Islamic Education- Children Education 2008- Lesson (10- 36): The Dangerous Effects of Smoking on Individuals and Societies.
Last update:2017-07-11
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Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations, and Peace and blessings be upon our prophet Muhammad, the faithful and the honest.
 Oh, Allah, we know nothing but what You teach us. You are the All- Knower, the Wise. Oh Allah, teach us what is good for us, and benefit us from what You taught us, and increase our knowledge. Show us the righteous things as righteous and help us to do them, and show us the bad things as bad and help us to keep away from them.
  O Allah our Lord, lead us out from the depths of darkness and illusion, unto the lights of erudition and knowledge, and from the muddy shallows of lusts unto the heavens of Your Vicinity.

Man's health is his means to offer deeds:

 Dear brothers, this is lesson No. 10 of the series Children Upbringing in Islam, and we are still tackling the topics about children's health education. Health is strongly related to man's ability of offering deeds, because his body is the container of his deeds, and his physical health is the means for him rather than being a purpose itself, simply because man is created in this world in order to offer good deeds, so this mission needs a healthy body in order to be fulfilled.

 A man once said to me, "Is death not preordained and predetermined and lifep cannot get shorter or longer?" I said to him, "Absolutely, yes. Nevertheless, you can spend the 70 years you are going to live as an active and a healthy man, or you can live as a bad-ridden patient." It is true that the hour of death is predetermined, but the grace which comes in the second place after guidance is health. This topic is very crucial, and it touches the heart of every human being.


 I have chosen a very serious and prevailing unhealthy phenomenon to discuss in this lecture, which is "smoking". Unfortunately, the rate of smokers in the Islamic world is the highest in the world. Furthermore, the daily profits of a tobacco company from selling cigarettes in the Islamic world are 110 million dollars, and 12.000 of them goes to Israel on daily basis. I repeat again, the highest rate of smoking is among Muslims, which is but a stigma. Allah the Almighty says:

﴾ And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you. ﴿

[An-Nisa', 124]

 The difference between a cigarette and a bullet is that the former kills slowly, whereas the latter kills immediately. Allah says:

﴾And do not throw yourselves into destruction (by not spending your wealth in the Cause of Allah) ﴿

[Al-Baqarah, 195]

 The Almighty says:

﴾He allows them as lawful At-Taiyibat [(i.e. all good and lawful) as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.], and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khaba'ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.) ﴿

[Al-A'raf, 157]

The prudent deals with facts not with reality:

 Your success as a rational person is to deal with facts not with reality. For example, if someone, Allah forbid, is afflicted with a cancerous tumor in his lungs because of smoking, this will make him quit smoking, but when does this take place? It happens when it is too late, and after the damage is done. On the other hand, the rational person stops smoking because of a religious ruling (which forbid smoking) or upon reading a scientific research about the bad effects of smoking on the body.

 I would like to mention the example I keep repeating. If you live in Damascus, and you are going to receive a big sum of money in Homs (a city in Syria) in a chilly day in winter, you will drive your car towards Homs, but if before leaving Damascus, you read a sign that says, "The road to Homs is blocked because of snow in Nabk (a city on the way to Homs)", as a rational man you will go back to Damascus. What makes you turn around driving back your 3 tons vehicle? Four words on a sign make you do so, simply because you are rational. Unlike man, if an animal is trotting, where does it stop? Since it cannot read the sign, it will stop when it reaches the snow, so the animal responds to reality (snow), whereas man responds to the sign (reason). Hence, the difference between the rational person and the irrational one is that the former responds to the authenticated facts and religious rulings, whereas the latter acts upon reality.

﴾He allows them as lawful At-Taiyibat [(i.e. all good and lawful) as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.], and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khaba'ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.) ﴿

[Al-A'raf, 157]

 The irrational person is controlled by reality. For example, the smoker stops smoking after he is afflicted with a cancerous tumor in his lungs, with a heart attack or with an acute ischemia in his feet. The harmful effects of smoking are endless.

 What gives one of us hope is that once I was given a copy of a local magazine in which there was an essay entitled The Biggest Cigarettes Dealer in Damascus and the Biggest Seller Quitted Smoking after they Listened to a Lecture on a CD. I delivered that lecture in the celebration of opening the anti-smoking organization to which I belong as one of its establishers.

