Islam’s Approach to the Problem of Alcoholism

A case of Penalty with Regard to Drunkards
Four persons drank wine, quarrelled among themselves and stabbed one another with the result that two of them died on the spot and two others who survived were wounded in the brawl. Hazrat Ali (AS) ordered for eighty whips each to the wounded and also ordered them to pay the penalty to the inheritors of the deceased after deducting the penalty for their wounds. He also added that in case any of the wounded persons or both of them died then inheritors had nothing to pay to the inheritors of the murdered.
According to another report he said that the penalty was due from all the four tribes of the persons concerned. The amount of penalty which had to be paid to the wounded would however, be deducted from the total amount of penalty to be paid to the. inheritors of the murdered because it was quite possible that they might have murdered each other, Manaqib Shahr Aashob: No. 2, (p-200 through Abu Turab : p-227).
Drinking (Alcohol)
According to an order of Hazrat Ali (A.S.) if some one drinks once, twice or thrice he will be punished by eighty whips each time, but if he repeats the crime for the fourth time he will be beheaded. (Qaza and Teha ; p-162)
Deriving Wrong Meaning from the Verses of the Holy Quran
During the Caliphate of Flazrat Omar, Qudama bin Mazoom drank wine. The Caliph (Hazrat Omar) wanted to punish him by whipping, but the accused Qudama recited the following verse from the Holy Quran “There is no harm if the believers and those who do good deeds eat and drink according to their own choice, provided they continue fearing Allah and doing good deeds”. Having heard of the above verse beautifully pronounced by Qudama as an argument in his favour Hazrat Omar forgave him and acquitted him of the charge of drinking.
When Hazrat Ali (A.S.) heard of it, he said to Hazrat Omar “Qudama does not come under the definition of those who have been mentioned in the verse in question and therefore certainly not under declaration made therein as the very first words of the verse refers to those who do not lead a prohibited way of life and abstain from what has been forbidden by Allah.
Proceeding further Hazrat Ali (A.S.) asked Hazrat Omar as to how a person who does not care for the commandments of Allah could come under this declaration by Allah in the Holy Quran, Therefore, Qudama must offer penitence, otherwise, he does not remain a Muslim and has to be beheaded.
When Qudama heard of this he came at once and offered penitence. Hazrat Omar hearing this well argued point from Hazrat Ali (A.S.) wanted to punish Qudama for drinking as he had already offered penitence for deriving wrong meaning from a verse of the Holy Quran, but he did not know the number of blows of whip to be struck on the body of a person accused of drinking.
He, therefore consulted Hazrat Ali (A.S.) in the matter. Hazrat Ali (A.S.) explained it as under: “After drinking one becomes intoxicated and under intoxication one is addicted to slandering, As the punishment for slandering is eighty strokes of a whip, the punishment for drinking if calculated in this way amounts to the same number of strokes by a whip i.e. eighty strokes.” Hazrat Omar punished Qudama accordingly. (Behar : Vol. 9, p-483).
From the Holy Quran
(i) They ask thee (O’ Prophet Muhammad) concerning wine and lots (gambling and games of chance); Say, in both these is great sin and also (some) profits for man; but their sin is greater than their profit, (2: 219)
(ii) O’ ye who believe: intoxicants and game 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. (5: 90)
(iii) The Satan only desireth to cause enmity and hatred in your midst through intoxicants and gambling and keeps you away from remembering Allah and from prayer; will ye then abstain (from them)? (5: 91)
(iv) O’ ye who believe! approach not prayer when ye are intoxicated, until ye know (well) what ye say, nor when ye are polluted, unless ye be passing through, until ye wash yourself and if ye be sick, or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy or ye have touched the women and ye find not water then betake yourself to clean (pure) earth and wipe (with it) a part of your face and your hands i.e. make Tayammum; Verily Allah is pardoning: Forgiving (4: 43)
(v) Say: Verily did prohibit my Lord only 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.(7: 33)
From the Holy Prophet (S. A.) (Wine – Root of all Evils)
(i) Anything that intoxicates a person, comes under the heading Khamr (Alcohol) and its use is unlawful.
(ii) Dealing in intoxicants is unlawful.
