In the name of Allāh,
the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Peace and Blessings of Allāh on Mohammad.
Allāh–the Glorious and the High,
Lord of the worlds
Mohammad–who brought the world
to our feet and eternity to our arms
Allāh, the All-knowing and the Wise, alarms us about the perils of intoxicants and gambling:
“In both of them is a great sin and
(some) advantage for men,
and their sin is greater than their advantage;”
“intoxicants and gambling…
are only an uncleanness, the devil’s work;
so shun it that you may succeed”
(Qur’an 2:219; 5:90).
Alcohol may gladden the heart as the Psalmist says–Psalm 104:15. Alcohol also saddens the liver and loins, and dulls the head. And many have lost loved ones to this “Devil’s brew” –through drinking and drunk driving.
While the grapes (and other fruits) in its natural form is wholesome to us –a goodly provision– when we ferment it into intoxicants it becomes mostly harmful to us. (Apart from the fact that alcohol is beneficial as an antiseptic and preservative) it has some benefits for human consumption; but as a regular drink its harm to man way outstrips its benefit –its indulgence can lead to addiction, temporary loss of clear thinking and judgment, and various diseases. It may also lead to thievery (to support the habit).
Alcohol does not give a “good time”!
Alcohol causes loss of mind, money, and manhood. Alcohol thrusted Lot into incest with his daughters and waylaid Jesus –who Christians say is “God” and “son of God”– as “wine-bibber,” as the Bible says–(Gen. 19:30-38; Matt. 11:19); causes cirrhosis of the liver and a host of other problems as medical research has shown. (Sadly, some Muslims, against the clear injunctions of Allāh, also swallow this “corrosive”).
Seemingly, women who drank “even a little alcohol while pregnant had a higher chance of their child having conduct dis-order symptoms (aggressiveness, delinquency) as a teen.”1
People may drink to escape reality. Being intoxicated:
-not knowing what you are doing or what is being done to you is not a “good time;”
-vomiting, and saying thing(s) you would not normally say is not a “good time;’
-doing thing(s) you would not normally do, and getting into situation(s) you would not normally get into is not a “good time”–there are stories of women having compromised themselves while drunk and later regretting it; not knowing whose baby you are carrying and who is carrying your baby is not a “good time”
-in a drunken or drugged state, a woman may not know if she was violated or by whom or by how many, only realizing a few weeks afterwards that she was violated upon discovering being pregnant: this is perhaps the paramount reason young girls and women should avoid environments of drugs and alcohol
-waking up and feeling as if a brick wall was slammed into your head, and with your mouth tasting like sewer is not a “good time;”
-children may make fun of the drunk, and dogs are known to have sprayed on the drunk as he lay senseless at the side of the street, these are not “good” times.
People would not spend precious hours and even days or weeks or months in Alcoholics Anonymous to be rid of a “good time.”
As stated, alcohol may also lead to theft to support the habit.
Contrary to some opinions, this world is not a prison to Muslims. The regimentation of five daily prayers, yearly fasting for a month, restriction from intoxicants, gambling and non-marital sex is not a “strait-jacket” for Muslims. Engaging in non-marital sex –with the possibility of your partner having another or multiple partners, and running the risk of contracting dreaded diseases such as AIDS, syphilis, and gonorrhea– could not be a “good time.”
Gambling away your wallet, and perhaps your dependent(s) livelihood, and ending up broke and penniless, could not be a “good time,” (there are the occasional winners, but the ratio of losers to winners is staggering).
Intoxication, gambling and non-marital sex could not then be said to be a “good time.”
One does not need intoxicants to have a “good time.” The best of times are had in sobriety. “Everything is better sober.”
The five daily prayers are like the regimentation of employ-ment –working eight hours a day five days a week, fifty weeks a year for some fifty years of life. Muslims pray at dawn (10 mins.), noonday (15 mins.), late afternoon (10 mins.), sunset (15 mins.) and at night-time (25 mins.). While some non-Muslims also pray during the day, what do others do at these times–sleep, drink, work, entertain or engage in illegal acts? There is nothing more spiritually beneficial for humans than to intersperse his day with prostrations –the highest expressive form of glorification– to his Creator. This is no “straitjacket”: this is spiritual bliss!
Fasting helps to cleanse the system –perhaps there are those who skip lunch to control weight, and for other reason(s). The benefits of fasting are fourfold–physiological, physical, moral and spiritual:
(a) Physiological benefit–regenerate organs, eliminate toxins and purify the blood, improve health.
(b) Physical benefit–it makes us experience the hunger of the starving; it conditions us to endure long periods without food, drink, and to control carnal passions.
(d) Spiritual benefit–because of one’s constant remembrance of Allāh, God, it brings (or should bring, depending on one’s sincerity) him/her closer to Allāh, God.
Muslims are enjoined to pray for good in this world and for good in the Hereafter and to be saved from the Fire of Hell–(Qur’an 2:201, 202); to seek the bounties of Allah–(Qur’an 62:10); and to eat and drink of the good things–(Qur’an 2:168; 16:115). By abstaining from intoxicants, gambling and non-marital sex Muslims are not missing out on any “good time;” Muslims enjoy sobriety, economy and morality, and are risk free from acquiring sexually transmitted diseases (through sexual promiscuity). This world is not a prison or straitjacket for Muslims.
Allāh tells us that the Qur’an gives success–(Qur’an 20:1-2); and has promised to Muslims: “He will surely make them rulers in the earth as He had made those before them rulers”–(Qur’an 24:55). Being successful and rulers could not be imprisonment for Muslims. Being bound by laws of justice and being free from inebriation, immorality and harmful habits are not imprisonment: it is liberty –physical, moral, intellectual, and spiritual.
Allāh also tells us: “For those who do good in this world is good. And certainly the abode of the Hereafter is better. And excellent indeed is the abode of those who keep their duty–Gardens of perpetuity which they enter, wherein flow rivers: they have therein what they please. Thus does Allah reward those who keep their duty”–(Qur’an 16:30-31).
Muslims can have Paradise
in the ephemeral and in the Eternal.
To those who have lost a precious member to this “Devil’s brew,” may Allāh, God, give you patience and comfort in your loss.
It is not the “last” drink that is the danger. It is the “first” drink that is the danger: the “first” drink leads to another, and to another, and to…….
We have “alcohol free” beer, “alcohol free” champagne and “alcohol free” wine; let us also strive to make our millennium “alcohol free” driving.Or best yet, heed the wisdom of Allāh and live our lives alcohol and gambling “free.”
1. Jennifer Walker, Best Health, magazine, March/April 2009; p. 23. Ms. Walker cites a “recent study.”