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Wednesday 26th of June 2019
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Those Who Commits Qazaf are not Believers

Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) has informed;
"One who commits qazaf is removed from the ranks of the believers of Allah and considered as a transgressor. Transgressor is also the opposite of believer as Allah himself says,
'Is he then who is the believer like him who is the transgressor?'"
(Surah Sajdah 32:18)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has been reported to have said,
"The person who accuses falsely a chaste man or a chaste woman of indecency, Allah invalidates all his good deeds (and does not give him any reward) and on the Day of Judgement seventy thousand angels lash him from the front and behind and continue to do so till the order is passed for him to be put in Hell."

Penalty for Qazaf

"And those who accuse free women then do not bring four witnesses, flog them, (giving) eighty lashes, and do not admit evidence from them ever."
(Surah Nur 24:4)

The above verse, numerous traditions and the rules promulgated by the Mujtahids indicate that every one of the false accusers of sodomy and fornication must be lashed eighty times (provided four just witnesses are not available simultaneously). However, the following conditions should be noted.

1) The sinner must be major and sane. A minor child or an insane person cannot be punished for false accusations. Also, the major and the sane person should have made the allegation after careful consideration and not under compulsion. No penalty can be imposed on an accuser if he has made a genuine blunder or if he has made the accusation in jest.

2) One who has been accused of adultery or sodomy must possess five characteristics. First of all, he must be a major. Secondly, he must be sane and not a madman. Thirdly, he must be free and not a slave. Fourthly, he must be a Muslim and not a Kafir. Lastly, he must apparently be chaste. A person who strongly objects to being blamed of adultery and fornication or is shocked and dismayed by such an accusation is taken to be a chaste person. So if the accused does not fulfill the above conditions or is notorious for being corrupt and indecent, the accuser is not penalised for qazaf.

3) The accusation should clearly mention adultery or sodomy. If an accuser is vague in his allegations and merely hints at adultery or sodomy or addresses the accused as 'adulterer' or 'sodomist', then he can be exempted from punishment. But in this case, the accused has a right to demand action against the accuser.

Sometimes, the allegation is against someone other than the one who is addressed. For example, One says, "Your father was an adulterer! Your father was a sodomist!" In such a situation, it is the right of the father, of the one who is addressed to insist upon the penalty. The son is not directly accused but insulted in the process. Consequently, he cannot demand the sentence of qazaf against the accuser but must insist upon a lighter penalty like reprimanding or beating so that the sin is not repeated.

In the same way, if someone says "bastard" or "adulterously born!' etc., the right of having the punishment decreed rests upon the one who is actually accused. The person who is addressed can only claim a reduced penalty.

Expiation of the Sin on the Day of Judgement

A woman presented herself before the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and said, "O, Messenger of Allah, I called my maid adulteress."

The Prophet (s.a.) said,
"Have you ever seen her committing adultery?"
"No," she replied.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) told her,
"Know that ! On the day of Qiyamat, some of your good deeds will be transferred to this maid and it would be the expiation.

This woman returned and handed a whip to her maid and said, "lash me" but the maid refused, so she freed her. Again, she returned to the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and related the incident. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) remarked,
"May be this action of yours will act as the expiation of your utterance and you may not suffer it's consequences in the hereafter."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Repenting for Qazaf

One who accuses a Muslim of adultery or sodomy should know that qazaf or false accusation is a sin that trespasses upon the right of man as well as the right of Allah. As far as the human rights are concerned, the one who is falsely accused can take the accuser to the Qazi. If qazaf is proved by the confession of the accuser or by the testimony of two just witnesses who testify having heard the accuser making the false allegation, the legal sentence is executed. It is wajib for the person who has committed qazaf to submit himself to the accused for trial. However, he can request the one he has falsely accused to forgive him and must try his best to do so. If he is condoned, he escapes punishment. But if he is not forgiven and nor is the sentence carried out, and the falsely accused dies, the right of having the penalty executed is transferred to the legal heirs of the falsely accused. Now it is wajib upon the one guilty of qazaf either to surrender himself to the heirs so that he may be taken to a Qazi or he could ask for their forgiveness. If the heirs of the deceased forgive, he is saved from punishment.

Samaa says that I asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) regarding the person who commits qazaf but is forgiven by the one whom he accused falsely. "If later, this person regrets having forgiven and wishes that the accuser be punished, can the punishment for qazaf be executed now?"

Imam (a.s.) replied;
"No penalty can be imposed upon him after being respited."

Samaa says that I further enquired,
"What if the man says, "O son of a fornicatress." And the one who is falsely accused condones him but leaves the matter to Allah?" Imam (a.s.) replied;
"If his mother is alive, the son does not have the right of forgiving the accuser. His mother has the right to forgive. She can exercise her right whenever she wants. If his mother has died, only then does he have the right to forgive."
(Wasaelush Shia)

It is wajib upon the accuser, that after he has received the penalty or after he has been condoned by the one whom he falsely accused that he must publicly announce that whatever he has uttered is absolutely false. For example, he should say, "I had accused this person of fornication. It was a false accusation." His announcement should be to the extent that those who have heard the false accusation must hear his confession too.

