What Is Shisha?


Hookah, shisha, and argileh are all different terms from various diverse cultures and languages that fundamentally represent the same thing. Shisha smoking, also recognized as hookah smoking, has been practiced for many centuries and is among the most culturally significant smoking techniques around the globe. For millennia, shisha has played an important role in the social and political realms of the Middle East and India.

A shisha is a water pipe device used for smoking flavored tobacco, which is generally perceived as Mu’assel. The smoke is routed across a water basin to the pipe, where it is taken in by the user.

However, if you have never enjoyed shisha or hookah before, and possibly have never seen one in person, you are likely to have several queries about it. In this article, we will try to help you find answers to all your questions.

Shisha Smoking Across the Globe

Shisha is also known as hookah, narghile (in Persian), or uqqa (in Arabic). As this old smoking experience was rediscovered in the 1990s and grew popular among Western millennials, it is called shisha in the West.

Shisha smoking has become growingly prevalent in the United States, Canada, and Europe, introducing Eastern culture and social activities to the West, especially among young adults and college students.

Shisha: A Bit about Its Origin

Shisha smoking was invented in the 1600s. There are many theories revolving around the origin of shisha. According to one theory, it all started when the Portuguese began trading with Indian coastal cities. These cities started to receive a massive surge of imported Brazilian tobacco. This tobacco eventually expanded inland through trade and gradually gained popularity in India.

One of the Mughal emperor’s officials eventually presented him with tobacco. The Sultan’s main physician was conscious of the associated risks of smoking tobacco and attempted to create a smoking method that would be preferable and healthier than cigarettes or cigars. Abul-Faith Gilani, the head physician, invented the hookah, which filtered the tobacco smoke through water before inhaling. Afterwards, the shisha traveled among nobles and aristocrats, then into Syria, the Middle East, and eventually to Turkey and Northern Africa.

There are other hypotheses regarding the hookah’s origins as well; some suggest the real foundations of the hookah can be traced back to Persia or maybe even Ethiopia. Between the 16th and 17th centuries, the hookah traveled through Persia to Arabia, the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey), and North Africa, particularly Egypt and Tunisia.

Sultan Ahmed I, who was famed for his pleasurable lifestyle, introduced hookah smoking in Turkey around 1603. Meanwhile, several of his successors have frequently prohibited smoking since it was deemed vicious sometimes.

Nonetheless, the water pipe has evolved into a cultural treasure in Arab nations over time. It represents a harmonious approach to life, as well as hospitality and companionship.

Shisha smoking, which was typically celebrated in coffeehouses, was a social occasion that brought family and friends together. Tea, coffee, sweets, and pastries are offered alongside to make these occasions even more special.

While we may never know where the hookah actually originated, we do know that it played a vital role in Indian and Middle Eastern society for many centuries after its wide acceptance in the 16th and 17th centuries.

How Is Smoking Shisha Different From Smoking Cigarettes?

There are several differences between smoking shisha and a cigarette.

To begin with, smoking shisha entails inhaling a somewhat different type of tobacco called shisha, which is a concoction of tobacco leaves, glycerin, molasses or honey, and flavorings such as fruits, herbs, syrups, and more. This results in a wet, viscous tobacco product that can only be inhaled from a hookah and comes in a variety of flavors, including chocolate, fruits, desserts, and mint.

Then, hookah requires using a water pipe rather than lighting the tobacco directly. When using a water pipe to smoke, the smoke is filtered by water before being inhaled.

Compared to the smoke inhaled by cigarette smokers, shisha makes the smoke less harsh and cools it down for easier inhalation, albeit it doesn’t help much to rid the smoke of toxins, toxic compounds, heavy metals, and carcinogens. All tobacco products have harmful health impacts, and you should be aware of the dangers of nicotine addiction and passive smoking. Additionally, hookah has a social component that should not be discounted. Hookah is designed to be smoked in a social setting, in a group.

Most political and business meetings in the Middle East conclude with the smoking and sharing of shisha, demonstrating the bonds of trust and friendship. And so, smoking shisha turned into an experience rather than merely a pastime.

How to Start Smoking Shisha?

There are a few simple ways to educate yourself about hookah etiquette if you’re uncertain about it.

You can begin by heading to a nearby shisha lounge. There, you can buy a pre-prepared bowl of shisha to smoke in the lounge. If it’s a decent lounge, they’ll handle your shisha for you, give you pointers, and further assist you if you let them know you’re a novice.

The best places to explore new shisha tastes, meet other shisha smokers, and learn more from the experts. It is an excellent place to meet new, fascinating shisha enthusiasts.

Because of the expense of smoking at hookah lounges, over time it becomes more economical to smoke at home. You can even have people over to your place to smoke together rather than having to leave the house whenever you want some shisha. If you enjoy smoking a hookah, it is a smart idea to eventually get your own shisha setup at home.

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