IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, MOST GRACIOUS, MOST MERCIFUL.
"O YE WHO BELIEVE, INTOXICANTS AND GAMBLING…ARE AN ABOMINATION OF SATAN’S HANDIWORK:SO ABSTAIN FROM SUCH ABOMINATION THAT YE 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?"(Holy Quran-5:90/1)
The Prophet (SAW) called alcohol the mother of all vices (Umm al-Khabaith). Like drugs (another form of intoxicant) drink destroys the well being of society damages the economy. Intoxicants of all kinds are destructive.
Medically we know they damage health, causing addiction, shrinkage of vital organs such as the brain, where irreplaceable cells are destroyed, and death. Countless working days are lost because of ‘hangovers’ and alcohol related complaints. Families are destroyed through drinking, children are sexually abused, wives battered, family finances depleted, and marriages break up.
Alcohol brings about horrific changes of personality that turns sensible hard working people into crazed animals. Hooliganism and rowdyism resulting from drinking is now common place. Drunkenness and abusive behaviour disrupts public transport, city centres and sporting occasions. The habitual drunkards, the ‘winos’ who cannot live without it, are ready at times to commit any crime for it. Drinking or taking any kind of intoxicant is a great sin in Islam. This is clear from many traditions of the Prophet (saw).
However governments and institutions react in typical contradictory approaches. Western Governments launch horrific information films against drunk driving. But in the same evening’s viewing there is a continual bombardment of commercials for various beers and spirits. Around the country about half of the big adverts are for various alcoholic drinks. Most of the billboards on the bus stops and road sides are for alcoholic drinks. Even football shirts advertise beers. It is well known that most of the prisoners committed crimes as a result of substance abuse. Hence governments want to warn against drinking and at the same time rake in the taxes whilst sedating the nation with alcohol. Yet they concentrate on banning the promotion of nicotine smoking?
What is even more painfully clear is that there can be no security, in western societies that are built upon man made ideologies.
Whilst the divinely revealed Islam came to secure and protect five fundamental issues - BELIEF, HONOR, PROPERTY, LIFE AND THE MIND: where Islam forbids the use of alcoholic drinks and any other substances that befog the mind. As opposed to the Western culture which revolves around alcohol and disillusionment, that represent another dimension of the corrupted societies that abound in the Western nations.
These securities that Islam protects constitute the very things that any human being wants to secure. Any person longs for security for the mind, life, property, honor and belief. No such society in the world offers such comprehensive and guaranteed security.
The West has failed to provide any kind of security or protection for the world or for its own citizens. Every day the people find their beliefs derailed and mocked at, their minds poisoned by the entertainment business and the intoxicants available at the counter, their property taken away by the economic and financial institutions, their women bought and sold as sexual ornaments and economic commodities, and their lives looming with the prospect of encountering a killer.
ALCOHOL IS AN INSTRUMENT OF OPPRESSION, AND WAS USED EFFECTIVELY BY THE APARTHEID,COLONIAL REGIMES TO OPPRESS PEOPLE.
Alcohol is probably South Africa's major community problem and it is responsible for more ill-health, psychological disturbances, social friction, quarrels, and fights than any other single factor.
Children born of alcoholic mothers suffer from: (a) Mental retardation (b) Holes in the heart
(c) Genital defects (d) Webbing of fingers (e) Even moderate consumption of alcohol affects unborn babies.
ALCOHOLISM costs South Africa a staggering R9,5-billion a year.(1997) and is increasing daily.
About half of South Africa's workforce of 8,665,700 are consumers of alcoholic beverages.250,000 workers have serious problems.(Report by Human Sciences Research Council).
About 950-million is lost in production due to alcoholism. A further R648-million is lost in alcohol related health and medical costs, motor vehicle
Accidents, violence and crime, fire losses and the cost of social programmes to combat or deal with alcohol related problems.
The total cost of alcoholism to the South African economy is therefore R9,5-billion (South African National Council on Alcoholism).
There are over 8000 deaths on the roads of South Africa every year. Of these more than 4000 were the direct result of drunk driving.
Over 25000 people are arrested every year and found guilty for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Estimates by social workers indicate that more than 3-million economically active South African of all races are addicted to alcohol.
South Africans drink at least 4,9 billion litres of alcohol every year.
Experimenting with alcohol starts as young as 9-11 years old. Children are starting to drink regularly at an early age of 13-14 years .
A majority of young people have developed a certain drinking pattern by the age of 20-years.
A scientific survey has found the shocking fact that South Africa's blacks alone spend a staggering R1,655-million every year on alcohol.
Prof; Harry Seftel Head of African Diseases at Wits University revealed that: "Ninety percent of nutritional problems among urban blacks are related to alcoholism".
The above are just a few examples of the disastrous and harmful effects of alcohol in the lives of the South African nation. Much much more damage is caused directly or indirectly by this poisonous drug called alcohol. Volumes can be written about the tragedies, sufferings, misery, mental and physical ill-health.
It is about time that we realised that alcohol leads to a false sense of values, aimlessness, lack of character, destitution, beggary, drunkenness, stealing, gangsterism, murder, rape, etc.That is why it is important that that governments and institutions and Health Ministries URGENTLY STOP THE ADVERTISING OF LIQUOR ON TV; PRESS AND THE MEDIA in general. If a total ban on liquor and liquor ads cannot be achieved in the short term than at least THEY COULD TREAT IT THE SAME AS SMOKING. They could also introduce warnings on all liqour ads such as: Beware alcohol is a poison."- "Alcohol causes alcoholism".-"Alcohol is a dangerous drug."- "Alcohol destroys families." "Alcohol pollutes the Mind."-"Alcohol causes mental retardation." -"Alcohol causes impotence"."Alcohol affects unborn babies".-"Alcohol can cause cancer".-"Alcohol leads to poverty."
The governments, institutions and The Ministry of Health, and all those concerned with health, have a duty to protect the health and well-being of the nation. After reading the above information, I hope that you will realise the SERIOUSNESS and URGENCY of the situation and take the necessary ACTION PROGRAMME. For every second that is wasted more and more people are being affected and becoming victims of this POISON CALLED ALCOHOL. LET US ALL JOIN TOGETHER TO DESTROY THIS CURSE AND MOTHER OF ALL VICES,IN OUR LIVES.
(Abdullah Osman Editor AL-ISLAM)