The self-evident proofs of prohibiting smoking:

 Dear brothers, there are self-evident proofs of the harmful effects of smoking. One of them is that have you ever heard that a smoker mentions the Name of Allah before smoking a cigarette? Man mentions the Name of Allah before drinking and eating but not before smoking. Also, if man finishes smoking does he say, "All praise be to Allah, O Allah keep this grace upon me?" No, he does not. Another proof is that no one dares to squash a piece of bread under his foot, but the smoker squashes his cigarette under his foot after he finishes it. Are not these enough proofs?

 Dear brothers, an Egyptian scientist went to America and he saw with his own eye how they prepared the tobacco leaves. Believe it or not, they soak them in wine before making them cigarettes. I am definitely sure of this piece of information, and I have the names of the tobacco companies. This procedure is done also in the Middle East, so when you listen to the ads about cigarettes which says, "Come to the flavor", it is a reference to the flavor of wine. Even the actor whose picture is all over the cigarettes ads in cowboy outfit died of lung cancer, and he said on his deathbed, "I lied to you, for smoking killed me."

The bad effects of smoking on individuals and societies:

 Dear brothers, there is a fact which I want you to know clearly, the rate of addiction among smokers is 85 %, whereas the rate of addiction among liquor drinkers is 15 %, what does that mean? It means that among 100 addicted smokers only 15% of them are able to quit smoking, whereas among 100 addicted drunk people 85% of them can quit drinking wine. These are dangerous statistics.

 The tobacco companies are called around the world "The killing companies" or "Death trading". These companies manufacture two cigarettes to every person on earth on daily basis, so the number of cigarettes all these companies produce every day is 12 billion cigarettes. If the poisons of these cigarettes were injected all at once in the bloodstream of all people on earth, they would kill them all instantly.

 There are 300 poisonous ingredients in the cigarette, and this information is taken from reliable resources. According to these resources, the fatal effect of these poisons on man race is graver than the atomic bomb. Those who die of smoking are more in number than those who die of plague, cholera, smallpox, tuberculosis, leprosy and typhoid all together. There are 1000 death incidents because of smoking in one of the western countries every day, and the number is 7 folds more than the one of those who die due to car accidents, given the highest rate of deaths is the rate of traffic accidents, yet those who die of smoking are 7 folds more than them!

﴾ And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you. ﴿

[An-Nisa', 124]

Nicotine is the most dangerous ingredient in cigarettes:

  It puts me at unease when I say this painful and harsh word: All smokers are insane, simply because they are willingly committing suicide; they kill themselves (slowly). They make themselves more prone to heart attacks. They put their limbs at the risk of having gangrene. According to some statistics in a western country, the people who die because of smoking are close to 400.000, there are 1000 deaths every day and among every three smokers, one of them dies because of smoking.

 The lump sum of profits gained by tobacco companies is lesser than the lump sum of money paid by the governments to treat smokers. The most dangerous ingredient in tobacco is nicotine, and it is nonsense to say that you put a filter to the cigarette (so the nicotine does not reach your body), for this filter does not prevent nicotine from reaching the lungs, but it prevents only tar. Actually, if 4 drops of nicotine are injected in the bloodstream of a horse, they will kill it right away.

 The gravest thing about smoking is that its poisons reach the red blood cells and cause them dysfunction; given these cells are the ones responsible for exchanging oxygen and getting rid of carbon dioxide. In cigarettes there are two poisonous cancerous toxic substances which consist mainly of cancerous carbons, and according to a study done in Britain on 83 male smokers, 3 out of 10 smokers die because of smoking.

The bad effect of smoking on the systems of the body:

1- The effect of smoking on man's brain and the feebleness of his intelligence:

 Let us go into details concerning the bad effects of smoking on health. With regard to the brain, the brain absorbs the toxics of the cigarettes immediately with excessive appetite, but why is that? It is because these substances stimulate and sedate the brain. Both a sedative and a stimulator are found in the cigarette. The toxics cause inflammation to the brain cells. According to a study on 6.800 smokers, there is a profound relation between smoking and the feebleness of man's intelligence, so in general, the smoker is less intelligent than the non-smoker.