In an authentic report Ibne Sinan asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.), "If a person makes a false allegation and undergoes the Islamic punishment and also repents. Can his evidence be accepted in future?" Imam replied,
"If he repents and his repentance consist of taking back the words he has uttered and confesses before the Imam (a.s.) and the Muslims to have uttered a lie... Then it is incumbent upon the Imam to accept his evidence and consider him just."

The book Al Kafi and Al-Tahzeeb contain other reports concerning the same issue. If the accuser has made a false accusation, it is obvious that to falsify his accusation is a must. But there may be a situation where the accuser has really witnessed the act of adultery and sodomy but the crime is not proved due to lack of four witnesses and as a result he becomes liable for penalty. In this case too, he has to falsify his statement.

Since adultery or sodomy could not be established according to the stipulation laid down by Islam, from the point of view of Shariat, his accusation is false. So although he had witnessed the crime, it is appropriate on his part to falsify his statement. This he should do with the clear intention that he is submitting to the laws of Islam.

This is in consonance with the following verse:
"Why did they not bring the four witnesses of it? But as they have not brought they are liars before Allah."
(Surah Nur 24:13)

The Shaykh writes in the book 'Nihaya' that a person who is guilty of qazaf should repent by publicly announcing that the accusation he had made is untrue, and that he had uttered a lie. He should do this at the same place where he had made the accusation. In this way all those who had heard a Muslim being denounced will now be aware of its falsehood and there will be no misunderstanding in their minds about his good character.

A person guilty of qazaf transgresses Allah's right by disobeying a Divine command. Allah has strictly prohibited qazaf and a person guilty of it is deserving of the punishment of the hereafter. But if the offender repents sincerely and reforms himself, Allah is most Forgiving and most Merciful.

"Except those who repent after this and act aright, for surely Allah is Forgiving and Merciful."
(Surah Nur 24:5)

Sincere repentance reforms a person. He will either make peace with the person whom he had earlier maligned, or he will confess his guilt and falsify his accusation before a Qazi. After this he is no longer a transgressor or a liar according to Shariat. He is now an adil (just man) whose evidence is acceptable. Beyond this, the experience of being guilty of qazaf and repenting sincerely by going through the humiliation of acknowledging it in public, brings about a deep-rooted transformation in the person's character. He is now inclined toward morality and piety and strives for spiritual upliftment.

The Shaykh says in the book "Mabsut": "After repentance, only good deeds should be seen in that man."

One who hears the accuser is obliged to advise him to refrain from slandering and even to reprimand him.

 

Qazaf and the Responsibility of Other Muslims

According to the philosophy of Islam, if a Muslim hears of another Muslim being accused of adultery or sodomy he should not pay heed to it. It is Haraam for him to believe it. It is also Haraam to repeat this slander to others. Till four just witnesses testify before the qazi and the qazi issues his decree, it is Haraam to associate any one with these sins. Even if one has witnessed the crime with his own eyes or believes the accuser, one should not spread the slander. Such an action would cause the accused person to lose his honour and dignity in people's estimation. This is totally unacceptable in Islam.

Till four just witnesses have not testified, the accuser should be regarded as a liar and a transgressor, and it is wajib upon the person who hears him to consider him so, even if what he says is true. It should be said to the accuser, "This is a great allegation. We do not accept that the statement is correct according to Shariat."

"Surely they who concocted the lie are the party from among you. Do not regard it as an evil to you, nay, it is good for you. Every man of them shall have what he has earned of sin and (as for) him who took upon him the main part thereof he shall have a grievous chastisement.
Why did not the believing men and the believing women, when they heard it, think well of their own people and say: this is an evident falsehood?
Why did they not bring four witnesses of it? But as they have not brought witnesses they are liars before Allah.
And were it not for Allah's Grace upon you and His Mercy in this world and the hereafter, a grievous chastisement would certainly have touched you on account of the discourse which you entered into.
When you received it with your tongues and spoke with your mouths what you had no knowledge of, you deemed it an easy matter while with Allah it was grievous.
And why did you not, when you heard it say: 'It does not beseem us that we should talk off it, glory be to thee ! This is a great calumny?'
Allah admonishes you that you should not return to the like of it ever again if you are believers.
And Allah makes clear to you the communications, and Allah is knowing and wise.
Surely (as for) those who love that scandal should circulate respecting those who believe, they shall have a grievous chastisement in this world and the hereafter and Allah knows while you do not know.

