WHY IS THE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL PROHIBITED IN ISLAM AND OTHER RELIGIOUS SCRIPTURE

Alcohol has been the scourge of human society since time immemorial. It continues to cost countless human lives, and causes terrible misery to millions throughout the world. Alcohol is the root cause of several problems facing society. The statistics of soaring crime rates, increasing instances of mental illnesses and millions of broken homes throughout the world bear mute testimony to the destructive power of alcohol. …

1. Prohibition of alcohol in the Qur’an

The Glorious Qur’an prohibits the consumption of alcohol in the following verse:
"O ye who believe! Intoxicants and Gambling, (Dedication of) stones, And (divination by) arrows, Are an Abomination – Of Satan’s handiwork; Eschew such (abomination), That ye may prosper."
[Al-Qur’an 5:90]

2. Alcohol inhibits the inhibitory centre

The human beings possess an inhibitory centre in their brains. This inhibitory centre prevents the person from doing things that he considers wrong. For instance a person does not normally use abusive language while addressing his parents or elders. If he has to answer the call of nature, his inhibitory centre will prevent him from doing so in public. Therefore he uses the toilet.
When a person consumes alcohol, the inhibitory centre itself is inhibited. That is precisely the reason that an inebriated person is often found to be indulging in behaviour that is completely uncharacteristi­c of him. For instance the intoxicated person is found to use abusive and foul language and does not realize his mistake even if he is addressing his parents. Many even urinate in their clothes. Neither do they talk nor walk properly. They even misbehave.

3. Cases of adultery, rape, incest and AIDS are found more among alcoholics

According to National Crime Victimization Survey Bureau of Justice (U.S. Department of Justice) in the year 1996 alone everyday on an average 2,713 rapes took place. The statistics tell us that the majority of the rapists, were intoxicated while committing the crime. The same is true in cases of molestation.
According to statistics, 8% of Americans commit incest i.e. one in every twelve to thirteen persons in America is involved in incest. Almost all the cases of incest are due to intoxication of one or both the persons involved.

One of the major factors associated with the spread of AIDS, the most dreaded disease, is alcoholism.

4. Every alcoholic was initially a social drinker

Many may argue in favour of liquor by calling themselves ‘social drinkers’. They claim that they only have one or two pegs and they have self-control and so never get intoxicated. Investigations reveal that every alcoholic started as a social drinker. Not a single alcoholic or drunkard initially starts drinking with the intention of becoming an alcoholic or a drunkard. No social drinker can say that I have been having alcohol for several years and that I have so much self-control that I have never been intoxicated even a single time.

5. If a person is intoxicated just once and commits something shameful, it will remain with him for a lifetime.

Suppose a ‘social drinker’ loses his self-control just once. In a state of intoxication he commits rape or incest. Even if the act is later regretted, a normal human being is likely to carry the guilt throughout his life. Both the perpetrator and the victim are irreparably and irreversibly damaged.

6. The Prophet of Islam Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

a. “Alcohol is the mother of all evils and it is the most shameful of evils.”
[In Sunan Ibn-I-Majah Volume 3, Book of Intoxicants, Chapter 30 Hadith No.3371.]

b. “Anything which intoxicates in a large quantity, is prohibited even in a small
Quantity.”
[In Sunan Ibn-I-Majah Volume 3, Book of Intoxicants, Chapter 30 Hadith No. 3392]

Thus there is no excuse for a nip or a tot.

c. Not only those who drink alcohol are cursed but also those who deal with
Them directly or indirectly are cursed by Allah.

It was reported by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), that Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“God’s curse falls on ten groups of people who deal with alcohol. The one who distills it, the one for whom it has been distilled, the one who drinks it, the one who transports it, the one to who it has been brought, the one whom serves it, the one who sells it, the one who utilizes money from it, the one who buys it and
the one who buys it for someone else.”
[According to Sunan Ibn-I-Majah Volume 3, Book of Intoxicants, Chapter 30 Hadith No. 3380.]

