Islamic Studies Center: Humanism Behind Intoxicants Prohibition Process ~ Hi all readers! Praise Allah we can meet again. I haven’t posted an article on this blog for a long time. I am sorry!
In this article I will invite you to get to know the humanist side in the process of prohibiting intoxicant (khamr). In the previous article we discussed the wisdom behind the ban on intoxicant (khamr). Now we will discuss the process.
In the tradition of Islam, intoxicant (khamr) is prohibited through four stages;
First; Islam explained that actually the materials used to make intoxicant (khamr) at that time could be used for positive things. Allah Ta’ala said;
وَمِن ثَمَرَٰتِ ٱلنَّخِيلِ وَٱلۡأَعۡنَٰبِ تَتَّخِذُونَ مِنۡهُ سَكَرٗا وَرِزۡقًا حَسَنًاۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَةٗ لِّقَوۡمٖ يَعۡقِلُونَ ٦٧
And of the fruits of the palms and the grapes– you obtain from them intoxication and goodly provision; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who ponder. (An-Nahl ; 67).
In the first stage, as explained in the verse above, Islam explains that the ingredients used to make intoxicant (khamr) at that time, dates and grapes, can be processed into intoxicant (khamr) and good food and drinks, which are not intoxicating. There is no prohibition on drinking intoxicant (khamr) at this stage.
Second; Islam explains that there are sins and benefits in intoxicant (khamr) and gambling. But the sin is far more than the benefits. In this second stage Islam provides a very far-reaching comparison between the benefits of drinking intoxicant (khamr) and not drinking it. Allah Ta’ala said;
يَسَۡٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلۡخَمۡرِ وَٱلۡمَيۡسِرِۖ قُلۡ فِيهِمَآ إِثۡمٞ كَبِيرٞ وَمَنَٰفِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثۡمُهُمَآ أَكۡبَرُ مِن نَّفۡعِهِمَاۗ وَيَسَۡٔلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَۖ قُلِ ٱلۡعَفۡوَۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمُ ٱلۡأٓيَٰتِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ ٢١٩
They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: In both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit. And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say: What you can spare. Thus, does Allah make clear to you the communications, that you may ponder. (Al-Baqarah ; 219).
Of course, if we are faced with the choice between accepting great bad consequences or little benefits, our common sense encourages us to receive those few benefits rather than having to accept great bad consequences!
Intoxicant (khamr) has not been forbidden in this second stage.
Third; in the third stage Islam forbids Muslims to drink intoxicant (khamr) only at certain times and allows it at certain times. That can be seen in the verse of the Qur’an below;
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَقۡرَبُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَأَنتُمۡ سُكَٰرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَعۡلَمُواْ مَا تَقُولُونَ وَلَا جُنُبًا إِلَّا عَابِرِي سَبِيلٍ حَتَّىٰ تَغۡتَسِلُواْۚ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرۡضَىٰٓ أَوۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوۡ جَآءَ أَحَدٞ مِّنكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡغَآئِطِ أَوۡ لَٰمَسۡتُمُ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فَلَمۡ تَجِدُواْ مَآءٗ فَتَيَمَّمُواْ صَعِيدٗا طَيِّبٗا فَٱمۡسَحُواْ بِوُجُوهِكُمۡ وَأَيۡدِيكُمۡۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا ٤٣
O you who believe! do not go near prayer when you are Intoxicated until you know (well) what you say, nor when you are under an obligation to perform a bath– unless (you are) travelling on the road– until you have washed yourselves; and if you are sick, or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy or you have touched the women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth, then wipe your faces and your hands; surely Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving. (An-Nisaa’ ; 43).
In the verse above, it is explained that a Muslim may not pray in a drunken state. That is, he should not drink intoxicant (khamr) when approaching the time of prayer. For example, if it took a long time for someone to get drunk for two hours, then that person should not drink intoxicant (khamr) for two hours before entering prayer time. If we look at the prayer times, from the Dhuhur prayer time, the Asr prayer, the Maghrib prayer, and the Isha prayer, then we will find that the time is very short. If it is possible if someone in the middle of the night is drunk so he does not pray, then he should not drink it. Likewise the condition of the Muslims at that time. So it is very possible if they drink intoxicant (khamr) at the time of the Isha prayer and after the Prayer prayer, because of the time lag, before entering the next prayer time, is long.
The verse above comes down because there were some Muslims at that time who drank intoxicant (khamr) when approaching prayer so that the reading of the Qur’an was wrong. If the recitation of the Koran is wrong then it certainly changes the meaning. This can’t be. That’s why the verse above was revealed.
Fourth; in this fourth stage Islam strictly forbids all Muslims to drink intoxicant (khamr). That can be seen from the verse below;
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِنَّمَا ٱلۡخَمۡرُ وَٱلۡمَيۡسِرُ وَٱلۡأَنصَابُ وَٱلۡأَزۡلَٰمُ رِجۡسٞ مِّنۡ عَمَلِ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنِ فَٱجۡتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ ٩٠
O you who believe! intoxicants and games of chance and (sacrificing to) stones set up and (dividing by) arrows are only an uncleanness, the Shaitan’s work; shun it therefore that you may be successful. (Al-Maa’idah ; 90).
In connection with the verse above, I remember a statement that some Muslims at that time, after performing the Isya prayer, gathered at a party. At the party they then drank intoxicant (khamr). After that they are drunk. In their drunken state, they fight. Umar bin Khattab who saw the phenomenon then begged Allah to be given complete clarity about the law of intoxicant (khamr). Then the verse goes down.
The question is, where is the humanism?
To answer the question above, of course we must know two things; that drinking intoxicant (khamr) in the Arab community at that time had become a habit. Secondly, intoxicant (khamr) at that time was also sold. In other words, it becomes one of the economic sources. If Islam prohibits its followers from drinking intoxicant (khamr) at one time, it is not impossible that they will refuse, because they have to abandon their habits and one of the economic sources. Their souls aren’t ready! This is the humanist side in the process of prohibiting intoxicant (khamr).
I think that is enough for this article about humanism behind intoxicants prohibition process!
May be useful! Amen!