Why Does Islam Prohibit Drinking Alcohol?

Why Does Islam Prohibit Drinking Alcohol?

By Aisha Stacey

AlcoholIslam’s holistic approach to health and well-being means that anything that is harmful or mostly harmful, is forbidden. Therefore, Islam takes an uncompromising stand towards alcohol and forbids its consumption in either small or large quantities. Alcohol is undoubtedly harmful and adversely affects the mind and the body. It clouds the mind, causes disease, wastes money, and destroys individuals, families, and communities. Researchers[1] have proven that there is a strong link between alcohol and gambling. Drinking impairs judgment, lowers inhibition, and encourages the type of risk-taking involved in gambling and dangerous activities. Allah tells us in the Qur’an that intoxicants and gambling are abominations from Satan and orders us to avoid them. (Al-Ma’idah 5: 90)

In Australia, a country with a population of around 20 million, about 3000 people die each year from alcohol abuse while 65,000 others are hospitalized. Studies have consistently revealed a link between heavy drinking and brain damage and around 2500 Australians are treated annually for alcohol-related brain damage. Research in the United Kingdom indicates that 6% of cancer deaths are related to alcohol abuse and Harvard Centre for Cancer Prevention says that drinking greatly increases the risk for numerous cancers. Alcohol is considered highly carcinogenic, increasing the risk of mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, and breast cancers. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, causing the child to be small at birth, have some facial malformations, small eye openings, webbed or even missing fingers or toes, organ deformities, learning disabilities, mental retardation and much more.

Researchers in Australia have also estimated that 47% of all those who commit violent crimes, and 43% of all victims of these crimes, were drunk prior to the event. Alcohol is responsible for 44% of fire injuries, 34% of falls and drownings, 30% of car accidents, 16% of child abuse instances, and 7% of industrial accidents. Even though it is clear that alcohol is responsible for a great many evils it is legal and even encouraged in most societies. In Muslim countries where alcohol is forbidden many people still find it difficult to resist temptation and fall prey to the disease that is alcoholism. Amazingly even in the light of such startling evidence against alcohol, people around the globe continue to consume alcohol in ever-increasing amounts. Why?

Alcohol is one of the tools Satan uses to distract humankind from the worship of Allah. Allah states clearly in the Qur’an that Satan is an open enemy towards humankind yet by drinking alcohol, we invite Satan into our lives and make it easy for him to distract us from our real purpose in life, to worship Allah.

“Surely, Satan is an enemy to you, so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his followers that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.” (Fatir 35:6)

Alcohol affects the mind and makes sinful behavior and evil actions fair seeming. It creates enmity and hatred between people, prevents them from remembering Allah and distracts them from praying, and calls them to participate in unlawful sexual relationships. Alcohol generates shame, regret, and disgrace, and renders the drinker witless. It leads to the disclosure of secrets and exposure of faults.

“Satan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the prayer. So, will you not then abstain?” (Al-Ma’idah 5:91)

In pre-Islamic Arabia, alcohol use was widespread. To eradicate this evil, Allah in His mercy revealed the prohibition in stages. First, He made it clear to them that the harm of drinking alcohol is greater than its benefit, next He told the Muslims not to come to prayer while intoxicated and finally, He revealed a verse totally prohibiting alcohol.

“O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, idolatry, and divining arrows are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So avoid that so that you may be successful.” (Al-Ma’idah 5: 90)

When this was revealed the Muslim citizens of Madinah immediately began to destroy and empty their alcohol containers into the streets. Even those who were guiltlessly enjoying cups of wine spat the alcohol from their mouths. It is said that the streets of Madinah ran with alcohol. Why then is it so difficult to expunge this evil in the 21st century? Believers today must completely trust Allah, in the same way, that the first Muslims trusted Allah and understood that He was their only Protector and Provider. All power and strength come from Allah and a scourge like alcohol can be eradicated only when those affected by alcohol turn to Allah with complete submission.

The Qur’an is a book of guidance sent to all of humankind. It is a set of instructions from the Creator for His creation. If we follow these instructions, our lives will be easy and tranquil, even in the face of disaster and mishap. Allah links alcohol and gambling to idolatry and declares it filthy and evil; however, He is merciful and generous towards the believers and acknowledges the power of addiction.

Islam is committed to encouraging and facilitating those who wish to repent of evil-doing and sinful behavior. Allah accepts repentance from those who are truly sorry for their actions and committed to staying away from sin. Muslim communities do not ostracise those who have made mistakes but keep them within the fold of Islam encouraging them to seek the closeness to Allah that will allow them to leave sinful behavior. Friends, family, and neighbors do not just look away while a person destroys himself or his family. Islam is a community-oriented faith. There is no place for an individual to do what he wants to do if it hurts others. Alcohol abuse affects not just the alcoholic but also his or her family, and the community. There is great wisdom in the prohibition of alcohol.