7. Diseases associated with alcoholism

There are several scientific reasons for the prohibition of consumption of intoxicants i.e. alcohol. The maximum number of deaths in the world related to any one particular cause is due to the consumption of alcohol. Millions of people die every year only because of intake of alcohol. I need not go into the details of all the ill-effects of alcohol since most of them are commonly known. Below is a simple list of few of the alcohol related illnesses:

1. Cirrhosis of Liver is the most well known alcohol associated disease.

2. Others are Cancer of Oesophagus, Cancer of Head and Neck, Cancer of Liver (Hepatoma), Cancer of Bowel, etc.
3. Oesophagitis, Gastritis, Pancreatitis and Hepatitis are linked with alcohol consumption.
4. Cardiomyopathy,­ Hypertension, Coronary Artherosclerosi­s, Angina and Heart Attacks are linked with heavy alcohol intakes.
5. Strokes, Apoplexy, Fits and different types of Paralysis are linked with alcohol intake.
6. Peripheral Neuropathy, Cortical Atrophy, Cerebellar Atrophy are well-known syndromes caused by alcohol consumption.
7. Wernicke – Korsakoff syndrome with amnesia of recent events, confabulations and retainment of memory to old events with different types of paralysis are mainly due to thiamine deficiency due to excessive alcohol intake.
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. It also occurs during abstention as a sign of withdrawal effect. It is quite serious and may cause death even if treated in well equipped centres.
10. Numerous Endocrine Disorders have been associated with alcoholism 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 are not rare in alcoholics.
13. The commonly used tablet metronidazole (flagyl) interacts badly with alcohol.
14. Recurrent infection is very common among chronic alcoholics. The resistance 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 paralysed. The vomitus thus easily pass to the lung causing Pneumonia or Lung Abscess. Occasionally it may even cause suffocation and death.
17. The ill effects of alcohol consumption on women deserves special mention. Females are more vulnerable to alcohol-related­ Cirrhosis than men. During pregnancy alcohol consumption has a severe detrimental effect on the foetus. Foetal Alcohol Syndrome is being recognised 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.
8. Alcoholism is a ‘disease’
Medical doctors have now turned liberal towards alcoholics and call alcoholism a disease rather than an addiction.
If alcohol is a disease, it is the only disease that:
• Is sold in bottles
• Is advertised in newspapers, magazines, on radio and television
• Has licensed outlets to spread it
• Produces revenue for the government
• Brings violent deaths on the highways
• Destroys family life and increases crime
• Has no germs or viral cause
ALCOHOLISM IS NOT A DISEASE – IT IS SATAN’S HANDIWORK
Allah (swt) in His Infinite Wisdom has warned us against this snare of Satan. Islam is called the "Deen-ul-Fitrah­" or the natural religion of Man. All its injunctions are aimed at preserving the natural state of man. Alcohol is a deviation from this natural state, for the individual as well as for society. It degrades man to a level below that of the beasts he claims to be superior to. Hence the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Islam.

PART: B

IS ALCOHOL FORBIDDEN IN OTHER RELIGIOUS SCRIPTURES?
PROHIBITION OF ALCOHOL IN CHRISTINITY AND HINDUSIM:

PROHIBITION OF ALCOHOL IN THE BIBLE

THE BIBLE PROHIBITS THE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL IN THE FOLLOWING VERSES:
a. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is
deceived thereby is not wise.”
[Proverbs 20:1]

b. “And be not drunk with wine.”
[Ephesians 5:18]

There is more condemning the use of alcoholic beverages than will be found on the subjects of lying, adultery, swearing, cheating, hypocrisy, pride, or even blasphemy.
1) Genesis 9:20-26 – Noah became drunk; the result was immorality and family trouble.

2) Genesis 19:30-38 – Lot was so drunk he did not know what he was doing; this led to immorality

3) Leviticus 10:9-11 – God commanded priests not to drink so that they could tell the difference between the holy and the unholy.

4) Numbers 6:3 – The Nazarites were told to eat or drink nothing from the grape vine.

5) Deuteronomy 21:20 – A drunken son was stubborn and rebellious.

6) Deuteronomy 29:5-6 – God gave no grape juice to Israel nor did they have intoxicating drink in the wilderness.

