The human body belongs to Allah and we are entrusted with it. We are expected to care for it and not abuse it. The regulations of Islam regarding what we consume are about taking care of the body according to the guidelines given by Allah. In Islam, the consumption of intoxicants, such as alcohol and drugs, is strictly prohibited.
Islam’s stance on the consumption of intoxicants is one of complete prohibition. It is seen as a form of disobedience to God and as a harmful and destructive practice that causes serious harm to individuals and society. As such, Muslims are expected to abstain from the consumption of intoxicants in order to live in accordance with the teachings of Islam and to uphold the virtues of sobriety and self-control.
Intoxicants are defined as anything that clouds the judgment and tampers with one’s mental ability. Intoxicants include liquid, gas and solid forms. It’s a fact that intoxicants are harmful to both the individual and society, and that they lead to a number of negative consequences, including addiction, violence, and moral decay.
Alcohol, the most widely-used drug in the world, is part of current culture and it is widely used in celebrations and daily socialization. Most consumers of alcohol don’t recognize or admit the grave physical, emotional and psychological impact of drinking alcohol and see it as harmless as having a cup of tea.
As an example of what alcohol does to the brain, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states,
“Difficulty walking, blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reaction times, impaired memory. Clearly, alcohol affects the brain. Some of these impairments are detectable after only one or two drinks and quickly resolve when drinking stops. On the other hand, a person who drinks heavily over a long period of time may have brain deficits that persist well after he or she achieves sobriety. Exactly how alcohol affects the brain and the likelihood of reversing the impact of heavy drinking on the brain remain hot topics in alcohol research today.”
In addition to these serious problems, alcohol abuse can damage organs, weaken the immune system, and contribute to cancers. Furthermore, drinking kills 1,500 college students each year in the US and contributes to 140,000 deaths annually.
In addition to the harm that intoxicants can cause to the individual, the consumption of alcohol and other intoxicants is also harmful to society. It contributes to social problems such as domestic violence, traffic accidents, and crime. It often undermines the stability and cohesion of families and communities.
We know that heavy drinking may have extensive and far–reaching effects on the brain, ranging from simple “slips” in memory to permanent and debilitating conditions that require lifetime custodial care. And even moderate drinking leads to short–term impairment, as shown by extensive research on the impact of drinking on driving.
Drug and alcohol dependence often go hand in hand. Research shows that people who are dependent on alcohol are more likely to use drugs, and people with drug dependence are much more likely to drink alcohol. Alcohol is a gateway drug to the rest.
The Quran specifically states that “intoxicants, gambling, and divination by arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Avoid all of them so that you may be successful” (5:90). This passage makes it clear that the use of intoxicants is seen as a form of rebellion against God and an obstacle to spiritual success.
The society that the Quran was revealed to initially in Arabia was rife with heavy alcohol consumption. The commands of Allah on this topic came gradually over a period of time to allow people to let go of this major vice after they were firm in their faith and practice. As new Muslims we should learn about the regulations of Islam in a gradual way and make sure that we build our faith on solid foundations so we can follow through with our commitment to live a God-conscious, clean and sober lifestyle.