Fruits for the Week

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Islam also puts great emphasis on general health consciousness. Our Prophet (saw) said: “The most important knowledge is religious knowledge which protects the soul, and the knowledge of health which protects the body.

Eating halal food, brushing teeth, bathing, using clean clothes, not wearing shoes in the house, etc, are part of keeping the Muslim clean and healthy. Even in consuming halal food, he should not over-eat, but eat moderately. The Prophet (saw) said: “Be always a little hungry, your stomach should have one-third food, one-third air and one-third water,” and “kill not your heart with excessive eating.

What about smoking? The world’s health authorities are drawing the attention of people about the ill effects of smoking. As many Muslims smoke, let us now discuss this subject from an Islamic point of view.

Allah with His infinite knowledge knows that man, in his folly, may want to have the luxury of enjoying certain substances which initially may seem to be pleasurable but eventually would take control of him and harm him in many ways than one.

People who smoke consider smoking as pleasurable or an action that causes a sense of well-being, otherwise why would they indulge in it? A person who takes alcohol or drug also says that it brings about the same effect. Therefore, a discussion on smoking by Muslims would inevitably have to focus on “Intoxicants”, the term used in the Qur’an and the Hadith, which include alcoholic beverages and drugs.

Our Prophet (saw) said: “Any intoxicant is forbidden,” and “What intoxicates in greater quantity is unlawful in its small quantity.” What is evident here is that anything and everything that is capable of making one lose one’s mind and causes addiction should not be taken at all. For example, some non-Muslims say that alcoholic drinks may not be harmful if taken even a little as the danger of addiction, though unconscious at the outset, is inevitably present, and would strike at the slightest provocation like a snake. For instance, a casual or social drinker would rush to the bottle to drown his worries or despondence because he is already familiar with alcohol and would therefore not shy away from it or be afraid of it.

Intoxicants, especially drugs used in medicines, are not always totally useless. Allah (swt) says that: “In them is great sin and some profit for men but the sin is greater than the profit.” (Al-Baqarah: 219). The “profit” of intoxicants is the gain obtained when they are beneficially used in medicines and medical practices. However, the “Sin is greater that the profit” because they can be easily abused. Therefore, Allah advises people to keep away from intoxicants: “O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling… are an abomination… eschew such (abomination) that you may prosper.” (Al-Maidah: 93)

You would have noticed that in the above verse, gambling is mentioned together with intoxicants. This is because both share similar characteristics. Gambling too is addictive and gives rise to problems similar to those of intoxicants. Drugs and alcohol, as well as gambling, can damage personal character and health in many ways. They affect not only the abuser himself, but also his family members, social relationship and the society at large.

Many marriages have failed; many mature people have ruined their lives; many parents have been shamed because of their children’s indulgence in drugs and alcohol; many traffic and domestic accidents have happened because of alcoholic drinks.

Numerous small or domestic cases involving alcohol and drugs have gone unreported in the media. Usually only those involving deaths are reported. Among those reported was one about a well-liked teacher who drank and drove, resulting in the death of a youth.

An article in The Strait Times (Singapore) entitled “Drunk driver, popular and mild”, has this as its subtitle “Neighbours and students express surprise that teacher drank and cause death a pillion rider.” The teacher, 38, was jailed for six months and banned from driving for 10 years. He also lost his job. The accident has not only caused a lot of distress to his family members but also to the family of the victim, 27, who was about to get married.

In another article in the same newspaper, the heading went thus: “Birthday tragedy: Man’s drink driving caused death of his friend.” There were four people (all Muslims) in the car; one of them was a woman. “The group, all friends, had been drinking at the Hard Rock Café to celebrate the 40th birthday of the woman passenger.” The car overturned, killing one of the men. Accidents and deaths can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime but what happened here has brought shame to the Muslim community because the group had indulged in alcoholic drinks, which are haram beverages in Islam.

(To be continued)

by Shaik A. kadir