Smoking – A social poison

MAN has been clearly instructed by The Almighty not to do or say things that will cause his own loss or destruction in any way whatsoever. Allah Almighty declares in the Holy Qur’aan: “ . . . make not your own hands contribute to your destruction . . . ” (Ch 2 : v 195); and He also declares: “ . . . nor kill yourselves . . . ” (Ch 4 : v 29).

Danger to one’s health
There is no disagreement among physicians and sane people that tobacco use leads most commonly to diseases affecting the heart and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer).

It is universally understood that cigarette smoking causes a number of health problems that often ultimately result in death. Smokers are 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.

Interestingly, laying down a principle, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had stated that “Your body has a right on you.” It is alarming to note that by abusing their bodies, through wilful smoking, over 3 million people worldwide die from smoking-related causes each year.

The World Health Organisation’s current estimates indicate that tobacco causes nearly 6 million deaths a year. The official WHO website states that tobacco caused 100 million deaths over the course of the 20th century and if current trends continue, there will be up to one billion tobacco related deaths in the 21st century!

Danger to the health of others
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.

This is a gross injustice against innocent people who otherwise are normal and healthy but then subjected to the noxious fumes and poisonous toxins in this manner. Gradually, a realisation seems to be awakening in human society, the world over, hence the increase in no-smoking areas, etc. The reek of cigarettes literally permeates everything around the smoker – hair, clothing, furniture, carpets, curtains, home, car, etc.

Even when not smoking, the offensive smell from the mouth of the smoker can be stomach wrenching in most cases. The smokers themselves realise that their breath reeks with the noxious stench; hence many smokers try to hide the smell by using breath mints, chewing gum or perfume, etc. This does not get rid of the smell, it only masks it. Often the combination of smells is even more nauseating to say the least!

The addiction to tobacco is a physical response that often interferes with one’s life, social behaviour and worship. Many addicted smokers spend their days in a cranky mood, and are short-tempered, just wanting to “light up” as often as possible – especially if they are faced with situations of pressure or stress. Many a times they will “light up” without having taken any food or water and this can have a further devastating effect on their health.

Waste of money
Wealth is to be regarded as a bestowment of The Almighty and He so beautifully guides mankind: “ . . . and spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the devils . . . ” (Ch 17 : v 26-27). How many cases are heard of, whereby a person spends large amounts, weekly or monthly, on cigarettes whilst the family do not even have enough for basic needs and necessities like food and clothing? Smokers often spend thousands of dollars a year that literally just go up in smoke. One cannot deny that the money that is spent on cigarettes is used on buying a harmful thing and is a total waste of resources .

Considering that which has been presented, it can be clearly seen that smoking is an evil among many others. Believers in The Almighty will surely realise that it cannot be permissible to indulge in it, or buy and sell it, or even to offer it to others. It is incumbent on a person who is addicted to it that he must make all efforts and get whatever necessary treatment to stop it.

Legal complications
In fact in many countries, where smoking was so heavily promoted, countless cases have been raised against tobacco companies by smokers and ex-smokers, for “compensation” for the illnesses and ailments they have suffered and are suffering from as a result of the smoking.

Almost all countries now have a policy requiring the tobacco companies and cigarette manufacturers to print health hazard warnings on the cigarette packs. In most 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.

Despite all these clear facts and the concerted efforts to conscientise the masses about the harms of smoking, millions of people all over the world are doing just that – harming, even killing themselves and their families and communities!

For further information on Islam or a free copy of the Holy Qur’aan, please contact:Majlisul Ulama Zimbabwe, Council of Islamic ScholarsPublications Department

PO Box W93, Waterfalls, Harare

Tel: 04-614078 / 614004, Fax : 04-614003