Value Ramadān

Value Ramadān (Part 1)

Guidance and advice for the Blessed Month from
Hadrat Mawlānā 
Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

 

Valuing Ramadān

The blessed month of Ramadān is a month of blessings, mercy and forgiveness. This sacred month will pass without us realising what valuable and precious moments were wasted. What has gone cannot come back, and what has been lost cannot be re-acquired. For one who wishes to acquire the pleasure of Allāh ta‘ālā, even one moment is sufficient.

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said in a hadīth that Ramadān is a month, the beginning of which is mercy, the middle of which is forgiveness and the end of which is deliverance from the Fire of Jahannam. (Ibn Khuzaymah)

From the first of Ramadān, the Mercy of Allāh ta‘ālā descends upon those very pious servants who have no sins in their book of deeds. As far as the sinners are concerned, they are of two types: sinners of a lesser degree, and those who are so filthy that were they to die in their present condition they would go straight into the Fire of Jahannam.

As far as the sinners of a lesser degree are concerned, their sins are forgiven after their striving for 10 days. Upon seeing their hard work and effort, Allāh ta‘ālā showers His forgiveness upon them at the end of the first 10 days. For those filthy with sins upon whom Jahannam was wajib (incumbent), after working hard for 20 days, Allāh ta‘ālā’s forgiveness enshrouds them and they are then granted deliverance from the Fire of Jahannam. How merciful is Allāh ta‘ālā!

We ask Allāh ta‘ālā that He grant us Jannat-ul-Firdaws with His eternal Pleasure and save us from the Fire of Jahannam. Āmīn.

Memorable Ramadān

Make this Ramadān a memorable one. Make it a Ramadān you will remember for the rest of your life. Make it such that, inshā’allāh, in Jannah you will say it was this Ramadān from when my life changed forever and in which Allāh ta‘ālā made me His walī (special friend).

To make this Ramadān a memorable one, abstain from disobeying Allāh ta‘ālā, our Creator. Do not even think about disobeying Allāh ta‘ālā throughout the blessed month.

In order to safeguard yourself from disobeying Allāh ta‘ālā; avoid gatherings and mixing with people as many sins such as backbiting and slandering take place when one mixes with people.

Safeguard your tongue by only saying what is good and rewarding. Always think before you speak.

Safeguard your ears and eyes from those things which are disliked by Allāh ta‘ālā.

Value Ramadān (Part 2)

Guidance and advice for the Blessed Month from
Hadrat Mawlānā 
Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

 

Time for Taqwā

The common definition of Taqwā is to abstain from the disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā be it minor or major. In the initial stages this will seem difficult. However, if one strives and compels his nafs to stay away from the disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā, then Allāh ta‘ālā will honour him with true Taqwa by enlightening his heart with the nūr (light) of Taqwā. Once this happens, one will no longer have to struggle to avoid sins as before; rather the heart will develop a disliking for them.

His condition will become like that of a person who has to walk through a path with filth all around. He will be repulsed at the very thought and will try his utmost to avoid that route. However, if he is compelled then he will be very careful as not to let the filth dirty him or his clothes. If by chance some filth does dirty his clothing, he will not be able to rest in peace until it is washed off. Similar is the case of that person whose heart is enlightened with the nūr (light) of Taqwā. He will have an aversion to sins, and if he was to slip and commit a sin, he will not be able to rest in peace until he makes Tawbah (repentance) and cleans his heart from the filth of sinning.
There is no better time to adorn ones heart with true Taqwā then the month of Ramadān. The one who values Ramadān and spends his time wisely will become a muttaqī.

