Islam Totally and Definitely Prohibits all Kinds of Intoxicating Drinks and Drugs
Journal of THE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY of MADINAH MUNAWWARAH – Special issue.
Proclaiming the definite and final prohibition of intoxicants and alcoholic drinks the Holy Quran says:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِنَّمَا ٱلۡخَمۡرُ وَٱلۡمَيۡسِرُ وَٱلۡأَنصَابُ وَٱلۡأَزۡلَـٰمُ رِجۡسٌ۬ مِّنۡ عَمَلِ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنِ فَٱجۡتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ (٩٠) إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ أَن يُوقِعَ بَيۡنَكُمُ ٱلۡعَدَٲوَةَ وَٱلۡبَغۡضَآءَ فِى ٱلۡخَمۡرِ وَٱلۡمَيۡسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمۡ عَن ذِكۡرِ ٱللَّهِ وَعَنِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِۖ فَهَلۡ أَنتُم مُّنتَہُونَ
(O ye 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. (90) Satan seeketh only to cast among you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink and games of chance, and to turn you from remembrance of Allah and from (His) worship. Will ye then have done)
(5 : 90-91)
The forbidden intoxicants and alcoholic drinks spoken of here are termed as “khamr”. According to Arabic lexicology the root word of ‘Khamara’ means to veil or cover or conceal a thing. From the same root is ‘Khimar’ which means a woman’s head covering. The intoxicating liquor is called ‘Khamr’ because it veils the intellect. It has common application to any fermented juice of anything, and by further analogy it applies to any intoxicating liquor or drunk that clouds or obscures the intellect.
The intoxicating liquor prohibited in the Holy Quran allows no distinction between the wine or the fermented juice of the grapes, and the intoxicating juice of anything, or any intoxicating thing that obscures the intellect. ‘Khamr’ was forbidden when there was not in Madinah any ‘Khamr’ of grapes. The beverage of its inhabitants was prepared only from dates and it was sometimes prepared from grains. The Wider sense of ‘Khamr’ as prepared from other things besides grapes, is clear from the ‘Hadith’ quoted by Al Bukhair ( 4:74) from Umar( May Allah be gracious to him which says:
The prohibiton of intoxicants came in four stages: In the first stage it was spoken of in depreciatory terms the close of the Makkah Period, when the Quran stated :
وَمِن ثَمَرَٲتِ ٱلنَّخِيلِ وَٱلۡأَعۡنَـٰبِ تَتَّخِذُونَ مِنۡهُ سَڪَرً۬ا وَرِزۡقًا حَسَنًاۗ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَةً۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يَعۡقِلُونَ
(And of the fruits of the date-palm, and grapes, whence ye derive strong drink and (also) good nourishment. Lo! therein is indeed a portent for people who have sense.) (16: 67)
Intoxication is here spoken of in contrast with goodly provision.
The second stage in the prohibition, containes in the first long chapter revealed at Madinah:
يَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلۡخَمۡرِ وَٱلۡمَيۡسِرِۖ قُلۡ فِيهِمَآ إِثۡمٌ۬ ڪَبِيرٌ۬ وَمَنَـٰفِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثۡمُهُمَآ أَڪۡبَرُ مِن نَّفۡعِهِمَاۗ وَيَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلِ ٱلۡعَفۡوَۗ كَذَٲلِكَ
يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمُ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ لَعَلَّڪُمۡ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ
(They question thee about strong drink and games of chance. Say: In both is great sin, and (some) utility for men; but the sin of them is greater than their usefulness. And they ask thee what they ought to spend. Say: that which is superfluous. Thus Allah maketh plain to you (His) revelations, that haply ye may reflect.) (2 :219)
It was more of a recommendatory nature as it only says that the disadvantages of the use of intoxicating liquor preponderate over their advantages.
