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Alcohol In The Quran

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The Devil’s Deadly Disease The Mother of Every Evil

 

ALCOHOL IN THE QURAN

 

Alcohol as a source of intoxication is poles apart from its beneficial aspects. Quite often, Alcohol is needed as preservative and solvent in medicines.

Contrary to popular belief, a Quranic verse of a very revered Sura describes the Alcoholic drinks as gifted with "good nourishment", and or, "wholesome drink".

Naturally, this Quranic verse may inspire a few truth-seekers to trace their memories on the Quran, and relate the journals and news coverage, on the life-enhancing marvels of selective Alcoholic drinks.

Does the Quran really define Alcohol as 'HARAM'? Let us examine the source - the Quran, and keep the Hadith not to intervene in this issue.

 

Note: The word Alcohol is derived from the Arabic word al-kohl, which means fermented grains, fruits, or sugars that form an intoxicating beverage when fermented. Khamr or khamrah is the word used in the Qur'an to denote a fermented beverage that intoxicates a person when he/she drinks it. It is sometimes translated as "Wine."

 

Why is Alcohol forbidden in Islam?

Intoxicants were forbidden in the Qur'an through several separate verses revealed at different times over a period of years. At first, it was forbidden for Muslims to attend to prayers while intoxicated (O you who believe! do not go near prayer when you are Intoxicated until you know (well) what you say, nor when you are under an obligation to perform a bath — unless (you are) travelling on the road — until you have washed yourselves; and if you are sick, or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy or you have touched the women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth, then wipe your faces and your hands; surely Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving. Aayat—43, Surah—Al—Nisa).

 

Then a later verse was revealed which said that Alcohol contains some good and some evil, but the evil is greater than the good ("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, and their sin is greater than their profit. And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say: What you can spare. Thus does Allah make clear to you the communications, that you may ponder" Aayat—219, Surah—Al—Baqara).

 

This was the next step in turning people away from consumption of it. Finally, O you who believe! Strong drink/Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination - of Satan's handwork: Leave it aside (abomination), in order that you may succeed.

The Shaitan only desires to cause enmity and hatred to spring in your midst by means of intoxicants and games of chance, and to keep you off from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you then desist? Aayat—90—91, Surah—Al—Maida.

(Note - the Qur'an is not arranged chronologically, so later verses of the book were not necessarily revealed after earlier verses.)

 

In the first verse cited above, the word for "intoxicated" is sukara which is derived from the word "sugar" and means drunk or intoxicated.

 

That verse doesn't mention the drink which makes one so. In the next verses cited, the word which is often translated as "wine" or "intoxicants" is al-khamr, which is related to the verb "to ferment." This word could be used to describe other intoxicants such as beer, although wine is the most common understanding of the word.

 

Muslims interpret these verses in total to forbid any intoxicating substance -- whether it be wine, beer, gin, whiskey, or whatever. The result is the same, and the Qur'an outlines that it is the intoxication, which makes one forgetful of God and prayer, which is harmful.

Over the years, the list of intoxicating substances has come to include more modern street drugs and the like.

 

The Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him also instructed his followers, at the time, to avoid any intoxicating substances -- (paraphrased) "if it intoxicates in a large amount, it is forbidden even in a small amount." For this reason, most observant Muslims avoid Alcohol in any form, even small amounts that are sometimes used in cooking.

 

The characteristics of HARAM or prohibitions found in the Quran usually begin with the expression "forbidden for you." In some occasions, it gives a strong warning of hellfire. For instance, about the prohibiton of swine meat, the Quran says:

 

There are five major verses in the Quran that deal with the Alcoholic drinks. Selecting by their sequential positions in the Quran, the first one contains the most interesting dogma and will be addressed at the end of this topic.

 

The second verse advises the followers of Islam not to engage in prayers when they are under the influence of Alcohol. The Quranic text is:

 

Obviously, the expression "forbidden for you" is not found anywhere nearby. Nor the threat of 'hellfire' is directly or indirectly traceable in the verse. Rather, the deterrence applies to praying under Alcoholic influence.

 

The third verse defines Alcoholic drinks as "an infamy of Satan's handiwork." and indicates the believer that to succeed in life, it is advisable to stay away from Alcoholic drinks. The Quranic text is:

 

"O you who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed." (5. Al Ma' idah: 90).