(Surah Nur 24:11-19)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) explains,
"One who speaks wrongly about the believer and says something which he has neither seen nor heard himself is from those who have been mentioned in the verse:
"Surely (as for) those who love that scandal should circulate respecting those who believe they shall have the grievous chastisement in this world and the hereafter and Allah knows while you do not know."
(Surah Nur 24:19)

In conclusion, it is Haraam to accuse anyone of fornication and sodomy without having seen the act with one's own eyes. Even after seeing it, it is Haraam to speak of it till four just witnesses testify having seen it.

But, if a husband accuses his wife wrongly of adultery, four witnesses are not required. It is sufficient for the husband to say before the qazi in the prescribed manner, "I am the liar, may the curse of Allah be upon me." And his accusation is admitted. This order is known as "laee" in Islamic terminology. And the accuser must fulfill the conditions as mentioned earlier in which case two just witnesses could testify that he has committed a calumny. As a result of this he is liable for penalty (eighty lashes). But these lashes would be lighter than those which are prescribed for the adulterer and the alcoholic. Also, the slanderer will not be lashed on a naked back like an adulterer and the alcoholic. He would be allowed to wear his shirt during lashing.

If Conditions for Qazaf are Absent

Even if the necessary conditions are not present in the accused it is still Haraam to associate him with adultery or sodomy. In this case the slanderer is reprimanded. However if some one calls a Muslim 'bastard' it does not imply that he is born of adultery. It could also imply that he was conceived when his mother was having a menstrual discharge. In such a condition it is Haraam for his father to perform the sexual act and the child conceived during this time is also a child of sin. In the same way if someone calls another, indecent or 'evil doer', the accusation of adultery and sodomy is not proved. However he could be punished lightly or reprimanded for insulting a person.

Similarly if a Muslim accuses falsely a Kafir of adultery or sodomy, the penalty of qazaf does not apply. Yet it is Haraam to associate even a Kafir with adultery and sodomy. It is not permissible to make such a statement in unequivocal words or to allude to it. But if it is established that he has committed adultery even from the point of view of his own faith, then it is allowed to associate him with it.

The Association of the Kuffar With Adultery

Umroo bin Noman Juhfi says that there was a friend of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.). He always remained with the Imam (a.s.) wherever he went. He had a slave who was from Sind. One day, the person was passing through the market of shoe-makers with Imam (a.s.) while his slave walked behind. The master wanted to send the slave on an errand, but when he looked back the slave had disappeared. He looked back three times but could not see the slave. After some time, when he looked for the fourth time, he saw the slave. He was angry with him and said, "O' son of the adulteress! Where were you?"

The narrator says that Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) slapped his forehead and said,
"Glory be to Allah! You are accusing his mother of adultery. And I was seeing some piety in you, but now I find that there is no sign of piety or religiousness left."

The companion protested,"May I be sacrificed upon you, his mother is an inhabitant of Sind (India) and she is a Mushrik (polytheist)." Imam (a.s.) replied,
"Don't you know that all people have their own type of marriage? Be away from me!"

The narrator says, "In the Imam's life-time, I never saw him walking with Imam (a.s.), again."

Another tradition states,
"All the people have their kind of marriage due to which they protect themselves from adultery."
(Al Kafi)

Abul Hasan al Hazzae says that he was in the company of Imam (a.s.) when a person came and asked him, "What did your debtors do?" I responded, "Are you asking about the son of that adulteress woman?" Upon hearing this Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) glared at me in anger. I said, "May I be sacrificed upon you. He is a Majoos (fire worshipper) and his mother is also his sister (means that his father had married his daughter). Imam (a.s.) asked,
"Is not this type of marriage permitted in their religion?"

Abusive Language is Haraam

Apart from grave accusations like adultery or sodomy it is also Haraam to use abusive language for a Muslim who does not openly indulge in evil acts. It is not allowed to abuse him with words like Transgressor! Dog! Drunkard! Pig! Even calling out to someone with such words is Haraam. Similarly, it is Haraam to address someone by associating him with some disease or handicap like Blind! Lame! Deaf! According to Shariat a person who uses abusive language should be given a light punishment or reprimanded.

The book Mustadrakul Wasael has a tradition from Imam Ali (a.s.) wherein he said,
"If a person calls another Sinner, Indecent, Kafir, Munafiq or Donkey, he must be given thirty nine lashes."

There is no difference if such words are used for relatives or strangers, against a student or a servant. Any bad words which mention the private parts or the indecent act are Haraam whether addressed to one who is an open sinner or not or whether he gets offended or not.

Traditions that Denounce Abusive Language

Numerous traditions have been recorded which censure bad words and abusive language.

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said,
"Abusive language is an atrocity and atrocity earns Hell."
(Al Kafi)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said,
"There are four people, the intensity of whose chastisement will also annoy the other people of Hell."

"There would be a man who had blissfully used abusive and foul language in the world. In Hell, puss and blood shall flow from his mouth."

Other reports on this subject have already been mentioned in our discussion.

