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2 EDITORIAL DRUGS AND TOBACCO The world is beset with a huge drug problem which effects not only the lives of countless individuals but even nations on the whole. It is undermining regions of the world politically, economically, socially and, above all, spiritually: Despite the fact that West~rn countries feel that their culture and way of life is superior and more civilised than that of the less developed and third world countries, nevertheless America, and to a lesser extent other Western countries, have stigmatized themselves by having the highest rate of drug abuse. However this does not absolve other countries where it is fast becoming an unwholesome epidemic. The Director of the Pakistan Narcotic Control Board is reported to have said: ‘It is in every town and every social strata. It is completely out of hand.’ Everyone is aware of the havoc and disastrous effect of canabis, cocaine, marijuana, opium etc. They are ruining and destroying the lives ofmiIIions of people all over the world. Illegal trade of drugs is a full time operation and in some South American regions there would be wide unemployment were the trade to cease. Police and Custom officials are on constant alert and have in recent times discovered large quantities valued at millions of pounds; but the illegal traffic continues unabated. We do not feel it necessary to dwell on the damaging effects these drugs wreak on mind, body and soul. Nevertheless we would like to draw attention to the adverse effects of tobacco which are now being publicised far more than they used to be in the past. No one would dispute the fact that smoking is harmful to health and is the cause of cancer and so many other diseases. That is why a warning against the danger of smoking appears on every packet of cigarettes produced in Britain. A former Chief Medical Officer of the British Ministry for health declared ‘We can be certain that many more than 50,000 deaths a year in England and Wales are directly due to cigarette smoking.’ No doubt the sickening and deadly effects of smoking are in themselves reason enough to avoid this unhealthy and obnoxious habit. How often people exclaim that good health is one of the greatest blessings in life and how much more is this realised by the sick and suffering! We would like to go a step further and state that what is of even greater importance is that smoking is an impediment to spiritual health in as much that to a greater or lesser extent it stunts spiritual growth and development. We are not asserting that there are no pious and devout smokers; but we do say that it is a REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 3 handicap in the spiritual field for that person eager to soar higher and higher in purity, righteousness and service to mankind which should be the aim of every religious and devout servant of God. Smoking is contrary to the teaching of Islam and it is also disapproved and even forbidden by various Christian denominations such as Pentecostals, Methodists, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists and others. The Holy Quran states: “0 ye who believe, eat of the good things We have provided for you.” (2:173) Commenting on this injunction we read: ” The injunction contained in the words, ‘Eat of good, pure and wholesome things (Tayyibat) indicates that Muslims are not allowed to use things which may, in any way, injure their physical or moral or spiritual health, though they may be allowed by the Shari’ah (Law).” (Commentary on the Holy Quran. Edited by Malik Ghulam Farid.) As the blood conveys the nourishment in food to all the cells of the body so likewise does the blood convey the poisonous contents of tobacco smoke to each and every cell of the body. Addressing the 13th Annual Conference of the U.K. Ahmadiyya Community in London on 31st July, 1977, Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan said: “Out of these I shall first draw attention to the evil and filthy habit of smoking. Some of our younger people say that smoking is not prohibited in the Holy Quran. That is not correct. The Holy Quran prohibits certain things specifically by name and prohibits certain others by definition, and smoking falls in several of the categories which are either prohibited or condemned in the Holy Quran. For instance, with regard to eating and drinking, there is not a single verse in the Holy Quran in which we are told that we can eat and drink all that is halal, that is lawful. For instance, I have heard the first Khalifa, Hazrat Maulvi Nuruddin· Sahib, say that pulao, which is a pleasant and agreeable dish for a person in health, is Ghair tayyab (not good) for one who is suffering from malaria, because in his case it would not promote his health. So how could it be tayyab? ………. ” Smoking is a habit which is described in the Holy Quran as munkar which means something which is unpleasant for other people. The aim of a Muslim should be to make himself and his presence agreeable to other people. He should be a magnet; not a repellent. Who likes to be near to a person puffing out poisonous and nauseating fumes and whose breath is most unpleasant? The smell of tobacco even clings on to the clothes of one who has been in a smoky atmosphere. In the field of preaching a Muslim has to expound and manifest the beauties of Islam which includes the persuasion of others to discard and avoid wrong 4 DRUGS AND TOBACCO and sinful habits. If he himself is chained to a bad habit – smoking – then how can he guide and inspire others to abstain from their injurious and offensive habits? There is the story of a boy who was reprimanded for smoking only to reply that his father smoked! A Muslim should strive to master himself rather than allow unsalutary habits to master him. DEDICATION If your life, your death and your every movement, and your gentleness and your resentment, will be only for the sake of Allah, and at every trial and tribulation, you will not try Allah and will not break you contact with Him, and instead, will keep your pace up, then I say truly that you shall become a special community of Allah. You are also human beings as I am a human being, and my Allah is the same Allah as is yours. Do not thus waste your noble energies. If you really turn to Allah completely, then I say unto you, in accordance with Allah’s Will, that you shall become an honoured community of Allah. Let the glory of Allah impress upon your hearts, and affirm His Unity not only with your tongue but in deed so that Allah may also shower His affection and grace on you. Refrain from malice and treat human beings with true sympathy. Follow every path of righteousness for no one knows which path may lead you to salvation. (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) (The Promised Messiah)

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