Drugs, Alcohol, & Gambling


Description:  A two-part lesson clarifying the Islamic perspective on three widespread evils: drugs, alcohol, and gambling.  Part 1: The evi...

Description: A two-part lesson clarifying the Islamic perspective on three widespread evils: drugs, alcohol, and gambling.  Part 1: The evil consequences of drugs and alcohol and the Islamic perspective on their consumption.
·       Recognize the effect of drinking alcohol on the human mind and body.
·       Learn the verses of the Quran and hadith of Prophet Muhammad on alcohol and drugs.
·       Learn the Islamic ruling on alcohol and drugs.
Arabic Terms
·       Hadith -  (plural – ahadith) is a piece of information or a story. In Islam it is a narrative record of the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad and his companions.
·       Khamr – Any drink, drug, or substance that causes intoxication.
·       Salah - the Arabic word to denote a direct connection between the believer and Allah. More specifically, in Islam it refers to the formal five daily prayers and is the most important form of worship.
·       Surah - chapter of the Quran.

Drugs and Alcohol

Drugs,Alcohol,Gambling1.jpgAlcohol is part of the Western culture—it is used in celebrations and socialization, and it enhances religious ceremonies. Most Americans recognize that drinking too much can lead to accidents and dependence. But that’s only part of the story. In addition to these serious problems, alcohol abuse can damage organs, weaken the immune system, and contribute to cancers. Furthermore, drinking kills 1,400 college students each year in the US[1]  and contributes to 100,000 deaths annually, making it the third leading cause of mortality in the US, after tobacco and diet/activity.[2]  During 2007 a total of 38,371 drug-induced deaths occurred in the US.[3]
As an example of what it does to the brain, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states,
“Difficulty walking, blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reaction times, impaired memory: Clearly, alcohol affects the brain. Some of these impairments are detectable after only one or two drinks and quickly resolve when drinking stops. On the other hand, a person who drinks heavily over a long period of time may have brain deficits that persist well after he or she achieves sobriety. Exactly how alcohol affects the brain and the likelihood of reversing the impact of heavy drinking on the brain remain hot topics in alcohol research today.
We do know that heavy drinking may have extensive and far–reaching effects on the brain, ranging from simple “slips” in memory to permanent and debilitating conditions that require lifetime custodial care. And even moderate drinking leads to short–term impairment, as shown by extensive research on the impact of drinking on driving.”[4]
Drug and alcohol dependence often go hand in hand. Research shows that people who are dependent on alcohol are more likely to use drugs, and people with drug dependence are much more likely to drink alcohol.[5]

Progressive Effects of Alcohol[6]

Blood Alcohol Concentration
Changes in Feelings and Personality
Physical and Mental Impairments
0.01 — 0.06
Sense of Well-being
Loss of Inhibition
Lowered Alertness
0.06 — 0.10
Blunted Feelings
Impaired Sexual Pleasure
Reflexes Impaired
Depth Perception
Distance Acuity
Peripheral Vision
Glare Recovery
0.11 — 0.20
Emotional Swings
Angry or Sad
Reaction Time
Gross Motor Control
Slurred Speech
0.21 — 0.29
Lose Understanding
Impaired Sensations
Severe Motor Impairment
Loss of Consciousness
Memory Blackout
0.30 — 0.39
Severe Depression
Death Possible
Bladder Function
Heart Rate
=> 0.40
Heart Rate

Islam, our beautiful religion, provides us guidance about drugs and alcohol. Islam views drugs and alcohol in the category of prohibited and forbidden. Any amount of drugs or alcohol is forbidden to use. Taking even a little wine for social drinking is totally forbidden. Once developed, the habit of drinking in small amounts soon develops into an addiction.
Allah has forbidden drugs and drinks in the Quran:
O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful. Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?  (Quran 5:90-91)
When these verses were revealed to the Prophet, an announcement was made that those who have alcohol were forbidden to drink or sell it. All stocks were ordered to be destroyed. Thereafter, alcohol was drained in the streets of the city of Madina.
One person asked if alcohol can be used as medicineThe Prophet said, “It is not a medicine, it is a disease.”[7]
The Prophet prohibited alcohol in strong words. He said:
“Truly, Allah has cursed khamr, the one who produces it, the one for whom it is made, the one who consumes it, and the one who serves it, the one who carries it, the one for whom it is carried, the one who sells it, the one who earns from the sale of it, the one who buys it, and the one for whom it is bought.” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
The Arabs before Islam were fond of alcohol and drinking parties. They had one hundred names for alcohol in their language. To eradicate this evil, Allah adopted a step-wise approach to prohibit it.
In the first stage, Allah expressed disapproval of drinking and gambling  (Surah al-Baqarah 2:219).  The second phase forbade people  from praying in state of drunkenness (Surah an-Nisa 4:43).  In the third and final phase, the prohibition was absolute (Surah al-Maidah 5:90-91).
Any drink, drug, powder, or substance that intoxicates is forbidden.  Allah’s Prophet said,“Every intoxicant is khamr, and every khamr is forbidden.” (Saheeh Muslim)
He also said, ‘What intoxicates in a large quantity is forbidden even in a small quantity.’ (Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi)
What this means is that a sip of any alcoholic drink or a small quantity of a drug is also forbidden.