(iii) Anas bin Malek has reported that the Holy Prophet (S.A.), cursed ten persons in connection with intoxicants:
1. One who distils liquor
2. The distillate itself
3. The one who drinks
4. The one who offers the liquor to others
5. The one who carries liquor
6. The one for whom liquor is carried
7. The one who sells liquor
8. The one who buys liquor
9. The broker in the business of liquor
10. The one who makes use of the sale proceeds of liquor
(iv) After the Divine ban on liquor through my words, it is not permissible to enter into matrimonial relations with one, who drinks liquor, or to credit his statement, or to accept any testimony of him, or to entrust him with any charge under an impression of his integrity, for then Allah will not guarantee his faith, nor recompense anyone for it.
(v) The Almighty Allah has sent me (Holy Prophet) to be a Mercy to the universe, to ban the musical instruments, indecencies and the symbols of Ignorance. The Almighty Allah, on oath says, that He will make a person drink of the Hellish liquor, if he drinks wine in this world, whether he be of the condemned or the forgiven.
(vi) Three kinds of persons will not be able to enter Heaven:
1. Those who always drink wine.
2. Those who are always busy with magic.
3. Those who are accustomed to break relations with relatives.
(vii) When somebody had the first sip of alcoholic drink Allah thereby put him on a series of five trials, firstly: hard heartedness, secondly Gabriel, Michael and Israfil and the whole lot of angels will forthwith disown him, thirdly the entire group of Prophets (A.S.) will repudiate him, fourthly Allah Himself will disown him and fifthly he will enter headlong into the hell fire.
(viii) Never drink wine for it is a root of all Evils.
(ix) Whoever drinks liquor, Allah will not accept his prayer.
From Hazrat Ali (A.S.)
(i) The drunkenness of overweening conceit and pride passes off more slowly than that of wine.
(ii) Hazrat Ali (A.S.) was asked if he regarded drinking as a more heinous sin than adultery. To this he replied that he did, because the vice of adultery did not incite the sinner to any other sin, while a drinker is led of to adultery, to thieving, to man slaughter as also to forsake prayers. The drinker will rise black-faced on the Doomsday, with his tongue protruded from his mouth, dripping saliva on his chest – a state which Almighty Allah is perfectly justified to place him in on the Day of Judgement.
From Hazrat Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (A.S.)
One who drinks is as one who worships idols, and he comes to suffer from involuntary jerking’s, and losing all light manliness and magnanimity, he takes to vice, bloodiness and unlawful actions like fornications and every kind of villainy under the influence of drink. Allah has fixed some locks to evil and the key to those locks is wine; and worse than wine is lying.
Liberation from Alcohol by Islam
Gospel Advocate says: Statistics show that ten thousand people are killed by liquor and only one is killed by a mad dog; yet we shoot the dog-and license the liquor. What sense is there in this?
The Course of Intoxication
Drunkenness takes away the man, and leaves only the brute; it dethrones reason from its seat, stupefies conscience; ruins health wastes property, covers the wretch with rags; reduces wife and children to want and beggary, and gives such power to appetite that physically as well as morally, it is next to impossible to cure it. Mr. W. Jay.
Alcohol poisons the vital cells of the body, acts directly upon the nervous and the brain, impairing one’s higher faculties, judgement, conception and control long before the last symptoms of drunkenness appear. Sir William Wileox, M.D.
The combined harm of the three great scourges- war, famine and pestilence is not as terrible as that of wine drinking. Gladstone
Alcohol lessens man’s power of physical endurance, delays recovery from fatigue, increases the ill-effect of great heat or cold, blunts the senses, retards nerve response, diminishes self-control, blurs the judgement. Sir Alfred Pearce Could, K.C.V.O.,M.S, F.R.C.S.
This spirit (of Islam) may be expected to manifest itself in many practical ways and one of these manifestations might be liberation from alcohol which was in spited by religious conviction and which was therefore able to accomplish what- could never be enforced by external sanction of an alien law. Prof. A. Toynbee.
Notable Achievement by Islam
The success of Islam in persuading its adherents to abstain from the use of wine is a notable achievement. David M. Kay.
Islam has Set an Example
Bishop Carpenter said: It (Islam) has set an example of sobriety to the world and has shielded its followers from the drink plague which destroys the strength of the nations.

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