September 12th, 2007 11:23 EST
CAIR, APPNA, IMANA encourage Muslims to use discipline of Ramadan fast to stop smoking
A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group and two organizations representing American Muslim physicians today encouraged U.S. Muslims to use the discipline acquired during the upcoming Ramadan fast to quit the smoking habit.
[Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from smoking, food, drink, and other sensual pleasures from break of dawn to sunset. Fasting (along with the declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity, and pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the "five pillars" of Islam. The month-long fast will begin in most of the world on Thursday, September 13.]
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA) and the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) said that because smokers must already abstain during daylight hours during Ramadan, there is an opportunity to quit the habit entirely.
The groups say smoking is clearly a danger to the smoker's health and the health of his or her family, and that it is also offensive to others, addictive and a waste of money.
"One of the important benefits of the Ramadan fast is the sense of discipline that it instills in an individual," said CAIR Chief Operating Officer/Deputy Director Tahra Goraya. "We can use that discipline to help eliminate a major threat to public health."
Goraya, who has a professional background in substance abuse prevention, added that our entire society benefits when an individual gives up smoking. She said CAIR's anti-smoking initiative is one of many aspects of the group's annual "Muslims Care" campaign.
"Muslims Care" is designed to encourage Muslims to make positive contributions to American society. Each year, one month of CAIR's campaign is devoted to "raise public awareness of major health issues affecting our society."
APPNA President Dr. Nadeem Kazi stated: "Smoking is perhaps one of the most important threats to individual and community health. It is no secret that more than four million people die in the world each year from smoking-related diseases, including lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema, coronary heart disease, and cancer of the bladder. Many of the principles of Islam call on people to look after their health and to avoid health hazards. We therefore urge everyone to take advantage of the holy month of Ramadan and quit smoking for good."
IMANA President Dr. Ashraf Sufi said: "Ramadan is the best time to quit smoking, not just during the day, but permanently. IMANA urges all Muslims who smoke to quit this habit and improve the quality of their lives. There is certainly no better time to do this than during the holy month of Ramadan."
Muslim smokers are being asked to take advantage of resources at www.smokefree.gov to help in kicking the habit. Smokers are also being asked to trust God's help in breaking the addition to nicotine.
In the Quran, Islam's revealed text, the Prophet Muhammad was told: ". . .when you make a decision to do something, then put your trust in God. For God loves those who put their trust in Him. If God is your helper, none can overcome you." (3:159-160)
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726