 

Value Time

We should make the most out of this Ramadān as only Allāh ta‘ālā knows who will live to see the next Ramadān. Value every moment by:

  • Carrying out as much ‘ibādah (worship) as possible.
  • Spending as much time in the masjid as possible.
  • Staying away from every sinful activity. A large tank full of milk with only a few drops of urine or alcohol is useless. Similarly a tank full of ‘ibādah mixed with a few ‘drops’ of sin will have no value.
  • Staying away from the internet. Many people use the internet for good reasons and with good intentions, and then end up on sites that cause us to sin. We move from site to site without even realising that we are committing sins. Furthermore, the internet is such a waste of our time that we log on for only a few minutes, but hours pass in futility without us even realising.
  • Staying away from answering unnecessary e-mails; they can wait until after Ramadān.

 

Value Ramadān (Part 3)

Guidance and advice for the Blessed Month from
Hadrat Mawlānā 
Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

 

Overtime in Ramadān

When we have the opportunity to do overtime at work and earn time and a half or double pay, we ensure we do not miss out on the opportunity.

In Ramadān, a fard (compulsory) action is worth seventy times its value and a nafl (optional) action is worth the same as a fard action out of Ramadān. Despite the increase in rewards being so huge, we do not find the zeal to do anything extra for our hereafter, in stark contrast to our readiness to do overtime for material gain.

Ramadān Festivals

Sometimes, Ramadān or ‘Īd festivals are organised during the last ten days of Ramadān. As a result, people waste precious moments and lose out on the blessings of the last ten days of Ramadān. Often these events take place at the time of tarāwīh and are for sisters only, resulting in them missing tarāwīh and losing out on the opportunity to find Laylat-ul-Qadr. We should refrain from such events as they divert us from our goal during the month of Ramadān.

Special Offers

Some people frequent takeaways after tarāwīh, attracted by special offers. Such offers deprive them of the great treasures offered by Allāh ta‘ālā in the month of Ramadān. In addition, they get involved in lā ya‘nī (those acts that do not bring any benefit in this world nor the hereafter) and sometimes sin and as a result throw away any spiritual benefits they had gained that day. Worse still, some people start visiting restaurants and takeaways even earlier and miss tarāwīh.

Value these days.

Sayyidunā Suwayd ibn Ghafalah radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrates that when Sayyidunā ‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu was suffering extreme hunger one day, he suggested to (his wife) Sayyidah Fātimah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā to approach (her father) Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam for some food. When she went to Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, Sayyidah Ummu Ayman radhiyallāhu ‘anhā happened to be there. Hearing Sayyidah Fātimah knocking on the door, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “That is the knock of Fātimah. She has come at a time that we are not accustomed to having her come to us.”

“O Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam!” Sayyidah Fātimah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā said, “The food of the angels is to recite Lā Ilāha Illallāh, Subhānallāh and Alhamdulillāh. What is our food?”

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam replied. “I swear by the Being Who has sent me with the truth! For the last thirty days, no fire (to cook) has been lit in the house of the family of Muhammad. However, a few goats have come to us. If you please, I shall have five given to you. Alternatively, if you so please, I shall teach you five words (of supplication) that Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām has taught me.”

Sayyidah Fātimah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā immediately said, “Do rather teach me the five words that Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām has taught you.” Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam then told her to say the following words:

Dua

Sayyidah Fātimah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā then left. When she came back to Sayyidunā ‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu, he asked, “What happened?” She replied, “While I left you to get something of benefit in this world, I returned with something of benefit in the Ākhirah.” “This is the best of all your days,” remarked Sayyidunā ‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu. (At-Tabarānī)

Building Stamina

Right from the onset of the month of Rajab, we should begin to prepare for Ramadhān. By building up slowly over Rajab and Sha’bān, we will be in peak spiritual condition when Ramadhān arrives.

To do this we need to make a programme of ‘ibādah and set daily targets. We then need to fix a timetable so that we are able to achieve those targets. Thereafter, targets should be reviewed every week or every fortnight, and gradually increased until Ramadhān arrives. Then throughout Ramadhān this process should continue.