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[1] All research in this article is taken from http://salvos.org.au/need-help/thefacts/documents/Bingedrinking.pdf

 

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The Earth Disgorges Its Charges

The Earth Disgorges Its Charges

By Truth Seeker Staff

During earthquakes, the heavy substances below the surface have an opportunity to rise, and the Earth thus disgorges its charges, as revealed in the Qur'an.

During earthquakes, the heavy substances below the surface have an opportunity to rise, and the Earth thus disgorges its charges, as revealed in the Qur’an.

When the earth is convulsed with its quaking and the earth then disgorges its charges and man asks,

“‘What is wrong with it?’”, on that Day it will impart all its news.” (Az-Zalzalah 99: 1-4)

The word “zilzal” in Arabic means earthquake, or tremors, and the word “athqalaha” means “charges, heavy burdens.” When one considers the above verses in the light of the first meaning, it can be seen that reference is being made to an important scientific fact about earthquakes.

The Surah mentions the earth disgorging its charges. Indeed, as a result of research in recent years, it has been realized that there are heavy metals at the center of the Earth, and that these appear as a result of movements on the Earth’s surface. According to geologists’ calculations, as the Earth cooled, heavy and dense substances sank to its center, while lighter ones rose to the surface. For that reason, the Earth’s crust consists of the least heavy substances (basalt and granite rocks), while heavy metals (nickel and iron) are found in the core. As a result, the subsurface, which consists of molten metals, is made of a material that is much heavier and denser than the surface.

During earthquakes, the heavy substances below the surface have an opportunity to rise, and the Earth thus disgorges its charges, as revealed in the Qur’an. Moreover, those regions where metal reserves are most concentrated are also those with the greatest volcanic activity. These scientific findings, which emerged only recently, and as a result of wide-ranging research, are just some of the scientific facts indicated by Allah in the Qur’an.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from miraclesofthequrna.com.

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The Ozone Layer at the Poles as the Sun Rises

The Ozone Layer at the Poles as the Sun Rises

By Truth Seeker Staff

ozone

This phenomenon is particularly encountered in the North Pole (Arctic) region, and there is a serious loss of ozone for a few hours immediately after sunrise.

“Until he reached the rising of the sun and found it rising on a people to whom We had not given any shelter from it.” (Al-Kahf 18: 90)

The Arabic word “sitran” in verse 90 of Surat al-Kahf means “cover, shelter, curtain or screen.” The term “lam naj`al lahum min duniha sitran” describes an environment devoid of any shelter or protection against the Sun. In the light of present-day knowledge, this is suggestive of the ozone layer that protects living things against harmful solar rays.

The area where the ozone layer around the Earth is thinnest, where it protects least against solar radiation, is the poles.1 Scientific research has established a severe thinning of the ozone layer at the North Pole at the moment the Sun rises2 and this scientific discovery has been described as Sunrise Ozone Destruction (SOD).3

As a matter of fact, during their research, American scientists determined a rapid decrease in ozone concentration at the moment of sunrise – when there was no sign of any before.4 This phenomenon is particularly encountered in the North Pole (Arctic) region, and there is a serious loss of ozone for a few hours immediately after sunrise.5

ozoneThe Arabic word “matlia” in this verse, meaning the “rising place” of the Sun, may well be a reference to this scientific discovery about the ozone layer. (Allah knows the truth.) The fact that this information, obtained with 20th-century high technology, also appears in such a compatible form in the Qur’an, is yet more proof that the Qur’an is the revelation of our Lord, the One and Only Owner of science and technology.

 

 

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from miraclesofthequran.com.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone_depletion
  2. A. Barrie, J. W. Bottenheim, R. C. Schnell, P. J. Crutzen, R. A. Rasmussen, “Ozone destruction and photochemical reactions at polar sunrise in the lower Arctic atmosphere”, Nature, 14 July 1988, Vol. 334, pp 138-141; http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v334/n6178/abs/334138a0.html
  3. Nagao, K. Matsumoto, H. Tanaka “Sunrise Ozone Destruction Found in the Sub-Tropical Marine Boundary Layer”, Geophysical Research Letters, 1999, Vol. 26, no. 22, pp. 3377–3380; http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1999/1999GL010836.shtml
  4. Jagir S. Randhawa, “A Balloon Measurement of Ozone Near Sunrise”; http://www.stormingmedia.us/31/3147/0314707.html
  5. Nagao, K. Matsumoto, H. Tanaka “Sunrise Ozone Destruction Found in the Sub-Tropical Marine Boundary Layer”, Geophysical Research Letters, 1999, Vol. 26, No. 22, pp. 3377–3380; http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1999/1999GL010836.shtml

