Praise be to Allaah.
Firstly: we welcome you to our site as a seeker of truth, and
we ask Allaah to make our answer clear and to show you, after you read it
and think about it, the fairness, wisdom and perfection of Islamic
sharee’ah, which will make you think for yourself and seek the truth and
Secondly: it is affirmed by our Islamic sharee’ah that it
came to bring and increase good things, and to ward off and reduce harmful
things. Whatever is beneficial or mostly beneficial is permissible (halaal)
and whatever is harmful or mostly harmful is forbidden (haraam). Alcohol
undoubtedly falls into the second category. Allaah says (interpretation of
“They ask you (O Muhammad) concerning alcoholic drink and
gambling. Say: In them is a great sin, and (some) benefits for men, but the
sin of them is greater than their benefit”
The harmful and evil
effects of alcohol are well known to all people, to knowledgeable and
ignorant alike. Among the harmful effects of alcohol is that which was
mentioned by Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic
drinks), and gambling, and Al‑Ansaab (stone altars for sacrifices to idols,
jinn, etc), and Al‑Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an
abomination of Shaytaan’s (Satan’s) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that
(abomination) in order that you may be successful.
91. Shaytaan (Satan) wants only to excite enmity and
hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and
hinder you from the remembrance of Allaah and from As‑Salaah (the prayer).
So, will you not then abstain?”
In these two verses Allaah emphatically forbids alcohol, when
He mentions it in conjunction with Al‑Ansaab (stone altars for sacrifices
to idols, jinn, etc), and Al‑Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision),
which were symbols of shirk that were widespread in the Arabian peninsula
before Islam, and He describes it as being the Shaytaan’s handiwork, which
is immorality and evil. And Allaah commands us to avoid it and describes
that as being the means that leads to success. And He describes its
spiritual harm as hindering man from carrying out the obligations and duties
enjoined by sharee’ah, namely remembrance of Allaah (dhikr) and prayer.
Alcohol leads to many harmful things, and deserves to be
called “the mother of all evils” – as it was described by our Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who said: “Alcohol is the
mother of all evils.” A hasan hadeeth quoted by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah
al-Saheehah, 1854. And the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) said: “Alcohol is the mother of all evils, the
greatest of major sins. Whoever drinks it may end up committing incest with
his mother, his maternal aunt and his paternal aunt.” This hadeeth is hasan
on the basis of corroborating evidence, as stated by al-Albaani in
al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 1853.
This is some of the
evidence of the truthfulness of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him). And what he spoke of has indeed come to
pass. Have you not heard the news about that young man who came home drunk
and committed incest with his mother after imbibing intoxicants? He
threatened to kill himself if she did not do it, so she took pity on him and
did what he wanted. Then when he came to his senses and realized what had
happened, he killed himself.
Look at how things ended
after he drank alcohol. He committed incest with his mother, then he killed
himself. We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica states that most cases of
sexual assault against relatives such as sisters, mothers and daughters
happen under the influence of alcohol.
With regard to those who say that drinking a little alcohol
is good for the heart, the response to that is:
1 – Modern research has proven that what is said about the
benefits of alcohol for the heart and that it dilates the arteries, is a
serious mistake. Alcohol does not dilate the arteries that bring nutrition
to the heart, as was thought in the past, rather it dilates the veins that
lie beneath the skin, whilst at the same time constricting the arteries,
because of the accumulation of fats and cholesterol in them. This
contributes to blood clots in the heart and angina, especially when it is
accompanied by smoking, which contributes to congestion and narrowing of the
Alcohol also affects the muscle of the heart itself, when it
becomes poisoned and dysfunctional, especially after drinking beer that
contains cobalt, as when the heart becomes inflamed as a result of
exhaustion when burning alcohol.
2 – These supposed benefits to the heart may be attained by
means of things other than alcohol, the sinfulness and harmful effects of
which outweigh any good it may do or benefits it may bring.
3 – It has also been said that the benefits that alcohol is
said to bring to the heart come from the fruits and other substances from
which alcohol is made, such as grapes, apples, etc. Based on this, these
benefits may be obtained from these foods in the forms in which Allaah has
permitted them, without making alcohol from them.
4 – We should weigh up those benefits to the heart – if they
are true – against the destructive effects that alcohol has on health, which
you can find out about by consulting any medical reference work that speaks
of addiction to alcohol and its destructive effects on man.
See for example: al-Idmaan al-Kuhooli by Dr Nabeel
Subhi al-Taweel, published by Mu’sasat al-Risaalah, Beirut.
Abhaath wa A’maal al-Mu’tamar al-‘Aalami al-Thaalith
wa’l-Raabi’ ‘an al-Tibb al-Islami, published in
Kuwait, 1405 AH, 1407 AH.
Because some people in
the past – like some of their counterparts nowadays – thought that wine had
some benefits, Taariq ibn Suwayd al-Ja’fi – one of the companions of the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – came and asked
him about alcohol, and he forbade it. He said: “We make it as a remedy”. He
said: “It is not a remedy, rather it is a disease.” Narrated by Muslim. This
is a sign that his Prophethood was true.
With regard to your saying that “Man has the sense to control
his actions and to stop drinking before he becomes intoxicated”, this pays
no attention to the ways of the accursed Shaytaan, who seeks to distance
people from the Lord of the Worlds. It is also the words of one who does not
know – or perhaps chooses to ignore – how a drinker’s relationship with
alcohol begins until he becomes drunk or addicted.