7) Deuteronomy 32:33 – Intoxicating wine is like the poison of serpents, the cruel venom of asps.

8) Judges 13:4, 7, 14 – Samson was to be a Nazarite for life. His mother was told not to drink wine or strong drink.

9) 1 Samuel 1:14-15 – Accused, Hannah said she drank no wine.

10) 1 Samuel 25:32-38 – Nabal died after a drunken spree.

11) 2 Samuel 11:13 – By getting Uriah drunk, David hoped to cover his sin.

12) 2 Samuel 13:28-29 – Amnon was drunk when he was killed.

13) 1 Kings 16:8-10 – The king was drinking himself into drunkenness when he was assassinated

14) 1 Kings 20:12-21 – Ben-Hadad and 32 other kings were drinking when they were attacked and defeated by the Israelites.

15) Esther 1:5-12 – The king gave each one all the drink he wanted. The king was intoxicated when he commanded the queen to come.

16) Psalm 75:8 – The Lord’s anger is pictured as mixed wine poured out and drunk by the wicked.

17) Proverbs 4:17 – Alcoholic drink is called the wine of violence.

18) Proverbs 20:1 – Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging.

19) Proverbs 23:19-20 – A wise person will not be among the drinkers of alcoholic beverages.

20) Proverbs 23:21 – Drunkenness causes poverty.

21) Proverbs 23:29-30 – Drinking causes woe, sorrow, fighting, babbling, wounds without cause and red eyes.

22) Proverbs 23:31 – God instructs not to look at intoxicating drinks.

23) Proverbs 23:32 – Alcoholic drinks bite like a serpent, sting like an adder.

24) Proverbs 23:33 – Alcohol causes the drinker to have strange and adulterous thoughts, produces willfulness, and prevents reformation.

25) Proverbs 23:34 – Alcohol makes the drinker unstable

26) Proverbs 23:35 – Alcohol makes the drinker insensitive to pain so he does not perceive it as a warning. Alcohol is habit forming.

27) Proverb 31:4-5 – Kings, Princes, and others who rule and judge must not drink alcohol. Alcohol perverts good judgment.

28) Proverbs 31:6-7 – Strong drink could be given to those about to perish or those in pain. Better anesthetics are available today.

29) Ecclesiastes 2:3 – The king tried everything, including intoxicating drink, to see if it satisfied. It did not. (Ecclesiastes 12:8)

30) Ecclesiastes 10:17 – A land is blessed when its leaders do not drink.

31) Isaiah 5:11-12 – Woe to those who get up early to drink and stay up late at night to get drunk.

32) Isaiah 5:22 – Woe to "champion" drinkers and "experts" at mixing drinks.

33) Isaiah 19:14 – Drunken men stagger in their vomit.

34) Isaiah 22:12-13 – The Israelites choose to drink; their future looks hopeless to them.

35) Isaiah 24:9 – Drinkers cannot escape the consequences when God judges.

36) Isaiah 28:1 – God pronounces woe on the drunkards of Ephraim.

37) Isaiah 28:3 – Proud drunkards shall be trodden down.

38) Isaiah 28:7 – Priests and prophets stagger and reel from beer and wine, err in vision, and stumble in judgment.

39) Isaiah 28:8 – Drinkers’ tables are covered with vomit and filth.

40) Isaiah 56:9-12 – Drinkers seek their own gain and expect tomorrow to be just like today.

41) Jeremiah 35:2-14 – The Rechabites drank no grape juice or intoxicating wine and were blessed.

42) Ezekiel 44:21 – Again God instructed the priests not to drink wine.

43) Daniel 1:5-17 – Daniel refused the king’s intoxicating wine and was blessed for it along with his abstaining friends.

44) Daniel 5:1 – Belshazzar, ruler of Babylon; led his people in drinking.

45) Daniel 5:2-3 – The king, along with his nobles, wives, and concubines, drank from the goblets which had been taken from God’s temple.

46) Daniel 5:4 – Drinking wine was combined with praising false gods.

