By Dr. M. H. Durrani
The prohibition of alcoholic drinks in one of the most well known traits of Islam. On the day when the prohibition was proclaimed, the lanes and streets of Medina were overflowed with wine. (Musnad. III. P. 217)
Even the very pots and jars in which wine was kept were declared unlawful for a time. Thus wine or liquor is prohibited on account of its intoxication.
On the occasion of the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Holy Prophet declared the inviolability of the rights of a man in all the three categories of (1) Person, (2) Property and (3) Honour. In fact the Islamic penal law takes it into account, declaring that the principal crimes are the following: murder, damage to body, fornication and adultery (which are crimes against person), theft and robbery (which are crimes against property) and calumny against chastity, and consumption of alcoholic drinks which are crimes against honour.
It is the express duty of every Muslim to abstain from alcoholic drinks. The Qur'aan calls it the work of Satan. Its hygienic, economic, moral and other evils are too well-known to require description. Alcoholic drinks have a particular connection with the woman. It is she who nourishes her baby with her blood, and then with her milk, thus transmitting her health or her ailment to her baby, to the new generation and the future of humanity. Thus the Qur'aan prohibits alcoholic drinks and idolatry in one and the same verse. (5: 93-94).
A comprehensive duty is that of morality. If spirituality is our duty in our relations with our Creator, morality has the same place in our mutual relations with our fellow beings. Islam has imposed, recommended or otherwise encouraged certain practices, which astonish us sometimes if we do not take into account their profound motives, but Islam has prescribed means to diminish the temptations. It is easy to hope that every one would develop one's individual morality in order to resist the temptations, but it is wiser to diminish the occasions in which persons of weak characters who constitute the majority of men - need to engage in a battle where defeat is a foregone conclusion.
Besides drinking, use of alcohol has also been discouraged in medicines, because alcohol itself is a disease. (Al Muslim 36:3 and Al-Hadith 25:162). It is no excuse to say that small quantity of wine would not harm. The use of alcohol has the peculiarity of its own that its consumption in a small quantity makes one gay and weakens his resolution to drink no more; and when one becomes drunk he has no more control over his acts.
Trading in wine was also prohibited by the Holy Prophet. (Bukhari 34:24). Indeed it was necessary to prohibit both the preparing of wine and trading in it when the use of it was no longer permitted. To these evils may be added the unhygienic effects of alcoholic drinks. One of the Qur'aanic verses (2: 219) speaks of it, in interesting terms:
"They question thee about wine and games of chance; -. The sin of them is greater than their usefulness."
The Holy Qur'aan does not deny that there are certain profits in the use of alcohol, yet it declares it a sin against society, against the individual himself, and of course against the legislator.
There are manifold reasons for the prohibition of intoxicating liquor: it is injurious from both temporal and spiritual points of view.
(a) Temporal: It covers intellect and power of discerning right from wrong. There
is no act which a man cannot do when he loses his sense and wisdom. The temporary covering over the intellectual region has got necessary repercussion on mind which can produce many diseases hitherto unknown to drunkard.
The use of liquor results in paralysis and complete collapse in major cases of heart failures. Many cases have been reported in medical journals that death by pneumonia was result of many habitual drunkards. All diseases of mankind e.g. T.B., asthma, cough, cancer and heart disease, etc., all small and big accidents, hot and cold wars, mischief, the fall of mankind and humanity, poverty and illiteracy, all bad characters of the people and all kinds of crimes, etc., are due to intoxicants. The intoxicants crush the feelings of the man who uses them. He never feels the troubles of others and even his own. If the powerful nations of today had not used intoxicants then the world would have lived in peace but the intoxicants made them wage terrible wars. Their wars also destroyed the other weak nations because the intoxicants did not let them take the right way. Their hot and cold wars are still destroying mankind, but they never feel the troubles of those who are its victims. Ah! The best creation of God is being destroyed by thoughtless drunkards. So the intoxicants are a terrible poison which kills the nations materially and spiritually. Thus the prohibition of intoxicants shows that Islam wanted to inspire true courage into its followers and disliked the reckless daring which a man shows under the influence of intoxicating liquors and which has so often led to acts of butchery in wars.
It is also a veritable evil from the economic point of view, as it forms a chief source of the drainage of money from the coffer of a drunkard. The Qur'aan deprecates this unnecessary drainage of money by saying:
"Verily, those who spend extravagantly are the brothers of the devil." (17: 27).
(b) Spiritual: In fact, wine is the mother of all evils. There is no sin which a drunkard cannot commit when he loses intellect because he loses his power of control and self-restraint and lets loose the desire to satisfy his sexual luxury. This is extremely harmful for spiritual progress. It keeps a man off the remembrance of Allaah which is the object of man's creation in this world. It also contributes to the incitement of enmity and hatred between fellow beings which are bad both from temporal and spiritual points of view. The Qur'aan supports the view saying:-
"The devil desires to sow enmity and hatred among you with intoxicants and
gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God, and from prayer; will you then abstain?" (5: 91).
In short, the harm done by intoxicating liquors is greater than its benefits. The Holy Qur'aan testifies this assertion in unequivocal terms saying:
"They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance, say, in both of them there
is a great sin and means of profit for men but their sin is greater than their profit." (2: 219).
O people of understanding, urge the governments of the world to prohibit the intoxicants. The governments should not let the people take this poison only for their getting taxes, but should keep in view the real common good. As the intoxicants are danger to health, wealth and all other goods of the people, so the governments should save them as they save them from other dangers. At least the younger generation should be protected from such poisonous things. Some people say that in cold countries people cannot live without drinking, but this is absolutely wrong. When the small children of every cold country can live without it, why cannot the young and old ones live without it? Of course they can live. In Pakistan people spend huge amounts of money on intoxicants. The present powerful nations use intoxicants beyond measure and are very advanced, progressive and exalted nations of the world. Mark my words, the intoxicants are dragging them down to the same end to which the other progressive nations have been brought to by the same arch enemies, and now they are called the dead nations. The fall of nations does not take place at once like those who commit suicide by jumping from an elevated place, but takes place gradually. Such a nation cannot imagine that it is going to fall, so if the present powerful and advanced nations desire to save themselves from falling they should give up the intoxicants, and if the dead nations wish to revive, they should also give up this poison. All kinds of intoxicants weak or strong are unlawful according to the law of God. Wine is truly called 'the mother of evils.'
Once there was a noble Doctor. He was invited to a grand feast and the host put a beautiful goblet of red wine before him to drink. The Doctor took it and smashed it against the floor, so the goblet was broken and wine was spilt.
The host said sorrowfully;
"O Doctor, what have you done? Ah, you have broken the beautiful goblet and wasted the red wine."
"Ah, dear host, if I would have drunk it, the accident which has happened to the beautiful goblet and red wine, would have occurred to my soul and my mind, what loss it may have been for my soul?"
Again I say it is criminal on the part of the governments to raise their revenues by popularising drugs and other intoxicants among the people. It is equivalent to feeding the people on poison, ruining their health, wealth and morals. If one would desire to be happy in the two worlds, one should abstain from alcoholic drinks and games of chance.
(Courtesy: Yaqeen International)