Rocking A Grit

There was always that one cool kid back in school. You remember him, don’t you? At lunch time you’d see him leaning against the wall out of sight from the administrations, one leg straight before him, the other flexed at the knee and propping him up. He’d cuff his sleeves out of style, and tucked inside of them would be his ticket to suspension. In a flash, the roll would be out, artfully placed between his lips and then lit. He’d take one drag and let out a plume of rebellion. Everyone wanted to be just like him.

       Fast forward three decades to an overweight slob who can hardly muster the breath to answer the door. He’s got this persistent cough and bloodshot eyes, and the doctor’s told it’s just a matter time. It was those cancer sticks, you see. They did him in. What is it that makes them so alluring? Your breath and body reek of staleness, and you’ve got yellowed fingers and teeth. Not very attractive. Yet it’s a sad truth that so many in our society still smoke.

      We’ve come so far in regards to our knowledge of the adverse effects of smoking. So what would possess anyone to take it up? It seems to me that it’s getting more and more common to see kids puffing away their life. The Quran reminds us  "…do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction." (2:195). Hey, if you want to commit suicide, go right ahead. Hang, shoot, drown yourself, whatever you feel comfortable with. Just don’t get my well-being involved when you decide to prolong your self-inflicted death. You’ve no right to damage my body with your second-hand smoke. Maybe I want to live to a ripe old age. If my death is a result of your cigarettes, do you not think you will be held responsible?

        I’ll never understand the inherent fascination some have with flirting with death in such a grotesque manner. Who wants to go out with a ravaging disease devastating half of their organs, money and resources wasted on something that could have been easily prevented? I wonder if many people realize the extent of damage incurred on their families when they make the decision to smoke. Leave second-hand smoke aside, third-hand is just as dangerous. The stench remains in clothes, furniture, car upholstery, and the general household. Kids can easily inhale the remnants of your fixation from there.

        When you come into the mosque for prayers, imagine the chaos you cause to the lungs of those around you as they struggle to attain clean and fresh air to escape from your malodor. Not only do you disturb their worship and potentially aggravate underlying illnesses they may have, you come to supplicate before your Lord with a soiled body; "O ye who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when you are drunken, till ye know that which ye utter, nor when you are polluted save when journeying upon the road, till you have bathed." (Quran 4:43).

         You fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, abstaining from food and drink. This also means that you cannot light up. So how do you get through that day? Do you waste the precious hours of Ramadan dreaming about when you can grab your cig and inhale your anxiety away? How can you properly devote your time to ibaadat when your mind is being lured elsewhere? The devil has you at his bidding, hankering for a stick chock-full of destruction.

         Not to mention the fact that in many situations, there are individuals living from paycheck to paycheck who have no problem whatsoever with purchasing nicotine instead of sustenance. God clearly states: "But squander not your wealth in the manner of a spendthrift, verily spendthrifts are brothers of evils." (Quran 17:26-27). If you already finding it difficult to make ends meet, why add insult to injury by potentially cutting your life short, and leaving your family in the lurch? Plain and simple, you’re an addict, always hankering for a nicotine stick. You’re fixated on a Grim Reaper disguised as an innocuous pastime, slowly digging your grave while life moves on around you. Do yourself a favor, and give up the habit. Prevent deaths associated with your weakness. Prolong your life, cleanse your soul, and do right by humanity.
       Have you any idea as to the contents of your average cigarette? Let me inform you: ammonia, cyanide, arsenic, naphthalene, butane, lead, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, etc. These are just a few of the delicious ingredients for your drawn-out death meal. I must admit, it does sound rather appetizing. I mean, I’ve always wanted to munch on some poisons with a side of household cleaners. Yum!

           Maybe I’ve gotten through to you. Maybe I haven’t. But I can only try and inform you all about the associated hazards and pitfalls of this most filthy habit. Whether or not you take heed is your own choice. Free your mind from any sort of attraction that you believe smoking may hold. The outcomes are never pretty: lung cancer, mouth cancer, esophageal cancer, peripheral vascular diseases, poor circulation, diminished lung capacity, premature wrinkling of skin. These are some of the few bonuses you can expect to receive with your shortened life when you decide to become an addict. So which would you prefer: a membership as Death’s preferred customer, or a life to live on your own terms?   
(The author can be contacted at