Islamic Ways


Al Wala' Wal Bara' (Love and Hate for Allah's Sake) | Obedience to the Prophet | The Best Role Model for Mankind | The Reality of Death | Free Hidayah | Dhikr: The Most Virtuous Act | Those Who Despair | The Most Excellent Jihad | Nikah: An Ibaadah | Taqwa: Fear of the Almighty | Evils of Music | The New Millennium | The Mercy of Allah in Regard to Forgiveness | How Does the Iman Increase and Decrease? | Drugs and Alcohol | Munkar Ma'roof (Evil and Good)
Drugs and Alcohol

By Maulana I. Suleman

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu.

My dear respected brothers, elders and young friends:

The Pre-Islamic society of Arabia was a society that was saturated in alcohol. The supply of, the consumption of, the manufacturing of, the production of alcohol, wines, and spirits was indispensable for them. It sustained them. It was a source of living, virtually their existence. Islam came and on a gradual process in a step-by-step method, it cleaned them (the Sahaba) away from the habit of the consumption of alcohol and directed them towards the greater good. It cured the hearts of the Sahaba and the Arabian society as far as the future was concerned for the whole of humanity who was going to be practicing Muslims. It guaranteed them, through the verses of the Holy Quran, protection from all sorts of pollutants that were corruption to the mind, the soul, the hearts and the whole of society.

The first order was revealed that it is better not to drink it and that the disadvantages (of intoxicants) were more than the advantages (2:219). Then a second verse was revealed saying, Do not drink alcohol at the time of salah, (4:43) and finally it was prohibited (5:90).

The topic of today for me is drugs and alcohol. But before we touch this issue, we have to remember one thing and that is that we are living a life. What is the importance of life? What is the value of life? How much should we preserve life? Allah is the One Who is the Creator of life. Nothing can come into existence without the will of Allah, so Allah is the One Who has given us life and He is the only One Who has the right to take it. This is why our religion is against self-destruction; it is so against suicide. Allah mentions in the Holy Quran:

"Don't throw yourself towards destruction."

So Allah has given us a life and the whole purpose of life is the pleasure of Allah and the pleasure of Allah will be the ultimate means of Paradise and to achieve this ultimate goal Allah has laid down, upon us, certain rules and regulations by which mankind must live according to the ways Allah wants him to. Some of the rules and regulations in our Shariat have positive commitments which we all have to fulfill. We have to pray five times a day, keep our fasts in the month of Ramadan, pay zakah, perform Hajj, etc. These are positive commitments, which everyone has to fulfill. And in our Shariat, some of the rules and regulations are prescribed as negative precautions, which everyone has to avoid and abstain from. And the reason Allah has told mankind not to do certain things is because Allah wants us to be saved from insanity. Allah wants us to be saved from degeneration. Allah wants us to be saved from weaknesses, from temptations, and one of the issues, which Allah wants us to be saved from is the usage of drugs and alcohol.

When the iman (faith) of the companions of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) was made, the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) recited the final verses from the Holy Qur'an relating to the matter of alcohol.

"Oh you who believe! Verily, without a shadow of a doubt, wine, gambling, idol worshipping, instruments used for divining, for telling the future, are all impurities and pollutants from the activities of Shaytaan." (5:90)

They are the production of Shaytaan. They are manufactured by Shaytaan. He has created them and what is his purpose?

"The soul intention of Shaytaan, through alcohol and gambling, is to cast hatred and enmity amongst you." (5:91)

He wants to see you fight with each other. He wants to see you being in harmful competition against each other. This is his intention and another one of his intentions is:

"and he wishes to prevent you and stop you and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and he wants to prevent you from performing salah." (5:91)

The Sahabah (radiyallahu anhum) were listening very carefully. The Qur'an was having a direct affect on their hearts. They were gripped by what was recited to them. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) recited the final words from the Qur'an:

"Will you now abstain?" (5:91)

Meaning, "Will you now refrain from this?" The Sahaba simultaneously cried out in one tongue: "Oh, our Lord! We have abstained now! Oh, our Lord! We have abstained now!"

Now I would like to discuss how it harms our iman, how it hurts our Islam. One point I would like to make before I start is that drugs and alcohol are also used for medicinal purposes. If anyone requires any verdict regarding this matter, then they must refer it to a mufti. The alcohol and drug consumption that I am talking about is the taking of drugs simply for the effect that the drugs and alcohol have and no other motive or purpose.