Strikingly, no word of forbiddance or the fear of hellfire is found here to classify Alcohol as 'HARAM'. More to the point, the advice: "leave it aside in order that you

may succeed" relates to earthy success in life. No doubt, career successes are often impaired and impeded because of the excessive influence of Alcohol. Amazingly, the Quran places rightful emphasis on it.

 

The fourth verse relates to food in general including Alcohol, and assures the believers not to be too concerned about consuming food, as long as they do 'good work'. The phrase 'good work' has been emphasized repeatedly. Here again the hellfire and words of forbiddance are missing. The verse states:

 

"There shall be no sin unto those who believe and do good works for what they may have consumed. So be mindful of your duty and do good works; and again: be mindful of your duty, and believe; and once again: be mindful of your duty, and do right. Allah loveth the good." (5. Al Ma' idah :93).

 

As stated earlier, the fifth verse relates to a significant Sura of the Quran. It describes the Alcoholic drinks as gifted with "good nourishment", and or, "wholesome drink" (16.An Nahl : 67) The Quran, as translated, reads:

 

"And from the fruit of the palm and the grapes, you get out wholesome drink and food: behold, in this also is a sign for those who are wise.

 

And of the fruits of the date-palm, and grapes, whence you derive strong drink and good nourishment. Lo! therein is indeed a portent for people who have sense.

 

Now we come to the first verse that we skipped in the beginning for analytical discussion. Here, Alcoholic drinks are qualified as having both 'detrimental' and 'beneficial' aspects for the mankind. The verse places emphasis on the 'detriment' (interpreted as sin) than on the 'benefit'. This, in reality, is the status of

 

Alcohol even today and its interface with numerous lives saving usage besides medicines. Incidentally, the word 'Alcohol' is derived from the Arabic word 'Alkuhul' and it originates during the Golden Periods of Islam.

 

What God addressed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the Quran, can logically be understood as:

"They question you about strong drink and games of chance. Say: In both is great abuse and usefulness for mankind; but the abusive side of them is greater than their usefulness." (2. Al-Baqarah :219).

 

It is worth mentioning here that the word "abuse" has been replaced as "sin" by the early promoters of Islam. It is really a mind-boggling issue whether the word "sin" is an appropriate opposite of "usefulness"?

 

Philologists or the experts of languages tell us that they find groups of languages that have similar root words and similar ways of expressing the same idea. They, however, find in other areas of languages, an altogether different grammatical scheme. With all these linguistic characteristics, the antonyms or the opposite words of all languages are the same. For instance the opposite of 'good' is 'bad' and definitely not 'dog'. Thus, when the opposite of 'usefulness' is arbitrarily made to mean 'sin', question arises as to the credence to the interpretation and its validity.

 

Despite having total absence of the fear of hellfire and prohibitive connotation, it is really a thought provoking question: Why Alcohol is known as a prohibited (HARAM) drink in Islam? Perhaps, the answer is not apparent, rather buried under the rubbles of historical antiquities.

 

Unlike today, access to the Quran was limited to a few people in the early days of Islam because of the absence of paper and printing press. Paper, though an ancient commodity in China, came to the Arab's hand and subsequently to the West only during the tenth century. And not until Johann Gutenberg's invention of printing press in the fifteenth century, the mass production of any book was feasible, including the Quran.

 

Obviously, those religious elite, possessing copies of the Quran in parchment with golden calligraphy, had no rival in challenging their marinated interpretation, with their own recipe. Over the years, the unchallenged interpretations got ingrained in the religious belief and kept passing from generations to generations.

 

Unfortunately, that's the way the Quranic verses have been interpreted, translated and propagated. In other words, the Quranic interpreters had to bend the linguistic rules to suit the whim of Islam's promoters during those early days, closer to 300 years after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

 

Intoxicants Strictly Prohibited (The Final Analysis)

There has been some debate that Alcohol, if consumed ‘responsibly’ and in limited amounts is not an Intoxicant and therefore acceptable to consume while remaining inside the limits that God has decreed in His Quran. Furthermore, it has been argued that strong language has not been used in reference to intoxicants and therefore allows for one to interpret the relevant verses in favour of a ‘controlled’ consumption as lawful. As this brief but conclusive analysis shall, God willing clearly show, these standpoints are far from correct.

 

The Arabic word used for intoxicant is ‘Khamr’ from the root word ‘Khamara’ which means ‘to cover’. Therefore anything that ‘covers’ the mind is prohibited. This includes such intoxicants like Marijuana, Heroin, Cocaine, Hashish and Alcohol, or anything that affects the mind.

