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Islam’s approach to health and well-being means that anything that is harmful or mostly harmful, is forbidden.  Therefore, Islam takes an uncompromising stand towards Alcohol or Tobacco and forbids its consumption in either small or large quantities.  They are undoubtedly harmful and adversely affects the mind and the body.  It clouds the mind, causes disease, wastes money, and destroys individuals, families, and communities.  Researchers have proven that there is a strong link between alcohol and gambling.  Drinking impairs judgement, lowers inhibition, and encourages the type of risk taking involved in gambling and dangerous activities.  [1]




Khamr in Arabic is a broader term used in Quran for all forms of or Intoxicants whether its Alcohol or Tobacco. Allah tells us in the Quran that intoxicants and gambling are abominations from Satan and orders us to avoid them. Quran Surah Maidah 5: 90 Allaah says: “he allows them as lawful At Tayyibaat (i.e. all good and lawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods), and prohibits them as unlawful Al Khabaa’ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods)” Quran Surah al-A’raaf 7:157 All forms of smoking are kinds of khabaa’ith (evil and unlawful things), and they include harmful and intoxicating substances. It is haraam to deal with it in any way, whether one inhales it, chews it or deals with it in any of its other forms. It is obligatory upon every Muslim to give up these things and to hasten to repent to Allaah, and to regret having committed this sin, and to resolve never to go back to it. May Allaah help us and you to do all that is good.  Fataawa Islamiyyah, 3/442


It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (R) that: The Prophet Muhammad ()  said: “Every intoxicant is unlawful and every intoxicant is Khamr.” SAHIH MUSLIM 4966 and SUNAN NASEE Vol. 6: 5585


It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (R) said: “The Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) said: ‘Every intoxicant is unlawful.’” SUNAN NASEEI Vol. 6:5591


Alcohol is mother of evils - Narrated Ibn Abbas the Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) said: “Alcohol is the mother of all evils, the greatest of major sins. Whoever drinks it may end up committing incest with his mother, his maternal aunt and his paternal aunt.” TABARANI MAJME KABEER HADITH 11498, SAHEEH AL JAAMI HADITH 3345, SILSILAH AL-SAHEEHAH 1853 Narrated Ibn Umar (R): Allah’s Apostle said, “Whoever drinks alcoholic drinks in the world and does not repent (before dying), will be deprived of it in the Hereafter.” SAHIH BUKHARI Vol. 7:481




Allah has cursed the drinker of alcohol - Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar (R): The Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) said: Allah has cursed wine, its drinker, its server, its seller, its buyer, its presser, the one for whom it is pressed, the one who conveys it, and the one to whom it is conveyed. ABU DAWOOD 3666


Ibn ‘Umar (R) reported Allah’s Messenger () as saying: Every intoxicant is Khamr and every intoxicant is forbidden. He who drinks wine in this world and dies while he is addicted to it, not having repented, will not be given a drink in the Hereafter. SAHIH MUSLIM 4963 AND ABU DAWOOD 3671  [2]


Prayer (salah) will not be accepted for forty days - The fact that his prayers are not accepted does not mean that the person’s prayers are invalid, or that he should give up prayer. Rather what it means is that he will not be rewarded for them. So the purpose of his prayer is to fulfil his duty and to avoid the punishment for not praying.


It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr (R) said: The Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) said: “Whoever drinks alcohol and gets drunk, his prayers will not be accepted for forty days, and if he dies he will go to Hell, but if he repents, Allah (Glory be to Him) will accept his repentance. If he drinks wine again and gets drunk, his prayer will not be accepted for forty days, and if he dies he will go to Hell, but if he repents, Allah (Glory be to Him) will accept his repentance. If he drinks wine again and gets drunk, his prayer will not be accepted for forty days, and if he dies he will go to Hell, but if he repents, Allah (Glory be to Him) will accept his repentance. If he does that again, Allah (Glory be to Him) will give him to drink of the mud of khabaal on the Day of Resurrection.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is the mud of khabaal?” He said, “The juice of the people of Hell.” IBN MAJAH HADITH 3377


From this authentic information, it is clear that alcohol beverages in all their kinds and forms are unlawful for Muslims to consume or deal with. This includes all types of wines, liquors, fermented beverages, pure alcohol and the like. Besides, there are some drugs which fall under the category of intoxicants. These are opium, bhang, qat (a grass-like type of plant used in Yemen). The Kenyans use a plant of the same species, called marungi marijuana (mostly used in USA).


