A Response to “Last Drinks”

Recently when I was browsing the internet, I came across “Last Drinks” a YouTube video report presented by Tom Steinfort, a famous Australian journalist. The program was produced by 60 Minutes Australia. The subject matter of the program was none other than the age-old issue of alcohol. As a person living in a multi-religious and multi-cultural society, for a very long time, I have heard the debate on alcohol coming from different perspectives. Most communities other than the Muslims approve the use of alcohol for parties and festivities as there is no strict ruling on the consumption of it in their religions. Conversely, for Muslims, it is a big ‘No, No’ as the Qur’an categorically prohibits the act of imbibing alcohol. Though it was only a seventeen-minute report, the content was a candid one, discussing precisely and concisely the health hazards of gulping alcoholic drinks. What caught my attention the most was the prelude to the topic by the host of the program when he said the following: 

 “The sobering news, which has just been reported in the prestigious Lancet medical journal, is that there is no such thing as safe drinking. That means, contrary to popular opinion, even one glass a day of our favourite tipple is detrimental to our health. And the report’s authors could not be more blunt: just like tobacco and obesity, alcohol is a killer, claiming more and more lives while most of us remain in blissful denial about how much we really drink” (Tom Steinfort, 60 Minutes Australia)         

 Earlier than the aforementioned video, I also came across the issue of alcohol on the BBC online news portal with the caption “Long Queues as India Opens Liquor Stores”. As a man who promotes sobriety, I started to respond to the two media reports on alcohol to my close circle of friends who are of different faith groups. The common factors that bind all of us in good universal brotherhood were God and spirituality. Realizing that their faith is different from mine, and not to be a dogmatic person, my simple response was as per what comes below:

 “Thank God if you are a non-alcoholic person. In Islam, all intoxicants are Haram (Forbidden). Islam allows to a certain degree the usage of alcohol in the medical field to save lives from infectious diseases and viruses. You can have it in sanitizing liquids and perfumes. You can have it applied to the body, but to imbibe and get high is not allowed. The Qur’an says that the evils in the intoxicants are greater than the benefits (Al-Qur’an, 2:219). When you are under the influence of alcohol you tend to lose consciousness and you are no longer living in the reality of what is happening around you. When you are high on alcohol you can do the most heinous crimes that even can cause the lives of your near and dear ones. Crimes like rape, wife and children battering, use of foul language, doing immoral acts in public, and the list goes on. Not only that, you will be preparing for an early exit from life due to health reasons, wasting your hard-earned money and wasting time non-productively happen when you are drunk. We are shown in the movies that people should drink and forget about their worries. Yes, but it is only momentarily because you are in a different world altogether when you are drunk. By the time you gain consciousness the problems you faced are far from over. So, what is the best way to solve problems? I suggest one should go back to spirituality, and meditation and take refuge in God. At the same time, use your God-given minds to think critically and creatively. I am pretty sure, that if you stay focused and do the necessary things to overcome your problems, eventually you would be able to solve the problems you are confronting at the moment. Plus, divine intervention from God will come too. So, guys please stay healthy and be productive members of your family, community and the country at large. The government should conduct campaigns at all levels of schooling on the dangers of alcohol abuse. Having said that, I also suggest the same for smoking, vaping, drugs, etc. It might sound that I am too idealistic about what I have written thus far, but I think I have the right to my opinion. After all, a good life is living between idealism and realism. Metaphorically, the idealists put their heads in the clouds and do not care about what happens on the ground. They are just floating with ideas. Conversely, the realists live a purely earthly and hedonistic life. As Muslims, we are told to live mid-way between idealism and realism (wasatiyyah, for this world and hereafter). As such, you can have your heads in the clouds floating with lofty ideas and ideals, but at the same time, your feet must be firmly rooted on the ground dealing with real-life issues on a daily basis. You must work hard for your living in this world and at the same time, don't forget to conduct yourself morally, ethically and spiritually. My last word will be, lead a happy, meaningful and blissful life. May God be with us. Have a nice day”.

In winding up this short discussion on alcohol, I would humbly request people of the East and West to consider seriously what the Lancet medical journal findings say on alcohol. In addition to that, the quote from the video report says, “there is no such thing as safe drinking…… just like tobacco and obesity, alcohol is a killer, claiming more and more lives while most of us remain in blissful denial about how much we really drink” should be an eye-opener to most nations that spend billions of dollars on alcohol and turn their good citizens and family men into alcoholics. 

(Dr.Mohd Abbas Abdul Razak is Assistant Professor, Dept. of Fundamental & Inter-Disciplinary Studies Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge & Human Sciences, IIUM)



The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily mirror Islamonweb’s editorial stance.

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