We live in a time and a place where satisfaction dominates our living. From next day delivery on anything you purchase straight to your door to tasks being made easier and easier with the advances of technology, our lives are unrecognisable to how people lived in the generations before us.
One of the overlooked areas regarding this is the satisfaction we place on our food and drink. Everything is designed to satisfy our taste first now and little emphasis is placed on nutrition like it once was.
But by far the biggest culprit of what we ingest for the sake of pleasure is smoking. The irony is that for those who smoke, if you ask them to recall their first cigarette or smoking incident, they will probably say it wasn’t a nice experience.
But this is the trick of Shaitaan, it convince us that what is good for us is not and what is bad for us is good. We need to be mindful of this as it helps explain why taking smoke into the lungs is something we would ever want to do for the first time.
One of the arguments for those who wish to smoke is to say that it is not specifically mentioned in the Quran and therefore it isn’t forbidden for use. This argument carries little weight as there are many things that are obviously not permissible today but not mentioned in the Quran revealed back then. We need to understand that Allah SWT has given us the Quran as a book of guidance and from it we can derive lessons that are applicable today.
And so the imam referenced ayat 4 of Sura Al-Maidah which is translated to say:
They ask you, Prophet, what is lawful for them. Say, ‘All good things are lawful for you.’ [This includes] what you have taught your birds and beasts of prey to catch, teaching them as God has taught you, so eat what they catch for you, but first pronounce God’s name over it. Be mindful of God: He is swift to take account.
Dear brothers and sisters, from this ayat we can see that Allah SWT specifically states that things which are lawful for you to consume are those things that are good for you.
There is no science that states that the act of smoking has benefits. In fact, most smoking packets these days graphically illustrate how this act is damaging to body organs, from lungs to the heart.
On the opposite side, to not engage in this habit not only has worldly benefit such as health and financial benefit, but also has the benefit of the blessing of avoiding what is impermissible. Only Allah SWT knows how hard it is for someone who is addicted to bad habits to then quit them.
For every moment the slave of Allah SWT quits something for the sake of his creator is a moment where he is then earning the reward and blessing of Allah SWT.
And so this is enough for us to know that this is not a permissible act for us. Alongside this the imam also referenced the 157th ayat of Sura Al-Araf which is translated to say:
who follow the Messenger- the unlettered prophet they find described in the Torah that is with them, and in the Gospel- who commands them to do right and forbids them to do wrong, who makes good things lawful to them and bad things unlawful, and relieves them of their burdens, and the iron collars that were on them. So it is those who believe him, honour and help him, and who follow the light which has been sent down with him, who will succeed.’
Dear brothers and sisters, this is talking about those who will succeed and although it is telling the Jews and Christians at the start that our Prophet SAWS is mentioned to them in their scriptures, it finishes by talking of those things that are unlawful to them and again those things that are bad for us fall into this category.
And so, for those of us who are trapped by this habit and wish to quit, today’s reminder concludes with practical steps that we can all take to help us quit this habit.
- Plan to quit. Understand that this is going to take some effort in the beginning and so ask Allah SWT to make it easy for you and make a conscious intention with Him to quit the habit. Also, let your family and friends know that you are going to quit on a date and that you will require their support as your mood may be affected for a short while.
- Understand that the addictive element of smoking is only nicotine. This has been scientifically to last up to 48 hours. This means after two days, your body no longer craves it and all that you must overcome now is the psychological habit of smoking. Therefore plan to occupy your time with something else. Try carrying a bottle of water to sip from or gum to chew regularly. Replace the smoking habit with something else and remember a habit takes 40 days to form so make sure the change is one you stick to for this period of time.
- Smoking is a social activity for some. From sheesha cafes to work breaks, often we associate smoking with respite from our busy lives. This is the hardest part of the trap as by quitting the habit of smoking, we are giving up on these times and often friends that we associate with these times. In this point it is worth asking yourself if the sacrifice of those 5 minute breaks or evenings in the café are worth your health and the pleasure of Allah SWT.
Dear brothers and sisters, quitting this habit isn’t easy. But remember that for every day you strive to quit for the sake of Allah SWT then that is every day in which you will reap the reward of your efforts insh’Allah.