by Linda “iLham” Barto
O Believers, do not squander your collective resources in vain, But promote commerce with mutual good will. Do not destroy yourselves. Truly, Allah has been to you the Most Merciful (Inspired by Surah 4: 29)
Tobacco claims the lives of over five million people per year, globally. In the USA, 1,200 Americans die per day because of smoking. In 2013, the tobacco industry spent 9.5 billion dollars on advertising to keep people smoking and to attract more people to fill their bodies with slow-death poisons.
Is smoking a sin? I think so, and here are seven reasons why.
- You have no right to pollute what rightfully belongs to God (blessed and exalted is He). Cigarettes contain 600 ingredients that are poisonous or emit poisonous fumes when burning. One of these is ammonia, which is deviously added by the manufacturers in order to make your brain absorb more nicotine, thereby strengthening addiction’s possession of you. If you submit your whole self to God, your body –as well as your heart, mind, and soul— belongs to God (blessed!). Do not ruin God’s property.
- Addiction to tobacco products is a form of idolatry. You cannot be a servant of God and also a slave to cigarettes or other tobacco products. We are assigned the responsibility of being ambassadors for God. How can you adequately represent God (blessed!) if you have smoke boiling out of your nose as if you’re a demon from Hell?
- Wasting property is a sin. The average addict spends $1200 annually on tobacco products. Your personal resources are part of the collective resources of your local ummah and the global Ummah, and you do not have the right to waste the Ummah’s property on vanities.
- You are ordered, “Do not destroy yourselves.” Some translators depict the ayat, “Do not destroy (or kill) one another.” It is predicted that within this century, over 500 million people will die from diseases directly related to tobacco products. Smokers are not only killing themselves, but are also killing those around them. If a non-smoker has to continually be subjected to another’s cigarette smoke, the effect is as if the non-smoker smoked three cigarettes per week. That includes the innocent child of smoking parents! Babies of smoking parents are more likely to die of sudden infant-death syndrome and suffer from respiratory problems. Even in-door pets have been known to develop cancers and other diseases due to their owners’ smoking. Tobacco products, including snuff and chewing tobacco, kill more people than AIDS, murder, suicide, fire, alcoholic beverages, and illegal drugs combined. Tobacco products are the #1 cause of preventable deaths. More Americans have been killed by tobacco products than by the terrorists targeted by the current war on terror; yet, the federal government refuses to initiate a war against the tobacco companies.
- Use of tobacco products means that you are funding a demonic organization. By purchasing tobacco products, you are contributing to the corrupt, greedy, spiteful, despicable, and devious tobacco industry, which uses deceptive manipulation to gain new suckers as their products are destroying their current consumers. The tobacco industry was the #1 contributor in the 1996 and 2000 US Presidential elections. Many politicians are slaves to the tobacco industry, and that is a huge reason that tobacco products are still legal to manufacture, promote, and distribute, even though they are killing American citizens every day. As more Americans wise-up, however, American tobacco companies target people in countries even less active in educating their citizens about the dangers of tobacco use.
- It is a sin to waste time. Purchasing a tobacco product, opening the package, removing the product, and sticking the tobacco or snuff inside your cheek; or sticking the cigarette or cigar in your mouth, and then striking a match or using a lighter to initiate the death-sparks; and then spitting or puffing are all a frivolous waste of time, and Muslims are commanded not to waste anything the Creator (blessed!) has given us.
- Smoking demonstrates a lack of love and mercy. Smoking is anti-social and is a form of hate as it shows disregard for the safety and comfort of others. Thanks to anti-smoking campaigns and laws, four out of five people in the USA do not smoke, and most of these cannot tolerate cigarette or cigar smoke. Even in countries less active in promoting the anti-smoking cause, two out of three do not smoke. It is now common for restaurants and other public places to ban smoking, and if you are a smoker, your employer may assign you an outdoor site to confine your smoking. That’s because nobody wants you around with your stinking cigarettes! Wise up!
The mouth is a gatekeeper for the body. Nobody smokes his or her first cigarette, chews his or her first wad of tobacco, or tastes his or her first shot of whiskey and is pleased with the taste. The taste buds say, “Spit it out!” First-timers should listen to their mouths. Likewise, the nose detects the unpleasant fumes and odors and is repulsed. The nose knows!
I cringe when I hear TV news reporters describe Ramadan as “a time when Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, and smoking.” Smoking? Muslims shouldn’t be smoking in the first place! Giving up cigarettes for Ramadan, and then going back to them after Ramadan makes as much sense as wallowing in depravity during the Mardi Gras with the intention of asking for forgiveness when the party is over. Believers (of all faiths) should be better than that. If you are a smoker, consider one aspect of Ramadan as the Great Islamic Smoke-Out, and quit for good.
An excerpt from the book Memoirs of a Hillbilly Muslim by Linda iLham Barto. Used by permission of the author.