Whenever the word "khamr" (intoxicants) comes into our minds, we tend to think of alcohol. But in Arabic, "khamr" has a broader meaning to it. "Khamr" is what comes over the human intelligence, which means everything that intoxicates a person's mind. So the only substance that intoxicates the mind is NOT only alcohol, but also every substance that clouds the mind. Do drugs intoxicate the mind or not?

"Khamr," at the time of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) meant something that is flowing and liquidy. This clearly proves the prohibition of alcohol. The prohibition of drugs will be proven in the following hadith.

Hafiz Ibnul Qayyum al-Jowzy wrote in his book that in the 13th century, at the time of the Tartars, a person came to Cairo seeking evidence regarding a substance, which was striking the people of the Muslim world and this substance was called hashish. This person was looking for evidence from the scholars regarding hashish whether it was forbidden or not in Islam. The scholars were having a hard time finding a Qur'anic injunction regarding this because this substance was not liquidy or flowing like alcohol. But at the time, Allah put into the knowledge of Hafiz Zay-nuddin Al-Iraqi, who was present at the gathering, a hadith and he said, "I have found a hadith which specifically deals with this issue." Then he mentioned the hadith from As-Sunnan Abu Dawood, which is one of the most authentic kitabs preached all around the world. He said, "The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) prohibited people from the usage of intoxicants and narcotics. Any substance which befogs and intoxicates the mind, the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) has stopped us from taking it."

The quality of ishar (intoxicants) is when a person is drunk, he is out of his senses. He stutters when he speaks. He doesn't know what he is saying and his nervous system throws up. You know the circumstances of when a person is drunk. This is the quality of ishar.

But now, what is the quality of iftar? The quality of iftar is mentioned by the scholars that it is a light-headedness feeling in an individual. This is the stage that comes before the stage of being in the state of drunkenness and this stage is very very dangerous and in the quality of iftar, the ability to think goes away and the normal state goes away.

So, from this hadith we can see that drugs and narcotics come into the category of ishar, which takes a person's consciousness away. The hadith of Hafiz Zay-nuddin is evident today for us--that drugs are haram and forbidden and we cannot use them.

We find other ahaadith relating to this:

"Everything that intoxicates the mind comes into the category of khamr and everything that comes into the category of khamr is haram." From this, we can see that drugs fall into this category because it intoxicates the mind.

Whatever substance intoxicates a person in large amounts, it is also haram in small amounts. Once Hadhrat Umar (radiyallahu anhu) was giving a khutbah and in his khutbah, he was talking on the issue of khamr and the definition he gave of khamr was: "Khamr is that which befogs the mind and which covers the human intelligence."

Allama Ibn Taymiyyah, a great scholar of Islam, stated, regarding this issue, that a person who takes hashish (drugs) should be given the same punishment as a person who takes alcohol--40 or 80 lashes. In fact, he goes to the extent of saying that those people who are involved in trafficking drugs are committing an act of kufr and he further says that his janazah should not be performed. He should be hanged in front of the people. Now, you tell me brothers. There are so many people involved in the trafficking of drugs. Muslims are playing a leading role in the consumption of drugs. Muslims are ahead in supplying and being the pimps of drugs. These people are fooling themselves as Muslims. This is a disgrace for our religion. Why did Allama Ibn Taymiyyah say it so severely? Because the consequences to this matter are high. So up to this point, my brothers, I have already explained to you what khamr means and what the religious aspects to this issue are in the light of the Qur'an and hadith. Now I will try and explain to you why people take drugs.

There are many reasons why people take drugs. Broadly speaking, people take drugs because of stress, worry, anxiety, problems at work, problems at home, family problems. There are targets to meet, but they can't meet them. There are commitments to fulfill, but they can't fulfill them. When people are over-worked and they have too many pressures, they resort to alcohol, a sip of Brandy, a sip of wine, an injection, a pill, a capsule. Throw that in your mouth and that will relax you.

Most teenagers take drugs because of peer pressure. Most of them are introduced to drugs by their friends, but in reality they are their foes and enemies in the shape and form of friends. So many youngsters take drugs because of peer pressure from friends.

Youngsters often say, "We take drugs because we are bored." In other words, their lives are empty. There is a vacuum in their life. There is nothing in life to engage them. There is nothing to challenge them and so out of this feeling of boredom, they resort to drugs. "Oh, then we will be stimulated. Now we will be excited. Now we do not have that boredom anymore."

