Why is the
consumption of alcohol prohibited in Islam?
Alcohol has been the scourge of human society since time
immemorial. It continues to cost countless human lives, and causes
terrible misery to millions throughout the world. Alcohol is the root
cause of several problems facing society. The statistics of soaring crime
rates, increasing instances of mental illnesses and millions of broken
homes throughout the world bear mute testimony to the destructive power of
1. Prohibition of
alcohol in the Qur’an
The Glorious Qur’an prohibits the consumption of alcohol in
the following verse:
"O ye who believe!
Intoxicants and Gambling,
(Dedication of) stones,
And (divination by) arrows,
Are an Abomination –
Of Satan’s handiwork;
Eschew such (abomination),
That ye may prosper."
2. Prohibition of
alcohol in the Bible
The Bible prohibits the consumption of alcohol in the
a. "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived
thereby is not wise." [Proverbs 20:1]
b. "And be not drunk
with wine." [Ephesians 5:18]
3. Alcohol inhibits the
The human beings possess an inhibitory centre in their
brains. This inhibitory centre prevents the person from doing things that
he considers wrong. For instance a person does not normally use abusive
language while addressing his parents or elders. If he has to answer the
call of nature, his inhibitory centre will prevent him from doing so in
public. Therefore he uses the toilet.
When a person consumes alcohol, the inhibitory centre
itself is inhibited. That is precisely the reason that an inebriated
person is often found to be indulging in behaviour that is completely
uncharacteristic of him. For instance the intoxicated person is found to
use abusive and foul language and does not realize his mistake even if he
is addressing his parents. Many even urinate in their clothes. Neither do
they talk nor walk properly. They even misbehave.
4. Cases of adultery, rape, incest and AIDS are found more among
According to National Crime Victimization Survey Bureau of Justice (U.S.
Department of Justice) in the year 1996 alone everyday on an average 2,713
rapes took place. The statistics tell us that the majority of the rapists,
were intoxicated while committing the crime. The same is true in cases of
According to statistics, 8% of Americans commit incest i.e.
one in every twelve to thirteen persons in America is involved in incest.
Almost all the cases of incest are due to intoxication of one or both the
One of the major factors associated with the spread of
AIDS, the most dreaded disease, is alcoholism.
5. Every alcoholic was
initially a social drinker
Many may argue in favour of liquor by calling themselves
‘social drinkers’. They claim that they only have one or two pegs and they
have self-control and so never get intoxicated. Investigations reveal that
every alcoholic started as a social drinker. Not a single alcoholic or
drunkard initially starts drinking with the intention of becoming an
alcoholic or a drunkard. No social drinker can say that I have been having
alcohol for several years and that I have so much self-control that I have
never been intoxicated even a single time.
6. If a person is intoxicated just once and commits something shameful,
it will remain with him for a lifetime.
Suppose a ‘social drinker’ loses his self-control just
once. In a state of intoxication he commits rape or incest. Even if the
act is later regretted, a normal human being is likely to carry the guilt
throughout his life. Both the perpetrator and the victim are irreparably
and irreversibly damaged.
7. Alcohol is
prohibited in the Hadith
a. The Prophet of Islam
Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
In Sunan Ibn-I-Majah
Volume 3, Book of Intoxicants, Chapter 30 Hadith No. 3371.
"Alcohol is the mother
of all evils and it is the most shameful of evils."
b. In Sunan Ibn-I-Majah Volume 3, Book of Intoxicants, Chapter 30 Hadith
intoxicates in a large quantity, is prohibited even in a small quantity."
Thus there is no excuse
for a nip or a tot.
c. Not only those who drink alcohol are cursed but also those who deal
with them directly or indirectly are cursed by Allah.
According to Sunan
Ibn-I-Majah Volume 3, Book of Intoxicants, Chapter 30 Hadith No. 3380.
It was reported by Anas
(may Allah be pleased with him), that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
"God’s curse falls on
ten groups of people who deal with alcohol. The one who distills it, the
one for whom it has been distilled, the one who drinks it, the one who
transports it, the one to who it has been brought, the one whom serves it,
the one who sells it, the one who utilizes money from it, the one who buys
it and the one who buys it for someone else."
