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Why Islam Forbids Alcohol?

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One of the most important factors detrimental to our society is drinking of alcohol. Islam provides an integrated approach for health and well-being. Anything that is harmful for us is forbidden. In this perspective Islam takes an inflexible approach towards alcohol and forbids its consumption in either small or large quantities. Alcohol is not only harmful but affects our mind and body. It causes disease, wastes money, and destroys individuals, families, and communities.



Alcohol generally leads to criminal activities like murder, theft and rape. Since its consumption leads to a condition where people lose control over them and do things which they might not have done normally. Alcohol is responsible for fire injuries, falls and drowning, car accidents, child abuse instances, and industrial accidents. Even though it is clear that alcohol is responsible for great many evils, it has been made legal and is even encouraged in our society. In India it is easily available at public places and distributed as a source of enjoyment. Alcohol is a source of national income and trade also.

According to the Islamic Research Foundation of Mumbai, “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 the government;

Brings violent deaths on the highways;

Destroys family life and increases crime; and

Has no germs or viral cause.

Countless lives have been ruined because of its intoxicating effect. The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) has said, “Alcohol is the mother of evils.” This is so true that if we look around, alcohol brings together various sins. Almost daily we hear in newspapers and media about real life cases like that of a husband beating his wife in a drunken state. Most of the domestic violence cases in India involve alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption damages families through marital breakdown, domestic violence, loss of employment and disrupted education among children. Similarly, we hear that most of the convicted criminals commit crimes in a state of intoxication i.e. under the spur of alcohol.



Alcohol affects the mind and makes sinful behaviour and evil actions fair seeming. It creates enmity and hatred between people, prevents them from remembering God 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.

Alcohol is one of the tools Satan uses to distract humankind from the worship of God. God states clearly in Al-Qur’ān 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 God.

“By intoxicants and games of chance Satan only desires to create enmity and hatred between you, and to turn you away from the remembrance of Allah and from Prayer. Will you, then, desist?” (Al-Maidah/5:91)

As a true Muslim we should first reflect on our inner self and see guidance in the Qur’ān which states: Believers! Intoxicants, games of chance, idolatrous sacrifices at altars, and divining arrows are all abominations, the handiwork of Satan. So turn wholly away from it that you may attain to true success.” (Al-Maidah/ 5: 90)

The harms associated with alcohol far outweigh its benefits. As such, in the final analysis, alcohol is a foe, not a friend of its consumer. Allah knows us better than we know ourselves.



The prohibition of alcohol is found in almost all the key religions of the world. What Bible teachers said in the past is true today. Dr. Robert Teachout, A Semitic scholar who, in 1979, wrote his doctorate on The Use of Wine in the Old Testament, stated, “Alcohol is never approved by God in any amount for the obedient Christian.”

Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, author of Wine in the Bible, 1989, says, “Drinking Alcohol is...a moral issue. It is...a transgression of God’s law.”

Leviticus 10:9-11 - God commanded priests not to drink so that they could tell the difference between the holy and the unholy.

Deuteronomy 32:33 - Intoxicating wine is like the poison of serpents, the cruel venom of asps

Proverbs 20:1 - Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging.

19) Proverbs 23:19-20 - A wise person will not be among the drinkers of alcoholic beverages.

Proverbs 23:31 - God instructs not to look at intoxicating drinks.

Isaiah 24:9 - Drinkers cannot escape the consequences when God judges.

Luke 12:45 - Christ warned against drunkenness.

Luke 21:34 - Drunkenness will cause a person not to be ready for the Lord’s return.

63) Romans 13:13 - Do not walk in drunkenness or immorality.

Manu Smriti: 9:235, 11:55; Rig Veda: 8:2:12, 8:21:14

Manu Smriti Chapter 9 verse 235. The slayer of a Brahmana, (a twice-born man) who drinks (the spirituous liquor called) Sura, he who steals (the gold of a Brahmana), and he who violates a Guru’s bed, must each and all be considered men who committed mortal sins (mahapataka).

Manu Smriti Chapter 9, verse 235:      

“A priest-killer, a liquor drinker, a thief and a violator of his guru’s marriage bed – all of these, and each separately, should be known as men who committed major crime.” (Manu Smriti 9:235) 



Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, although in smaller amounts it may appear to have a mild stimulant effect. Alcohol impairs our judgment, lowers inhibition, and encourages the type of risk taking involved in gambling and criminal activities. 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. Long-term excessive alcohol consumption is associated with:

heart damage;

high blood pressure and stroke;

liver damage;

cancers of the digestive system;

other digestive system disorders (e.g. stomach ulcers);

sexual impotence and reduced fertility;

increasing risk of breast cancer;

sleeping difficulties;

brain damage with mood and personality changes; and

concentration and memory problems.



If we observe an alcoholic, we would find that in order to find peace of mind or fill a void in his life he takes a recourse to drinking alcohol even if he is wealthy having all the riches of the world or fame and popularity. Such a person thinks that the use of alcohol can act as an alternative to his worried or stressed life. Many people use alcohol in order to find happiness and to fill a void that they feel they cannot fill in any other way. However, it is only a mirage which does not last for a long time and leads one to his deathbed before his probable life expectancy. Hence, we find Islam completely forbidding the consumption of alcohol, whether in large or small amounts.

The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) said: “God’s curse falls on ten groups of people who deal with alcohol. The one who distils it, the one for whom it has been distilled, the one who drinks it, the one who transports it, the one to whom it has been brought, the one who serves it, the one who sells it, the one who utilises money from it, the one who buys it and the one who buys it for someone else.”



An evil like alcohol can be eradicated only when those affected by alcohol turn to God with complete submission. God links alcohol and gambling to idolatry and declares it filthy and evil.

Islam has a place for those who wish to repent from such an evil. God accepts repentance from those who are truly sorry for their actions and committed to staying away from such type of sin. Muslim communities do not shun those who have made mistakes but keep them within the fold of Islam encouraging them to seek the closeness to God that will allow them to give up sinful behaviour. The Qur’ān 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.



Do not be forced by your peers or friends in drinking alcohol.

If you have consumed alcohol, repent to Allah the Exalted to forgive you and protect you from this evil.

Do not engage in selling or trading of alcohol.

Try to work at a place where alcohol is not the key source of income such as a bar, club or brewery.

Islam is a community-oriented faith. There is no place for a person to do what he wishes to do, if it damages others.

Alcohol abuse affects not just the alcoholic but also his or her family, and community. There is great wisdom in the prohibition of alcohol.

[DR KAUNAIN KAUSAR (MBBS), Islamic Mission School (IMS), Aligarh, U.P]

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