The third stage was that in which the Muslimes were prohibited from going to prayer while drunk. On this point the Quran says:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَقۡرَبُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَأَنتُمۡ سُكَـٰرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَعۡلَمُواْ مَا تَقُولُونَ وَلَا جُنُبًا إِلَّا عَابِرِى سَبِيلٍ حَتَّىٰ تَغۡتَسِلُواْۚ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرۡضَىٰٓ أَوۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوۡ جَآءَ أَحَدٌ۬ مِّنكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡغَآٮِٕطِ أَوۡ لَـٰمَسۡتُمُ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فَلَمۡ تَجِدُواْ مَآءً۬ فَتَيَمَّمُواْ صَعِيدً۬ا طَيِّبً۬ا فَٱمۡسَحُواْ بِوُجُوهِكُمۡ وَأَيۡدِيكُمۡۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا
(O ye who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when ye are drunken, till ye know that which ye utter, nor when ye are polluted, save when journeying upon the road, till ye have bathed. And if ye be ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have touched women, and ye find not water, then go to high clean soil and rub your faces and your hands (therewith). Lo! Allah is Benign, Forgiving. ) (4 : 43)
In the fourth and the final stage intoxicating liquors were definitely and totally forbidden, by the proclamation quoted in the first paragraph of this article. It is reported that by ‘Bhukhari’ that the people who heard the proclamation emptied their stores of liquors immediatel, so that the liquors flowed in the streets of Madinah.
Hence, there are two important points to be cleared in this connection: The first point is that Khamr is prohibited on account of its intoxication, and other intoxicating things are therefore also forbidden. It is stated in a ‘Hadith’ reported by ‘Bhukhari states that “Every Intoxicant is prohibited”. It is further related in a Hadith, reported by Imam Muslim that “ Every Intoxicant is Khamr and every Khamr is prohibited”.
The second point is that when a beverage or any other thing becomes intoxicant, even a small quantity of it, that could intoxicate, is not allowed. It is reported in a Hadith quoted by Abu Dawud is “ That which a large quantity intoxicated, even a small quantity of it is prohibited”.
The change which the prohibition of intoxicants brought about in Arabia will always remain a riddle to the social reformer. The constant fighting of Arab tribes, one against the other, had made the habit of drink second nature to the Arabs, and wine was one of the very few objects which could furnish a topic to the mind of an Arab poet. Intoxicating liquors were the chief feature of their feasts, and the habit of drink was not looked upon as an evil, not has there ever been a temperance movement among them, the Jews and the Christians being themselves addicted to this evil. Human experience with regard to the habit of drink is that of all evils it is the most difficult to be uprooted. Yet one word of the Holy Quran was sufficient to blot out all its traces from among a whole nation, and afterwards from the whole of the country as it came over to Islam. History cannot present another instance of a wonderful transformation of this magnitude brought about so easily, yet so thoroughly. It is added here that the remark that the moderate use of wine is allowed and that only drinking to excess is prohibited, according to some people, is absolutely without foundation. The prophet’s companions never made use of a drop of wine after the prohibition was made known, and the Prophet is reported to have said : “A small quantity of anything of which large quantity is intoxicating is prohibited”.
Some people may claim that intoxicants warm up the body in cold climates. The intoxicants may warm the body but for a short period after which the body return to its normal temperature.
There is no doubt that alcohols are the main cause of all sins and crimes. The civilized world had come to realize this fact, and a glimpse of the advanced countries will show how the spirits have caused the degeneration of the society there and how their nations have sunk from former excellence and reverted to an inferior quality of people. The European reformers have already realized the alcohols are their worst enemy and they are continually warning their people against its danger. A large number of people die of alcohol in these countries and even their womenfolk have become addicted.