 

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Amazing Description of Realities of Nature in the Qur’an

Amazing Description of Realities of Nature in the Qur’an

By Mansoor Alam

Realities of NatureThe Qur’an while describing nature’s physical beauty makes certain remarks that bedazzle the human intellect, leaving it in awe! It says, “We have put shining stars for you in ‘Asmaa-al-dunya’.” In saying this, the Qur’an implies that there is a world beyond these shining stars. What we usually observe is the nearest sky. We do not know how many cosmic worlds are beyond that. By calling the nearest sky ‘Asmaa-al-dunya’ – the Qur’an has pointed out deep astronomical facts in just one word. In the period in which the Qur’an was being revealed, no one knew the astronomical realities. For example, the Qur’an uses the term ‘Masaabih’ which means, shining lamps. It is Allah’s mercy that He has arranged these stars and planets in such a way that they look so beautiful to us. Indeed, humans are amazed at how beautiful they look while shining!

If they were exposed to us as they really are, then we would not be able to sleep at night. The moon’s beauty has remained legendary since the dawn of civilization. To poets and literary luminaries, the moon has been serenaded as an object of extraordinary beauty. In fact, the word ‘lunatic’ derived from the word lunar, means an exquisite beauty that drives one mad. Yet when the astronauts lifted the veil from its face, the moon looked dreadful to us and was exposed as just a barren desert. Indeed, it is because of Allah’s mercy that the veil is not rent asunder from the true nature of the stars. To us, the stars look exquisitely stunning in the open azure sky. For this, we must be thankful to Allah that some realities are better hidden from us for our own good. He is a merciful God indeed!

But humans have made them objects of guesswork and astrology! The Qur’an states, “And, indeed, We have adorned the skies nearest to the earth with lights, and have made them objects of futile guesses for the evil ones [from among men], and for them have We readied suffering through a blazing flame” (Al-Mulk 67:5-6). That is, the evil ones try to convince humanity that human destiny is tied to the stars! This was being said at a time when the world was involved in all types of superstitions, idol worships, and star worship. In fact, star worshippers were called Saa-e-bin (Al-Baqarah 2:62) by the Qur’an. Star worshippers are mentioned in the story of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH). They worshipped the stars as though they were gods. Even if the stars were not worshiped, stars were taken universally as being linked to human destiny at the time. The Qur’an states that soothsayers, sorcerers, and wizards used to foretell the future by drawing up horoscopes.

The Qur’an particularly challenged the Arabs of the era who were deeply steeped in superstitious beliefs.  The Qur’an asserts that those who are engaged in predicting kismet using astrology, are engaged in guesswork and are throwing superstitious arrows into darkness. The Qur’an calls them, ‘rajum-al-shayaatin’. The Qur’an states that the stars in the sky are to be admired for their beauty but not to be used for making prophecies. Still, we find astrologers and soothsayers who are engaged in guesswork using these stars. They hold the belief that the human future is tied to them!

Allama Iqbal says:

How can astrologer identify your place in life from looking at the stars?

You are dust made fully alive, not one dependent on the position of stars!

A human worth depends on his continuing efforts, his persistent struggle to exercise his freedom of choice and his ability to exercise Allah-given rights with deep conviction and steadfastness. But when these are taken away, when these are usurped from him, then what does remain of the human being? Please note the kind of metaphor the Qur’an uses to describe this: “suffering through a blazing flame” (Al-Mulk 67:5); for, suffering in hell awaits all who are [thus] bent on blaspheming against their Sustainer: and how vile a journey’s end (Al-Mulk 67:6). Such is their ignominy in this world. But in the life to come, [yet more] awesome suffering awaits them (Al-Ma’idah 5:33). Please note that the Qur’an says that such people –like astrologers and those who seek their advice on Taqdir – will suffer ignominy in this world.

A messenger used to be a revolutionary personality and his revolution was both all-embracing as well as universal. Vested interest groups, be they religious or temporal, used to get upset at his fair and just holistic reform program because it challenged entrenched elite systems and prevailing false ideologies and beliefs, as Ibrahim (PBUH) did.

Imagine how many different entrenched false ideologies, beliefs, and wrong socioeconomic and political systems that a messenger was to tackle at the same time. Imagine the immensity of revolutionary changes that a messenger was to create in the society while facing the intense opposition of the powerful forces of the status quo?