Replying to the Abuse

It must be understood that as it is Haraam to initiate abusive language it is also Haraam to abuse in reply to it. This strictly applies to words that denote, qazaf (accuse of adultery or sodomy). But for abuses like 'ignorant', idiot tyrant, it is permissible to reciprocate with the same words.
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

The Holy Quran also allows this, in the following ayat
"... Whoever then acts aggressively against you, inflict injury on him according to the injury he has inflicted on you..."
(Surah Baqarah 2:194)

"And whoever defends himself after his being oppressed these it is against whom there is no way (to blame)."
(Surah Shuara 42:41)

"And if you take your turn, then retaliate with the like of that with which you are afflicted."
(Surah Nahl 16:126)

If No Excess is Committed

Imam Musa al-Kazim says regarding two people who have abused each other,
"From the two of them, the one who initiated it, is more unjust, his sin includes the sin of abusing as well as the sin of the one who had cursed him in reply. But the oppressed one should not exceed the limit."

It means that a person who is abused should retaliate only with words that equal the abuses. He should not use a more abusive language otherwise his sin will be equal to the sin of the one who initiated.

For example if one calls another 'you donkey' and he replies with 'you dog' then this would be exceeding the limits. Or if one says 'you donkey' only once and the other person responds by repeating the same word twice or more, it would constitute an excess. If a person who has uttered a bad word, seeks forgiveness immediately before he is replied to, he must be condoned. In this case it is not allowed to reply even with the same words.

Silence is better

It must be emphasized that although it is permitted to retaliate in equal measure, it is best to remain silent.

The Holy Quran says;
"And the recompense to evil is punishment like it, but whoever forgives and amends, he shall have his reward from Allah, surely He does not love the unjust."
(Surah Shura 42:40)

Allah says in another place;
"And it is nearer to righteousness that you should relinquish."
(Surah Baqarah 2:237)

One Who Utters Abuses Will Himself be Humiliated

Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansari relates that Ali (a.s.) saw that a man was abusing Hazrat Qambar and Qambar was about to reply to him. Ali (a.s.) called him:
"Qambar, stop! Humiliate the one who curses you by remaining silent. In this way the Beneficent will be satisfied with you and the shaitan angry. And you will be able to maim your foe. You will please that Allah who splits the seed and cause pleasant winds to blow. No one can please Allah more with his forbearance, similarly nothing makes Shaitan more angry than silence in return of abuse. The revenge taken from an idiot (ignorant) person in this way is not possible in any other way."
(Safinatul Behaar)

If a person who is abused responds with kind and gentle words like, 'Do not abuse your brother', he occupies a very high position with Allah.

The Holy Quran says;
"And not alike are the good and the evil. Repel (evil) with what is best. When lo! he between whom and you is enmity would be as if he were a warm friend. And none are made to receive it but those who are patient, and none are made to receive it but those who have mighty good fortune."
(Surah Hamim 41:34-35)

The following incident is quoted in the book 'Kashful Ghumma':
A Syrian came to Madinah. He saw a handsome man astride a good camel. Upon enquiry he learnt that it was Imam Hasan ibn Ali (a.s.).

This man from Syria stepped forward in anger and said;"Are you the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib?"
"Yes, I am the son of Ali."

He said, "You are the son of a person who was a mushrik (polytheist)". And he continued his foul utterances till he got tired of it. Imam Hasan (a.s.) remained silent. At last the man felt ashamed. The Imam (a.s.) seeing his remorse said;
"You look like a traveller, are you from Syria?"
"Yes sir", he replied.

Imam Hasan (a.s.) said,
"If you need a place to stay, we shall provide it. If you need money we would give it you. If you have any other problem, we shall help you."

Not only was the Syrian ashamed but was also rendered speechless by such excellent behaviour.

The following are his words:
"After I had the good fortune of enjoying the hospitality of Imam Hasan Ibne Ali (a.s.), I found his personality more likeable than that of any other person in the world."

Imam Hasan (a.s.) had offered the same type of hospitality to Asam bin Mutlaq the Syrian, and he too became his devotee. 

The thirteenth among the Greater Sins is drinking liquor. Its seriousness is proved from the traditions that have been related from Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.), Imam Reza (a.s.) and Imam Muhammad al Taqi (a.s.).

The Holy Quran also states in unequivocal words that it is a Greater Sin.

"They ask you about intoxicants and the games of chance. Says: in both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit."
(Surah Baqarah 2:219)

It is explained in 'Tafsir al-Mizan' that 'zanb' and 'ithm' are synonyms that denote a condition wherein the person involved is deprived of reason. He has no inclination for deeds of virtue nor can he maintain an amiable disposition. 'Ithm' is a type of sin, the evil effects of which become apparent in the person and he is absolutely doomed. The evils of drinking are known to all. The health of the alcoholic is affected in various ways. His digestion deteriorates. His intestines do not function well. His liver, lungs and all the five senses, are likewise affected. Ancient and modern doctors have penned quite a few books on this topic. They have revealed astonishing statistics to show the far greater susceptibility of alcoholics to diseases as compared to others. The various ailments which are caused by alcoholism are also enumerated. They have termed wine as deadly poison.

