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Ramadan or Ramazan is the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar. It lasts for 28-30 days, depending on the visual sighting of the moon. It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam -
1. Shahada - Faith
2. Salah - Prayer
3. Zakat - Charity
4. Sawm - Fasting
5. Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Fasting is considered obligatory for all Muslims with exceptions for those suffering an illness, pregnant women, the elderly, people who are travelling, and women who are menstruating.
Muslims refrain from drinking any liquid, eating, smoking, or engaging in any sinful behaviour, anger, false speech, sexual relations, etc. from dawn to dusk.
There is a deeper meaning to Ramadan than the fast itself. It encourages each individual to change for the better, get rid of bad habits, organize and refine one's life, and free it from indolence and monotony.
Smoking tobacco is the largest killer, even bigger than alcohol. It has been estimated in the last five years that the rate of death due to smoking is twice as that of because of alcohol.
The statistics show that 3 million people die due to consumption of alcohol, whereas 6 million die due to smoking. In addition to this, many others in the count of millions acquire lung diseases, cancers, lung cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, coronary diseases, cancer of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx and other fatal heart diseases, all because of smoking.
The industry that manufactures various types of cigarettes earn in billions and much more, all from the pockets of those who are willingly paying for their death.
Health is considered as God's gift to man as described by Prophet Mohammed. Without good health, man is nothing and his life is meaningless. Health is not just the absence of disease or ailment in a body, it's a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.
Islam gives a lot of importance to health. It divides human acts into the following categories -
1. Halal - Permissible
2. Fardh - Obligatory
3. Mustahab - Desirable
4. Haram - Prohibited
5. Makruh - Undesirable
This categorization is important because we see the importance that Islam gives to health. The Quran allows what is good and completely forbids what is bad. It allows what is good for the body and society in general.
It has declared certain things and practices to be undesirable that are not necessarily fatal but do harm the health in some way. It has also declared items and practices prohibited that in no way contribute to good health but instead lead you to acquire a fatal disease.
"O you who have believed, do not consume one another's wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful." (Al-Baqara, 2: 29).
Drinking alcohol and drugs directly fall into Haram, the prohibited category. Whereas smoking is something that is still not prohibited and people take advantage of that.
Ramadan tests your willpower when you get a chance to give up an addiction. And not smoking for 15 hours straight with no food and no water is really a true test of your willpower. But this also shows you that it is not something that cannot be given up; it is not something that you would die without.
And as we all know that it's not easy to give up smoking immediately, one precautionary step that can be incorporated before Ramadan begins is reduce your smoking bit by bit. This should help you completely quit once you begin with this holy fast.
This is because even a non-believer in Muslims holds the fast of Ramadan very dear. This is because it is supposed to be the time when all gates to hell are closed and the gateway to heaven is all ready to welcome you. And who doesn't want to go to heaven?
Quran has stated that it allows all things that are good and wholesome and it only bans that which is harmful. It bans that which causes death and bad health.
"And spend in the way of Allah and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good." (Al-Baqara, 2: 195).
After all, this is what the Quran states, so how can smoking still fall under Halal?
Ramadan is thus considered the best time for a smoker to give up this fatal habit and once again walk on the path of good health.
How Can It Be Done?
Small steps need to be taken to do so. As mentioned earlier, reduce smoking before Ramadan begins.
• It all begins with making a firm decision to quit. Know that this is a holy month that encourages you to promote good health, and what's a better way than give up the silent killer?
• Set a time frame for yourself, and don't postpone it; this will make your decision to quit firmer.
• Stay in the company of those who will encourage you instead of telling you that one smoke a day is not very harmful. Stay around family who are also fasting and giving up a bad habit; it will motivate you to stay on track.
• Above all, know that what you are giving up is just like closing the doors to complications in your body.
Motivate yourself and others close to you to do the same. It is not easy because there will be phases where the nicotine is still in your system and that will make you want to go back and smoke. Seek professional help if required or just devise a plan of your own to go through with this.
Don't be afraid of things like counselling and group therapy. These sessions will help you meet people who have done this before and that's just more motivation to quit.
Quit smoking. Quit the killer.