Drugs are often taken because people do not have confidence in themselves, because of loneliness. It is a very strange factor of society today that a person can live amongst a thousand people and yet in a heavy population, he is still lonely. He has neighbors to the right. He has neighbors to the left. He has family and friends in that city. He has work colleagues and yet, in that heavy population, he feels lonely. So people resort to drugs to get rid of loneliness. They don't have a sense of self-worth.

And youngsters often take drugs because of rebellion. They take drugs because they want to go against their self-establishment--anything that goes against authority is worth while doing. It's a challenge, it's a dare, it's a risk. You are cool if you do these things. And let's go joy riding because it's illegal in society. There's a risk in it. Legalize joy riding and they'll say, "I'll think about it." Legalize that which is illegal and people will have second thoughts of doing it because youngsters tend to go against rules and regulations. They do this because they want other people to look at them. They lack attention. They lack the love and care of parents. So, in order for the community to focus their attention towards that person they have to do things like this. Why? "Because I'm useless. I'm an ordinary person. Nobody cares about me. Nobody has concern for me. Let me rebel against society, then, society will be forced to look towards me." All in all, if I'm to use one term for the reasons people take drugs, not all the factors that I have mentioned apply here, but generally speaking, the word here is escapism. Escapism is why people take drugs. They are creating an artificial world around them, an unreal world, a world that is more in the mind than in reality. This is make belief, which are the words of Alice in Wonderland. This is their Disneyland where nothing is wrong and everything is right, where they have an over-whelming feeling of peace, contentment, and tranquility. They make a manufactured world around them to make themselves feel good, but the problem is, my dear respected brothers, that when the effect of that alcohol or the effect of that drug wares out and the hard realities of this world slap them in the face, then the problem that they face, the depression that they face, the low that they face, at that moment, it will all be far greater than the problem they started out with.

Islam is a religion that does not believe in escapism. This is a religion which believes in realism, about the hard issues, about the real life. When we have problems, we confront them head on like brave courageous men, men of spirit, men of heart. We try and come with a solution for them. Then, all problems would be solved. Islam teaches its followers about courage. Those who adhere to Islam are taught patience and if they have all this in them, then they can overcome mountains with this inner strength. They can overcome the greatest problems in their lives. Not only Islam teaches it, not only is it in the Qur'an, not only is it in hadiththose people who are practicing Muslims and I'm not talking about the Sahaba (radiyallahu anhum) or the great pious people many eras ago, but I'm talking about normal people. I'm talking about every Abdur-Rahman and Abdul Azeez that exists here--people who perform their compulsory acts (fara'id) and refrain from haram, normal Muslims who have some sort of appreciation for religion, who find a spare moment within the 24 hours to sit down with the Qur'an and recite a few verses, ponder upon them, try and understand them, try and take an affect from the Qur'an and when they perform their salah, they do so with a bit of concentration and devotion. They perform their fara'id, refrain from haram and are satisfied with that, then Allah consolidates and strengthens the hearts of the Muslims and then he is not dependant on chemical substances to support his life.

When a Muslim reads the verses of the Qur'an, the Qur'an says:

"He, who has trust in Allah, then Allah is sufficient for him."

A person may be in need, then the treasures of the seven heavens and the seven earths will not be sufficient to fulfill his needs and a person may be thirsty but the oceans may not quench his thirst, but if a person is naked and hungry and he has nothing else but tawakkul, trust in Allah, then Allah is sufficient for him. Allah says in the Qur'an:

"Oh Prophet! Have trust in the Dominant One, in the Powerful one, Who is in total control of everything, the Compassionate One, the Merciful One."

If you are in a problem, He will solve it for you. He will not neglect you. Why?

"He is the One Who sees your worship."
He sees you in ruku and sajdah. He is Shakoor, thankful that He will reward you. Allah sees whatever you do. He's not in the heavens and you are on the earth. He is not in one room and you are in another room. When Allah is behind someone, when he has the strength and support of Allah, then what power is there in the world that can afflict any harm or any danger or any risk to that individual?

Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (radiyallahu anhu) narrated a hadith: "When I was a child, I was mounted on an animal behind the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam). The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) turned to me and said, 'Oh, child! Protect the command of Allah, fulfill the duties you are required from the Qur'an and hadith, then He will protect and preserve you. Protect the commands of Allah, you will find him in front of you. When you ask, when you are in need of something, ask from Allah. And when you need help, then don't run to your bank manager and don't run towards your factory, don't turn towards your colleagues, but when you are in need of help, then ask from Allah. That is your first source that you turn to. He is the source of our goodness. And know in your heart that if the whole of humanity were to collect and try to benefit you in anyway, then they cannot give you any sort of benefit, but that which Allah has already decreed and written for you. And if the whole of humanity wants to harm you in anyway and they get their plans and conspiracies together, then they cannot harm you in anyway, but that which Allah has already prescribed and ordained for you.'" And the beautiful words of this hadith are concluded by saying: "The pens have been lifted and the scrolls are dry."

The reasons I mentioned before for taking drugs was boredom and loneliness. When a person says, "I'm bored," that is a greatest insult you can face yourself. A person who is creative and constructive sitting alone in a room with no instruments, no devices, no video tapes, no cassette recorders, no books, the room can be completely empty with not one companion, but he is in that room alone in his mind and with his heart he has a greater company than someone who is in a football stadium with 80,000 fans. That lonely person is in a greater company because he is in the majesty of his Lord. He is in the glory of his Lord. This is stimulation, which is not abusive to your body. So Islam is a fulfilling religion, a satisfying religion. It gives us morals. It gives us values. It protects us from harm.

I would like to relate to you a story regarding Maulana Abdul Qadir Raypuri (rahmatullahi alaiyh). He lived in this century and passed away in the 1940s. I'm not talking about centuries ago and those eyes are still present in this world, who have seen this great man. He was a unique individual, who had spiritual power. The point I am going to make with this story is that Muslims will definitely have problems. Problems will come, but we have to contain them, absorb them with this inner strength, with this Islamic vision, with a clear mind, not a polluted mind and then live with that and solve that. So it has been related in the final years of Hadhrat's life that he was severely ill. On one occasion it was Isha prayer and Hadhrat had a problem with istinja, with using the toilet and it was an on-going problem. So he told some people present with him, "Help me perform wudu quickly, then we'll pray Isha. I have an urgency to use to toilet." So they helped him perform wudu quickly and they prayed Isha. After that, he told them, "Take me to one side." They took him and moved away. He sat there at length, my brothers. The agony of urination was there. When the urgency to urinate was there, he could not urinate. Anyone who has this problem here will understand the difficulty. He sat there at length and finally he called out to his attendants and said, "Take me to one side. I cannot urinate. I'm having problems." So they lifted him and took him to one side. As soon as they placed him down, he called out, "Quickly take me back! I need to urinate." They raised him and sat him to one side. At length, he was not able to urinate. He quickly called out, "Pick me up. I am falling." They ran and picked him up and put him to one side. This carried on two, three, four, five times. There was that pain there; the urgency and burning agony, my brothers. This was a man who was sick. His limbs ached and he was bedridden. When they lifted him up on one occasion, one of this attendants, who was relating this incident, said that just as we picked him up, he cried out, "Oh my Malik (Master)!" The attendant said, "As soon as Hadhrat said these words, a thought entered my heart that I have not seen Hadhrat making even one complaint about anything. He was always pleased and contented and satisfied with whatever life threw at him. So the thought entered my heart that what? Is this a complaint after so many years? I've seen him face so many problems, so many difficulties and yet, never has he complained and now? As soon as this thought entered my mind, I realized that Hadhrat was not finished with his sentence yet and then he completed it, "My Master" Imagine, here he is in this state of agony and suffering and what does he do? He turns to his Lord and says, "My Malik, the favors and blessings upon me are so incredible, they are extra ordinary!" These were men. These were people of hearts. They faced life with courage and they overcame everything. Their bodies would shake with the love and fear of Allah and when these people cry, there is no pain in their cries. There's such a bliss, such a joy, which has to be envied. We cannot compete with these people. In the lap of luxury, in the chambers of a palace, on soft cushions, on silk and leather, you are not experiencing the peace and tranquility that these people were feeling lying on the grass with the heavens as their blankets. When they would say, "Subhannallah!" the peace that they attained in their hearts cannot be competed with us.