 

Let us begin by confirming that God does in fact, consider Alcohol an Intoxicant.

"And from the fruits of date palms and grapes you produce Intoxicants." Aayat—67, Surah—Al—Nahl.

 

It may be helpful at the outset to examine the uses in the Quran of the word 'abomination' (and its derivatives), and other words mentioned in conjunction with it. This should highlight clearly what nuance God wishes to convey in all verses that contain these words intended to specify the limits.

"Do not marry the women who were previously married to your fathers —existing marriages are exempted and shall not be broken— for it is a gross offence, and an abominable act." Aayat—22, Surah—An—Nisa.

 

"Also prohibited is dividing the meat through a game of chance; this is an abomination" Aayat—3, Surah—Al—Maida.

"Do not eat from that upon which the name of God has not been mentioned, for it is an abomination." Aayat—121, Surah—Anaam.

"Lot said to his people, 'You commit such an abomination; no one in the world has done it before! You practice sex with the men, instead of the women. Indeed you are a transgressing people." Aayat—80—81, Surah—Al—Araf.

 

"You shall avoid the abomination of idol worship, and avoid bearing false witness." Aayat—30, Surah—Al—Hajj.

"O you who believe, you shall avoid any suspicion, for even a little bit of suspicion is sinful this is as abominable as eating the flesh of your dead brother." Aayat—22, AL-HUJRAAT.

 

In all of the verses mentioned, it is clear that the words 'sin', 'gross sin', 'gross offence', 'do not', 'transgressing', 'avoid' and 'abomination' are all prohibiting a particular thing —material or otherwise.

 

With reference to all the verses already cited above (excluding 2:219 & 5:90); If something is described directly as “prohibited†and as an “abomination†in one verse, then we must assume that something else that is described only as an “abomination†elsewhere is also prohibited. Yet, we do not even need to assume!

 

Please read on:

At first glance the words “do not†might seem to convey a stronger sense of prohibition and directness than “avoidâ€. One might reason then, that if God wanted to strongly prohibit Alcohol consumption He would have used the words “do notâ€.

 

However, upon closer assessment one will see that “avoid†is actually the stronger commandment. Here's a brief analogy to highlight why.

 

Let us take a fictitious commandment concerning fire, prohibiting our engagement with it;

 

"Do not touch fire."

This implies that if we come into proximity with fire, we are not to touch it. But, if the commandment read:

 

"You shall avoid fire."

This would imply that not only are we not to touch it, but we are not even to go anywhere near it.

 

Now, let's look directly at the Quran for evidence that this analogy is correct;

 

Idolatry is the only unforgivable sin (conditionally!). We must assume then, that this is the worst offence. We would therefore expect that God would tell us very clearly that we are not to do it. God chose in His Quran to say "you shall avoid [idolatry]". That is, not only are we not to do it, we should not go anywhere near the idea of committing idol worship;

 

"That (shall be so); and whoever respects the sacred ordinances of Allah, it is better for him with his Lord; and the cattle are made lawful for you, except that which is recited to you, therefore avoid the uncleanness of the idols and avoid false words. You shall avoid the abomination of idol worship."Aayat—30, Surah—Al—Hajj.

 

Finally, the last piece of irrefutable evidence supporting the notion that Alcohol (even a little bit) is an abomination and therefore prohibited is that God chose to mention the only unforgivable sin right along with it in the same verse!

 

God has mercifully provided us with a myriad variety of delectable drinks; Water, Milk, Fruit and Vegetable Juices, Nectars and Natural Teas. Our minds and bodies have no need of Alcohol and the dangers inherent in its consumption. Is Alcohol consumption —in any amount— condoned in Islam? The answer is certainly and irrevocably, “Noâ€, and the believers will cheerfully accept this without question.

 

The Prohibition

Hadith - Al-Tirmidhi #580, Narrated AbudDarda'

...don't drink wine for it is the key to every evil.

 

Hadith - Abu Dawood, Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab

 

When the prohibition of wine (was yet to be) declared, Umar said: O Allah, give us a satisfactory explanation about wine. So the following verse of Surat al-Baqarah revealed; "They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: In them is great sin...." Umar was then called and it was recited to him. He said: O Allah, give us a satisfactory explanation about wine. Then the following verse of Surat an-Nisa' was revealed: "O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged...." Thereafter the herald of the Apostle of Allah would call when the (congregational) prayer was performed: Beware, one who is drunk should not come to prayer. Umar was again called and it was recited to him. He said: O Allah, give us a satisfactory explanation about wine. This verse was revealed: "Will ye not then abstain?" Umar said: We abstained.