All such intoxicants are prohibited by Islam since the evils of drug abuse are in many ways much worse than alcoholism. Addicting drugs which produce temporary feelings of euphoria and well-being like opium, morphine, pethadine, heroin, methedrine, benzedrine ("speed") and barbituate abuse ("rockets"), hashish, charas, marijuana (cannabis or "grass"). L.S.D., mescaline and "angel-dust" create delusions and hallicinions and insanity (psychotic states) which may last for months and even years after the drug has been withdrawn. Alcoholism and drug abuse are responsible for many admissions into insane asylums and mental hospitals and may cause permanent psychosis and brain damage. Intoxicants and drug abuse force the victims to indulge in crime and addiction makes it impossible for the "user" to lead a normal life. Intoxicants ruin the "user's" health and may lead to an early death.


The Muslims abstain from alcoholic drinks, intoxicating drugs and swine-flesh and such haram things because Almighty Allah has prohibited these in the Qur'an and Hadith. We abstain from these prohibited things because Almighty Allah has commanded us thus and toward ourselves from His wrath and eternal punishments by indulging in the haram. Allah knows what is good for us spiritually and morally as well as physically. These are the primary reasons why we abstain from haram: all other reasons are of secondary importance though it is useful to mention them.


Alcohol is not only a great wastage of money but also causes ulcers, stomach cancer, neurological and digestive disorders and liver ailments. And the greatest cancer risk is faced by people who both smoke and drink. The twin-evils of liquor and gambling have ruined innumerable lives, shattered multitudes of homes, and caused more misery to mankind than all other vices put together.


The modern scientists, after carrying on a long research on alcohol, clearly say that alcohol is the mother of all evils. Drinking causes lowliness and extinguishes noble passions of mercy, sympathy and tenderness. The drunkard ventures to commit the most heinous offences of murder, rape and fornication, disgraces people and defies the law and canons of society. This is simply because an alcoholic falls into a fit of passion and loses his power of control and self-restraint. He makes desire is "god" to satisfy his sexual lust and other unlawful pursuits. This is extremely harmful for the elevation of soul because wine-drinking extinguishes the glow of faith. This point has been elaborated in a Hadith of the Prophet where he said: "A person at the time of drinking wine is not a believer." Sahih al-Bukhari 5578In other words, a person who drinks wine is devoid even an iota of faith at the time of drinking.


According to the Shari'ah, it is the duty of the Islamic state to enforce prohibition. The punishment of a free person for drinking wine or other intoxicating liquor, is eighty stripes on the authority of all the companions. This is equal to punishment for baseless slandering. The flogging should he such as does not inflict wounds on the body beneath the skin. The Holy Prophet once said to the executioner: In inflicting the punishment, take care not to strike the face, the head or the privates.


Flogging should not be done by a cruel executioner but by scholars who are well versed in the Islamic Law so that they should award punishment according to the letter and spirit of the law.


Reasons for Prohibition of Alcohol in Islam


There are many reasons why alcoholic beverages have been prohibited in Islam. The following are among the reasons which Muslims believe in and are taken from Dr. Ahmad H. Sakr's booklet on the subject:

  • Alcohol is considered to be an abomination.


  • Alcohol is part of Satan's handiwork.


  • Drinking alcohol generates enmity and hatred among people.


  • Alcohol prevents people from remembering Allah.


  • It prevents or delays Muslims from performing their daily prayers. Even if they pray they will not understand the meaning and significance of what they are doing and saying.


  • Those who drink alcohol will be denied Paradise.


  • Those who drink alcohol are considered by Islam to be similar to those who worship idols which is also totally prohibited in Islam.


  • When a person drinks alcohol he is not considered to be a believer.


  • Alcohol is the mother of evils in society.


  • Muslims believe that the prophets of Allah did not taste alcoholic beverages and that alcohol was prohibited in the original scriptures of the divinely revealed religions.


  • Alcoholic beverages have some benefits, but sin and harm resulting from the consumption are far greater than their benefits.


  • Alcohol brings Allah's curse down on those who drink it, produce, sell or deal with it and those who participate in drinking parties.


  • Alcohol is responsible for a large number of road accidents.


  • Alcohol is the cause of many broken families.


  • Under the influence of alcohol, more homicide, rape and other offences are committed.


  • For the above reasons, practising Muslims try their best to shun alcoholic beverages and those parties where alcohol is served, so as to please Allah Almighty.


  • And finally we seek refuge in Allah against wine and its sinister evils and against the worship of evil promptings and the Satan.


"Say: My Lord hath forbidden indecencies, such of them as are apparent and such as are within, and sin and wrongful oppression ... " Qur'an Surah Araf 7:33 [3]


Statistics -

              - The harmful use of alcohol results in 2.5 million deaths each year.WHO (World Health Organization) report

- 320 000 young people between the age of 15 and 29 die from alcohol-related causes, resulting in 9% of all deaths in that age group.