2- Smoking destroys the respiratory system and causes chronic infections:

 As for the respiratory system, the alveoli of the lungs are like a grape cluster; every alveolus is like one hollow grape, for these alveoli are tiny air sacs where the exchange of oxygen takes place, for the oxygen is carried by the blood to the body tissues. Carbon dioxide is produced by the body's metabolism, and it returns to the lung via the blood. All together, the alveoli of the two lungs have a surface area of about 200 meters squared. The toxics of the cigarette cause damage to the inner membranes of these alveoli and weaken the respiratory function causing chronic inflammation in the nose, the throat, the pharynx and the bronchus. In addition, the smokers are more prone to lungs cancer than the non-smokers by 8 folds. If we suppose that 10 out of every 100 non-smokers have lungs cancer, this percentage reaches 80 % among smokers. I spent 10 days reading this research, and it is from reliable resources.

3- Heart and arteries diseases like clots are caused by smoking:

 The heart is affected seriously by smoking. A cardiologist I know swore by Allah that he spent in our country 8 years, and every day he used to make a heart surgery, or 4 surgeries per week, and all the patients of those surgeries were smokers. An ENT (ear, nose and throat) physician said that when the patient came to him having cancer in the throat, he put his hand on his chest to check him by while doing so he used to find out that the patient had a cigarette pack in his pocket (i.e. he was a smoker), so the doctor would say to him, "This cancer is from these cigarettes."

 Dear brothers, we are prudent, and our health is very precious, given "Health is a crown that the healthy wear on their heads, but only the sick can see it." Most of blood vessels diseases (clots) are because of smoking and 80 % of heart patients are smokers.

Smokers is more prone to clots:

 If a man sees a snake, what happens to his body? Amazing changes take place in his body, for the image of the snake reaches the retina of the eye, and then it goes to the brain which decodes this image. The brain is the king of the nervous system, and after decoding the image, it realizes the danger this man is facing. The queen of the endocrine glands is the pituitary gland, whose is half gram, and it receives orders from the brain and gives orders to the adrenal gland to take over in facing this danger, so the latter gives orders to the heart to increase its rates to 160 beats per minute, to, and to arteries to narrow their lumen. Also, it gives order to have the thrombosis released. Due to all these orders, the blood of the scared person is thick, his blood pressure is high, his walls of his blood vessels are narrow, his face is pale, his pulse is high and his lungs are expanded.

 This situation happens to the ordinary man once a month, once a year or may be once every 5 years upon being terrified, while effects of toxics in the cigarettes are similar to the substance that is excreted by the adrenal gland causing all these changes in the body. In other words, the smoker is always pale, his blood vessels are narrow, his blood is thick and his pressure is high. As a result, he is at high risk of producing clots in his bloodstream.

 A patient of a friend of mine was a smoker, and once my friend said to him in front of me, "You are about to have a heart attack soon." Well, he did not say so out of knowing the unseen, but he came up with such a conclusion depending on facts. That patient really had a heart attack after six months. The thrombosis hormone excreted by the liver is produced only in the situations when man is scared (these situations are rare), but the nicotine stimulates this hormone to be exerted, which makes the smoker's blood thick all the time (so he is more prone to clots).

The best way of educating your children is to set a good example to them:

 Dear brothers, there are other facts about the dangerous effects of smoking, and unfortunately the smoker does not want to pay attention to these effects. I would like to address the fathers who are smokers, "You are the role model of your children, so you should stop smoking." In fact, smoking among students becomes a phenomenon. A smoker poet said the following lines of poetry:

As for me, listen to my story from its start
Since I befriended a bunch of companions
My parents never knew where I used to hang out
looking around for cigarettes and matches
few months later, Satan's cigarette
Became the company that never left me
In Eid was my golden chance
With a pocket full of allowance from my father
I watched movies and was into them
And I watched actors smoking all the time
So I had the impression that the cigarette is a must
And that it made me one of the brave
Let alone, the cigarette of my teacher at school
Inspired me as Jinns and Satans inspire man.