 

Hadith - Al-Tirmidhi #2776, Narrated Anas ibn Malik

Allah's Messenger cursed ten people in connection with wine: the wine-presser, the one who has it pressed, the one who drinks it, the one who conveys it, the one to whom it is conveyed, the one who serves it, the one who sells it, the one who benefits from the price paid for it, the one who buys it, and the one for whom it is bought.

 

Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah transmitted it.

 

Dying when Addicted

Hadith - Muslim #4963, Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar

Allah's Messenger said: 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.

 

Beat for Drunkedness

Hadith - Bukhari 3:509, Narrated 'Uqba bin Al-Harith

When An-Nuaman or his son was brought in a state of drunkenness, Allah's Apostle ordered all those who were present in the house to beat him. I was one of those who beat him. We beat him with shoes and palm-leaf stalks.

Hadith - Bukhari 8:764, Narrated Anas bin Malik

 

The Prophet beat a drunk with palm-leaf stalks and shoes. And Abu Bakr gave (such a sinner) forty lashes.

Hadith - Bukhari 8:768, Narrated Abu Salama

Abu Huraira said, "A man who drank wine was brought to the Prophet . The Prophet said, 'Beat him!' " Abu Huraira added, "So some of us beat him with our hands, and some with their shoes, and some with their garments (by twisting it) like a lash, and then when we finished, someone said to him, 'May Allah disgrace you!' On that the Prophet said, 'Do not say so, for you are helping Satan to overpower him.' "

 

Prayer Not Accepted

Hadith - Al-Tirmidhi #3643, narrated Abdullah ibn Umar ; Abdullah ibn Amr

Allah's Messenger said, "If anyone drinks wine Allah will not accept prayer from him for forty days, but if he repents Allah will forgive him. If he repeats the offence Allah will not accept prayer from him for forty days, but if he repents Allah will forgive him. If he again repeats the offence Allah will not accept prayer from him for forty days, but if he repents Allah will forgive him. If he repeats it a fourth time Allah will not accept prayer from him for forty days, and if he repents

Allah will not forgive him, but will give him to drink of the river of the fluid flowing from the inhabitants of Hell."

[Tirmidhi transmitted it, and Nasa'i, Ibn Majah and Darimi transmitted it on the authority of Abdullah ibn Amr.]

 

Medicine

Hadith - Abu Dawood, narrated Tariq ibn Suwayd or Suwayd ibn Tariq Wa'il said: Tariq ibn Suwayd or Suwayd ibn Tariq asked the Prophet about wine, but he forbade it. He again asked him, but he forbade him. He said to him: Prophet of Allah, it is a medicine. The Prophet said: No it is a disease.

 

Hadith

Umm Salamah, the wife of the Prophet reports that he once said: "Allah has not placed a cure for your diseases in things that He has forbidden for you.'' (Reported by Baihaqi; Ibn Hibban considers this hadith to be sound.Bukhari has also related it on the authority of Ibn Mas'ud.)

 

Hadith - Abu Dawood; Sahih Bukhari

Abu ad-Darda reported that the Prophet said: "Allah has sent down both the malady and its remedy. For every disease He has created a cure. So seek medical treatment, but never with something the use of which Allah has prohibited.''

 

“Willing Ways†(Alcoholism & Drug Addiction Intervention Resources).

•Dedicated to improving recovery from Addiction by conducting Clinical Research, Collaborating & Communicating Scientific findings.

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The way to have PERMANENT freedom from Alcohol and Drugs requires only three things:

•A way to successfully (and as painlessly as possible) get through withdrawal.

•An inner experience that is strong and consists primarily of good feelings and not bad ones.

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Last, but not the least; Recovery from Addiction is possible, there is Hope & there is a Life beyond the Pain. So; Stop the pain of living a life on the roller coaster ride of addiction and begin your new life today!

More Information & Queries!

 

INAMULLAH ANSARI

M.Sc, M.A, LL.B

“Willing Ways†Karachi—Office: 29/1, Khayaban—e—Shujaat, Phase—V, D.H.A, Karachi—75500; Pakistan. Phone # 009221—5363629—30. Cell: +92300—2176393. interventionist.addictionologi

t[at]yahoo/hotmail######

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