Sometimes I feel strange the way the western societies deal with the prevailing evils that are infested deep into their socio-cultural life style. Intoxication is one of them. There are now countless drug items that can stimulate the blood of an inhaler, in-taker and the smokers that bring him or her into a trance or subdued him/her either to become senseless creatures for a while or stimulate them to commit violent crimes or involve them in lusty deeds. In either case, the one who is indulged in these intoxications becomes perverted and leads an abnormal life. The qualities of a normal citizen are lost and he/she becomes a burden on the society and a stigma on its fair name.


The list of crimes under intoxication is long and growing into an unmanageable dimension. Billions of dollars are being expended just to control the growth of opium and “Barge-hashish” [marijuana leaves] around the world what to say of billions more that are being squandered away on the spread if its sale, hoarding and profiteering out of its products by the miscreants and drug-lords. But there appears to be no end to these counter offensive moves against drugs and equally no end to its spread like a wild fire all around.


The other important regrettable mishap, in this respect, is the legalized sale of alcohol, practically at every nook and corner of every city, bazaar and thoroughfare. It is a very strange phenomenon of American life style that everyone is free to drink wine as soon he or she reaches the age of 18 or 21 at the most. The same object that was prohibited for a boy or a girl before getting maturity becomes justified and permissible. Under what cannon of justice, alcohol that is the root cause of so many social evils is selling like water, drank like nectar and is free for all.


In early thirties, alcohol was banned by an act of our Congress but within three years it was nullified under public pressure. It appears to be a mockery of facts that all efforts are being maneuvered towards controlling growth, sale and spread of drugs but all the Congressmen, the Senators and the Government agencies are keeping mum towards the control, sale and promotion of alcohol, the mother of all evils. The traversity of facts cannot produce any worst example than this tragedy that the people of America are showing to alcoholism.


There are millions and millions of homes that have been destroyed under the evil effects of alcoholism. There are millions of men and women who are living a battered life that is totally ruined under its devastating effect. There are thousands and thousands of people who breathe their last in traffic accidents while driving drunk. There are thousands of girls who lose their modesty while raped under intoxication and fall prey to incest within their own homes. The chronology of almost all crimes reveals that somewhere the cause was drinking alcohol or some of its other agents.           


Islam has given due consideration to intoxication and alcoholism and has prohibited it altogether from the society. The Qur’an emphasizes in Chapter, Al-Maidah, and Verse 90 as follows:


“O ye who believe! Strong drink [alcohol] and games of chances and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s [devil’s] handiwork. Leave it aside [don’t go even near it] in order that you may succeed”.


The Qur’an totally prohibits alcohol, gambling and games of chances when it emphasizes that the believers should not go even near it, what to say of drinking and involvement in the games of chances.


The Prophet of Allah has categorically prohibited and made intoxication in any form a cognizable offence in the society. Out of many Ahadith, I will restrict my self in quoting just a few from Mishkat Vol. II, Chapter “Cognizable Offences”:


1.  Hadith # 3482: Umme Salma ® narrates, “ Rasulullah (S) has prohibited all kinds of intoxications and every kind of “Muftir” [that subdued a person and make him indolent]”.    [As quoted by Abu Dawood] 


2.  Hadith # 3484: It is narrated by Abdullah b Umar ® that the Prophet of Allah prohibited wines, gambling and “Ghubairah” and ordained that every intoxication is Haram [prohibited]”.   [Abu Dawood]


3.   Hadith # 3487:  It is narrated by Abdullah Ibne Umar ® that Rasulullah (S) said, “ Allah has forbidden Jannah [paradise] for three persons: 1. a drunker; 2. one who is disobedient to parents; and  3. one who keeps his family drowned in unhealthy and unethical things”.                                             [From Ahmad & Nisaee]


It would be better to quote a story of a pious person narrated by Imam Ghazali ® in his Ehyaul Ulum [The Revival of Knowledge]. It would cover the entire spectrum of alcoholism and its far-reaching effects on the society. It says:


There was a pious person totally devoted to the remembrance of God. A woman who fell in his love and wanted to entice him but he refused. She sent a slave girl to the man, requesting him to help a woman who is living in that house. Out of human sympathy, the pious man went into that house. As soon as he entered the house that woman closed the door at his back and told him: look I have a baby and some wine. Now either you have to kill the boy, drink the wine or have sex with me. Otherwise, I will start shouting that this man entered in my house with bad intentions. The pious man was in a very embarrassing situation. He thought: I cannot kill the boy nor he can have sex with this woman. As a lesser evil, he decided to drink the wine. When intoxicated, he killed the boy and had sex with the woman.


This is what we are seeing around the society. Drinking of wine is the mother of all evils. People out of intoxication are committing crimes of all sorts and everywhere. If once again the society resolves to ban alcohol in all its forms and shapes as it did in thirties, there is every chance that crime rates will come down to a minimum level within a couple of years. Will the saner elements of the society build a whirlwind campaign to this effect and see the miracle of 21st century by their own naked eyes? The Muslim leadership of America should take a lead in this respect and develop a common strategy with our Christian brothers to transform this society a place worth living on earth.



Shamim A Siddiqi

Dated August 6, 2002