Islam takes an uncompromising stand in prohibiting intoxicants, regardless of whether the amount is little or much. If an individual permitted to take but a single step along this road, other steps follow; he starts walking and then running, and does not stop at any stage. This is why our beloved Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“Of that which intoxicates in a large amount, a small amount is HARAAM.”
“If a bucketful intoxicates, a sip of it is HARAAM.”
In connection with alcohol, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) cursed ten categories of people saying:
“Truly, Allah has cursed KHAMR and has cursed the one who produces it, the one for whom it is produced, the one who drinks it, the one who serves it, the one who carries it, the one for whom it is carried, the one who sells it, the one who earns from the sale of it, the one who buys it, and the one for whom it is bought.”
When the above verse of Surah al-Maaidah was revealed, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) announced:
“Truly, Allah has prohibited KHAMR. Therefore, whoever hears this verse and possesses some of this substance should neither drink it nor sell it.”
The narrator of the Hadith says: “The people brought forth whatever they possessed of it and poured it out in the streets of Madinah.”
Islam’s stand in prohibiting alcohol and blocking all avenues which lead to drinking is very clear and unequivocal.
The Arab’s during the period of jaahiliyyah were very fond of wine and drinking parties. To eradicate this pervasive evil from society, Allah Ta’ala adopted a wise course of education and training, prohibiting it in measured stages. First, He made it clear to them that the harm of drinking wine is greater than its benefit; next, He told them not to come to Salaat while intoxicated; and finally, He revealed the verse in Surah al-Maaidah which prohibited it totally and decisively:
“O you who believe! Truly, intoxicants and gambling and divination by arrows are an abomination of shaitaans’ doing; avoid it in order that you may be successful. Assuredly shaitaan desires to sow enmity and hatred among you with intoxicants and gambling, and to hinder you from remembrance of Allah and from Salaat. Will you not then desist?”
The response of the Muslims to these verses was remarkable indeed. At the time some people were drinking, with partly-filled cups in their hands. As soon as they heard someone announcing: “Wine has indeed been prohibited.”, they poured the remaining drinks upon the ground and broke the big clay pots in which other drinks were being fermented.
May Allah give us the strength to give up something we love and enjoy, something that has become a part of our daily life. May Allah give us the strength to give it up just as the Muslims of those times gave up wine and drinking parties solely for the pleasure of Allah.
I wish to stress that mere academic knowledge of the HALAAL and HARAAM, and of the limits of these is not sufficient. Although the major sins and principle obligations are known to every Muslim, nonetheless, we find a great many of them indulging in these sins and neglecting those obligations, and rushing toward the Fire with their eyes wide open.
If the Muslim is well-versed in the knowledge of his religion and its Shariah, and at the same time possesses a fully alert conscience which safeguards the limits so that they cannot be overstepped, he is indeed rich in all goodness. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) spoke the truth when he said:
“When Allah intends good for a person, He makes his own soul a watcher over him.”
Just as Islam has prohibited whatever leads toward the HARAAM, it has also prohibited resorting to technical legalities in order to do what is HARAAM by devious means and excuses inspired by shaitaan. It has reprimanded the Jews for resorting to such practices. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“Do not do what the Jews did in order to (technically) leaglise Allah’s prohibitions by flimsy excuses.”
This is a reference to the fact that Allah had prohibited the Jews to hunt on the Sabbath (Saturday). To get around this prohibition they would dig ditches on Friday so that the fish would fall into them on Saturday, to be caught on Sunday. Those who resort to rationalisations to justify their actions consider such practices to be permissible, but the jurists of Islam consider them HARAAM, since Allah’s purpose was to prevent them from hunting on the Sabbath, whether by direct or indirect means.
Calling a HARAAM thing by a name other than its own or changing its form while retaining its essence is a devious tactic, since obviously a change of name or of form is of no consequence as long as thing and essence remain unchanged. Thus, when some people invent new terms in order to deal in usury or to consume alcohol, the sin of dealing in usury and drinking remains. As we read in the collections of Ahadith
“A group of people will make peoples’ intoxication HALAAL by giving it other names.
A time will come when people will devour usury, calling it “trade”.”
And among the strange phenomena of our time is that people term obscene dance “art”, liquor “preservatives”, and usury “interest”.
In all its legislation and moral injunctions, Islam lays great stress on nobility of feelings, loftiness of aims, and purity of intentions. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“Actions will be judged by intentions, and everyone will be recompensed according to what he intended.”
I conclude with the following supplication, which has come to us from the early Muslims:
O Allah, make us independent of HARAAM with HALAAL and of disobedience to You with obedience to You.
All praise is for Allah Ta’ala, Who guided us to this; had He not given us guidance, we could not have been guided.
All information mentioned in this investigative report was checked and re-checked via the different sources available in order to verify the authenticity and accuracy of the information. The information is accurate to the best of my knowledge. Being only human, I stand to be corrected on any error made on any issue discussed.
The Mujlisul Ulama of South Africa
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