The different kind of diseases that inflict the body of a liquor-drinkers are described in brief:

Effect of Liquor on the Brain

Liquor affects the central nervous system. It may cause a brain hemorrhage leading to paralysis or prolonged coma and eventual death.

Effect of Liquor on the Limbs

Ailments of the limbs are also caused by alcohol. The limbs become fragile and the person loses control upon them. The body becomes absolutely broken-down. The five senses become despaired. Sleeplessness increases and even when the person gets to sleep he is haunted by nightmares.

Effect of Alcohol on the Stomach

Liquor affects the tongue and the taste buds which lose their ability to discern flavours. Secretion of saliva is impaired. Liquor ruins the digestive system. The stomach cannot produce the digestive juices or maintain the required acidity for digestion. There is frequent vomiting and nausea. Along with phelgm, there is blood discharge in the vomit. Numerous other diseases of the stomach are also caused by alcoholism. The belly begins to protrude. The intestines swell and are ulcerated. The large intestines malfunction, causing alternate constipation and loose motions.

Effect of Alcohol on the Liver

Wine and alcohol cause swelling and weakening of liver and slow down its function. The swelling increases and this gives rise to acute pain of the liver. The part of the liver that is nearer to the stomach is first affected. The kidneys become yellow and the effect becomes apparent in the eyes of that person.

Effect of Alcohol on the Blood Circulation

Alcohol does not have any benefit for the human body. It is for this reason that none of its constituent parts could be absorbed into the human body. As soon as it reaches the stomach, alcohol enters the blood stream, and as it enters the blood, it goes on destroying the white blood corpuscles. Due to this, blood pressure decreases. It may also cause fainting.

Effect of Alcohol on the Respiratory Organs

The worst effects of alcohol are to be seen in the respiratory system. As it enters the lungs through the blood stream, it causes breathlessness. The tissues are inflamed and functioning of the lungs becomes sluggish. Calcium is continually depleted from the body. The damaged lungs are now highly susceptible to tuberculosis that is the most prevalent disease among the poorer class of people.

Effect of Alcohol on Kidneys

Statistics show that ninety percent of the ailments of the kidneys are due to alcoholism. Alcohol is expelled through urine and causes numerous diseases involving the entire urinary system. It may also cause loss of bladder control.

Effect of Alcohol on the Heart

Since alcohol circulates through the blood stream it has a detrimental effect on the heart as well. Gradually, layers of fat get deposited on the heart and it increases in size and weight. The heartbeats of an alcoholic are faint or irregular.

Effect of Alcohol on Mental Faculties

The most destructive effect that alcohol can produce is on the overall psychology of the alcoholic. According to statistics available from mental hospitals the majority of the patients are those who have been long-time alcoholics.

The book 'Balahaee-e-Ijtemai' has quoted the magazine 'Health' which says:
According to medical research there are 2,00,000 lunatics in France who have become mad due to alcoholism. Also 80% of all mental patients have been drunkards. Further 40% of all the ailments that afflict the people are due to alcohol. According to British scientists, 90% of the lunatics are so, due to the effect of alcohol.

Effect of Alcohol on the Offsprings

The book also mentions that wine affects the sperm cells. A West German doctor has conducted research that indicates that the effect of alcohol lasts for at least three future generations of the alcoholic; even though these future generations may abstain from intoxicants.

Excessive drinking causes sterility

According to an American doctor Dr. Nelson, if a teetotaler can father eleven healthy children the alcoholic is at the most capable of having three normal children. Moreover these children may be plagued with fainting, migraine, hot temper, lunacy, mental disability or anemia. Such children are the victims of various mental and physical problems.

The effects of liquor are also mirrored in the character of the drunkard. The alcoholic is usually a person of low character and has a foul tongue. Being in a state of intoxication most of the time, his behaviour is not normal or rational. Not being in control of his senses due to the influence of intoxicants, he has no hesitation in committing evil acts like murder, plunder, adultery, sodomy, exposing other peoples secrets etc. In fact he will unhesitatingly break every law, be it of land or religion.

The Islamic code of life requires that a person should use whatever power of reasoning Allah has granted him to conduct himself with deliberation and discretion. In fact Islam expects every individual to try and improve his reasoning power by increasing his knowledge with study and by associating with those more knowledgeable than himself. Even good actions, without thought and intent are of no avail.

Islam therefore prohibits all such actions that affect the reasoning capacity of man. The acts that top this list are alcoholism, gambling, deceit and lying. All of which deprive man of his capacity to reason. Carnal desires and falsehood are two things that are instrumental in the demotion of man from the high position of humanity to the lowliness of the beasts. Such a person is not capable of carrying any important responsibility. It is very difficult for an alcoholic to excel in any field. Even if he resolves to do something, his resolution is soon defeated. The more difficult, the more important a task is, the more difficult it would be for an alcoholic to accomplish it. Even if the wisdom behind every Islamic act had been unknown, it would have sufficed to accept it, as the same is advocated by intellect.