If we do not set targets and do not fix a timetable early on, we will not be able to progress. Consequently, we will not develop the necessary spiritual stamina required to maintain the level of performance in order to reap the maximum benefit from Ramadhān.

Memorable Ramadhān

Make this Ramadhān a memorable one. Make it a Ramadhān you will remember for the rest of your life. Make it such that, inshā’allāh, in Jannah you will say it was this Ramadhān from when my life changed forever and in which Allāh ta’ālā made me His walī (special friend).

To make this Ramadhān a memorable one, abstain from disobeying Allāh Our Creator. Do not even think about disobeying Allāh ta’ālā throughout the blessed month.

In order to safeguard yourself from disobeying Allāh ta’ālā; avoid gatherings and mixing with people as many sins such as backbiting and slandering take place when one mixes with people.

Safeguard your tongue by only saying what is good and rewarding. Always think before you speak.

Safeguard your ears and eyes from those things which are disliked by Allāh ta’ālā.

Virtues of Ramadhān

As soon as the month of Rajab begins we should commence daily readings from the book “Virtues of Ramadhān” by Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadhrat Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh. We should motivate ourselves, allocate time and sit daily with the family and read this book collectively throughout Rajab.

Shaykh-ul-Hadīth Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh was a saintly person and his words have an amazing effect on the heart which will help us spiritually prepare for the blessed month and also benefit from it.

Prepare for Ramadān

Prepare for Ramadān (Part 1)

Guidance and advice for the Blessed Month from
Hadrat Mawlānā 
Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

 

Building Stamina

Right from the onset of the month of Rajab, we should begin to prepare for Ramadān. By building up slowly over Rajab and Sha‘bān, we will be in peak spiritual condition when Ramadān arrives.

To do this we need to make a programme of ibādah and set daily targets. We then need to fix a timetable so that we are able to achieve those targets. Thereafter targets should be reviewed every week or every fortnight, and gradually increased until Ramadān arrives. Then throughout Ramadān this process should continue.

If we do not set targets and do not fix a timetable early on, we will not be able to progress. Consequently, we will not develop the necessary spiritual stamina required to maintain the level of performance in order to reap the maximum benefit from Ramadān.

Prepare for Ramadān (Part 2)

Guidance and advice for the Blessed Month from
Hadrat Mawlānā 
Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

 

Reaching the Shore

Reaching the month of Rajab is akin to reaching the shore of Ramadān. This is why the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would read the following du’ā with anticipation upon the advent of Rajab:

Allāhumma barik lana fī rajabin wa sha’bān wa balighnā Ramadān.

“O Allāh! Bless us in the months of Rajab and Sha’bān, and make us reach Ramadān (by granting us life until then).” (At-Tabrānī)

Start Preparing Early

The advent of the month of Rajab is a signal for us to begin preparing for the month ofRamadān. If we start gearing up from the month of Rajab, then upon the commencement of the month of Ramadān we will have a set routine of ‘ibadah that we can gradually increase as the month progresses. In this way we will be able to fully benefit from the blessed month.

If we intend to increase our ‘ibadah only after the month of Ramadān has begun, then by the time we get into gear, many days of Ramadān would have passed, and we would have wasted valuable opportunities.

 

 

Prepare for Ramadān (Part 3)

Guidance and advice for the Blessed Month from
Hadrat Mawlānā 
Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

 

More Time in the Masjid

When Rajab commences we should increase the time we spend in the masjid. We should start for example by sitting for an extra five minutes after salāh. We should increase this time after ten days, and continue increasing it until we enter the blessed month of Ramadān, when we should increase it even further.

If work commitments do not allow this during weekdays, then it should be done on weekends. If we think about how much time we normally spend in the blessed environment of the masjid, we would have to admit that it is the bare minimum or just a little bit more.
Relaxing Before Ramadān

Some people relax for a few days before Ramadān, intending to busy themselves in ‘ibādah once Ramadān begins. Sometimes this relaxed attitude leads them to sin, with a reassuring feeling that they will make tawbah in Ramadān.