[1] (http://articles.cnn.com/2002-04-09/health/college.drinking_1_college-students-binge-drinking-student-deaths?_s=PM:HEALTH)
[2] J McGinnis & W Foege, ‘Actual Causes of Death in the United States,’ Journal of the American Medical Association {JAMA}, Vol. 270, No. 18, 11/10/93, p.2208
[3] (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/su6001a12.htm#tab)
[4] (http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm)
[5] (http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/AA76/AA76.htm)
[6] (http://www.alcohol.vt.edu/students/alcoholeffects/index.htm)
[7] Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood
[8] https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

Drugs, Alcohol, & Gambling (part 2 of 2)

Description: A two-part lesson clarifying the Islamic perspective on three widespread evils: drugs, alcohol, and gambling.  The part presents the Islamic ruling on the different forms of gambling widespread in modern society along with guidance from the Quran and Sunnah to stay away from these vices. 
·       Recognize the widespread forms of gambling in modern society.
·       Learn the Islamic ruling on gambling and it’s types.
·       Learn six ways to deal with the vices of alcohol, drugs, and gambling.
Arabic Terms
·       Du’a  -  supplication, prayer, asking Allah for something.
·       Sunnah - The word Sunnah has several meanings depending on the area of study however the meaning is generally accepted to be, whatever was reported that the Prophet said, did, or approved.


Gambling discourages honest labor and encourages greed, materialism and discontent.  It encourages “get rich quick” thinking and reckless investment of God-given resources.
“Gambling addiction” is a recognized mental health problem![1]  Betting on sports, buying lotto tickets, playing poker, slot machines, or roulette are only a few of the activities in which compulsive gamblers engage.  While many prefer gambling in a casino, the rate of online gambling addiction is on the rise.
Islam forbids gambling.  The prohibition is based on the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet.  In the Quran, we read:
“O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handwork: Abstain from such (abomination), that you may prosper.  Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer. Will you not then abstain?” (Surah al-Maidah 90-91)
The Messenger of Allah emphasized the prohibition of gambling to such an extent that even considering to take part in gambling was regarded to be blameworthy.  The Messenger of Allah said: “Whosoever says to another: ‘come lets gamble’ should give in charity(as a form of expiation for intending to gamble).” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
We can say that gambling is an activity in which the players voluntarily transfer money or something of value among themselves, but this transaction is conditional to the outcome of a future event that is uncertain.
Basically, there are two fundamental formations of gambling:
1)   The first form of gambling is when no party is obliged to pay any amount for certain; rather, the payment of each party is dependent upon an uncertain event in the future.  In this case, the gambler does not stake his money initially, rather the money is put at stake by promising to pay later.
For example, A and B compete in a race, with the promise of the loser paying the winner $100.  In this example, there is no certainty of payment from any one party; rather the payment is contingent from both sides on winning and losing.
Also included in this category is the betting that takes place in horse-racing and various other sports.  For example, A says to B that if team X wins the match, I will pay you $100, but if team X loses, you will have to pay me $100.
2)   The second form of gambling is where payment is certain from one side, and uncertain from the other.  The one paying for certain is actually staking his wealth, in that it may bring more wealth or it may be lost totally.  This is probably the most widespread type of gambling and has many different forms.
Also included are the various types of lotteries, raffles, and sweepstakes, where one has to pay to be included in the draw, whether this payment is in the form of entrance-fees, purchasing of tickets or any other form.  The reason is that the total accumulated cash will be distributed among those whose names emerge in the draw as the prize-winners, which is clear gambling.  If one’s name does not emerge in the prize draw, one will be losing wealth without anything in return.

Treatment Plan

1.     Proper Upbringing

A healthy family provides the stability children need and when it instills in children the love and fear of Allah, it becomes a strong deterrent against following desires.  The most effective manner to parent is to provide good role models to one’s children.  Not only words, but action is also required from parents.

2.     Repent & Seek Forgiveness

A believer immediately seeks forgiveness after committing a sin and feels ashamed for having disobeyed Allah.  Therefore, any Muslim who is involved in drug abuse, alcoholism, or gambling, must know that Allah is there to help him and forgive him his sins.  He must go to Allah with a repentant heart.  The Prophet of Mercy said, “The one who repents from sin is like the one who has not committed any sin.” (Ibn Majah)
However, repentance should be totally sincere.  A person has to feel ashamed and guilty for doing the sin.  He should also resolve to stay away from that sin in future.  He should make amends to compensate for that sin. 

3.     Keep Good Company

Keeping good company is part of the treatment as well as prevention.  Without it, the treatment is incomplete.  A person should make every effort to develop good relations.  Being surrounded by good, pious people cannot be over emphasized.  When a person is deprived of sincere friends, he has no one to remind or advise him when he is feeling sad or lonely.  Many people fall into the vices of drugs, alcohol, and gambling through exposure to bad company.  Live close to the mosque and spend time in it, change neighborhoods, move out of the city, do whatever it takes.

4.     Occupy Your Time

When a person with free time fails to utilize it in obedience of Allah, he will likely use it to disobey Allah.  Most addicts complain of boredom! Free time should be seen and utilized as an opportunity to please Allah and gain His rewards in the Hereafter.  The Prophet said“There are two blessings of which many people are deprived: health and free time.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
Use your time to learn the Quran, learn Arabic, learn about Islam, then spread it.  Use your free time to develop skills, get training for a job, or education. 

5.     Consult a Rehab Center

Get into a rehab program and get all the help you need.

6.     Du’a (Supplication)

Du’a in itself is an effective treatment.  In du’a one implores the All-Powerful by Whose command everything occurs.  When one combines du’a with other efforts, Allah most certainly helps and protects His servants.

[1] (http://www.ncpgambling.org)



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Jama Masjid: Drugs, Alcohol, & Gambling
Drugs, Alcohol, & Gambling
Jama Masjid
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