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Smoking: A Social Poison

Sawmeer Anuradhapura

Tobacco was discovered by the Spanish sailors on the American shores at about 1500 CE (900 AH). Since its discovery, the epidemic of smoking has continued to spread all over the world. In our times, one seldom finds a house not afflicted by it.

As early as the Seventeenth Century, the European countries realized the dangers of smoking and fought against it Laws were ordained in England, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, and other countries, prohibiting smoking and punishing violators.

Nowadays, the Western countries continue their attempts to protect their peoples from the harms of smoking. They employ media means, ordain laws and regulations, and apply other methods to discourage people from smoking.Because of that, the rate of smokers has declined to a certain degree in those countries.

Definition

Smoking refers to the action of lighting a cigarette, a pipe, a cigar, a water pipe, or any other object made from tobacco or materials of similar effects. The object is then sucked on with the lips to extract smoke. This smoke is inhaled into the chest and then exhaled from the nose and mouth as a thick white smoke. "Smoking" is now used to refer to the action of producing this smoke in English, Arabic, and other languages.

Evidence for the Prohibition of Smoking

There are many reasons, any one of which aufficient to rule smoking prohibited. Most importantly, it is harmful in numerous ways. It is harmful to the Deen, health, environment, family, brotherhood and social relations, property, etc. The following sections will briefly outline some of its harms and evils.

Smoking spoils a person's acts of worship and reduces their rewards. For instance, it spoils the prayer, which is the pillar of Deen. Allah's Messenger said: *Whoever eats garlic or onion, let him avoid us and our masjid, and stay in his home. The angels are surely hurt by things that hurt the human beings*(1)

Those with clean and undefiled fitrah (nature) have no doubt that the smell emanating from the mouth of a smoker is worse and more foul than that from the mouth of one who ate garlic or onion. Thus, a smoker is in between two options, either to harm the praying people and the angels with his foul smell, or miss the prayer in jama'ah.

Smoking also spoils fasting. Fasting is very hard for the smoker. As soon as the day is over, he hastens to break his fast on an evil cigarette instead of sweet dates or pure water. Even if he fasts through the month Ramadan, a smoker is reluctant to fast on other days. Thus he loses the great reward of those who fast even one day in Allah's way.

Harm To The Human Body

No one can deny the harm of smoking to the human body. The medical evidence for this is well established and overwhelming. Because of this, the law in the United States and many other countries requires including a warning on any smoking advertisement.

Smoking contains poisonous materials, such as nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, arsenic, benzopyrene, etc., that the smoker swallows in small proportions. Their harm accumulates with time to result in a gradual killing of the human organs and tissues.

The hazards of smoking to the health are hard to enumerate. Cancer, tuberculosis, heart attacks, asthma, coughing, premature birth, infertility, infections in the digestive system, high blood pressure, nervousness, mouth and teeth diseases, etc., are among the many health hazards that have been strongly linked to smoking.

These diseases may not appear all at once, however a smoker is most likely to suffer from some of them, and his suffering increases as he grows older. Furthermore, statistics have established that smokers' age is, on the average, ten years less than other people's.

*Whoever consumes poison, killing himself with it, then he will he consuming his poison in the hellfire, and he will abide in it permanently and eternally.*(6)

Harm To The Mind and Will Power

Smoking is harmful to the human mind and reason. An obvious demonstration of this is that one who is addicted to it passes through periods of severe craving, making it hard for him to think, concentrate, solve a problem, or do any important matter, until he smokes.

When one smokes, his muscles slacken, and he passes through a brief period of delirium that curtains the thought. His digestive system is also affected, causing him frequent nervousness and trembling of the hands. He passes through periods of excitability, in itation, and insomnia.

Thus, instead of being Allah's slave, a smoker becomes slave to his cigarette. He develops a weaker control of his sense and reason. The faculty of reason, clear and unobstructed, is one of Allah's great bounties on people. He (T) praised it in numerous places of the Qur'an; and He called on people to use it to see the truth and obey Him in a better way. A smoker emits his poisons in the faces of his companions, wife, children, and the environment. It is well established that second-hand smoke is almost as dangerous as first-hand. Thus, whether they like it or not, a smoker's associates are forced to inhale the smoke and be themselves smokers as well.


In addition to the poisons normally carried in the smoke, if a smoker has an contagious disease, such as tuberculosis or influenza, his exhaled smoke and coughing carry the disease to those around him.

Furthermore, a smoker irritates people by the foul smell and poisonous nature of his smoking. If they suffer from asthma or allergies, they are forced to move away from his vicinity. The Prophet () said: *Anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt his neighbor.*(8)

Thus, smoking constitutes a definite harm to other people; this is prohibited, as was indicated in the hadith cited earlier. Also, a smoker is certainly a bad companion to sit with, as is depicted in the following hadith:

*Verily, the example of a good companion and a bad one is like that of a perfume merchant and a blacksmith: As for the perfume merchant, he would either grant you (some perfume), or you would buy (some perfume) from him, or (in the least) you would get a good smell from him. And as for the blower of the bellows (ironsmith), you would either get a foul odor from him, or he would burn your clothes.*(9) Moral Decadence

Smoking is a form of moral decadence. It is most spread among the low-class immoral people. It reflects blind imitation of the non-Muslims. It is mostly consumed in bars, discos, casinos, and other: places of sin. A smoker may beg or steal if he does not have the money to buy cigarettes. He is ill-mannered with his friends and family, especially when he misses taking his necessary "dose" at the usual time.

Evil Substance

Smoking involves the consumption of an evil substance (khabeeth). It has a foul smell, foul taste, and is harmful to the body. This is aufficient to: prohibit it, because Allah (T) says (what means):
** *The Prophet) who will enjoin upon them the doing of what is right, forbid them the doing of what is wrong, make lawful to them the good things of life, prohibit for them the evil things, and lift from them their burdens and the shackles that were (previously) upon them.*(13)

Bad Example

A smoker, whether he likes it or not, makes of himself an example for his children and others to follow. He leads them to commit this evil. Actions sometimes have a stronger effect than words. Thus, even if he advises them or forbids them from smoking, his partaking of it provides them with a strong excuse to do it.

The problem is worse when the smoker is of known piety or knowledge. In such case, his harm becomes more emphasized, because more people take him as guide and example, and are thus lead astray by him. This multiplies his sins and increases his burden.
Hostility Toward The Good People

The majority of good people avoid smoking and stay away from smokers.Therefore, a smoker would be forced to stay away from them - at least while he smokes. He puts himself in a selective exile, creating a spiritual distance and hostility between him and the good people, and a closeness to the evil people. The effects of this become more apparent and acute with time. Note that this applies equally to any sin that a person commits, small or large.

Low Self Esteem.

A smoker despises himself, because he feels that a little cigarette is controlling him. Realizing his weakness before desires, this creates in him a feeling of defeat in the face of hardships.
Scholars' Verdict

Since smoking became known to Muslims, all of the great scholars who have the capability of Ijtihad (deriving verdicts in new situations) agree to its prohibition. Thus, there is no value for baseless opinions, conflicting with this, provided by self-proclaimed lesser scholars.
*Help one another in righteousness and piety, and do not help one another in sinning and transgression. And fear and revere Allah; verily, Allah is severe in punishment.*Also, Allah's Messenger () said: *Indeed when Allah prohibits something, he prohibits eating its price.*(16)

 



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