How MUI’s latest “fatwa” would make this world a better place
Posted February 10, 2009on:
This article was published by The Jakarta Post on February 7, 2009. Read the article on The Jakarta Post, here.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has finally revealed their latest fatwa. I’m sorry for those of you who love to pollute the air: Smoking is haram now! Well, it’s not haram for everyone, but only for children and pregnant women. And it’s also haram for people to smoke in public.
The smokers out there may think this fatwa is stupid and irresponsible. They complain why in the world smoking is banned.
NU doesn’t support the fatwa either. They think smoking should be avoided (makruh), but it’s not a sin to do so. The MUI’s deci-sion to release this fatwa is indeed brave considering that many Muslim clerics in Indonesia are heavy smokers.
I know how much ulema love cigarettes. A respected Muslim cleric whom my friends and I call “Pak Haji” always smokes during his Islamic discussions. When asked about the MUI’s new fatwa, he complained that people who make smoking haram are people who don’t read the Koran. What my “Pak Haji” didn’t know was the fact that MUI’s fatwa was only for children and pregnant women.
But for me, I’m happy with the fatwa. I even wish the MUI had created a stronger fatwa. Imagine if smoking were haram for everyone, that’s so wonderful.
The reason I’m happy with the fatwa is because I believe, hopefully you smokers don’t get offended, that Indonesia’s smokers are the most arrogant smokers in the world.
Yes, they are so arrogant that some of them will smoke anywhere.
I mean anywhere. At least that’s the kind of situation I see in Jakarta. I don’t know if smokers in other cities have better behavior.
Several days ago, my best friend had to politely ask a man to stop smoking while my friend was taking a public bus to his office. Apparently, this man thought that there was nothing wrong with smoking inside a bus. My friend was a polite man, so he said his discontent politely; what he should’ve said was, “Are you out of your mind?”
In my opinion, we nonsmokers in Indonesia are the victims of those arrogant people who think that we don’t mind inhaling the smoke coming out of their cigarettes. Excuse us, but we actually do mind! We just don’t know how to say it.
Our local government’s “No smoking” rule doesn’t seem to be working that well. It’s true you will find smoking rooms at many Jakarta malls and office buildings, but smokers still receive the No. 1 treatment at most cafes and restaurants; if a restaurant doesn’t have a special room for smokers, it only means smokers can enjoy their cigarettes anywhere.
I remember when I was sitting at a cafe located in a very famous mall in South Jakarta. Just when I was starting to enjoy my coffee, I realized that I was surrounded by smokers; I asked myself, “Where the hell is the smoking area?” Apparently they didn’t have one and they let people smoke anywhere.
It’s not that I hate smokers, trust me. But sometimes I wonder why nonsmokers have to suffer from their behavior. If they want to smoke, they can still smoke where nonsmokers can be safe.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t understand why it’s so hard for smokers to stop smoking. If someone tells me to stop reading books, without any doubt I will not be able to do it. It’s probably that kind of feeling faced by those smokers out there.
Honestly, I don’t mind if people smoke. Hey, it’s their own lungs; they have every right to do whatever they want to those lungs. But I’m sure even smokers agree that smoking kills. That’s why I’m also sure that most smokers agree that it’s acceptable if children and pregnant women shouldn’t be encouraged to smoke.
So why do you smokers have to be paranoid about the MUI’s new fatwa on smoking? Just take it easy and relax, because it’s not the end of the world. You can still smoke, but smoke wisely.
And please let me say this on behalf of other nonsmokers in Indonesia out there who just don’t have the guts to show their discomfort: You smokers can still smoke as much as you want. Just please don’t do it when my friends and I are around. And please don’t encourage children to be like you. It’s what we want and it’s just that simple.