The Holy Quran has termed as 'ithm' (sins) such acts as murder, slander, and withholding testimony before a qualified Judge. Murder has not been termed as 'ithm-e-kabir' (the greatest sin) whereas sins like alcoholism and gambling have been specified as the 'ithm-e-kabir' (the greatest sin). The quote ("and in alcohol and gambling there is even some profit for men") imply the profit which arises from the manufacture and sale of alcohol etc. But this profit is not even a pittance when compared to the losses that accrue with the consumption of alcohol. The loss of character, the loss of mental & physical health and over and above all this, the loss of Allah's Mercy and blessing in the hereafter.

The Quran says in Surah Maidah:
"O you who believe ! Surely intoxicants and games of chance and (sacrificing to) stones set up and (divining by) arrows are only an uncleanness, the Shaitan's works, shun it therefore that you may be successful."
(Surah Maaidah 5:90)

The prohibition regarding wine is of special significance in those two ayats for the following reasons:
1) The word 'innama' in the first ayat denotes emphasis.

2) Drinking of liquor is mentioned along with idolatry. Therefore drinking liquor is as serious a sin as idolatry.

3) Drinking of liquor has been classified as a satanic act along with gambling.

4) The verse emphatically orders one to avoid alcohol.

5) Avoidance of alcohol has been clearly shown to be a way of salvation.

6) The consequences of drinking liquor have also been listed namely; enmity, hatred and loss of belief in Allah.

7) Then it is asked whether you would now avoid this evil or not.

8) After the prohibition, Allah orders to obey Him and obey the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). To beware of disobeying Allah and to know that the duty of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is to convey the message and complete the proof.

Tafsir al-Mizan quotes the dictionary meaning of wine as any liquid intoxicant. In the beginning the Arabs used to prepare it from grapes, barley and dates. But gradually new types of wines began to be produced. Nowadays there are many chemically manufactured alcoholic drinks. All these can produce varying degrees of intoxication. But however slight the intoxication a drink may produce, it is considered haram. The word 'rijs' (indecency) implies everything that is evil. The Quranic verses equate liquor with indecency. Human nature of its own accord is not inclined towards liquor. It is the insinuation of Shaitan that persuades man to consume such filth. Shaitan creates the illusion in the human mind that by consuming liquor one can obtain bliss and a feeling of exhilaration. The Quranic verses declare that it is the Shaitan's plan to entice people towards wine, gambling and idol-worship so he can create enmity, hatred and avarice amongst them and succeed in diverting their thoughts away from Allah and their duty towards the Almighty. Due to loss of reason and self control they stoop to the lowest depths of inhuman behaviour. Under the influence of an intoxicant every thing vile and vicious appeals to their fancy. They get pleasure in destroying other people's wealth, honour and dignity ignoring all norms of civil behaviour. They may even speak insolently about their own religion and beliefs. They sink to the lowest depths of degradation when their own sisters and daughters emerge to them as objects of gratification. When intoxicated a person will easily divulge the most confidential information in his possession.

The 33rd ayat of Surah Araf is as follows:
"Say, my Lord has only prohibited indecencies, those of them that are apparent as well as those that are concealed, and sin and rebellion without justice and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down any authority, and that you say against Allah what do you not know."

'Fawahish' (indecencies) is the plural of 'fahsha' (indecency). In Arabic it implies an extremely evil act. The other sins that are described by this word in Quran are adultery, sodomy and falsely associating someone with adultery and sodomy. 'Ithm' implies 'sin', and the Holy Quran clearly indicates that drinking and gambling are 'ithm'.

There is a tradition narrated by Ali ibn Yaqteen in the book Al Kafi, wherein the Abbasid despot Mahdi asked Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.) regarding wine, "Is wine Haraam according to the Quran?" (Because) people know that it is prohibited but not aware that it is Haraam." Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.) replied:
"Wine is Haraam according to the Divine book."

"At what place in the Quran is wine shown to be Haraam?"

Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.) said,
"In the following statement of Allah,
'Say, my Lord has only prohibited indecencies, those of them that are apparent as well as those that are concealed.'"

(Surah Araf 7:33)

Imam (a.s.) further said,
"As far as the apparent indecencies are concerned, they imply open adultery and ensigns that were hung outside the houses of prostitutes in the days of ignorance. 'The concealed sin' implies the sin of marrying the step mother after the death of the father as the people of the days of ignorance used to do. Allah has also ordered this act to be Haraam. As far as sin is concerned, it is but "wine drinking". At another point, Allah says,
"They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: in both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profits."
(Surah Baqarah 2:219)

In the above tradition Imam (a.s.) first quotes the ayat where 'sin' is labelled as Haraam. Then he mentions that verse where wine is ordained to be a 'sin'. Hence when it is shown that 'sin' is Haraam and wine is sin, then wine (and all alcoholic drinks) must necessarily be Haraam. 

