Actually, it is quite difficult to answer when someone asks “Why do you smoke?” I had never been able to give a real, true, actually honest, and respectful answer. At some point, I suddenly realize that I was hooked onto it, very difficult to live without.

The thought of kicking the habit is, probably, forget it! Yes, forget quitting but do not forget smoking. That probably explains why we cannot remember if we have ever thought about quitting. In a split second, we would be told—

“You will lose your ‘smoker’ friends” … “You will NOT be ‘cool’ anymore” … “What are you going to do if you do not smoke?” … “For you? Impossible!” … “How are you going to pass time?” … “I cannot just sit and wait for the bus and do nothing” … “How will you then end your meal? What will the climax be after dessert?” … “What would you do while hanging out with friends if you do not smoke?” … “Just finish this packet and then try to stop buying!” … “Trust me, you will feel ‘empty’ inside!” … “Go on! If you want to put on a lot of weight!” … “I heard there would be side effects!” … “You will get withdrawal symptoms!” … “How else would you relax?” … “You will need a smoke on a stressful day!” … “Take it easy, have a smoke … OK, last one!” … “You are going to miss it!” … “I actually enjoy smoking. So why quit?” … “My spouse does not complain. So why quit?” … “My friend died 3 months after quitting cigarettes. So cannot quit!” … “This is your favorite pastime!” … “I can afford it, why not?” … “Your friend’s grandma smokes like a locomotive and is going strong at 85!” … “Even my father smokes!” … “Try cutting down for the time being.”

And the list goes on …

But who is “telling” us all these? Who can “say” these things?

Most of us add on, “I am too busy to think about all that. Maybe ‘next time.’”

“Next time” might come around next week, the following month, years or even decades later, sometimes never. Unless … if disaster strikes. It takes the doctor to give a stern warning of the seriousness of consequences if one does not quit smoking immediately. Some of us quit for good, fearing accelerated death; some of us quit temporarily. More likely, we would start again, as soon as we feel better and “a bit lost” again.

Sounds familiar? May Allah protect us all!

We need to be fair to those who are trying. How is it going?

“I have stopped buying cigarettes!” … “I smoke less these days” … “I only smoke after meals nowadays” … “Should try nicotine patch!” … “I should see my physician” … “I stopped for two weeks but started again yesterday” … “I quit trying!” … “I would try quitting, but I have to have one after my morning coffee” … “Perhaps next Ramadan” … “Better smoke now, you cannot smoke in class” … “Better smoke now, you cannot smoke the entire flight” … “Better smoke now, you cannot smoke in your sleep!” … “Oh, nowadays I do not inhale anymore” … “Perhaps I should switch to chewing tobacco!”

Seriously, have you quit?

No reason to quit?

What is the motivation to quit? Does anyone quit without a reason?

“This cough has not left me for 5 months!” … “The price has gone up like 500% since I started. I should start saving!” … “My spouse hates it after I have had a smoke!” … “My 3-year-old refuses to cuddle after I have had a smoke!” … “No smoking in the office, please!” … “No smoking in the house, please!” … “No smoking in the bus stop, please!” … “No smoking in the café, please!” … “No smoking in the masjid compound, please!” … “I cannot smoke anywhere” … “My doctor says my lungs are in bad shape” … “Prevention is better than cure” … “Someone I used to know died of lung cancer” … “Sometimes I am short of breath … yes, just sometimes” … “My parents are going to find out!” … “My future in-laws are not comfortable giving their child to a smoker” … “None of my housemates smokes” … “I do not want my child to see me smoking. He might pick up bad habits” … “I heard it is makruh (disliked) to stand in line of prayer after consuming smelly food like onion, garlic and … after a smoke? Not sure” … “I know it is no good for me” … “I should not be contributing to those wars plotted by the Zionists.”

Why not try any one or more of the above reasons?

Each smoker, or even non-smoker or ex-smoker has heard of the various threats to health, scientifically proven or not. We have also heard of various fatwas in various countries, with rulings from makruh (disliked), to haram (forbidden). Well, since Muslim smokers still smoke, I guess we tend to place ourselves in the “I will quit, one day, in sha’ Allah” mode.

Has that “one day” arrived? Or will it arrive? Is it possible that it arrives before we die? You have the answer!

Yes … ask Allah. When? We say [You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)] (Al-Fatihah 1:5) at least 17 times a day. Yes … Allah is able to do all things. Yes … Allah does grant wishes of His servants. Allah can grant you your wish to quit smoking, in sha’ Allah.

I came across a pamphlet in Madinah during the Hajj season in AH 1423. The pamphlet related a true story of a man who smoked 60 sticks a day! He was like most of us—no motivation to quit at all. He was actually very happy smoking 3 packets of 20s a day! He would even wake up in the middle of the night to have a smoke. Now, if he sleeps for 6 hours in a day, on average, he smokes 3.33 sticks every hour, or one stick every 18 minutes! How many sticks can YOU handle?

Anyway, one night in Ramadan, during Tarawih Prayers, just as he was about to go out of the mosque for a quick cigarette, his brother, also a smoker, held his hand and asked him to join him in kicking the habit for Allah’s sake.

They both quit! They quit just like that, without hesitating to look for reasons. This is the ONLY reason to quit. I tried. I quit, too … after 20 years of smoking. Ma sha’ Allah, la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (With Allah’s will, there is no might nor power but with Allah).

Can YOU accept this challenge? Quitting for Allah, our Creator, our Rabb, the Lord of the Worlds?

Well, we do everything else for Allah’s sake. Our prayer, our deeds, our life, and our death—we promise that all that we do is for Allah’s sake. Why not quit smoking for Allah?

We fast for Allah’s sake, we make ablution and perform prayer for Allah’s sake, we pay zakah for Allah’s sake, we perform Hajj for Allah’s sake, we work for Allah’s sake, we go to school for Allah’s sake, we eat for Allah’s sake, we drink for Allah’s sake … Now do we smoke for Allah’s sake, too?

If we do quit for Allah’s sake, what better reason could we possibly have to start smoking again? This is permanent, in sha’ Allah.

There will be challenges ahead. Remember those reasons not to quit mentioned earlier? Be prepared for them, all of them, and many more will rush into your mind and heart. It will not stop until YOU are convinced that YOU ARE INDEED QUITTING FOR ALLAH and FOR ALLAH ONLY!

Do it … for Allah’s sake. In sha’ Allah, you will be able to quit. Just forget cigarettes, throw away that packet and lighter now!

These arguments could help:

“Allah is my Protector”

“Allah is my Guide”

“I will not die for not smoking”

“If I have just this one last cigarette, I will not be able to quit at all. Go away!”

“Allah is watching me, hearing me, those that I reveal and conceal.”

“Oh, Allah! Please make me forget cigarettes forever.”

“Oh, Allah! This is my jihad against vain desires!”

“Oh, Allah! Please replace the cigarette between my lips with calling Your name, praising You, glorifying You, reciting the Qur’an … all the verses that I have memorized so far.”

“Oh, Allah! Please help me. I will not make it without You.”

“Oh, Allah! I place my trust in You.”

In sha’ Allah, a new life awaits you. Discover that cigarettes do stink and that food tastes so good. Sleep more soundly and suddenly there is plenty of time, and most of all, is the sweetness when saying “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greatest, Allah is Greatest, Allah is Greatest).

Al-hamdu lillah (all praise and thanks be to Allah), we are Muslims!

Allah knows best.

By Serajdeen Abdul Jabar