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Friday, June 08, 2007

Smoking in Islam

"And do not kill yourselves; indeed, Allah is ever Merciful to you". an Nisa 4:29

A general rule of the Islamic Shar'iah (law) is that to ingest anything that may cause injury, illness or death, either quickly or gradually, is forbidden (haram). Any form of self-injury is discouraged, nor is one permitted to harm another.
This understanding is based on the premise that a person is not entirely his own master; his life, health, wealth, and all that Allah has bestowed upon him belong to Allah, and he is on this earth to fulfill a trust with Him, hence he is not permitted to destroy or diminish any of it. This also extends to the earth, everything in and on it, and the environment.

Smoking is known to damage the smoker's health, those around him as well as the environment. Even the packet displays a health warning that smoking KILLS.

"And do not be cast into ruin by your own hands". al Baqarah 2:195

In Islamic communities there is a major guaranteed method of seeking advantage and combating corruption, which is the promotion of good (maarouf) and the censure of abominations (munkar). This is an obligation that goes beyond mere education and information availability and involves checking that the information is actually put to practical use.

Every Muslim who knows, for example, that smoking kills and knows the harmful effects it produces regards it as his duty to inform others about it and make every other member of his community aware of the dangers of smoking. But things do not stop at that. He even considers it his duty when he sees someone smoking to ask him, in a gentle manner, to stop because smoking is harmful to the smoker. He also points out to him that if it is permissible for a person to harm himself, which it is not, it is a greater sin to cause harm to others.

The Prophet (saw - may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade causing harm to individuals and to the community, as he said: "There shall be no infliction of harm on oneself or others".

He also forbade any injury to one's neighbor, any neighbor, whether in residence, public transport, public places, or offices. He said: "Whoever believes in God and the Day of Judgment should not hurt his neighbor".

The same attitude is adopted by every responsible Muslim towards a person who pours the waste of his factory into waters that are for common use or into other areas of the common environment, or indeed towards any person who contributes in any way to the pollution of the environment. Enjoining what is right and good and forbidding what is wrong and evil, which is a fundamental principle of Islam, ensures the vigilance of every member of an Islamic community to make sure that the law is enforced, the common interest is guarded, and every source of corruption is blocked. Islam makes the protection of the environment and censure of its corruption a duty of the righteous society.

"Do not waste life or property." reported by al Bukhari

Health promotion is the basic stage in protecting human health, or let us say, it is primary prevention. It is the first and the most important thing to do. To protect people from falling victim to a disease is to spare them much suffering, and to spare their tissues and organs much damage and undesirable consequences. Furthermore it saves society a heavy bill.

"Do not harm yourself or others.'' reported by Ahmad and Ibn Majah

All measures that aim to ensure the early detection of any ailment and the immediate intervention to check it fall under secondary prevention. There is also tertiary prevention, which includes the procedures followed to minimize the consequences of handicaps and disabilities should they occur, to reduce the suffering resulting from any incurable ailment, and to improve a patient's ability to adjust to living with such incurable impairment. All this is classified as rehabilitation. What is mentioned concerning health is applicable to the environment to a great extent.

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