Firstly, how do they know they will live to see Ramadān? Secondly, the sin committed may have a negative spiritual impact which may last for the duration of Ramadān, preventing the perpetrator from repenting and doing good deeds, even in the blessed month.

Prepare for Ramadān (Part 4)

Guidance and advice for the Blessed Month from
Hadrat Mawlānā 
Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

 

Talk About Ramadān

We should make a habit of talking about the virtues and blessedness of Ramadān as soon as Sha`ban dawns upon us. Those of us who know the virtues of this month should explain to others. The more people become conscious of its virtues, the more likely they are to benefit from Ramadān.

Free Your Time

We should free up ourselves before Ramadān begins. When we go abroad, we endeavour to complete all tasks in hand prior to our departure. Similarly, we should fulfil all the tasks we are able to prior to Ramadān, and become free in this month as much as possible to devote time to ‘ibādah. Anything that can wait until Ramadān is over, let it wait.

Prepare for Ramadān (Part 5)

Guidance and advice for the Blessed Month from
Hadrat Mawlānā 
Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

 

Virtues of Ramadān

As soon as the month of Rajab begins we should commence daily readings from the book ‘Virtues of Ramadān’ by Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh. We should motivate ourselves, allocate time and sit daily with the family and read this book collectively throughout Rajab.

Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh was a saintly person and his words have an amazing effect on the heart which will help us spiritually prepare for the blessed month and also benefit from it.

Inshā’allāh, from the next newsletter we will be starting a new section, titled, ‘Valuing Ramadān’. 

Valuing the Month of Ramadān

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

We have all been blessed with the month of Ramadān many times during the course of our lives. For some, the number will be a single figure, and for others double figures. However, for the majority of us, the month of Ramadān is just another month; it comes and goes like any other.

In relation to valuing this great month, there are many questions we need to ask ourselves. We may be well acquainted with all the virtues of the month of Ramadān; but do we take advantage of these virtues? The most important way of measuring whether we value the month of Ramadān or not is to ask the question: Have we acquired the goal of Ramadān during any of the previous months of Ramadān, which is to acquire taqwā?

If we have not yet achieved this goal, then we need to ask ourselves whether we have made it an objective in this coming Ramadān? Remember that in the famoushadīth of Kā‘b ibn ‘Ujrah radhiyallāhu ‘anhu, the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallamand Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām cursed those who fail to attract the Forgiveness of Allāhta‘ālā during the month of Ramadān. To help us truly value the month of Ramadān, we need to take lessons from the Ramadān of those who did value this blessed month. Let us take a glimpse at how our pious predecessors spent the month of Ramadān:

•  Aswad ibn Yazīd rahimahullāh would complete the Qur’ān every second night in Ramadān. (Siyar-A‘lām-An-Nubalā’)

•  Sa‘īd ibn Jubayr rahimahullāh would spend the time between Maghrib and ‘Ishā’ [which normally people spend in resting] in tilāwah and would recite the whole Qur’ān in one sitting. (The ‘Ishā’ salāh would be delayed.) (Ibid)

•  Hammād ibn Abī Sulaymān rahimahullāh would feed 500 people for iftār during Ramadān. (Ibid)

•  Qatādah rahimahullāh would complete the Qur’ān every third day during the first twenty days of Ramadān and every night in the last ten days. (Ibid)

•  Ibn Shihāb Zuhrī rahimahullāh would say, “Ramadān is nothing but for tilāwah of the Qur’ān and to feed people.” (Latā’if-ul-Ma‘ārif)

•  Imām Abū Hanīfah rahimahullāh and Imām Shāfi‘ī rahimahullāh would complete the Qur’ān twice daily in the month of Ramadān, with the latter completing the Qur’ān one more time during the night of ‘Īd and yet again during the day.

