Islam is called the ”Deen-ul-Fitrah” or the natural religion of Man. All its injunctions are aimed at preserving the natural state of man. Alcohol is a deviation from this natural state, for the individual as well as for society. Hence the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Islam.
Islamâ€™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.
Alcohol has been the scourge of human society since time immemorial. It continues to cost countless human lives, and causes terrible misery to millions throughout the world. Alcohol is the root cause of several problems facing society. The statistics of soaring crime rates, increasing instances of mental illnesses and millions of broken homes throughout the world bear mute testimony to the destructive power of alcohol.
Prohibition of alcohol in the Qurâ€™an
The prohibition of alcohol in Islam is derived from the following verse of the Glorious Qurâ€™an:
”O, ye who believe! Intoxicants and Gambling, (Dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an Abomination â€“ of Satanâ€™s handiwork; Eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.” (5:90)
”Satan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God and from the prayer. So, will you not then abstain?” (Qurâ€™an 5:91)
Alcohol inhibits the inhibitory center
The human beings possess an inhibitory center in their brains. This inhibitory center prevents the person from doing things that he considers wrong. For instance a person does not normally use abusive language while addressing his parents or elders. If he has to answer the call of nature, his inhibitory center will prevent him from doing so in public. Therefore he uses the toilet.
When a person consumes alcohol, the inhibitory center itself is inhibited. That is precisely the reason that an inebriated person is often found to be indulging in behavior that is completely uncharacteristic of him. For instance the intoxicated person is found to use abusive and foul language and does not realize his mistake even if he is addressing his parents. They neither talk nor walk properly. They even misbehave.
Diseases associated with alcoholism
There are several scientific reasons for the prohibition of consumption of intoxicants i.e. alcohol. The maximum number of deaths in the world related to any one particular cause is due to the consumption of alcohol. Millions of people die every year only because of intake of alcohol. Below is a simple list of few of the alcohol related illnesses:
1. Cirrhosis of the liver (the most well-known alcohol associated disease).
2. Cancers of the Esophagus, of the head and neck, of the liver (Hepatoma) and of the bowel.
3. Coronary Atherosclerosis, Angina and heart attacks are linked to heavy alcohol intake. Similarly strokes and different types of paralysis are linked to alcohol intake.
4. Beriberi and other deficiencies are not uncommon among alcoholics. Even Pellagra occurs in alcoholics.
5. Delirium Tremens is a serious complication that may occur during recurrent infection of alcoholics or post operatively. It also occurs during abstention as a sign of withdrawal effect. It is quite serious and may cause death even if treated in well-equipped centers
6. Recurrent infection is very common among chronic alcoholics. The resistance to disease and the immunological defense system are compromised by alcohol intake.
7. Chest infections are notorious in alcoholics. Pneumonia, Lung Abscess, Emphysema and Pulmonary Tuberculosis are all common in alcoholics.
8. During acute alcoholic intoxication, the drunk person usually vomits, the cough reflexes which are protective are paralyzed. The vomitus thus easily passes to the lung causing Pneumonia or Lung Abscess. Occasionally it may even cause suffocation and death.
9. Skin diseases are also related to alcohol indulgence.
10. Eczema, Alopecia, Nail Dystrophy, Paronychia (infection around the nails) and Angular Stomatitis (inflammation of the angle of the mouth) are common diseases among alcoholics.
11. Recurrent infection is very common among chronic alcoholics. The resistance to disease and the immunological defense system are compromised by alcohol intake.
12. Thrombocytopenia and other platelet abnormalities are not rare in alcoholics.
13. Hematological ill effects are long and variable. Folic acid deficiency, however, is the most common manifestation of alcoholic abuse resulting in Macrocytic Anemia. Zeive’s syndrome is a triad of Hemolytic Anemia, Jaundice and Hyperlipidemia that follows alcoholic binges.
14. Numerous Endocrine Disorders have been associated with alcoholism ranging from Myxedema to Hyperthyroidism and Florid Cushing Syndrome.
15. Wernicke â€“ Korsakoff syndrome with amnesia of recent events, confabulations and retainment of memory to old events with different types of paralysis are mainly due to thiamine deficiency due to excessive alcohol intake.
16. The ill effects of alcohol consumption on women deserve special mention. Females are more vulnerable to alcohol-related Cirrhosis than men. During pregnancy alcohol consumption has a severe detrimental effect on the fetus. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is being recognized more and more in the medical profession. Also, consuming one or two drinks per day have an increased risk of breast cancer.