Suicide by Smoking

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 "Cigarettee 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 1

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.? 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.

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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-Israa17:26-27} 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. But there is no such system in Pakistan; here not only poor men but also youngsters have a great urge for cigarettes. In an Indus TV report on why people like to smoke?? They conclude that most of the people smoke to show that they are modernists, some get this habit from their friends, from father or any other member of the family, some adopt this habit to move in a society, teenagers like to smoke just to show that they become young and to attract opposite sex.

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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 masjed. 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). Here is some quick tips how to quit smoking 1) Believe in yourself. Believe that you can quit. Think about some of the most difficult things you have done in your life and realize that you have the guts and determination to quit smoking. It's up to you. 2) Write down why you want to quit (the benefits of quitting): live longer, feel better, for your family, save money, smell better, find a mate more easily, etc. You know what's bad about smoking and you know what you'll get by quitting. Put it on paper and read it daily. 3) Set a quit date. Decide what day you will extinguish your cigarettes

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4) forever. Write it down. Plan for it. Prepare your mind for the "first day of the rest of your life". You might even hold a small ceremony when you smoke you last cigarette, or on the morning of the quit date. 5) Talk with your doctor about quitting. Support and guidance from a physician is a proven way to better your chances to quit. 6) Begin an exercise program. Exercise is simply incompatible with smoking. Exercise relieves stress and helps your bodyrecover from years of damage from cigarettes. If necessary, start slow, with a short walk once or twice per day. Build up to 30 to 40 minutes of rigorous activity, 3 or 4 times per week. Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. 7) Do some deep breathing each day for 3 to 5 minutes. Breathe in through your nose very slowly, hold the breath for a few seconds, and exhale very slowly through your mouth. Try doing your breathing with your eyes closed and, 8) Visualize your way to becoming a non-smoker. While doing your deep breathing in step 8, you can close your eyes and begin to imagine yourself as a non-smoker. See yourself enjoying your exercise in step 7. See yourself turning down a cigarette that someone offers you. See yourself throwing all your cigarettes away, and winning a gold medal for doing so. Develop your own creative visualizations. Visualization works. 9) Cut back on cigarettes gradually (if you cut back gradually, be sure to set a quit date on which you WILL quit). Ways to cut back gradually include: plan how many cigarettes you will smoke each day until your quit date, making the number you smoke smaller each day; buy only one pack at a time; change brands so you don't enjoy smoking as much; give your cigarettes to someone else, so that you have to ask for them each time you want to smoke. 10) Find another smoker who is trying to quit, and help each other with positive words and by lending an ear when quitting becomes difficult. Visit this Bulletin Board and this Chat Room to find a "quit buddy." 11) Have your teeth cleaned. Enjoy the way your teeth look and feel and plan to keep them that way. 12) Drink lots of water. Water is good for you anyway, and most people don't get enough. It will help flush the nicotine and other chemicals out of your body, plus it can help reduce cravings by fulfilling the "oral desires that you may have. 13) Learn what triggers your desire for a cigarette, such as stress, the end of a meal, arrival at work, entering a bar, etc. Avoid these triggers or if that's impossible, plan alternative ways to deal with the triggers. 14) Find something to hold in your hand and mouth, to replace cigarettes. Consider drinking straws or you might try an artificial cigarette. Write yourself an inspirational song or poem about quitting, cigarettes, and what it means to you to quit. Read it daily. 15) Keep a picture of your family or someone very important to you with you at all times. On a piece of paper, write the words "I'm quitting for myself and for you (or

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"them")". Tape your written message to the picture. Whenever you have the urge to smoke, look at the picture and read the message. 16) Whenever you have a craving for a cigarette, instead of lighting up, write down your feelings or whatever is on your mind. Keep this "journal" with you at all times. 17) Spend more times with your family and friends.

What happens once you quit? Be on constant guard; beware of special hazards, such as times of stress, pressures at work or deadlines. If you do have a set back and smoke again, analyse carefully the reasons for your failure, and then try again. Do not give up; keep trying until you succeed. Smoking is a health hazard; it is not just the single, most important entirely preventable risk factor for the development of Angina and heart attack but also a proven cause of Lung cancer and many other diseases of the lungs and blood vessels. 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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