One of the restrictions during Ramadan, aside from the obvious food/drink/sexual relations, is smoking. And one of the saddest things I have seen in my life is the group of smokers gathering just outside the mosque, craning their necks to hear the adhan (call to prayer) that signifies the end of the fast, waiting to break their fast not with a date, or a glass of water, but with a cigarette.
Smoking has always been a questionable practice from an Islamic perspective — some scholars deem it to be forbidden because it harms the body, while others find it allowable if distasteful. But you wouldn’t know it from walking down the street in any Muslim-majority country. As the pool of customers for cigarettes dries up in the West, the tobacco industry has targeted the developing world, including the Muslim world. In some of these countries, cigarette smoking among men has reached reached alarming proportions.
Also, it’s not just cigarettes. The Middle East has a long tradition of shisha (or hookah) pipe smoking. With the more explicit prohibition on alcohol, shisha pipes are seen as a lesser evil in the context of social activities. Even today in Western countries, the practice has caught on with young people seeking a cultural alternative to bars and clubs where alcohol is served.
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About Hungry for RamadanThe last update to the Hungry for Ramadan blog was in October 2007. We welcome your comments about Ramadan and Islam in general in our Muslim forums.
Shahed Amanullah, a frequent Beliefnet contributor, is one of the country’s foremost Muslim journalists. He has harnessed the power of the Internet to spread a positive view of Islam. Amanullah is the editor of altmuslim.com, a Muslim news website, and founder of Halalfire Media, a network of Muslim-themed websites with more than five million annual visitors. Through his work Amanullah has tapped into a strong force of online activism. He lives in Texas with his wife and two sons, and looks forward to the spiritual rewards of Ramadan every year.
- Ramadan 2009 (on Beliefnet)
- “Hungry for Ramadan” Recap
- These are the Days of Eid
- What a Difference 30 Days Can Make
- The Sweets of Ramadan
- Making Ramadan Festive for Children
- The Solitude of the Suhoor – The Morning Meal
- Sharing the Blessings of Ramadan with the Fast-a-thon
- A Golden Opportunity to Curb Addiction
- The Story of the USPS Eid Stamp