 It is ridiculous to see a teacher advise his student to refrain from smoking while he is a smoker himself. You will find out after few lectures of this series that setting a good example for children is the best way of raising them correctly. The poet went on saying:

I became the slave of smoking without hesitation
And I started smoking openly not secretly

Man should seek Islamic knowledge to act upon them and stay cautious:

 By Allah, I hate to be harsh on smokers, but sometimes I meet a highly educated person and I admire him after talking to him, but the minute he starts smoking, I stop admiring him. The smoker is not prudent at all. The poet went on saying:

I became the slave of smoking without hesitation
And I started smoking openly not secretly
For my father smokes so does my teacher
And both tempted me by their behavior
Even the doctor in our neighborhood was a smoker
I made him a pretext to those who deterred me
I passed youth phase
And my chest become worse
I started breathing quickly upon walking
With a fast beating heart and a cough
I spent my money, I insulted my will
So that smoking will not be failed
I took this fierce enemy as a friend
I followed him till it made me sell my horse
I did not learn from what happened to others
And I kept smoking lest I lose
This is the story of a man filled with remorse
Beware my friend to be like me

His finger shake
Like fall's cold leaves
He sometimes spitted blood
And on his kerchief parts of his liver
Saying to him you would die tomorrow
Or you might die the day after

The young man died and buried in a grave
Lonely with desperate hopes
They wrote on his tombstone by blood
One line to be a lesson for the prudent
This young man died because of his lusts
So if you are following the same course, change directions

  What is the importance of these lectures? They are important for you to pay heed and to go back to the right track.

The effect of smoking on all the members of the family:

 Dear brothers, smoking narrows the blood vessels or block them which might cause a heart attack, angina pectoris, clots, gangrene, narrowed blood vessels, ischemia or black foot (because of gangrene) which leads to amputation.

 Smoking has bad effects on the fetus, for when the baby is born, it might suffer decrease in its weight, congenital malformation, sudden death in the crib, asthma in children or deafness, and all these bad effects are because the mother is a smoker and she transmits all the toxics through her breast milk to the baby causing it repeated vomiting and fast heart beat. The high rates of toxics (of cigarettes) in the woman's breast make one of the major causes of breast cancer.

 In fact, the innocent wife and the beautiful child of the smoker are negative smokers, but what kind of a sin they had committed to deserve this? Frankly, the smoker commits a crime to his wife and children, simply because he makes them negative smokers.

The worst kinds of tobacco are exported to the Middle East:

 There is another fact about cigarettes that has to do with wine. Doctor Abdul Saboor Shaheen, one of the most notable Egyptian scholars, wrote a book about the procedure of manufacturing cigarettes referring to the fact that the leaves of tobacco are soaked in wine. I read this fact in his book which I bought from the Book Fair held in Al-Assad Library. This person went to America and saw with his own eyes how they soak the leaves of tobacco in wine.

 Dear brothers, there is another painful fact about cigarettes. Do you know that the worst kinds of tobacco are exported to the Middle East? The Middle East has the highest rate of smokers in the world, and it is increasing, given we are smoking the worst kinds of tobacco, whereas these rate is decreasing in the west constantly.

Till when will you stay indulged in pleasures
though you will be held responsible for all your deeds?

The strong and sincere will is necessary to quit smoking:

  These are the facts in your hands, so do not say to me, "I cannot quit smoking", for I have a proof that you can, "How can you stop smoking in Ramadan?" Therefore, you have the potential to quit smoking. In fact, when you convince yourself that you cannot do something, it means that you do not have the will to do it. A man, who was addicted to smoking, used to smoke 5 packs per day, but after listening to the interpretation of Surah Ya-Sin, he decided to quit smoking and he did.

 I have a glad tiding to every smoker who is about to quit smoking: undoing the bad effects of smoking on the body is very quick. The human body is sophisticatedly designed in a way that its reaction is amazing (it responds directly to healthy habits). Hence, after one quits smoking, he will feel light, calm, his heart will become at ease and he will regain his skin's color immediately. The strong will is crucial in quitting smoking, and whose will is weak will not make it. The decisions you take dictate the life you lead, so take the right decision which reflects your profound faith and your strong will.

