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Subject:      Re: Alcohol in Islam
From:         marjan@vom.com (AbdulraHman Lomax)
Date:         1997/11/02
Message-ID:   <63ieah$nu0$1@shell3.ba.best.com>
Newsgroups:   soc.religion.islam

as-salamu 'alaykum.

"Arabic Paper"  wrote:

>Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) came to people who drink Alcohol comparable to
>drinking water. They're addicted to this poison just as the case of the
>generations nowadys.  It would've  been impossible for those addicts to
>just quit drinking when they're told so. So, Allah (swt) made this
>transition easy and gradual so people can learn not to drink this poison
>anymore......Later on Allah (swt) forbidden this altogether.

It is arguable that alcohol was never "altogether" forbidden. I agree
that alcohol for consumption as a beverage was forbidden, for very
good reasons.

>There is no doubt that Alcohol has many benefits, but its misery
>tremendously outweighs its benefits. In the United States alone, more than
>50% of the reported crimes are due to Alcoholism, and I'm not talking about
>any medical conditions here.

The statistic is questionable, but not the fact that there is
tremendous damage from the use of alcohol. But Fuad has missed my
point completely. He acknowledges that the prohibition was only
gradually implemented, which means that he acknowledges that, prior to
the prohibition, alcohol was not forbidden. Thus the fact that alcohol
might have been allowed for someone deathly ill, as mentioned in the
passage from the Bible quoted by Fuad, is not any evidence that the
Bible is corrupt. In fact, it confirms the Bible, to a small degree.

In other words, we affirm that until the revelation of the Qur'an in
its fullness, alcohol was not forbidden; and thus it might have been
prescribed by even a prophetess for some good use.

[I had written:]
>>Now, as to the context of the verse: it is actually, more generally, a
>>prohibition of alcohol ("for kings," being the admonition of the
>>mother of Lemuel), but verses 6-7 give an exception, a person who is
>>ready to die, or perhaps who is suicidal. In context, it was part of
>>an admonition, and the admonition is, in part: "Are you so sick that
>>you need to drink?"

>There is nothing out of context here. This is, and according to Christians,
>is revelation from God.

According to some Christians. And it appears that Fuad does not
understand what "out of context" means. It means that Fuad has
selectively quoted the verses to make a passage whose basic intent is
to forbid alcohol for Lemuel into a recommendation of alcohol. It was
not; on the contrary, the effect of the verse is a strong
recommendation against alcohol. More than that we are not going to
find in the Bible, because in Biblical times, God had not yet seen fit
to prohibit the drinking of the stuff.

>In fact, many people use both verses as an excuse
>to drink, and why not....God said so.  These two verses don't talk about  "
>person who is ready to die, or perhaps who is suicidal ". Show me where it
>says that you have to be dying or suicidal to be allowed to drink? You have
>no case......

Unbelieveable. Proverbs 31:6-7. After telling Lemuel that alcohol is
not for him, nor for princes, because it makes one forget the law
(don't we agree with this?), it then gives a proper use -- for the
time, and possibly even now -- for it: "give strong drink unto him
that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no

The description here is of one who is "ready to die," or who is in
severe depression, and such a person, I said, is "perhaps" suicidal.

I consider it likely that Lemuel's mother said this only to make him
ashamed to drink. But the alternate reading is that alcohol was then
allowed for one of its well-known beneficial effects, which is an
easing of pain and worry.

I also happen to have attended a lot of meetings of Alcholics
Anonymous, so I know a bit about alcoholism. I've never been a drinker
myself, even before I accepted Islam, but I have known many people who
were, and in those meetings, I got a very good glimpse of what
alcoholism meant. One of the things that dry, sober, no longer
drinking alcoholics often say is that alcohol saved their lives. Then
it almost took their lives.

This is the description of a medicine which, once it has done its job,
becomes a poison. These people said that alcohol saved their lives
because they were so suicidally depressed that, if not for alcohol,
they would have died. But then alcohol brought its own problems.
Ultimately, they found that what they really needed was trust in God
(though not always by that name), that this worked far better than
alcohol. But if not for the alcohol, they would not have survived long
enough to find God....

We now know that alcohol is totally forbidden. Some people can drink
without severe problems, and there are even some people for whom
alcohol is mildly beneficial. We are not surprised to find medical
reports of a beneficial effect from regular small doses of wine. But
some people are apparently unable to confine themselves to "regular
small doses," and these people must abstain completely or face a cycle
of drunkenness and ruin. It appears that Allah has prohibited alcohol
for all of us in order to protect that minority; and because that
minority, when it suffers from alcoholism, harms the rest of us (Fuad
has mentioned "crime;" the crime that most concerns us at this time is
drunk driving), it is just and fair. Our loss, those of us who would
not progress to active alcoholism, is minor compared with the losses
if drinking were allowed.

If someone uses those verses in Proverbs to justify drinking, this
person is not a Muslim. But those verses are not contrary to Islam;
they are merely abrogated in the meaning which Fuad attempts to
construe them.

My primary concern here is not alcohol itself, but manifest and
gratuitous disrespect for the scriptures of the Christians and Jews.

AbdulraHman Lomax
P.O. Box 423
Sonoma, CA 95476