47) Daniel 5:23 – God sent word to Belshazzar that punishment would be swift for the evil he had committed.

48) Hosea 4:11 – Intoxicating wine takes away intelligence.

49) Hosea 7:5 – God reproves princes for drinking.

50) Joel 1:5 – Drunkards awake to see God’s judgment.

51) Joel 3:3 – The enemy is judged for selling girls for wine.

52) Amos 2:8 – Unrighteous acts of Israel included the drinking of wine which had been taken for the payment of fines.

53) Amos 2:12 – Israel is condemned for forcing Nazarites to drink wine.

54) Micah 2:11 – Israelites are eager to follow false teachers who prophesy plenty of intoxicating drinks.

55) Nahum 1:10 – The drunkards of Nineveh will be destroyed by God.

56) Habakkuk 2:5 – A man is betrayed by wine.

57) Habakkuk 2:15 – Woe to him that gives his neighbor drink.

58) Habakkuk 2:16 – Drinking leads to shame.

59) Matthew 24:48-51 – A drinking servant is unprepared for his Lord’s return.

60) Luke 1:15 – John the Baptist drank neither grape juice nor wine.

61) Luke 12:45 – Christ warned against drunkenness.

62) Luke 21:34 – Drunkenness will cause a person not to be ready for the Lord’s return.

63) Romans 13:13 – Do not walk in drunkenness or immorality.

64) Romans 14:21 – Do not do anything that will hurt your testimony as a believer.

65) 1 Corinthians 5:11 – If a Christian brother is a drinker, do not associate with him.

66) 1 Corinthians 6:10 – Drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God

67) Galatians 5:21 – Acts of the sinful nature, such as drunkenness, will prohibit a person from inheriting the kingdom of God.

68) Ephesians 5:18 – In contrast to being drunk with wine, the believer is to be filled with the Spirit.

69) 1 Thessalonians 5:6-7 – Christians are to be alert and self-controlled­, belonging to the day. Drunkards belong to the night and darkness.

70) 1 Timothy 3:2-3 – Bishops (elders) are to be temperate, sober, and not near any wine.

71) 1 Timothy 3:8 – Deacons are to be worthy of respect and not drinkers.

72) 1 Timothy 3:11 – Deacons’ wives are to be temperate and sober.

73) Titus 1:7-8 – An overseer is to be disciplined.

74) Titus 2:2-3 – The older men and older women of the church are to be temperate and not addicted to wine.

75) 1 Peter 4:3-4 – The past life of drunkenness and carousing has no place in the Christian’s life.

THE HINDU SCRIPTURES PROHIBITS THE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL IN THE FOLLOWING VERSES:

i.Manu Smriti:

“A priest-killer, a liquor drinker, a thief and a violator of his guru’s marriage bed – all of these, and each separately, should be known as men who committed major crime.”
[(Manu Smriti Ch 9: Verse 235]

Further after two verses it is mentioned in:

ii. Manu Smriti

“These miserable men – whom no one should eat with, no one should sacrifice for, no one should read to, and no one should marry – must wander the earth excommunicated from all religions”.
[Manu Smriti Ch 9:Verse238]

A similar message is repeated in:

iii. “Killing a priest, drinking liquor, stealing, violating a/the guru’s marriage bed, and associating with those (who commit these acts) are called the major crimes”.
[Manu Smriti Chapter 11 verse 55]

It is mentioned in

iv. Manu Smriti

“For liquor is the defiling dirt excreted from rice, and dirt is said to be evil; therefore a priest, ruler, or commoner should not drink liquor.”
[Manu Smriti Ch11: Verse 94]

c.Intoxicants / Intoxicating drinks are prohibited in several other verses of Manu Smriti including

i. Manu Smriti Chapter 11 verse 151
ii. Manu Smriti Chapter 7 verses 47-50
iii. Manu Smriti Chapter 9 verse 225
iv. Manu Smriti Chapter 12 verse 45
v. Manu Smriti Chapter 3 verse 159
vi. Rigved Book 8 hymn 2 verse 12
vii. Rigved Book 8 hymn 21 verse 14

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