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Suicide by Smoking
By Zahid Zaidy

 

 

Most Muslims are aware of and try to avoid the major sins in Islam -  murder, suicide, adultery, alcohol, gambling, usury, etc. Muslims are  forbidden to harm themselves or others. Yet millions of Muslims all over  the world are doing just that - harming, even killing themselves and their  families. Islamic scholars have historically had mixed views on the subject, and the actions of these Muslims have not been unanimously forbidden or even  discouraged.

The danger is tobacco use - cigarette and cigar smoking, chew, etc. The  mixed views on the subject came about because cigarettes are a more recent  invention and did not exist at the time of the revelation of the Qur'an in  the 7th century A.D. Therefore, one cannot find a verse of Qur'an or words  of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saying clearly that "Cigarette  smoking is forbidden." However, there are many instances where the Qur'an  gives us general guidelines, and calls upon us to use our reason and  intelligence, and seek guidance from Allah about what is right and wrong. In  the Qur'an, Allah says, ....he [the Prophet] commands them what is just, and  forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good, and  prohibits them from what is bad..." (Surah al-Ar'af 7:157). So what are the  evils of tobacco use, for your health and for your deen (religion)?

1. Danger to your health .....
Allah says,"...make not your own hands contribute to your  destruction..."(Surah al-Baqarah 2:195, );"...nor kill yourselves..." (Surah  al-Nisaa 4:29). It is universally understood that cigarette smoking causes  a number of health problems that often ultimately result in death. Men who  smoke contract lung cancer at 22 times the rate of non-smokers. Smokers are also highly at risk for heart disease, emphysema, oral cancer, stroke, etc.  There are hundreds of poisonous and toxic ingredients in the cigarette  itself that the smoker inhales straight into the lungs. In an authentic  hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that "Whomsoever  drinks poison, thereby killing himself, will sip this poison forever and  ever in the fire of Jahannum (Hell)." Over 3 million people worldwide die  from smoking-related causes each year.

2. Danger to your family's health .....
In the Qur'an, Allah says: "Those who annoy believing men and women  undeservedly bear on themselves a glaring sin" (Surat al-Ahzaab 33:58). And  the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that "there should be neither harming,  nor reciprocating harm.?/I> In another hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon  him) said: "Anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt  his neighbor." Those around the smoker inhale what is known as  "second-hand smoke" - the unfiltered, poisonous waste that goes in the air  around the smoker. There are over 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, over  40 of which are known to cause cancer. Second-hand smoke causes or  aggravates asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems, especially in 
children.

3. Addictive.....
The addiction to tobacco is a physical response that often interferes  with one's life and worship. For example, most Muslims are aware that it is  forbidden to smoke during the fasting days of Ramadan. Many of these  addicted smokers spend their fasting days sleeping, cranky, and  short-tempered, just counting the hours until they can have their fix.  There have been times when the most severely addicted will wait outside the  masjed door for the adhan, and break their fast by lighting up, before taking even food or water.

4. Noxious Smell .....
Muslims are advised to refrain from eating raw onions and garlic -  simply as a courtesy to those around them. Nobody likes the smell. The  same goes even more so for the reek of cigarettes, which permeates  everything around the smoker - hair, clothing, home, car, etc. The Prophet  (peace be upon him) said: whoever has eaten from such greens as garlic,  onions or leek should keep away from our mosque? Many smokers try to hide  the smell by using breath mints or perfume. This does not get rid of the  smell, it only masks it. Often the combination of smells is even more  nauseating.

5. Waste of Money .....
Allah says, "...But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of  a spendthrift. Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the devils...?{Surah  al-Israa?17:26-27} And in an authentic hadith the Prophet (peace be upon  him) said that: "Allah hates for you three things: gossiping, begging, and  wasting money." In the U.S. and other countries, cigarettes are taxed  heavily in order to discourage this habit and reimburse the government for  the overwhelming health care costs to care for those afflicted with diseases  caused by smoking. Smokers often spend thousands of dollars a year that  literally just go up in smoke.

Recent Opinions of Scholars .....
In more recent times, as these dangers of tobacco use have come to be  proven beyond any doubt, scholars have become more unanimous in pronouncing  tobacco use clearly haram (forbidden) to believers. They now use the  strongest terms to condemn this habit.

How to Quit?
As mentioned, one of the dangers of tobacco is that it is so addicting.  It causes a physical response in your body when you try to give it up.  Therefore, quitting is often difficult. However, with the help of Allah and  the personal commitment to improve yourself for the sake of Allah, and for  your own health, it is possible. It is first recommended to make the firm intention, from deep in your heart, to give up this evil habit. Trust in  Allah's words: "...When you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah.  For Allah loves those who put their trust in Him. If Allah help you, none  can overcome you; if He forsakes you, who is - after that - that can help  you? In Allah, then, let believers put their trust" (Surah Al-'lmran  3:159-160).

Secondly, one must avoid situations where you are used to smoking, and  people who do so around you. For example, if you have certain friends who  gather together and they all constantly smoke - make a choice (Allah gave  you free will to choose!) to stay away from that environment for the time  being. At a vulnerable stage, it is too easy to get sucked back in by  having "just one." Remember, tobacco causes a physical addiction and you  must stay away completely. Drink a lot of water and keep yourself busy in  other endeavors. Go to the masjid. Play sports. And remember the words of  Allah: "And those who strive hard in Our Cause, We will certainly guide  them to Our Paths, for verily Allah is with those who do right? (Surah 
al-Ankabut 29:69).

For more information about the proven dangers of smoking, and advice on  how to quit, visit About.com's Smoking Cessation website.

Living With a Smoker.....
If you live with or are friends with smokers, first of all encourage  them to quit, for the sake of Allah, their deen, and their health. If they  refuse (and ultimately we will face Allah alone), you have the right to  protect your own health and the health of your children. Do not allow it in  the house. Do not allow it in enclosed quarters with your family. Even if  the smoker is a parent, we are not to obey our parents in things which are  forbidden by Allah.

 

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