A hookah(Gujarati હૂકાહ) (Hindustani: हुक़्क़ा (Devanagari, حقّہ (Nastaleeq) huqqah) also known as a waterpipe or narghile, is a single or multi-stemmed (often glass-based) instrument for smoking in which the smoke is cooled by water. The tobacco smoked is referred to as shisha (sheesha) in the United Kingdom, United States, Mexico and Canada. Multiple references have traced the origin of the hookah to India. According to Cyril Elgood (pp. 41, 110), who does not mention his source, it was Abu’l-Fatḥ Gīlānī (d. 1588), a Persian physician at the Indian court of the Mughal emperor Akbar, who “first passed the smoke of tobacco through a small bowl of water to purify and cool the smoke and thus invented the hubble-bubble or hookah.” Nevertheless, a quatrain of Ahlī Šīrāzī (d. 1535) refers to the use of the ḡalyān (Falsafī, II, p. 277; Semsār, 1963, p. 15). Smoking the hookah has gained popularity outside of its native region, especially in the Middle East, and is gaining popularity in North America, South America, Europe, Australia and South Africa.
"One report in 1566 described the use of the narghile (coconut) in Indore. Narghiles were coconuts that were mounted on silver or other metals (Pritchett 1890). This was probably used for cannabis products. The hubble-bubble or hookah was a Middle eastern invention and the chilam appears to have been taken from the top of the water pipe and used independently. One variation was the panchachilam (five pipe) in which five bowls, each containing a different substance (including several types of opium, Cannabis, tobacco, and probably datura), were smoked together. One occasionally hears of this use today. Mushiran (1961:298) also mentioned that the smoking of tobacco, the substance now combined with ganja (Cannabis), was introduced by the Portuguese." (pp. 142-143 of the book Orgies of the Hemp Eaters, Autonomedia, 2004)