The Qur’an presents its claims based on rational evidence and logic and asks its opponents to provide proof of their claims as well: (Al-Baqarah 2:111) – Produce an evidence for what you are claiming, if what you say is true! Life’s realities are not decided by good feelings but by knowledge and reason. When the Prophet (PBUH) said that: (Yusuf 12:108) – My call is based on firm conviction and reason – then this is meant to refute all those beliefs ideologies that are product of false views and superstitions.  May Allah give us the strength to practice this important Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH).

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from Islamicity.org.

 

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Modern-Day RADAR Technology

Modern-Day RADAR Technology

By Miraclesofthequran.com

Radar is a location device used to determine the location, speed and direction of mobile or stationary objects, and works by reflecting micro-wave

Radar is a location device used to determine the location, speed and direction of mobile or stationary objects, and works by reflecting micro-wave

 

“We gave Dawud great favor from Us: ‘O mountains and birds! echo with him in his praise!’ And We made iron malleable for him.” (Saba’ 34:10)

“We gave Sulaiman understanding of it. We gave each of them judgment and knowledge. We subjected the mountains to Dawud, glorifying, and the birds as well. This is something We are well able to do.” (Al-Anbiya’ 21:79)

“So We subjected the wind to him to blow at his command, softly, wherever he directed.” (Sad 38:36)

The above verses refer to the superior attributes bestowed on the Prophets David (pbuh) and Solomon (pbuh), and say that each was given knowledge from the Presence of Allah. The terms referring to the knowledge given to these prophets in the verses may be a reference to present-day radar technology, which works by the reflection of electromagnetic waves. (Allah knows the truth.) The word “awwibee” in verse 10 of Surah Saba’, translated as “echoing” in the verse and meaning “the return or reiteration of sound,” is reminiscent of echo-based radar technology.

Radar is a location device used to determine the location, speed and direction of mobile or stationary objects, and works by reflecting micro-wave. (1) The operating principle of radar bears a close similarity to the reflection of sound. For example, someone shouting in a valley or a cave, hears his own voice being reflected back to him. If we know how fast sound travels through the air, we can calculate the distance and general direction of the object it bounces off.

In the radar system, electromagnetic energy signals are used in very much the same way. Signals with a microwave frequency are emitted toward an object and then return after being reflected by it. This part of the signal returning to the radar is called an “echo.” Radar devices use this echo to determine the direction and distance of the object doing the reflecting. (2) Since they also use electromagnetic energy, radio, television and the human eye bear a close resemblance to radar systems, though their frequencies are different. In addition, radar uses the reflected energy known as the “echo,” rather than directly transmitted energy as in these examples. (3) Reflected signals are converted into numerical values by the radar receiver and recorded as data on “echo stores.” Finally, the data are processed and converted into images. (4)

The use of the Arabic verb “alanna,” meaning “We have made malleable,” in verse 10 of Surah Saba’ is again exceedingly wise. Because iron is still described as soft, or malleable, despite being physically very hard. This form of iron, known as “soft magnetic iron” because of its magnetic properties is particularly used in radar and satellite technology. (5) Soft iron is used because it strengthens the magnetic field and can be opened and closed as desired.

The wind being told to blow at his command…” as we are told of the Prophet Solomon (pbuh) in verse 36 of Sura Sad, may be a reference to electromagnetic signals being transmitted as desired in the air thanks to the use of soft iron. (Allah knows the truth.)

The radar imaging used today scans the world at every moment and developments taking place on the earth can thus be constantly monitored. In addition, data can be collected about physical features on earth, such as mountains, glaciers and the oceans, and also about man-made objects, such as houses, bridges and cars. The way that the operating principle and material used in this advanced technology was noted in the Qur’an 1400 years ago shows that the Qur’an is the revelation of our Lord, Who created past and future as a single moment and Who is unfettered by time.

 

image 1

A radar image taken by satellite. This image, formed using microwaves, shows a mountainous region of Salt Lake City, Utah.

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1. http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov/Sect8/Sect8_1.html

2. http://tr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radar

3. http://tpub.com/neets/book11/46.htm

4. http://southport.jpl.nasa.gov/cdrom/sirced03/cdrom/DOCUMENT/HTML/TEACHERS/MODULE02/MOD2SECB.HTM

5. http://physics.bu.edu/~duffy/PY106/MagMaterials.html

 

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Source: http://miraclesofthequran.com

 

 

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Revolution of the Earth around the Sun

Revolution of the Earth around the Sun

By Prof. Shahul Hameed

Revolution

It is also stated that each (celestial body) runs its course for a term appointed.

