Islam puts emphasis on moderation and balance in everything related to faith, religious practices and social responsibilities. The Quran reads: “God intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship.” (Q 2:185)
A lot of people go on to say, “Islam is too hard, everything is restricted in Islam.” And unfortunately I used to be one of those people as well. But what I failed to see like many other people is that only things which are restricted are harmful for our spiritual, mental and physical health. God does not intend to make life harder for us. The Quran reinforces the message again: “God does not burden a soul beyond its capacity.” (Q 2:286)
An incredible feature about the Quran is that it spells out an ethical code, moral path, a social norm, and an economic order while presenting the life of Prophet Mohammad with variety in every aspects of human life, both public and private. If you read the Qur’an, it is evident that it speaks about every aspects of life that we need to know.
Yes, Allah talks about major sins that we should prohibit ourselves from. And those are:
- Shirk (polytheism)
- Consuming interest
- Consumptions of orphan’s wealth
- Eating pork
- No alcohol or gambling
- Adultery (including porn & masturbations )
- Disrespecting our parents
Frankly, if you look at the list, most of us would stay away from these things. However, in the modern Muslim world, alcohol consumptions is a rising issue despite religious prohibitions. Alcohol and Islam is a relatively understudied topic. So I have decided to do some research myself. I was curious to understand why was alcohol forbidden in Islam? What made Allah say that this is haram? So here goes…
Did you know that alcohol wasn’t forbidden at first? Oh my God! me too!!
At the time, people in Arabia were accustomed to drinking and gambling. People were consuming too much alcohol consistently which led to many social harms such as aggressions, violence, sexual adventurousness etc. There was no moderation in that particular society. And remind you that Islam emphasizes heavily on moderation and balance in everything related to faith, religious practices and social responsibilities.
So these people at the time, were given gradual stages to detach from drinking and gambling. Allah has warned them about alcohol. It was said, “in alcohol, there is some benefit but great harm.” We are told to reflect on that harm is greater. Allah then continuously give warnings, “do not approach prayer while you’re drunk.” Therefore, people could not pray due to the conflict in their drinking habits. Later on, a final verdict was given in the issue. It says in the Qur’an, “these are abominations from the work of the devil. Alcohol to you is satanic consumptions. So avoid it that you may be successful” (Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:87-91.) So, there’s a clear ruling in the Quran for Muslims to avoid alcohol and gambling which affects their spiritual, mental and physical health.
I understand that it is challenging for the Muslim brothers and sisters living in the modern Muslim world because we all have friends and people we love dearly who aren’t necessarily Muslims or follow their Deen (religion.) Sometimes we even look up to them so much that we neglect what Allah has prohibited for us. Society expects us to be perfect, Allah doesn’t. We need to remind ourselves that Allah’s mercy is greater than any good or bad that we could ever do.
The Prophet (saws) said, “All children of Adam are sinners, and the best of those who sin are those who repent.” [Narrated in at-Tirmidhi]
We all commit sins. Nobody is perfect, and we don’t know which of us is closest to Allah. All that He expects from us is a sincere effort, and honest repentance when we fail. The older I get, the more I realize that Islam is simple and straightforward, but we make it complicated.
It is so important to remember that Allah disapproves the extreme lifestyle of luxurious and pleasure-seeking. It calls for moderation in all activities so that a complete and fuller life can be achieved. The Prophet himself was very practical in his approach and in his guidance to his companions.
Indeed Allah knows best what is good for us.