- Alcohol is the world’s third largest risk factor for disease burden; it is the leading risk factor in the Western Pacific and the Americas and the second largest in Europe.

- Alcohol is associated with many serious social and developmental issues, including violence, child neglect and abuse, road traffic accidents and absenteeism in the workplace. [4]


In Australia, a country with a population of around 20 million, about 3000 people die each year from alcohol abuse while 65,000 others are hospitalised.  Studies have consistently revealed a link between heavy drinking and brain damage and around 2500 Australians are treated annually for alcohol related brain damage.  Research in the United Kingdom indicates that 6% of cancer deaths are related to alcohol abuse and Harvard Centre for Cancer Prevention says that drinking greatly increases the risk for numerous cancers.  Alcohol is considered highly carcinogenic, increasing the risk of mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, and breast cancers.  Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, causing the child to be small at birth, have some facial malformations, small eye openings, webbed or even missing fingers or toes, organ deformities, learning disabilities, mental retardation and much more.


Researchers in Australia have also estimated that 47% of all those who commit violent crimes, and 43% of all victims of these crimes, were drunk prior to the event.  Alcohol is responsible for 44% of fire injuries, 34% of falls and drownings, 30% of car accidents, 16% of child abuse instances, and 7% of industrial accidents.  Even though it is clear that alcohol is responsible for a great many evils it is legal and even encouraged in most societies.  In Muslim countries where alcohol is forbidden many people still find it difficult to resist temptation and fall prey to the disease that is alcoholism.  Amazingly even in the light of such startling evidence against alcohol, people around the globe continue to consume alcohol in ever-increasing amounts.


Alcohol is one of the tools Satan uses to distract humankind from the worship of God.  God states clearly in the Quran that Satan is an open enemy towards humankind yet by drinking alcohol, we invite Satan into our lives and make it easy for him to distract us from our real purpose in life, to worship God.


“Surely, Satan is an enemy to you, so treat him as an enemy.  He only invites his followers that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.” (Quran surah Fatir 35:6)

Alcohol affects the mind and makes sinful behaviour and evil actions fair seeming.  It creates enmity and hatred between people, prevents them from remembering God and distracts them from praying, and calls them to participate in unlawful sexual relationships.  Alcohol generates shame, regret, and disgrace, and renders the drinker witless.  It leads to the disclosure of secrets and exposure of faults.


“Satan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God and from the prayer.  So, will you not then abstain?” (Quran Surah Maidah 5:91)


In Pre Islamic Arabia, alcohol use was widespread.  To eradicate this evil, God in His mercy revealed the prohibition in stages.  First, He made it clear to them that the harm of drinking alcohol is greater than its benefit, next He told the Muslims  not to come to prayer while intoxicated and finally, He revealed  a verse totally prohibiting alcohol.


“O you who believe!  Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, idolatry, and divining arrows are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork.  So avoid that so that you may be successful.” (Quran Surah Maidah 5: 90)


When this was revealed the Muslim citizens of Medina immediately began to destroy and empty their alcohol containers into the streets.  Even those who were guiltlessly enjoying cups of wine spat the alcohol from their mouths.  It is said that the streets of Medina ran with alcohol.  Why then is it so difficult to expunge this evil in the 21st century?  Believers today must completely trust God, in the same way that the first Muslims trusted God and understood that He was their only Protector and Provider.  All power and strength comes from God and a scourge like alcohol can be eradicated only when those affected by alcohol turn to God with complete submission.


The Quran is a book of guidance sent to all of humankind.  It is a set of instructions from the Creator for His creation.  If we follow these instructions, our lives will be easy and tranquil, even in the face of disaster and mishap.  God links alcohol and gambling to idolatry and declares it filthy and evil; however, He is merciful and generous towards the believers and acknowledges the power of addiction. 

Conclusion- Islam is committed to encouraging and facilitating those who wish to repent from evil doing and sinful behaviour.  God accepts repentance from those who are truly sorry for their actions and committed to staying away from sin.  Muslim communities do not ostracize (ignore) those who have made mistakes but keep them within the fold of Islam encouraging them to seek the closeness to Allah (The God) that will allow them to leave sinful behaviour.  Friends, family, and neighbours do not just look away while a person destroys himself or his family.  Islam is a community-oriented faith.  There is no place for an individual to do what he wants to do, if it hurts others.  Alcohol abuse affects not just the alcoholic but also his or her family, and community.  There is great wisdom in the prohibition of alcohol. [5]


See Also: Mental Illness; Domestic Violence; Ruqyah Treatment; Jinn; Paranormal Investigation







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