Why does Islam prohibit alcohol and other intoxicating substances?

Islam prohibits any substance that induces intoxication. The Qur’an calls alcoholic substances one of “loathsome evils of Satan’s doing” (Ma’idah 5:90).

All of the commandments and prohibitions in Islam rest upon the following five entrustments that Allah ordained upon humans:

  1. Protecting life: homicide is prohibited and punished (Ma’idah 5:32).
  2. Protecting reason: any and all intoxicants are prohibited (Ma’idah 5:90).
  3. Protecting religion: Polytheism and atheism are prohibited and punished for in the Hereafter.
  4. Protecting progeny: Fornication and adultery are prohibited and punished (Nur 24:2).
  5. Protecting property: Thievery is prohibited and punished (Ma’idah 5:38).

Alcohol, narcotics and their derivatives violate the sanctity of one’s reason and mind. Undoubtedly, sound reason is the foundation of one’s sincere and conscientious faith.

Prohibition of alcohol and narcotics is considered to be a means of protecting humans’ dignity as well. There are no sizes—big or small—of prohibitions.

To understand this Islamic principle, it suffices to remember the following rule:

The end of the road leading to alcoholism and dependency on narcotics starts with that first drop of alcohol and the first “high.” Islam prohibits consuming that first drop and that first shot of a needle in particular, and consumption of these hazardous substances in general.

There is also a moral dimension to the prohibition of such substances that blur one’s mind and reason—alcohol, narcotics and the like: “O humans! You are the slave of that, which you became dependent on! Such dependency demolishes your honor and dignity.

You are created not to be dependent on and enslaved by your dreams and desires, but you are to serve your Lord Allah! The real freedom is the ability to control desires and vicious passions.

O human! Beware of alcohol and narcotics and intoxication they induce! Be not intoxicated by property and money! Be not intoxicated by power and recognition!”

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