8. Diseases associated
There are several scientific reasons for the prohibition of
consumption of intoxicants i.e. alcohol. The maximum number of deaths in
the world related to any one particular cause is due to the consumption of
alcohol. Millions of people die every year only because of intake of
alcohol. I need not go into the details of all the ill-effects of alcohol
since most of them are commonly known. Below is a simple list of few of
the alcohol related illnesses:
Cirrhosis of Liver
is the most well known alcohol associated disease.
Others are Cancer of Oesophagus, Cancer of Head and Neck, Cancer of
Liver (Hepatoma), Cancer of Bowel, etc.
Oesophagitis, Gastritis, Pancreatitis and Hepatitis are linked with
Cardiomyopathy, Hypertension, Coronary Artherosclerosis, Angina and
Heart Attacks are linked with heavy alcohol intakes.
Strokes, Apoplexy, Fits and different types of Paralysis are linked
with alcohol intake.
Peripheral Neuropathy, Cortical Atrophy, Cerebellar Atrophy are
well-known syndromes caused by alcohol consumption.
Wernicke – Korsakoff syndrome with amnesia of recent events,
confabulations and retainment of memory to old events with different types
of paralysis are mainly due to thiamine deficiency due to excessive
Beriberi and other deficiencies are not uncommon among alcoholics. Even
Pellagra occurs in alcoholics.
Delerium Tremens is a serious complication that may occur during recurrent
infection of alcoholics or post operatively. It also occurs during
abstention as a sign of withdrawal effect. It is quite serious and may
cause death even if treated in well equipped centres.
Numerous Endocrine Disorders have been associated with alcoholism
ranging from Myxodema to Hyperthyroidism and Florid Cushing Syndrome.
Hematological ill effects are long and variable. Folic acid deficiency,
however, is the most common manifestation of alcoholic abuse resulting in Macrocytic Anemia. Zeive’s syndrome is a triad of Hemolytic Anemia,
Jaundice and Hyperlipaedemia that follows alcoholic binges.
Thrombocytopenia and other platelet abnormalities are not rare in
The commonly used tablet metronidazole (flagyl) interacts badly with
Recurrent infection is very common among chronic alcoholics. The
resistance to disease and the immunological defense system are compromised
by alcohol intake.
Chest infections are notorious in alcoholics. Pneumonia, Lung Abcess,
Emphysema and Pulmonary Tuberculosis are all common in alcoholics.
During acute alcoholic intoxication, the drunk person usually vomits,
the cough reflexes which are protective are paralysed. The vomitus thus
easily pass to the lung causing Pneumonia or Lung Abscess. Occasionally it
may even cause suffocation and death.
The ill effects of alcohol consumption on women deserves special
mention. Females are more vulnerable to alcohol-related Cirrhosis than
men. During pregnancy alcohol consumption has a severe detrimental effect
on the foetus. Foetal Alcohol Syndrome is being recognised more and more
in the medical profession.
Skin diseases are
also related to alcohol indulgence.
Eczema, Alopecia, Nail Dystrophy, Paronychia (infection around the
nails) and Angular Stomatitis (inflammation of the angle of the mouth) are
common diseases among alcoholics.
9. Alcoholism is a
Medical doctors have now turned liberal towards alcoholics
and call alcoholism a disease rather than an addiction.
The Islamic Research Foundation has published a pamphlet
If alcohol is a disease, it is the only disease that:
Is sold in bottles
Is advertised in
newspapers, magazines, on radio and television
Has licensed outlets
to spread it
Produces revenue for
Brings violent deaths
on the highways
Destroys family life
and increases crime
Has no germs or viral
ALCOHOLISM IS NOT A
DISEASE – IT IS SATAN’S HANDIWORK
Allah (swt) in His Infinite Wisdom has warned us against
this snare of Satan. Islam is called the "Deen-ul-Fitrah" or the natural
religion of Man. All its injunctions are aimed at preserving the natural
state of man. Alcohol is a deviation from this natural state, for the
individual as well as for society. It degrades man to a level below that
of the beasts he claims to be superior to. Hence the consumption of
alcohol is prohibited in Islam.