness of these, however, hath not been expressly set forth in the Text, but their avoidance is necessary to purity, cleanliness, the preservation of health, and freedom from addiction. Among these latter is smoking tobacco, which is dirty, smelly, offensive—an evil habit, and one the harmfulness of which gradually becometh apparent to all. Every qualified physician hath ruled—and this hath also been proven by tests—that one of the components of tobacco is a deadly poison, and that the smoker is vulnerable to many and various diseases. This is why smoking hath been plainly set forth as repugnant from the standpoint of hygiene.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 147-148)


In answer to such letters the Guardian’s secretary replied on his behalf that Bahá’ís had no right to prevent anyone from smoking; that Bahá’ís were free to smoke but it was preferable for them not to do so; and that an issue should not be made of this matter. The use of tobacco, in common with other personal practices, should be subject to considerations of courtesy. The Bahá’í in his daily life, whether smoker or non-smoker, should always be conscious of the rights of those about him and avoid doing anything which would give offense.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 24)


In the case of Nineteen Day Feasts or meetings of Assemblies or committees, it is not right that friends who find smoking offensive should be made to endure it in Bahá’í meetings which they are required or expected to attend. If certain individuals feel that they must smoke, then arrangements, such as a break in the meeting, could be made for their convenience. It would, of course, be entirely inappropriate to smoke during the devotional part of a Feast, or at any other devotional gathering.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 25)


It is to be hoped that the widespread publicity being given to the evil effects of smoking, both on smokers and on those who have to breathe smoke-laden air, will help to convince everyone of the wisdom of ?bdu’l-Bahá in strongly discouraging Bahá’ís from smoking. However, Bahá’ís must be careful not to go beyond the Teachings in this matter and try to enforce as a law a matter in which Bahá’u’lláh has deemed it wise to allow freedom of decision.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, no. 1193)


Just as smokers are expected to exercise courtesy in relation to others, non-smokers should exercise the same courtesy and not take it upon themselves to lecture their fellow believers in what is essentially a personal decision beyond what is detailed above.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 25)


My meaning is that in the sight of God, smoking tobacco is deprecated, abhorrent, filthy in the extreme; and, albeit by degrees, highly injurious to health. It is also a waste of money and time, and maketh the user a prey to a noxious addiction. To those who stand firm in the Covenant, this habit is therefore censured both by reason and experience, and renouncing it will bring relief and peace of mind to all men. Furthermore, this will make it possible to have a fresh mouth and unstained fingers, and hair that is free of a foul and repellent smell. On receipt of this missive, the friends will surely, by whatever means and even over a period of time, forsake this pernicious habit. Such is my hope.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 148)


O ye, God’s loved ones! Experience hath shown how greatly the renouncing of smoking … conduceth to health and vigour, to the expansion and keenness of the mind and to bodily strength. There is today a people [possibly ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was referring to the Sikhs; the description appears to apply to them] who strictly avoid tobacco, intoxicating liquor and opium. This people is far and away superior to the others, for strength and physical courage, for health, beauty and comeliness. A single one of their men can stand up to ten men of another tribe. This hath proved true of the entire people: that is, member for member, each individual of this community is in every respect superior to the individuals of other communities.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 150


The Báb, at the outset of His mission, explicitly prohibited tobacco, and the friends one and all abandoned its use. But since those were times when dissimulation was permitted, and every individual who abstained from smoking was exposed to harassment, abuse and even death—the friends, in order not to advertise their beliefs, would smoke. Later on, the Book of Aqdas was revealed, and since smoking tobacco was not specifically forbidden there, the believers did not give it up. The Blessed Beauty, however, always expressed repugnance for it, and although, in the early days, there were reasons why He would smoke a little tobacco, in time He completely renounced it, and those sanctified souls who followed Him in all things also abandoned its use.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 148)