•  Imām Mālik rahimahullāh and Sufyān Thawrī rahimahullāh both would leave their everyday engagements and spend the whole time in the recitation of the Qur’ān. (Latā’if-ul-Ma‘ārif)

•  Imām Bukhārī rahimahullāh used to complete the Qur’ān 41 times in the Month of Ramadān; once every day, once during the whole month in the tarāwīh prayer, and ten juz daily in Tahajjud salāh.

•  Hājī Imdādullāh rahimahullāh never slept in the blessed month of Ramadān. After the Maghrib salāh, two huffāz led him in nafl salāh, reciting one juz each until ‘Ishā’ salāh. After ‘Ishā salāh, two huffāz would recite one after the other until half the night, and then another two huffāz would recite one after the other in Tahajjud salāh. In essence, the whole night was spent in worship.

•  Hadrat Mawlānā Rashīd Ahmad Gangohī rahimahullāh, even at the age of seventy, would spend all his time in worshipping Allāh ta‘ālā, fasting – despite the heat, and performing twenty raka‘āt nafl after the Maghrib salāh, reciting at least two juz in them. He would then also spend two and a half to three hours during the night in Tahajjud salāh, amongst his many other devotions during the day.

•  Shaykh-ul-Hind rahimahullāh would spend the whole night listening to the Qur’ān. It was common that he would stand in one place and the reciters would change over and take rest.

•  Qāri Fatah Muhammad Pānipattī rahimahullāh during his later life would spend the time after tarāwīh salāh until subh sādiq reciting ten juz of the Qur’ān, taking extra care in tajwīd.

•  Mawlānā Manzūr Nu‘mānī rahimahullāh states that Mawlānā Ilyāsrahimahullāh daily average of tilāwah in Ramadān was 35 juz, with concentration and understanding of the text. Moreover, the women folk in his home, together with their daily practices of dhikr and tasbīhāt, at times, would complete a whole Qur’ān in one day.

•  It is stated about Hadrat Mawlānā Yahyā rahimahullāh that, during one Ramadān which he passed in mīrat, he would recite the Qur’ān once daily and would complete it by the time of iftār.

•  Shāh Abd-ur-Rahīm Raipūrī rahimahullāh used to spend the whole night reciting the Qur’ān, and in twenty four hours he would rarely sleep more than an hour.

•  Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh himself completed one Qur’ān daily during the month of Ramadān, and he kept up this practice for more than forty years.  

Let us also value this blessed month and make the most of this great opportunity granted to us by Allāh ta‘ālā by making full use of its every moment and by using it to maximise our rewards, acquire taqwā and achieve salvation in the Hereafter. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 23 No. 5, May 2014)


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How smoking causes cancer

How smoking causes cancer

 

Butted out cigarette

Smoking is by far the biggest preventable cause of cancer. Thanks to years of research, the links between smoking and cancer are now very clear. Smoking accounts for more than 1 in 4 UK cancer deaths, and nearly a fifth of all cancer cases.

The good news is that many of these deaths are preventable, by giving up smoking. Speak to your GP or pharmacist, or visit the NHS Smokefree(link is external) pages for free advice and support to give you the best possible chance of quitting.

Which cancers are caused by smoking?

Chemicals in cigarette smoke enter our blood stream and can then affect the entire body. This is why smoking causes so many diseases, including at least 14 types of cancer, heart disease and various lung diseases.

cancers caused by smoking

Smoking causes more than 4 in 5 cases of lung cancer. Lung cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers, and is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK.

Smoking also increases the risk of at least 13 other cancers including cancers of the mouth,  pharynx (upper throat), nose and sinuses, larynx (voice box), oesophagus (gullet or food pipe), liver, pancreas, stomach, kidney, bowel, ovary, bladder, cervix, and some types of leukaemia Smoking could increase the risk of breast cancer, but any increase in risk is likely to be small.

More information about different cancer types.

What influences the risk of cancer from smoking?

