Alcohol in the Eyes of Islam
By Tato M. Usman, MD, MPAIM
DOH Center for Health Development – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
Alcohol in Islam Perspective
During the period of Jahiliyyah (pre- Islamic ignorance), Arabs were very fond of wine and drinking parties. This love of wine is reflected in their language, which has nearly one hundred names for it, and in their poetry, which celebrates the praises of wine, goblets, drinking parties, and so on.
To eradicate this pervasive evil from society. Almighty Allah adopted a wise course of education and training, prohibiting it in measured stages. First, He made it clear to them that the harm of drinking alcohol is greater than its benefit; next, He told them not to come to a prayer while intoxicated; and finally, He revealed the verse in Surah Al- Ma’idah in which He made the final say that drinking alcohol is totally and decisively prohibited. Almighty Allah says: “O ye who believe me! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed. Stan 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?”(Al- Ma’idah: 90-91)
In these two verses, Allah strictly prohibits wine and gambling, linking them to idols and seeking omens by means of divining arrows, and declares them to be rijs (abominable or filthy), a term which the Qur’an reserves for extremely indecent and evil things. He ascribes them to the work of Satan, which indeed consists only of obscenity and evil, and commands the Believers to abstain from them as the only way to attain success. Almighty Allah then mentions the harmful effects of wine and gambling on society, namely, the breaking of relationships and ensuing enmity and hatred, in addition to the harm they do to man’s soul by causing him to neglect the religious...
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