Quit smoking in the spirit of Islam
It would be good for smokers who are Muslims to quit smoking in the spirit of Islam and uphold the good name of Islam and Muslims.
A recent medical survey findings, as reported by The Straits Times (8 March 2013), revealed that Malays top the smoking rates in Singapore.
The newspaper mentions that the “Daily smoking rates among Malays were highest at 26.5 per cent, compared with 12.8 among Chinese and 10.1 among Indians”.
As almost all Malays are Muslims, this revelation ought to be a major concern with the Singapore Muslim community.
Friday solat sermons should stress this smoking menace regularly in a more forceful and practical manner.
More Islamically-spirited publicity addressing this menace and counselling efforts and opportunities to help smokers stop this undesirable habit have to be made by mosques and Muslim bodies. Parents and friends too have a great role to play in this.
As Muslims are people who are taught by Islam to void wastage of anything good and to be careful in what they take into their bodies, the thrust on smoking ought to be redirected from makruh to haram – haram because it brings harm to the smoker’s health; it brings harm to those around the smoker, it brings wastage of money, it brings nothing good to the body, and instead it brings shame to the Muslim community when such survey findings are revealed.
Unlike food and drink, smoking has no benefits for the function of one’s body and maintenance of health. On the contrary, smokers, over time, develop a host of health and social problems as highlighted by medical authorities and the World Health Organisation.
The Quran provides advice that applies to smoking.
Smoking is injurious to health:
- “And make not your own hands contribute to your destruction.” (2:195)
- “Do not kill or destroy yourselves: for verily Allah has been to you most merciful.” (4:29)
Smoking is wasting money:
- “But squander not your wealth senselessly. Squanderers are indeed brothers of the satan.” (17:26-27)
- “O you who believe! Intoxicants…are an abomination…eschew such (abominations) that you may prosper.” (5:93)
Taking an average stand for easy computation, if a box of 10 cigarettes cost $10.00, and if a person smokes 10 boxes a month, he would have spent $100 a month and $1200 a year, which is actually a good amount of money burned away!
My friend, who is a heavy smoker, confessed:
“Whenever I buy a box of cigarette, I avoided looking at the picture on it because it is horrible – it shows terribly damaged features of the body as a health warning. I felt sick, but I still buy it.
I also feel that we smokers are treated like “pariahs” everywhere – we cannot smoke in the office or in the toilet or in the restaurant or in buildings. We cannot smoke in the train or bus and not even in the MRT stations and at the bus-stops. We are seen as dirty people who spread diseases to others.
Strangely, I can control my smoking urge when fasting in Ramadan, and even reduce the number of sticks smoked from 10 to five per day – four sticks from after iftar to midnight and one stick after sahur.”
It is good for smokers to go for counselling for professional help in kicking the habit. However, for those Muslim smokers who are shy to go for counselling and would like to try a do-it-yourself way, Ramadan is the month to end the smoking habit, and this year’s Ramadan is about four months away only; it’s starting on 10 July this year.
I have drawn a Muslim smokers’ guide time-table for this purpose, and a smoker ought to take a resolution with full conviction: “I want to show the power of Ramadan, not show my weakness year after year”.
As a heavy smoker cannot all of a sudden stop smoking, the Ramadan method provides a stage by stage reduction of smoking on a weekly basis, as follows:
The victorious person would have great cause for double celebration this Eidul Fitri – one for the successful completion of his fast and the other in becoming a revert non-smoker.
How proud the Malay community would be if the next survey findings were to reveal that the daily smoking rates among Malays are at 6.5 per cent! Can this hope come to reality? The response lies not only in the hands of smokers but also in the proactive efforts of Muslims and Muslim bodies.
13 Mar 2013