Smokers have a much higher risk of lung cancer than non-smokers, whatever type of cigarette they smoke. There’s no such thing as a safe way to use tobacco.

Filters and low-tar cigarettes make little difference – your lung cancer risk is not lower compared to smokers of average cigarettes. This may be because smokers tend to change the way they smoke in order to satisfy their nicotine craving, for example by taking bigger puffs or smoking more cigarettes.

The more cigarettes you smoke a day, the higher your risk of cancer. If you aren’t able to quit completely, cutting down the number of cigarettes you smoke a day can be a good first step. Even light or social smoking can harm your health so keep trying to stop entirely.

Scientists have found that the number of years you spend smoking affects your cancer risk even more strongly than the number of cigarettes you smoke a day. For example, smoking one pack a day for 40 years is even more dangerous than smoking two packs a day for 20 years.

The serious damaging effects of smoking cannot be cancelled out by leading an otherwise healthy lifestyle, like keeping fit and eating healthily. The best way to reduce your risk is to give up smoking completely(link is external).

How does smoking cause cancer?

The main way that smoking causes cancer is by damaging our DNA, including key genes that protect us against cancer. Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes have been shown to cause DNA damage, including benzene, polonium-210, benzo(a)pyrene and nitrosamines.

This is already bad news, but it’s made worse by other chemicals in cigarettes. For example chromium makes poisons like benzo(a)pyrene stick more strongly to DNA, increasing the chances of serious damage. And chemicals like arsenic and nickel interfere with pathways for repairing damaged DNA. This makes it even more likely that damaged cells will eventually turn cancerous.

Smokers are also less able to handle toxic chemicals than those with healthy lungs and blood. Chemicals in cigarette smoke make it harder for smokers to neutralise or remove toxins, and can make their immune systems less effective too.

How long does it take for smoking to cause cancer?

It usually takes many years, or decades, for the DNA damage from smoking to cause cancer. Our bodies are designed to deal with a bit of damage but it’s hard for the body to cope with the number of harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke. Each cigarette can damage DNA in many lung cells, but it is the build up of damage in the same cell that can lead to cancer. However research has shown that for every 15 cigarettes smoked there is a DNA change which could cause a cell to become cancerous. This is why it’s better to give up smoking sooner rather than later.

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/smoking-and-cancer/how-to-stop-smoking

 

Breathing in other people’s smoke, also called second-hand smoke, can cause cancer. Passive smoking can increase a non-smoker’s risk of getting lung cancer by a quarter, and may also increase the risk of cancers of the larynx (voice box) and pharynx (upper throat).

Second-hand smoke can cause other health problems too. Every year, second-hand smoke kills thousands of people in the UK from lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and the lung disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

How does second-hand smoke affect children?

Second-hand smoke is particularly dangerous for children. Children exposed to passive smoke are at higher risk of respiratory infections, asthma, bacterial meningitis and cot death. Second-hand smoke has been linked to around 165,000 new cases of disease among children in the UK each year.

For children, the majority of exposure to second-hand smoke happens in the home. Smoke can spread throughout the home, even if you open the windows. Almost 85 percent of tobacco smoke is invisible and smoke particles might also build up on surfaces and clothes, although the impact of this is not yet clear. If you are a smoker, smoking outside can help reduce your child’s exposure.

Is smoking in cars bad for passengers’ health?

Second-hand smoke can reach very high levels inside cars because it is a small enclosed space.

During your journey, children in the backseat will be exposed to average smoke levels around three times the European recommended air pollution limit. But the level varies depending on how much you smoke, if you have all the windows fully open or air con on. Peak levels can reach as much as 35 times this limit.

Since 1 October 2015 it has been an offence to smoke in a vehicle carrying anyone under the age of 18 in England(link is external) and in Wales(link is external).

Does second-hand smoke contain dangerous chemicals?