Alcoholism According to the Traditions of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.)

Traditions that denounce alcohol are numerous. Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) says:
"On the day of Qiyamat the drunkard would come with a black face, a protruding tongue and the saliva dripping upon his chest."
(Wasaelush Shia)

In another narration Imam (a.s.) informed:
"He will scream, 'Thirst! Thirst!' And Allah would have the right to make him drink from the well that contains the pollutants of the adulterers."
(Wasaelush Shia)

In a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), he says:
"One who is careless of namaz will be deprived of my intercession, and will not be able to reach me at the pool of Kausar1. And by Allah, my intercession will also not reach the one who consumes intoxicants, and he would not be able to reach me at the pool of Kausar."

One more tradition says, that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) cursed ten types of people in connection with wine:
1) One who plants a sapling with the intention of producing wine.
2) One who cultivates this sapling so that wine may be manufactured.
3) One who crushes the grapes.
4) One who drinks wine.
5) One who serves the wine.
6) One who transports wine.
7) One who takes delivery from the supplier.
8) One who sells wine.
9) One who buys it.
10) One who uses the income that is earned by (making or selling) wine.

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said:
"One who is addicted to wine (liquor) will meet the Lord (on the appointed day) like an idol worshipper."

Another tradition says that,
On the day of meeting of the Lord, the drunkard will be counted among the disbelievers."
(Wasaelush Shia, chapter of prohibited drinks )

Liquor is the root of all evils

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) has said,
"Disobedience to the order of Allah is mostly due to alcoholism. The alcoholic abandons namaz. He even commits incest under the influence of alcohol. He loses his senses."
(Wasaelush Shia: chapter of prohibited drinks)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says,
"Certainly even if a person swallows only a mouthful of wine, at that very moment, the angels, the Prophets and the righteous believers send their curses upon him."

"And when he drinks enough to make him intoxicated, the spirit of belief leaves his body, it is replaced by the dirty, accursed, devilish spirit. When the person neglects prayers, he spreads corruption in society."

It is related from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.):
"One who drinks wine considering it halaal will remain forever in Hell. One who drinks wine, knowing it is Haraam will still taste the punishment of Hell."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.) has informed,
"Allah knows better that every Prophet who has been sent by Him did not have his religion completed till wine was prohibited. Wine has always been Haraam."
(Furu al-Kafi)

In the present Old and New testaments, even after so many interpolations and alterations, there is considerable criticism of alcoholism.

"Don't associate with people who drink too much wine..."
(Proverbs 23:30)

Also:
"Show me someone who drinks too much, who has to try out some new drink, and I will show you someone miserable and sorry for himself, always causing trouble and always complaining. His eyes are bloodshot, and he has bruises that could have been avoided."
"Don't let wine tempt you, even though it is rich red, though it sparkles in the cup, and it goes down smoothly. The next morning you will feel as if you had been bitten by a poisonous snake. Weird sights will
emerge before your eyes and you will not be able to think or speak clearly."
(Proverbs 23: 29-33)

The punishment for drinking wine is mentioned in the following words:
"Inform the elders of the town, this son of ours is a rebel and a sinner. He does not obey us, he is a glutton and drinks too much wine? Then all the people of the town will stone him till he dies."
(Proverb: 21)

Also we find:
"Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you..."
(Ephesians 5:18)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says,
"Alcoholism is the mother of all sins. Liquor invites the drunkard to all sorts of indecencies. It destroys his intellect. So much so that under its influence he even fails to recognize his Lord. Whatever sin he encounters, he commits it. The alcoholics do not refrain from any such acts, which are against morality."

Thus drinking liquor is Haraam not merely in the light of the Quran and traditions, but it is a Greater Sin. One of the necessities of religion is to consider liquor Haraam and if a Muslim considers it to be Halaal he becomes a Kafir.

Liquor is Absolutely Haraam

It makes no difference if the quantity consumed is less or more; liquor is absolutely Haraam; whether pure or mixed. Thus even if a person licks a single drop it is Haraam whether he gets intoxicated or not. In the same way if liquor is consumed by mixing it with other things, it is still Haraam.

Allama Hilli (r.a.) has quoted an authentic tradition from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.), that he said:
"If more of it intoxicates, then to consume even a bit of it is Haraam."

A person enquired from Imam (a.s.), "but I dilute it with water?"

Imam (a.s.) told him,
"A Haraam thing does not become halaal by mixing it with water. Fear Allah, refrain from partaking of it."
(Mustanad ush Shia)

Umar Ibne Hanzala says that he enquired from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.):
"Does it matter if as much water is mixed in wine so that it is no more intoxicating?"