In a lecture delivered at the Albert hall in London, in 1945 May, Miss Muriel G.Heath, a famous British social worker, said : “The pest of modern fastening is alcohol. One who is addicted to drink is like a car broken from its fastening which no longer obeys; it can neither control nor be controlled. He is like a house without a beam: the main support is being missing. In the last fifty years, the relationship between men and women had undergone a change, and in most of the countries, there is a partnership between the sexes in work, in sports and war. Many of the old restraints, have been removed thereby, and men and women may be seen drinking together in public. While millions of people go to bed hungry every night, the destruction of food goes on to prepare wines, beer and spirits. The idea fostered by the manufacturers of alcohols that alcohol drinks are nourishing is totally false. Alcohol is a cell of poison for human beings: it first destroys every organ of the body which become less healthy during the intake of even a small dose; larger repeated doses may cause complete breakdown, sever, even fatal illness. “Continuing, Miss Heath said, “Alcohol is responsible for 23 to 30 % of male admission to mental hospitals. DrHerlich , of Laussane, found that out of 86 epilepsy cases, 50 had alcoholic evening and over the weeken involved drivers who had taken alcohols. Cells of the brain which are affected by the alcohol drink shrink 20% of their normal size. “ No statement is more convincing”.
No worries are overcome by drinking alcohols. On the contrary, drinking alcohols increases them and deprives man of every power to have sound thinking. Alcohols effect the mind and in most cases give man or woman false courage and make them adopt wrong approaches to life. Islam wants to inspire true courage into its followers and dislikes the reckless daring which man shows under the influence of intoxicating liquors and which has so often led to acts of crimes.
According to Hadith Reported by Imam Muslim, the use of alcohols as medicine is prohibited. ( The report says: Tariq bin Suwaid was ordered by the prophet not to make liquor, and when he said that he made it to be used as a medicine, the Prophet replied that it was not a medicine but a disease.(Sahih Muslim 36:3)
It is also recalled that trading in intoxicants is definitely prohibited in Islam. It is reported by Imam Bukhari that the Prophet said : “ Trading in intoxicants is prohibited”.
It may be added here that when the use of intoxicants is no longer permitted it is indeed necessary to prohibit both the preparing of it and trading in it.
Drinking liquors or using intoxicants is a great sin. The punishment prescribed, in Islamic penal law, for this sin is whipping, which may consist of as many as eighty lashes. This punishment was practiced in the time of the Prophet. It is related in Sahih Al-Bukhari: “ A person called Nuaiman was brought to the Prophet in a state of intoxication, and it distressed him and he ordered those who were in the house to beat him, and he was beaten with palm stalks and shoes”.
It is further related in Sahih Al-Bhukhari : “ We used to strike the drunks with our hands, shoes, garments, during the lifetime of the Prophet, Abu Bakr and the realy part of Umar’s caliphate. But during the last period of Umar’s caliphate he used to give ( the drunk) forty lashed, and when they behaved inordinately and transgressed the limits he used to scourge them to eighty lashes”.
Punishment must be inflicted without respect of persons, nor should mediation be accepted in such cases. When, in the case of a woman who was guilty of theft, some people sought to intercede on her behalf, since she came of a good family, the Prophet was enrage and said : “ Do you intercede in a limit among the limits given by Allah?”.
Then He got up and addressed the people saying, O people! The nations before you went astray because if a noble person committed theft they used to leave him, but if a weak person among them committed theft they used to inflict the legal punishment on him. By Allah, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammed committed theft, Muhammad will cut off her hand”.
The following Prophetical saying give a glance at the bad consequences of using intoxicants, in this life and Hereafter : “The Prophet said : An adulterer, at the time of committing adultery is not a believer: and a person at the time of drinking intoxicating drinks, is not a believer; and a thied, at the time of stealing is not a believer”.
The Prophet said “ whoever drinks intoxicants in this world and does not repent, will be deprived of it in the life Hereafter” ( Sahih Al-Bhukhari)
The Prophet said : “some of the portends of the ‘Hour’ will be that ignorance will prevail and knowledge will decrease, and adultery and drinking intoxicants will prevail” ( Sahih Al- Bhukhari).