Ramadan is usually an exciting month for many Muslims; whilst many non-Muslims shudder at the thought of abstaining from food and drink for over 12 hours, lengthy night prayers and disrupted sleep patterns, it is these very things that Muslims enjoy about the month. Alongside this, there is a desire to fulfil as many righteous actions as they possibly can in order to gain closeness to Allah, which is where the ultimate sweetness of Ramadan lies. It is therefore somewhat ironic that in this month of virtue, Muslim smokers continue to puff away. Such individuals will wake up for their pre-dawn meal and tank up on nicotine; upon breaking their fast, they’re filled with joy savouring the tingle they receive on taking the first drag they’ve been waiting for all day. The sheer foolishness of such individuals could not have been more apparent. Ramadan is an opportunity the Lord gives to recondition bad behaviour.
Given the fact that smoking nullifies one’s fast, common sense should prevail in thinking that the continuous act of fasting for 30 days should be an ideal opportunity to abandon such a useless act. For me, the act of smoking highlights the hypocrisy of such individuals; the most ludicrous of all being those Muslims who are ostensibly devout in their worship and take great pride in supposedly dressing like the Prophet, peace be upon him, yet continue to smoke during Ramadan claiming that it is merely disliked by God. While they may fast, give charity and perform voluntary prayers out of submission to God, little do they know that their enslavement to nicotine has resulted in the submission to Phillip Morris et al. Do they not realise that their persistence to smoke tarnishes the very acts of spirituality which they perform for God? Take for example the anger, irritability and other effects of nicotine withdrawal they might experience when they should really be on the peak of their spiritual high during the fasting day? Or perhaps the intense cravings and anticipation they might be experiencing in the hour prior to breaking fast, a time in which instead of weeping and begging their Lord for forgiveness and mercy, they are clock watching in anticipation to re-ignite their love affair with a cigarette.
Given the fact that there will be times when their smoking-associated behaviour overcomes their spirituality, would it be fair to say that their submission to the cigarette is stronger than that to their Lord? It is extremely unfortunate that while the ill effects of smoking are well known by everyone, the Muslim discourse on smoking attempts to traverse the cold-cut legal path. What is clear is that there is a consensus that smoking is something extremely disliked by God; surely even this should be enough of a reason for Muslims who smoke to give up this futile act? Those Muslims who smoke but have a sincere desire to gain closeness to God have no other option but to leave the butt once and for all.