On Monday evening, I watched on TV-One a talk show organized by the Jakarta Lawyers Club with the topic: Anti-Cigarettes Fatwa/Edict.
The show was moderated by senior journalist Karni Ilyas, with speakers representing Muhamaddiyah, the second largest Muslim organization which issued the Anti-Cigarette Edict/Fatwa; Nadhatul Ulama (NU), the largest Muslim organization, Doctors Association (IDI), Cigarette Producers Association, cigarette smokers, attended by an audience of mostly lawyers.
Wawan, head of Muhamadiyah's Legal Dept. explained that the edict has been planned for many years, but postponed due to differences of opinions among the organization's leaders. As a matter of fact few years ago Muhamadidyah has even issued an edict which neither forbid nor permit cigarette smoking.
The most interesting was when Wawan was cornered by the other speakers and the moderator who were not anti cigarettes, tobacco farmers and cigarette factory workers, that he said that the Fatwa/Edict is meant for Muslims who smoke cigarettes which he referred to as people who are not smart. He also said that smoking cigarette would weaken people.
Iskandar of NU protested by saying that cigarette smokers cannot be regarded as not smart, and cigarette smoking does not weaken people. He said that cigarette smoking NU clerics/ulama slept only few hours to teach pupils and prayed in the evening but still able to visit their four wives in the next morning, therefore they cannot be described as weaklings. Iskandar suggested that Muhamaddiyah cancel said edict and replace it with one that suggest smoking is not good for health but does not forbid it.
Considering the above, I hope that religious organizations would always based its Fatwa/Edict on the best interest of its disciples in particular and the country in general.
Because, although an Fatwa/Edict is not part of our legal system, however it would surely have moral effect on the disciples, therefore might cause social-economical-political impacts in Indonesia.