There are 2 types of tobacco smoke:

  • Mainstream smoke, which is directly inhaled through the mouth end of the cigarette
  • Sidestream smoke, which comes from the burning tip of the cigarette

Second-hand smoke is made up of sidestream smoke and exhaled mainstream smoke, mixed with the surrounding air.

Sidestream smoke is about 4 times more toxic than mainstream smoke, although people inhale it in a more diluted form. This is because sidestream smoke contains much higher levels of many of the poisons and cancer-causing chemicals in cigarettes, including:

  • At least 3 times as much carbon monoxide
  • 10-30 times more nitrosamines
  • Between 15–300 times more ammonia

What’s in a cigarette?

 

You may think a cigarette is just tobacco wrapped in paper, but it’s much more than that. When a cigarette burns it releases a dangerous cocktail of over 5,000 different chemicals. Many of these chemicals are poisonous and more than 70 may cause cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). And it’s not just the smoker who is exposed to these chemicals, because there are also high levels in the smoke coming off the tip of a cigarette while it burns. So anyone around the smoker breathes them in as well.

This page has information on some of the poisons in cigarette smoke that we know are linked to cancer. To learn more about the impact of these chemicals in the body, see our How smoking causes cancer page.

Chemicals can get into cigarettes in different ways. Some are found naturally in the tobacco plant, some are absorbed by the plant from the soil, air or fertilisers, and some are formed when tobacco leaves are processed or are added by the tobacco industry. Others form when a cigarette burns, so are only present in the smoke coming off a cigarette.

What's in a cigarette?

Many of the cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco and cigarette smoke have other suprising uses too:

  • Benzene – an industrial solvent, refined from crude oil
  • Arsenic – a poison, used in wood preservatives
  • Cadmium and lead – used in batteries
  • Formaldehyde – used in mortuaries and paint manufacturing
  • Polonium-210 – a highly radioactive element
  • Chromium – used to manufacture dye, paints and alloys
  • 1,3-Butadiene – used in rubber manufacturing
  • Nickel – used to protect metals from corrosion
  • Vinyl chloride – used to produce plastic and vinyl products
  • Beryllium – used in nuclear reactors
  • Ethylene oxide – a disinfectant used to sterilise hospital equipment
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – a group of dangerous DNA-damaging chemicals, including benzo(a)pyrene
  • Ortho-Toluidine – used in the production of weedkillers
  • 4-aminobiphenyl and 2-naphthyl-amine – used in dye manufacturing until it was banned in the EU

And then there are tobacco-specific nitrosamines – a group of cancer-causing chemicals only found in tobacco.

This cocktail of chemicals is why there is no safe way to use tobacco and the best thing a smoker can do for their health is to stop smoking completely.

The free Stop Smoking Services help thousands of people quit every year, so if you are looking for the best possible chance of success, talk to your doctor or pharmacist or visit NHS Smokefree(link is external).

Shisha and other types of tobacco

 

paan with tobacco

Tobacco can be used in many different forms – but all are linked to cancer. There is no safe way to use tobacco.

Other tobacco products aren’t safer than cigarettes

Tobacco can be used in many different forms – but all are linked to cancer. There is no safe way to use tobacco.

  • Cigars and pipes are known to increase the risk of many cancer types including lung, mouth and upper throat, food pipe (oesophagus), voice box (larynx) and stomach. Smoking these products is just as bad for you as smoking cigarettes.
  • Roll-up tobacco contains the same cancer-causing chemicals as manufactured cigarettes. Roll-up cigarettes aren’t any safer than regular cigarettes
  • Smoking bidis, the most common form of tobacco in South Asian communities, also causes the same types of cancer as other tobacco products such as cigars.

Does smokeless tobacco increase cancer risk?

Smokeless tobacco includes a wide variety of products which can be used in different ways, chewed (‘dry chewing tobacco’), sucked (‘moist oral tobacco’) or inhaled (‘nasal snuff’). Scientists have shown that many forms of smokeless tobacco increase your risk of mouth, oesophageal (food pipe) and pancreatic cancers.

