Monday 2 July 2018

Prohibition of intoxicants

There are few things that Muslims have been asked to avoid or to completely stay away from. One of the things not to be taken in any cost is the pork or meat of animal T the time of slaughter of which name of Allah has not been taken or the meat of the dead animal. This subject has been adequately covered in one of our previous posts titled Prohibition of Pork.

Today this post concerns all intoxicants including wine and alcohol which may temporarily incapacitate one's ability to think clearly and act wisely. We all know when under the influence of intoxicants, people tend to take actions for which they are later ashamed of.

In Islam, the prohibition of intoxicants came in stages since an outright rejection might have had a rather heavy sacrifice for the newly converted Muslims who were heavy drinkers as per the prevailing norms of Arabia. Thus in the first instance, the Muslims were asked not to offer prayers when under the influence of intoxicants as they would not be able to abide by the etiquettes of standing and praying in front of their lord, and to respect the monologue between a Muslim and Allah:
"O ye who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when ye are drunken, till ye know that which ye utter." (Al-Qur'an Surah An Nisa 4:43)
Allah's Messenger has been quoted, as reported by Abdullah ibn 'Umar, in At-Tirmidhi, as saying, "If anyone drinks wine God will not accept prayer from him for forty days, but if he repents God will forgive him. If he repeats the offense God will not accept prayer from him for forty days, but if he repents God will forgive him. If he again repeats the offense God will not accept prayer from him for forty days, but if he repents God will forgive him. If he repeats it a fourth time God will not accept prayer from him for forty days, and if he repents God will not forgive him, but will give him to drink of the river of the fluid flowing from the inhabitants of Hell."
The explicit and exclusive commandments came from Allah to outrightly reject intoxicants. The prohibition of intoxicants is clearly stated in the Holy Qur'an:
"They question thee about strong drinks and games of chance. Say: In both is great sin, and (some) utility for men; but the sin of them is greater than their usefulness." (Al-Qur'an Surah Al Baqarah 2:219)
“O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah ], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.” (Al-Qur’an Surah Al Ma'idah 5:90)
Although the word "Avoid" has been used in the commandment from Allah, this clearly means that anything that Allah has asked its followers to avoid has some wisdom behind it and must therefore be avoided in true letter and spirit. 

In the Bible too, though the word prohibition is not used, the following verses spell out why wine or other intoxicants are to be avoided:
“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” [Proverbs 20:1]
And be not drunk with wine.” [Ephesians 5:18]
From the above verses it is clear that a small quantity leads to over drinking and causes harms much beyond the expectations of the drinker. When under the influence of intoxicants, one loses control of one's senses and people are more often than not are seen loudly abusing, sexually assaulting, urinating ( as they lose control over the restraining instincts and ability). In many cases females are given high doses of intoxicants to sexually abuse when they lose control over their thinking ability.It is only when the effect of intoxication is over, one is ashamed of one's acts which later become a lifetime source of remorse and regret.

It may be added here that In Qur'an, the word wine or alcohol is not specifically used. Instead the word "Kham'r" is used. Kham'r is any substance or emotion or feeling that covers one's judgment and reasoning about right from wrong. It can be defined as a state of "intoxication", a state of "altered consciousness", a state of "stupor".

Adding to the explanation of the above referred verses of the Holy Qur'an, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been quoted as saying:
Alcohol is the mother of all evils and it is the most shameful of evils.” (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah Volume 3, Book of Intoxicants, Chapter 30 Hadith No. 3371.)


Anything which intoxicates in a large quantity, is prohibited even in a small quantity.” Thus there is no excuse for a nip or a tot. (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah Volume 3, Book of Intoxicants, Chapter 30 Hadith No. 3392)

Al-Hakim narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said : "He who commits adultery, fornication, or drinks wine, Allah removes that person's faith from him in the same way as one takes off one's clothing."
Anything that has been prohibited or asked to be avoided by Allah may certainly have been done so in good for the mankind. It is the science and development of medicine science which has lately covered the ill effects of intoxicants on the health of humans. Some of the intoxicant related diseases include:
1. Cirrhosis of Liver
2. Cancer of Oesophagus, Cancer of Head and Neck, Cancer of Liver (Hepatoma), Cancer of Bowel, etc.
3. Oesophagitis, Gastritis, Pancreatitis and Hepatitis
4. Cardiomyopathy, Hypertension, Coronary Artherosclerosis, Angina and Heart Attacks
5. Strokes, Apoplexy, Fits and different types of Paralysis 
6. Peripheral Neuropathy, Cortical Atrophy, Cerebellar Atrophy 
7. Wernicke – Korsakoff syndrome with amnesia of recent events,confabulations and retainment of memory to old events with different types of paralysis 
8. Beriberi and other deficiencies are not uncommon among alcoholics. Even Pellagra occurs in alcoholics.
9. Delerium Tremens is a serious complication that may occur during recurrent infection of alcoholics or post operatively. 
10. Numerous Endocrine Disorders ranging from Myxodema to Hyperthyroidism and Florid Cushing Syndrome.
11. Hematological ill effects are long and variable. Folic acid deficiency, however, is the most common manifestation of alcoholic abuse resulting in Macrocytic Anemia. Zeive’s syndrome is a triad of Hemolytic Anemia, Jaundice and Hyperlipaedemia that follows alcoholic binges.
12. Thrombocytopenia and other platelet abnormalities 
13. The commonly used tablet metronidazole (flagyl) interacts badly with alcohol.14. Recurrent infection is very common among chronic alcoholics. The esistance to disease and the immunological defense system are compromised by alcohol intake.
15. Chest infections are notorious in alcoholics. Pneumonia, Lung Abcess, Emphysema and Pulmonary Tuberculosis are all common in alcoholics.
16. During acute alcoholic intoxication, the drunk person usually vomits, the cough reflexes which are protective are paralyzed. The vomitus thus easily pass to the lung causing Pneumonia or Lung Abscess. Occasionally it may even cause suffocation and death.
17. Females are more vulnerable to alcohol-related Cirrhosis than men. During pregnancy alcohol consumption has a severe detrimental effect on the fetus. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is being recognized more and more in the medical profession.
18. Skin diseases are also related to alcohol indulgence.
19. Eczema, Alopecia, Nail Dystrophy, Paronychia (infection around the nails) and Angular Stomatitis (inflammation of the angle of the mouth) are common diseases among alcoholics.
The commandments of Allah are always for the benefit of the mankind and though ills of every type exist around us, it is only those who fear Allah who save and protect them from those which have been asked to be avoided. All such commandments thus be taken seriously for own sake and sake of the society which are badly influenced and effects by individual acts of misuse by indulging into alcoholism and intoxication.

May Allah guide us to be always on the righteous path and may He save us from all ills prohibited for us. Aameen 

Photo | Research Source |
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