The Shaytaan gradually leads a person from a little to a lot,
from minor to major, from sin to kufr, as much as he can, step by step. This
is what the Lord of the Worlds refers to in Soorat al-Noor, where He says
(interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe!
Follow not the footsteps of Shaytaan (Satan). And whosoever follows the
footsteps of Shaytaan (Satan), then, verily, he commands Al‑Fahsha’ [i.e. to
commit indecency (illegal sexual intercourse)], and Al‑Munkar [disbelief and
polytheism (i.e. to do evil and wicked deeds; and to speak or to do what is
forbidden in Islam)]. And had it not been for the Grace of Allaah and His
Mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure from sins. But Allaah
purifies (guides to Islam) whom He wills, and Allaah is All‑Hearer,
The poet also referred to this when he said:
“A glance, then a smile, then a greeting, then words, then an
appointment, then a meeting.”
Although this is clear to everyone who understands how people
are and how the Shaytaan gets to them, it is more obvious in the case of
alcohol and those who drink it.
According to the eastern proverb, “In the beginning a man
takes a cup of wine… then the first cup takes a second, then the cup of wine
takes the man.”
The story begins with advice from a doctor or friend to have
a cup of wine to increase the appetite, or to help one relax, or it starts
by joining friends in a social gathering where cups of alcohol are being
passed around, or as part of a meal offered, or whatever.
Then gradually physical and psychological bonds are formed to
alcohol until it becomes part of a person’s life, and the drunkard becomes a
slave to intoxication and to alcohol, and he seeks it as a sick person seeks
medicine, as the poet said:
A cup that is drunk for pleasure, and a cup that is drunk as
a remedy for the first.
In the first cup he may have found some benefit, without
getting drunk, and some relaxation and pleasure without losing his mind, and
the second likewise, but now he is longing for the cup of yesterday. When
the body gets used to this alcoholic poison, it needs to increase the dose
of alcohol time after time, in order to enjoy the relaxation and pleasure
that it found in the first cup. Then the drunkard starts to drink more
regularly, and his desire for alcohol grows stronger. The only guarantee
against addiction is not to drink alcohol at all.
Hence we can see the wisdom of Islam in forbidding a little
or a lot of alcohol, because a little is the first step towards a lot, and a
little added to a little becomes a lot.
As the poet said: Do not think of a little as insignificant,
because even the mountains are formed of small pebbles.
With regard to your asking: why does Islam require the
Muslims to keep away from alcohol and pork in order for their religious
commitment to be sound? Why does it not just explain how harmful they are
and let people choose for themselves?
This is the flawed questioning of one who is trying to cheat
himself. It is well known that people are not all the same in their levels
of understanding of what is beneficial and what is harmful, and their levels
of will power are not the same either, when it comes to choosing what is
beneficial and avoiding what is harmful. The behaviour of individuals and
societies cannot be controlled if things are left to each person’s choice.
If things are left to people’s choice then the harm that
results from drinking alcohol is not limited only to the one who drinks, so
that he could be left to his own devices and choose whatever he wants for
himself. Rather the harmful results affect everyone. The diseases that
result from alcohol weaken society as a whole. The productivity of the
drunkard is decreased because of his drunkenness, which affects others. The
economy is affected as a result of the money spent on treating him, which
also affects others. Moreover there are crimes which result from this
addiction. In a World Health Organization report on violent crimes in 30
countries, including the US and the UK, it says that 86% of murders and 50%
of rapes are carried out under the influence of alcohol. There are many
similar, well-known statistics on such topics in various countries around
With regard to road accidents, the statistics are even more
well-known. In 1965 – for example – there were 49,000 deaths on roads in the
US, and 1,800,000 cases of permanent disability. Public health officials at
the time estimated that half of these deaths were caused by alcohol. The
losses resulting from these deaths in that year alone were valued at 8900
In Chile, in South America, 70% of traffic accidents in 1966
were caused by drunkenness. In Paris between 10 and 15 % of all accidents
were found to have been caused by alcohol.
Moreover, we may respond to this question by asking:
Why don’t we explain how evil it is to steal and then leave
people to make their own choice, with no force or punishment? The same could
be said of killing and bribery… But then society would become a dangerous
and barbaric place, governed by the law of the jungle.
This question itself may be directed against all the laws and
systems which people follow in their lives.
The main reason why people deviate from the religion of
Allaah, which was revealed from heaven, and go against the laws that He has
prescribed for His slaves, is this idea – the idea that people can be left
with no commands to follow or prohibitions to heed, even though adhering to
commands and prohibitions is what is meant by submission to Allaah
(‘uboodiyyah) in its simplest form. This is the pure right of the Creator
because He is the Creator, and it is the primary duty of the created being,
because he is created. The Lord of the Worlds says (interpretation of the
“Does man think that he
will be left neglected (without being punished or rewarded for the
obligatory duties enjoined by his Lord Allaah on him)?”
i.e., does man think that his Lord will leave him alone, with no obligations or commands or prohibitions, then He will ignore him in his grave with no resurrection, no gathering, no reckoning? What then would be the point of servitude to the Lord of the Worlds, if there were no commands or prohibitions, no reward or punishment? How then would anyone enter Paradise?.