Islam’s Approach to the Problem of Alcoholism

The first hint regarding the evil of drink was in a general command to the effect:
Say, “Verily did prohibit my Lord shameful deeds those apparent of them and those concealed, and sin and rebellion without (any) right, and that ye associate with Allah, for which hath not been sent down any authority and that ye say against Allah what ye know not ” (Al-Quran, 7:33).
This general command includes all kinds of indecencies and the scholars of exegesis, particularly take the word “them” sin to refer to drink.
This general command is made more explicit in verse No. 219 of the Chapter Al-Baqarah, which makes the positions vis-à-vis all kinds of intoxicants more clear. It is to the effect, “

They ask thee, concerning wine and lots (gambling and games of chance), say in both these is great Sin, and also (some) profits for men, but their sin is greater than their profit “. (Al-Quran 2:219).
Here we have a clear indication of the attitude of Islam, towards two of the vilest evils, which corrupt human society, with the revelation of this verse, many of the believers gave up drinking, becoming fully conscious of the underlying force of the verse.
Divine Ban on the use of Liquor
It has been related that in the absence of a categorical prohibition, the use of liquor in social gathering did not cease. In a certain assembly it so happened that under the influence of drink, the prayers were conducted in an atmosphere lacking decorum and due reverence, whereupon the Divine Command was issued more categorically in regard to the use of drink at prayer times, to the following effect
“O ye who believe! Approach not prayer when ye are intoxicated, until ye know (well) what ye say.” (Al-Quran 4:43).
This command practically decided the attitude of Islam, and the believers began to expect the final categorical word of prohibition, which came in due course, in the following strain,
“O ye who believe! Intoxicants and games of chance. (dedication of) stones (i.e., idols) and (divination by) arrows, are only an abomination of Satan’s handiwork, so be ye away from it, so that ye may be successful (Al-Quran 5:93).
And with this final verdict alcohol and other specified evils vanished from the Muslim Society, as by a magic wand, The announcement of the ban effectively sealed the fate of the evil. And how did Islam achieve its unique civilisation?
This question baffles the modern social worker, who finds it hard to convince the victims to slow down to moderation in not only drinks but other obnoxious habits as well. It was a process of educating and gradually disciplining the minds of the votaries of Islam to generally submit to Divine dispensations unconditionally, without demur.
They were taught and trained to see that the evanescent pleasures of the moment were of no weight as compared with higher happiness that comes of absolute sub- mission to the commands of the Almighty Allah. With this mental equipment they could stand any incitement of the devil, including the inviting pleasures of self-forgetfulness in drink.
They were disciplined in the fundamentals of healthful living, as directly flowing from obedience to Divine Laws, which to them were the source of pure good in this and the other life. This attitude on their part engendered a spirit of self control under all circumstances. They needed no persuasion or threats to refrain from or to undertake any activity demanded of them.
The simple command or prohibition issuing from Divine Authority was their motive for action. Of course consequences followed that yielded them unexampled bliss in the present and of perfect hope for the future. Reality was unfolded to them in all iridescent magnificence, with an inviolable message of everlasting good.
How could they then, be enamoured of the fleeting satisfaction of drink. They were freed of all worries and fears, from which the less fortunate seek an escape by flights from Reality into the Nirvana of self-forgetfulness. Even before the categorical command came round, the more sedate among them had taken to abstinence, taking their cue from the hints that were conveyed by revelation of- verses, purporting to make them beware of the obnoxiousness of the evil.
The evil of drink is universally condemned by all sane religions of the world, and yet the votaries of Bacchus have been able to bribe the authorities in religion as well as in politics to manipulate the relevant commands of the scriptures to their own views.
They manage to get the terms used by the scriptures in this behalf to mean something other than the intoxicants in favour with them, which they cleverly in an oeuvre to get excluded from the operation of the Divine commandments.
The relevant passages in the old as well as the New Testaments, are very explicit on the point of the evil of the intoxicants, despite whole-sale distortions in the text. Very severe penalties are prescribed for the use of liquors by the old scriptures. Western mind, however, in mad pursuit of carnal pleasures, has thrown over-board the directives in this behalf, and plunged the society into a vortex of untold misery and affliction.
In the short space here available, however, we cannot take stock of the Biblical views fully in the matter of alcoholic drinks. Suffice it to say, that every thing that is disturbing to the forceful relations of men, has been adequately provided against by Divine revelations, from the first day of the advent of man on this earth. Whether he would heed the exquisite guidance and reap supreme bliss of eternal life or not, is left to his free choice.
Here we may just refer to some of the amplifications of the Divine ban on the use of liquors, as made by the Holy Prophet (S. A.) and his own followers, reported in authentic books of (Ahadith) Traditions and the commentaries thereon.
Anything Comes Under the Heading
These pronouncements, may be classified as those that refer to the business of intoxicants in general – the manufacture, sale and handling, etc. of liquors – and those that relate to the physical, mental, moral spiritual harm that results to the person using them. The Holy Prophet (S.A.) is reported to have said to the effect: Anything that intoxicates a person, comes under the heading ‘Khamr’ (alcohol) and its use is unlawful. In another narration he (S.A.) is reported to have said to the following effect: Dealing in intoxicants is unlawful.
Imam Hazrat Ja’far-as-Sadiq (A.S.) says of the one who drinks as one who worships idols, and he comes to suffer from involuntary jerking’s, and to sing all night, manliness and magnanimity he takes to vice, bloodiness and unlawful actions like fornication and every kind of villainy under the influence of drink.

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