 There are smokers in every society, and by Allah the Only Deity, whenever someone resorts to me, because he is a heavy smoker, I feel unlimited pain for him. I am not giving any excuses to smokers, but the smokers are considered patients nowadays. The smoker might believe more than I in the necessary of quitting smoking, but he is already an addict and quitting smoking becomes too hard for him. However, you are granted a brain which is a marvelous means, so upon knowing that smoking is forbidden in Islam and upon reading researches about the bad effects of tobacco, you should refrain from smoking. Hence, if you are religious, the religious ruling should prevent you from smoking, and if you are secular, the scientific research should prevent you.

 Hence, we should raise the awareness of smoking, and I hope that you do not hit your son upon finding out that he smokes. Instead, you should convince him with quitting it, so give him this lecture and let him hear it, and tell him nicely, "Quitting smoking is for your own well-being, future and marriage." Smokers are discouraged about smoking because of some facts, among which is that most of women might refuse to get married to men after knowing that they are smokers.

 Another fact is that some factories for example refuse to hire smokers, and this should be praised. Moreover, some factories give compensations to the worker who quitted smoking. In one of the factories, they have a glass booth with a chimney in it, and it is for those who want to smoke. The smokers have to wait in the queue to go in that booth where man is like someone who is about to be executed in a gas chamber. These factories should be encouraged and praised. Smoking in public in western countries is forbidden, and no one can smoke in a plane, a market or a public place.

 I have three pieces of advice that help you quit smoking. My first piece of advice is that you need a strong will to quit smoking, the second one is to raise your awareness of the bad effects of cigarettes and my third piece of advice is to give this lecture as a gift to a smoker. A man used to sell cigarettes listened to this lecture specifically, and he had a partner in his store, so that man was impressed by all the facts to such an extent that he decided to stop selling cigarettes, but his partner refused, so to settle the issue, they calculated the profits of selling cigarettes which was 25.000, and since every partner got 12.500 (half of the profits), the one who heard the lecture decided to give his partner that sum of money every month provided that he did not sell cigarettes anymore, so he accepted.

 They stopped selling cigarettes, and when the distributor came as usual on Saturday to give them cigarettes supplies for their store (given the insurance he paid to become a distributor is 5 millions), they asked him to take the packs they had, and they told him about their intention to stop selling cigarettes. Upon asking about the reason, they gave him the CD of this lecture, so he listened to it and he was convinced, so he stopped cigarette business (given he used to deal with more than 250 stores in Damascus), and he started distributing food products.

 I hope that whoever listens to this lecture gives it to a smoker for free as a gift, and I allow all of you to give this lecture to anyone for free, because it is a right upon me to raise the awareness of every Muslim (of the risks of smoking). My last piece of advice to you is never lose hope, so if you failed in the first time you tried to quit smoking, try again. Listen to this joke, a smoker once said, "Who said that quitting smoking is hard, I myself quitted smoking 20 times so far." Do not panic if you gained weight upon quitting smoking, for this is a normal result due to regaining your appetite. Do not quit smoking gradually, because this is endless, and it goes nowhere. Reducing the number of cigarette' packs you use to smoke from 5 to 4 daily will not do you any good, so you need a conclusive decision in quitting smoking once and for all. Make use of the experiences of those who quitted smoking, and tell everyone that you quit smoking in order to avoid embarrassment if you smoke again and receive many comments and criticism due to that. Allah says:

﴾ Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad PBUH) whom they find written with them in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel), - he commands them for Al-Ma'ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained); and forbids them from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); he allows them as lawful At-Taiyibat [(i.e. all good and lawful) as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.], and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khaba'ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.)﴿

[Al-A'raf, 157]

 It is scientifically proved that smoking is an evil thing. In other lectures, I mentioned all the Fatwas (religious rulings) about smoking starting with the Fatwa issued by the head scholar at the time of Ottomans, then the Fatwa issued by the head scholar in Al-Azhar and the Fatwa issued by the highest Islamic Fatwa Council in Syria in which I am a member. The members of this council have issued a formal Fatwa, and it is propagated that smoking is definitely Haram. There is also a big poster on the wall in which all the bad effects of smoking are mentioned hoping that all our believing brothers make use of these facts. This is one of the crucial topics in raising children in Islam, for the father should look after his children's well-being, and in case one of his children starts walking on this wrong track, he should tell him that the end of it is very devastating.

Translation  : Noura Sharabi
Edited by      : Kawthar Hajj Saleh