Philippines - Filipino Muslims forbidden to smoke, trade cigarettes..

June 28, 2010 - The Supreme Council of Darul Ifta of the Philippines in Cotabato City, headed by Grand Mufti Sheikh Omar Pasigan, unanimously ruled and released an Islamic Ruling or Fatwa that states smoking cigarette is considered “haram” or forbidden. This means that no Muslim may manufacture, buy, sell, trade or promote tobacco since these actions represent “aiding someone in committing a sin. (The Philippines is a predominately Christian country. Approximately 5 percent of the is Muslim.)

"A Fatwa is defined as an Islamic religious ruling, a scholarly opinion on a matter of Islamic law issued by a recognized religious authority called “Mufti."

The Department of Health and the growing number of anti-tobacco advocates hail the Fatwa and believe that this declaration would persuade many to quit immediately and would carry anti-tobacco messages to their communities. “There is no single benefit one can derive from smoking,” Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral said, adding that quitting greatly reduces health risks and produces immediate and long-term health benefits.

Under the Islamic Ruling on smoking cigarette, smoking is forbidden in the Sharia’h or Islamic Jurisprudence because of its being filthy, containing numerous harmful chemicals. Also, the Almighty Allah has permitted only good things for his servants such food, drinks, and other lawful ones.

The Sharia’h prohibits smoking in all its form because it does not belong to good things. It also urges all Muslims not to do something that causes destruction to their body and smoking is a form of destruction.

Furthermore, it is also proven from the Messenger of Allah that Allah forbids his servants in wasting money by spending it on cigarettes which is harmful to the body.

Cabral, on the other hand, confirms the statements in the Fatwa and said that tobacco is the only consumer product that can harm everyone exposed to it and it eventually kills up to half of those who use it. Ten Filipinos die every hour due to tobacco-related diseases. Even secondhand smoke exposure or inhaling other people’s cigarette smoke, is very toxic as it contains at least 50 cancer-causing chemicals that can result to immediate cardiovascular and respiratory damage.

In 2002, the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia were declared tobacco-free. All commercial activities involving tobacco are prohibited within the boundaries of the two cities. No form of tobacco advertising are permitted around the holy zones “Let us all join hands with our Muslim brothers toward a 100% tobacco-free Philippines.

Let us fight for our right for cleaner air and healthier lives,” Cabral concluded.

Indonesia - smoking fatwas don't work too well.. Indonesia - Muhammadiyah-owned university students demonstrate against edict against smoking..

Reference: ISLAMIC RULING FORBIDS MUSLIMS TO SMOKE, Philippine Department of Health, 6/23/2010.

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