Once a letter was being read out loud to Hadhrat Sheikh Zakariyyah (rahmatullahi alaiyh) and this letter was written by Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi and in that letter Sheikh Abul Hasan was describing his trip to Madina, the sacred city of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) and he was describing the emotions that were playing with his heart as he arrived at the sacred city. He had poetry and couplets there about the fragrance soil of Madina, etc. This letter was being read out to Hadhrat Sheikh and a large congregation was around him. The people who were present there said that Hadhrat was in an extra ordinary state that day when the letter was being read to him. "We did not see him in such a state before, " and then he turned to one of the Kadims and said, "Read them couplets to me in a tune." At that time, someone stood up and started reading the couplets to him. Hadhrat was at an old age and to give him relief, people were massaging his arms. As those couplets were being read to him, those attendants who were massaging him, said that every inch of the flesh of Hadhrat Sheikh started shaking and they said, "We can feel an electric current running through his body." And what was this electric current? It was the current of love, mohabbat, and affection, which cannot be experienced in anything. So these were men of courage. They had stimulation and interest in their lives and they had satisfactory and fulfilling lives.
Some people may have this in their head that: "Why is he talking about drugs and alcohol? We are Muslims after all. We think we are pure people. Isn't this irrelevant? This does not apply to us. We don't touch that stuff." My dear respected brothers and sisters, if this is our belief, if this is our knowledge, then we are very na´ve people. We are a very negligent people. Muslims, as far as drugs and alcohol consumption is concerned, then from Alif to Yaa, A to Z, they are in the picture from the production to the supply to the consumption of drugs. They are there. Today we are arguing over petty incidents in the masjid. Let us open our eyes to the wider world. Open our eyes to what activities and what crises are engulfing the whole of the Ummah today. If we do not take care of the next generation, then our next generation is going down the drains. And then we will be going towards a very very dark future. We have to remember what Allah wants from us. Allah has put upon us some external duties and some internal duties. The external duty is that we pass the message of Islam to other communities. The internal duty is that we educate ourselves, first of all, regarding drugs and other issues. Our community is going down the drains because we are uneducated. We have time to learn other knowledge, but we do not have time to learn our Islamic knowledge. We have time to watch the satanic box (TV), we have time to visit pubs and clubs, we have time to watch videos, but we have no time to discuss issues regarding Islam. Make sure you take care of your children because the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said that every single one of you is responsible for his flock, meaning his children. Everyone will be asked about his or her children. Whoever doesn't teach his children the knowledge of Islam, the knowledge that can differentiate between good and bad, the knowledge that will help him realize what is truth (haqq) and what is false (baatil), he will be asked about it on the Day of Qiyaamah. America is the biggest taker of drugs. There you can find thousands and thousands of organizations dealing with drugs, alcohol and related matters. The only way to combat drugs and alcohol is through the Qur'an and Sunnah. This is our only solution. There is no other.

I started off with life and now I'll finish with life. "Live in this world as though you are a stranger, a wayfarer," the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) advised. You are not going to live here forever. You are going to earn money, but whom are you earning it for? Are you earning it for your own pleasure or looking at your children or looking towards their education? Remember one thing. You have to face your Lord one day and you will be asked these questions one day, the Day of Qiyaamah.

Four questions will definitely be asked about one's life. How did you spend it? How did you waste it? Where you earned your wealth and where did you spend your wealth? And how did you act upon the knowledge you had? Once you find out that a certain thing is forbidden in Islam and you keep on doing it and you do not repent then the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said, "I have no relationship with that person."

I would like to conclude by saying that those people amongst us who are or who maybe and I'm not saying anyone is but anyone who maybe involved in alcohol or some drug abuse, to a greater content or to a lesser degree, whatever portion or amount, it is harmfully wrong. Can I address those people and say that what is this petty existence that you have chosen for yourselves? There are no blessings for you in that type of life. There are greater tasks for you in life. You have been selected as an Ummati for a greater purpose. You, as Mu'mins (believers), are beloved in the eyes of Allah. Your value is immeasurable. You, as human beings, are the center of the universe. How long have you become? What gutter have you dived into? Why are you destroying yourself and why are you abusing your body? Why are you contaminating and polluting the body, which is the sacred communion between Adam and Hawwa? Why are you harming and abusing a body about which our Beloved Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said, "Verily, your body has a right over you." It's not your private possession. This is not something you created. It does not belong to you. Respect yourself and others will respect you. In short, let us all get a life.

May Allah take the disease of drugs and alcohol away from our community. May Allah give us the ability to understand and realize the dangers and harms of drugs and alcohol. May Allah unite us all under the one banner: La ilaha illallahu Muhammadur Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam).

Wa akhirudda' wana anil humdulillahi rabbil alameen.