MANILA, Philippines - A religious ruling or fatwa has been issued by the Supreme Council of Darul Ifta of the Philippines stating that smoking cigarettes is "haram" or forbidden.
Muslims are thus not allowed to manufacture, buy, sell, trade or promote tobacco since doing so is "aiding someone in committing a sin."
The Supreme Council, headed by Grand Mufti Sheikh Omar Pasigan, unanimously issued the Islamic ruling.
The move has been lauded by the Department of Health and anti-tobacco advocates. They believe the declaration would persuade many smokers to quit the habit immediately and convey anti-tobacco messages to their communities.
“There is no single benefit one can derive from smoking,” said Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, pointing out that quitting smoking greatly reduces health risks and leads to immediate and long-term health benefits.
Under the fatwa, smoking is forbidden in the Sharia’h or Islamic jurisprudence because it is filthy, with tobacco containing numerous harmful chemicals.
Muslims also believe the Almighty Allah has permitted only good things for his servants. Smoking is not one of them.
Anything that causes destruction to the body is also not allowed. Neither is wasting money by spending it on cigarettes.
Cabral said tobacco is the only consumer product that can harm everyone exposed to it. Ten Filipinos die every hour due to tobacco-related diseases.
Exposure to second-hand smoke is also very toxic as it contains at least 50 cancer-causing chemicals that can result to immediate cardiovascular and respiratory damage.
Two holy cities, Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, were declared tobacco-free in 2002. No commercial activity involving tobacco has been allowed in these 2 cities, not even tobacco advertising.
Cabral called on Filipinos to support the fatwa. “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 said.