Liquor is one of the greatest enemies of nation
By: Allamah Sayyid Sa'eed Akhtar Rizvi
“O’ Ye who believe, intoxicants and gambling and dedication of stones and divination of arrows are abominations of Satan’s handiwork: keep away from such abominations”, (Qur’an, 5:90).
The most precious gift of Allah to mankind is the intellect. It is because of his reasoning power that man is called the best creation of God.
Intellect has two very strong enemies: Desire and Anger. These two rivals of intellect get reinforcement by alcoholic liquor. When alcoholic liquor enters the human body, the first victim is the highest cerebral centers which control such factors as judgment, sense of responsibility and moral integrity. When these higher factors are depressed, the lower instincts are released from captivity. Moral and social inhibitions become a dead thing. It is now that the intoxicated person becomes talkative, excited or even violent and aggressive. On lookers think that he is stimulated. In fact, it is not stimulation. What is often referred as alcoholic stimulation is the first sign of alcoholic depression. No amount of alcohol can stimulate intellectual functions.
Some people think that a small amount of alcohol can do no harm. But it is one of the myths which the scientific analysis has already exploded. Even such a tiny concentration of alcohol in blood as 0.15% (i.e. one-seventh of one percent) impairs the faculties so much that driving becomes extremely dangerous. Also, it requires a strong well-power to restrict a drinking person’s intake of alcohol. As the alcohol destroys the power of judgment, as it frees man from every inhibition, it is foolish to believe that once started a man can control his drinking habits. When the will-power is weakened by the effect of alcohol, drinking leads to drunkenness and finally to alcoholism. Islam does not want to tempt a man into this trap. It was for this reason that the Holy Prophet declared: “Anything which intoxicates when taken excessively, even a drop of it is forbidden to take”.
Liquor and ‘Nation-Building’
Liquor is one of the greatest enemies of nation. Every now and then the leaders appeal to the public to give up this bad habit because it interferes with the nation-building activities. This week the president of Kenya threatened to close the bars of a certain area if the people of that locality did not give up drinking.
The poisonous effects of liquor on the health and family life of an individual are too obvious to need any description. Also, it is common knowledge that liquor is one of the main causes of absenteeism in the factories and offices, resulting in thousands and thousands of lost man-days. Further, it is admitted that drunk drivers are responsible for an unbelievable ratio of road accidents, resulting in loss of limbs and lives. And every social worker and priest knows that this abominable habit is the direct cause of great many cases of broken-up families, frustrated children and poverty-ridden homes.
Liquor, thus, has these disturbing effects on the public’s health, productivity, prosperity and happiness. Yet, one is amazed to see in the nation’s newspapers advertisements urging people to drink liquor “to help in the nation-building” But I can not see any connection between drinking and nation-building.
If ‘nation’ means ‘brewery’, then of course drinking will help it. But I have not seen ‘nation’ defined as ‘brewery’ in any dictionary. If ‘nation-building’ means ‘being absent on Monday because of Sunday’s hangover’, then the advertisers are right. But is this definition correct? If a man ‘builds the nation’ by reaching home after mid-night, by beating his wife and children, by keeping them hungry, then the drunkards would be regarded as the great nation-builders, no doubt. But neither society nor the government would accept this meaning.
Such advertisements and statements grossly mislead the nation. It is high time that people were protected from such misleading advertisement.
Gambling is, perhaps, the most wide-spread evil of our times. It has countless forms and names. Chess, cards, bridge, pool, sweepstake, raffle, lottery, roulette and various other plays are just plain gambling – by whatever civilized name they may be called. And these are the standard entertainment of our times.
Gambling, however mild, has been forbidden in Islam. Some people play such games to ‘kill time’. They fail to understand that the ‘life’ given to them is just a span of ‘time’ – so many hours or days or years. ‘To kill time’ means, in more clear language, ‘to kill life’ and life was not given us to be destroyed.
Others indulge in such activities in expectation of some monetary gain. It is true that the urge to get something for nothing is very old; but Islam does not encourage it. After all, forgery, robbery and fraud also are the manifestations of the same urge; but nobody ever thought of legalizing such practices on the plea that they are the result of a ‘natural urge’. So why tolerate gambling?
On Future – Reading
“(God alone is) the knower of the unseen; He does not reveal His secrets unto anyone, except unto that of the Apostles whom He chooses ………………..” (Qur’an, 72:26-27).
East Africa is teeming with “wise men” who claim to know the destiny of every person (except their own, of course). People talk about African or pagan superstitions; but, in fact, this is a field which has no racial or religious bar. Muslims, Christians and pagans; Indians, Africans and Europeans: all are victim of this hoax. There is complete “integration” of races and tenets in this area.
According to the Qur’an, only God knows the future; and He informs His chosen apostles of the coming events when and if He wishes. But in East Africa almost every book-shop (especially so, if it is owned by a Muslim) has one or more books purporting to reveal the future of anybody who can afford a few shillings. The operative words is “shillings”.
There was a time when primitive people believed that their lives were governed by sun, moon and other natural phenomena. They started worshipping the sun and/or moon. That superstition gave birth to astrology, which claimed that the destiny of every person was governed by seven “stars” which rotate around 12 ‘houses”. Thus the destinies of the whole mankind (numbering more than 3,000,000,000 persons, at present) is listed under 12 groups.
Man, thy name is naivety. Many people believe in such forecasts, though all must be aware that the destiny of one man is as different from all the world as his thumb-impression.
These “wise men” know the weakness of human nature. They know that if they forecast 100 events, at least a certain percentage will come out to be true. (And this can be done by any shrewd person without any help from astrology). Then they bank their propaganda on the small percentage which comes to pass, conveniently forgetting what proved false.
Their forecasts, for the most part, are vague and capable of meaning whatever the astrologer would like them to mean in any future eventuality. There is a story of a “wise man” who informed his client that his wife (who was pregnant) would give birth to “son not daughter”. Thus he made sure that he would prove right in any event. If she gave birth to son, he would say: “I had already forecasted “son: not daughter”. Otherwise, the prophecy would be interpreted as “son not; daughter”.
Witchcraft, uchawi or uramali, call it whatever you like, is the most believed-in and most-feared in East Africa. But it has no power, except the power of suggestion. All its power depends upon creating a psychological impression of fear etc., in the mind of the victim. So, ultimately, the victim himself accomplishes his own undoing. Such an impressionable person is his own enemy.
Be it sickness of a child, or discord between husband and wife, or failure in the business – everything here is attributed to some kind of witchcraft. Even if you point out that the parties concerned are themselves responsible for, say, the discord in marriage, they would still say that their objectionable behavior towards each other was the result of their ‘being be-witched’.
I have seen people of every color and creed shifting the responsibility of their trouble to some imaginary ‘enemy who is be -witching me.” And so deep-rooted is this superstition that when you tell them that they were mistaken in that belief, they will go out to find “someone who has real ‘elimu’.” Such people are happiest when they are exploited by some unscrupulous ‘wise-man’. When they provide him with goat of a particular color and pieces or clothes of specific designs to counter-act the supposed witchcraft, they think they would now be relieved of their worries. Actually, they are relieved of their money only.