One thing we need to understand about the Qur’an is that it is not meant as a book of science, just as it is not meant as a book of history, philosophy or sociology.

Allah in the Qur’an very clearly and emphatically says what kind of a book it is:

“This is the Book; in it is guidance sure without doubt, to those who fear Allah.” (Al-Baqarah 2:2)

“A Book which We have revealed unto you, in order that you may lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light – by the leave of their Lord – to the Way of (Him) the Exalted in power, worthy of all praise!” (Ibrahim 14:1)

“And We sent down the Book to you for the express purpose, that you should make clear to them those things in which they differ, and that it should be a guide and a mercy to those who believe.” (Al-Nahl 16:64)

And nowhere does the Qur’an say that it is a book of science, period. This means that it would be wrong on our part to read it as a textbook of science or as a scientific work written in the language of science meant to teach science.

But the foregoing does not mean that the Qur’an does not contain ideas relevant to science, philosophy, sociology etc.

The minimal Muslim claim is that the Qur’an DOES NOT contradict established facts of science or of human experience. This means that we have no responsibility to support or justify exaggerated or obscurantist statements made by certain clerics in order to explain some Qur’anic passages – statements that obviously contradict established science or plain common sense.

Now let us come to your question proper, which in simple words is as follows: ‘The Qur’an does not say anywhere that the earth revolves around the sun; doesn’t this mean that it approves of the idea that the sun revolves around the earth?’

First, the Qur’an DOES NOT SAY that sun revolves around the earth; nor does it say that the earth is stationary, as was claimed by the Church in Galileo’s time.

Note the following verse:

“He merges Night into Day, and he merges Day into Night, and he has subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law): each one runs its course for a term appointed. Such is Allah your Lord: to Him belongs all Dominion. And those whom ye invoke besides Him have not the least power.” (Fatir 35:13)

The above verse speaks of the merging of the day into night and the night into day, as well as of the subjection of the sun and the moon. But it is also stated that each one runs its course for a term appointed. This verse does not clearly say that the earth is round and it rotates around its axis; but the word, “merge” implies that the earth is round and moves around its axis.

It is also stated that each (celestial body) runs its course for a term appointed. This running of the course clearly suggests the movement of the sun and the moon. Modern science has discovered that the sun situated at the center of the solar system moves with the whole solar system along an orbit of its own. And so the Qur’anic statement about the movement of the sun (and similarly of the moon) is an established fact now. But those who are not aware of this scientific fact imagine that the movement of the sun mentioned here is a reference to “the movement of the sun around the earth”, as was believed in the past.

Note the following verse too:

“He created the heavens and the earth in true (proportions): He makes the Night overlap the Day, and the Day overlap the Night: He has subjected the sun and the moon (to His law): Each one follows a course for a time appointed. Is not He the Exalted in Power – He Who forgives again and again?” (Az-Zumar 39:5)

As mentioned above, “the overlapping of the night and day” signifies the rotation of the earth around its axis, as well as its revolution around the sun, making the alternation of night and day possible. The idea that “He has subjected the sun and the moon (to His Law)” does not mean that only the sun and the moon follow His Law. Every object or being follows His Law. But only the sun and moon are apparent in the context and are mentioned, that is all.

A person who knows modern astronomy may figure out several details of the rotation and revolution of the stars and planets that could be mentioned in this verse or other similar verses. But they are irrelevant to the intended meaning of the verses. Because, the Qur’an is not a book of astronomy, and the verses given here are enough for the context.

The Qur’an gives examples of the phenomena of nature that can serve to thinking humans as signs pointing to the majesty and sovereignty of the one and only Creator and Sustainer of the universe as in the following verse:

“Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah Sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they Trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth;- (Here) indeed are Signs for a people that are wise.” (Al-Baqarah 2:164)

This verse as well as the two verses quoted above (35:13 and 39:5) are meant to evoke in thinking humans the contemplation of the Creator behind the varied and colorful phenomena of nature. Their purpose is more to inspire a moral and spiritual transformation in humans, than to motivate an aesthetic or scientific interest in them.

In conclusion, what you have raised does not refer to any ‘mistake’ in the Qur’an, but to a misunderstanding of the nature and purpose of the Qur’an.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from onislam.net.

Professor Shahul Hameed is a consultant to Ask About Islam. He was previously the Head of the Department of English, Farook College, Calicut University, India. He also held the position of president of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. Professor Shahul Hameed is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values. Professor Shahul Hameed has published poems and articles in various magazines. He has also presented papers and given talks on topics related to Islam in several conferences and seminars.

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