Most smokeless tobacco products in the UK are used by South Asian communities. In these communities, dry chewing tobacco is often used as part of a ‘betel quid’ or ‘paan’. These consist of a mixture of betel nut (or areca nut), slaked lime and various herbs and spices, wrapped in a betel leaf.

Betel nut itself can cause cancer, so chewing betel quids can cause mouth cancer even if no tobacco is added.

Most types of smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 different chemicals that can cause cancer. Smokeless tobacco users can be exposed to similar, if not higher, levels of cancer-causing tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) and nicotine than cigarette smokers. So, like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco is both dangerous and highly addictive.

Does shisha increase cancer risk?

Many people think shisha is harmless but this is not the case – shisha contains tobacco. Shisha, also called hookah or waterpipe, smokers inhale flavoured tobacco through a long pipe attached to a water bowl. Shisha smokers still inhale toxic cancer-causing chemicals and addictive nicotine.

A shisha pipe

Unlike cigarettes, shisha is burnt using charcoal so users can also be exposed to dangerously high levels of the poisonous gas carbon monoxide. Levels of carbon monoxide in the body from smoking shisha can be up to 17 times higher than from cigarettes and can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Looking at all the evidence together suggests that smoking shisha could at least double your risk of lung cancer and may be linked to some other cancer types.

Does snus increase cancer risk?

Snus is a special type of smokeless tobacco that is used in Sweden. It is banned in most other countries in the EU. Snus is manufactured using a special process that considerably lowers the levels of TSNAs in the finished product. Because of this, snus may be less dangerous than other types of tobacco.

But it still contains these cancer-causing chemicals at a low level. Snus use has been linked to pancreatic cancer, but not mouth or lung cancer.

It is possible that snus could be used specifically to help hardcore smokers, who are unlikely to quit through other means, to stop smoking altogether. But so far the evidence is uncertain and the International Agency for Research on Cancer has concluded that smokeless tobacco should not be recommended for quitting smoking.

 

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/smoking-and-cancer/smoking-facts-and-evidence

Friends


Friends

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

It is very important for every Muslim to make sure that his choice of friends and the company he keeps is correct. It has been proven through experience that the habits and behaviour of friends and associates slowly enter into an individual. Without realising, a person begins to adopt the style and behaviour of his friends. We are all witnesses to this fact. Sadly, I can recall many incidents where those who were pious, religious and good in character lost all of their good qualities because they kept bad company and associated with an inappropriate circle of friends. I have also seen others who were drowning in sins and evil, who underwent a complete revolution in their lives after adopting the company of a pious person of high moral standards. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam advised,

A person is on the way of his friend. Therefore he should think very carefully whom he is making a friend. (At-Tirmidhī, Abū Dāwūd, Ahmad)

Sincere Friends

We need friends who are sincere, genuine and, true in their friendship. Those who care for our well-being from every aspect are true friends. Those who have concern not only for the needs of this temporary life but also for the requirements of our everlasting life are our real friends.

Allāh is Sufficient for Love

There is only one Supreme Being Who is worthy of ‘true’ love and friendship and this is Allāh ta‘ālā. For love and friendship, He alone is enough. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam commented,

If I were to take a khalīl (intimate friend) other than my Lord, I would have taken Abū Bakr. (Al-Bukhārī) 

Here, despite such close ties and such a strong bond of friendship with Sayyidunā Abū Bakr radhiyallāhu ‘anhu, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam explains that the highest level of intimacy is reserved only for Allāh ta‘ālā. However, when one becomes engrossed in Divine love and then in the light of this love, one befriends and loves somebody, then inshā’allāh this form of friendship will prove beneficial in both worlds.

This is an extract from the booklet ‘Friendship & our Young Generation’
 published by the Islāmic Da’wah Academy