Cafes where the youth gather and commit evils

Q: Recently, cafes have become common and widespread in cities and villages. These cafes are equipped to serve a large number of youth, as they make water pipes and tobacco available, the place is air conditioned, and youth are able to watch satellite channels.Your Honor knows the gravity of these cafes and that they are one of the ways of destroying youth. They are opened all day long and the youth gather in these cafes (Part No. 26; Page No. 350) at any time.Many youth claim that these cafes are legal and scholars do not prevent them. Some say that the owners of such cafes bear the sins and others enter such places for amusement and having fun, drinking tea, coffee, and watching TV, etc. The owners of the cafes believe that the sin is on those who sit in the cafes willingly and no one forces them to go. Others do not care whether it is Halal (lawful) or Haram (prohibited) as much as they care for their profit. We implore Allah to grant us safety! Selling and maintaining water pipes in shops became widespread as these shops are licensed and they serve the owners of the cafes and anyone who uses the water pipes. We ask Allah to guide us and them!Your Honor, the dangerous effect of these cafes has increased and they have become gathering places for evil people. This has led to the destruction and the corruption of many youth and their running away from parents and schools. They go to these cafes in the morning. I ask your Honor to issue a Fatwa with regard to the ruling on opening and going to cafes? Who bears the sin in this case? What is your advice to Muslim youth? (Part No. 26; Page No. 351)

A: Water pipes, hookah, and tobacco are from the evil prohibited things which adversely affect one's body and wealth. Allah (Exalted be He) states in describing Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): ...he allows them as lawful At-Tayyibât (i.e. all good and lawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods), and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khabâ’ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods) It was authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm. Therefore, it is not permissible to smoke, sell, or promote such things. It is not permissible either to establish, frequent such cafes, or sit at any of these places unless you can advise others and you are able to change the evil. Allah (Exalted be He) states, And it has already been revealed to you in the Book (this Qur’ân) that when you hear the Verses of Allâh being denied and mocked at, then sit not with them, until they engage in a talk other than that; (but if you stayed with them) certainly in that case you would be like them. And And when you (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) see those who engage in a false conversation about Our Verses (of the Qur’ân) by mocking at them, stay away from them till they turn to another topic. These two Ayahs (Qur'anic Verses) can be applied to attending sinful and immoral gatherings where the commands and prohibitions of Allah are devalued. Anyone who sits in such gatherings and does not oppose their behavior will bear the sin with them. In his book, "Ahkam Al-Qur'an (Rulings of the Qur'an)", Ibn Al-`Araby wrote (Part No. 26; Page No. 352) that the previously mentioned Ayah proves that sitting with those who do Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved of by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect) is not permissible. In fact, these cafes are places of evil, corruption, and many foolish persons. A Muslim should avoid sitting in such places to save his Din (Islamic way of life) and his morals. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.