WISDOM BEHIND THE PROHIBITION OF ALCOHOL AND GAMBLING IN ISLAM
Allah says in the Noble Qur’an:
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ ۖ قُلْ فِيهِمَا إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثْمُهُمَا أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا ۗ وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ
They ask you about intoxicants and gambling. Say: "In both of them there is a great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people, But their sin is greater than their benefit." And they ask you what they should spend Say; "The excess (beyond needs)." Thus Allah makes clear to you the verses [of revelation] that you may ponder”. (Baqarah 2:219).
SOME USEFUL POINTS DERIVABLE FROM THIS VERSE:
1. The term ‘khamr’ literally means ‘a blanket’. Hence, the cloth that women use to cover their head, in observance of hijab, is called ‘khimar’. Since alcohol seizes the power of detection and discernment from the human intellect, it is called ‘khamr’. Similarly, anything that covers a man’s intellect is called ‘khamr’. Moreover, ‘maisar’ is derived from the word ‘yusar’ which literally means ‘ease’. Obviously, in any gambling game, both sides of the player will like to kidnap the money and property of each other without any stress or effort.
2. Some people came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his family) to ask about the status of khamr and maisar in Islam. . The Prophet waited for Allah’s Verdict, and it came in the above verse. In it, our Creator declares that alcohol and gambling are major sins, even though they also have some benefits. For instance, some, through trade in alcohol or gambling, acquire great wealth. Yet, the evil effects of both on the health and survival of the family and the society are severe. This is why Islam has prohibited them. Full discussions about their harms to humanity are discussed in the books of the scholars.
EVILS OF ALCOHOL AND GAMBLING
Here, we shall mention some of the negative effects of alcohol and gambling, as discussed in Tafsir Nemune, a book of Qur’anic exegesis:
a. It shortens human lifespan.
b. It brings about negative effects on a newly-born baby, especially if one of the couple was drunk at the time of the intercourse.
c. It causes immorality in the society.
d. It increases the crime and mortality rates especially theft, violence, injury, sexual offences, road accidents and so on.
e. It has been reported that a popular scholar said: ‘If governments had barred half of alcohol vendors, we would have closed large numbers of our hospitals and asylums.”
f. Negative emotions, neurological diseases, brain strokes, heart attacks, increased heartbeat rates, lack of appetite, wariness, and mental illnesses are among bad effects of alcohol.
g. Moreover, statistics show that 30% of the recorded crimes was linked to gambling.
h. Gambling plays destructive roles in economic development and it ruins the fruits of good work. Also, in some non-Muslim countries, gambling has been declared illegal and prohibited for some years. For example, England in 1853, the former Soviet Union in 1853, and Germany in 1873 declared gambling illegal and prohibited.
Thus, based on the infinite Wisdom of Allah, and the various statistical reports, humanity must reject both alcohol and gambling. Doing this will help humanity a lot in all ways, and will remove many of the problems that we now have.
FROM: TAFSIR NUR, AYATULLAH MUHSIN QIRA’ATI