Imam (a.s.) replied:
"No! By Allah it is not. Even if a drop of wine falls into a well full of water it does not become halaal. Rather the whole well has to be emptied."
(Furu-al-Kafi)

Ibne Wahab has narrated this tradition from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.):
"Every intoxicant is Haraam. Something that intoxicates only when consumed in bulky quantities, is also not allowed to be taken even in a lesser quantity."

The narrator says, "I asked, 'Then if a Haraam thing is mixed in a huge quantity of water, does it become permissible?'"

Imam (a.s.) flailed his arms twice, indicating emphatically that it does not.
(Furu Al Kafi)

Liquor is harmful irrespective of the quantity consumed. Even if a drop of the poison enters the body it has harmful effects on it, whether apparent immediately or not. If you mix a few buckets of red dye in a pond of water, the whole pond water turns red. But on the other hand if you throw a glassful of ink in a pond of clear water it would not bring about any appreciable change in its appearance, yet, could you say that the ink has not affected the water at all? Certainly not! If the water is subjected to the process of distillation the glassful of ink could be recovered. If it enters the body it will cause harm. A person who tastes liquor, one drop at a time, soon gets addicted to it till he needs to drink more and more of it. Consequently a stage is reached when he is unable to rid himself of this habit howsoever hard he may try. A stone is eroded when water drips upon it over a period of time. Similarly alcohol erodes the liver and other cells of the body. Grapes, raisins and dates, when unfermented have medicinal properties and are wholesome and beneficial to the body. But as soon as fermentation sets in these fruits and wine is produced they turn harmful and prohibited.

Intoxicant Liquids

If an intoxicant is a liquid in its natural state, in addition to its being Haraam, it is also najis (impure). But if an intoxicating substance is solid in its natural form and it is available as a solution, like opium or hemp for consumption, it is not najis, but its consumption is Haraam like that of wine.

Giving Liquor to Children

Offering liquor to others is also Haraam even if it is to a young, naive child. The book, 'Mustanad ush Shia' contains three traditions regarding this topic. The gist of these traditions is that one who is responsible for serving liquor to juvenile children will have to drink an equal quantity of the boiling water of Hell, on the day of Qiyamat, by Allah's command.

Liquor at the Dinner Table

If liquor is served on a table, it is Haraam to sit there and eat even if one does not touch the wine. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) informs that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said:
"Accursed, accursed is the one who sits at a table where wine is being served."
(Wasaelush Shia)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) also says:
"One who believes in Allah and the last day, must not even sit at the table where wine is kept."
(Masaalik of Shaheed Thani)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"Do not sit with drunkards because when the curse descends it engulfs all the people in the company of the drunkards."
(Wasaelush Shia, Chapter 33)

Some scholars have stated that it is not permitted to be in the company of people where anything Haraam is being done. For example, backbiting about a Muslim. It is then obligatory on a person to leave immediately if possible and be vacant of the sin of just being in this company. Also, if by his leaving, the others will discontinue their sinful action, it is obligatory on him to do so.

Wine and Medicine

According to the traditions of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) to take wine as medicine is also Haraam. Rather, the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) have prohibited the consumption of any intoxicant as medicine. The jurists unanimously agree that one should refrain from consuming any intoxicant to cure a disease or to ward off pain. Allah has not reposed any curative effect in any intoxicant.

 

Three Exceptions

Certain Mujtahids have stated that there are three exceptions where an intoxicant could be taken as medicine.

First of all the person should know that his malady is curable.

Secondly it must be that if this treatment is not taken it would result in death or extreme pain. Thirdly, there should be no other cure for this ailment.

If these conditions are fulfilled, the patient can be given an intoxicant as medicine but only just enough to cure his disease.

But as we have stated, Allah has not bestowed any cure in a Haraam thing. Hence the above conditions are mentioned just for the sake of an obligation. Such a situation can hardly arise.

Wine Contains No Cure

Ibne abi Yazoor told Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.): I am suffering from a disease. When the pain intensifies I drink some wine of grapes and the pain subsides. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, "Do not drink. It is Haraam; it is nothing but Shaitan who is preying upon you to involve you in sins. When he loses all hope of making you drink he will leave you."

Ibne abi Yazoor returned to his native place, Kufa. He was in intense pain and his people brought for him wine of grapes and persuaded him to drink it. Ibne abi Yazoor said, "By Allah! I will not taste a drop of it."

He bore the pain for some days. At last his pain receded and he never suffered from it for the rest of his life.

Drunkard on the Death-bed

Abu Basir says that Umme Khalid Abadiya presented herself before Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) when Abu Basir was also present. Umme Khalid said,
"May I be sacrificed for you, on the day of Qiyamat I will tell Allah that I have done as commanded by Ja'far ibn Muhammad (a.s.). Physicians have told me to knead the flour with grape wine and eat the bread. This will cure the terrible pain of my heart. I ask you, shall I do this?"

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) replied to Umme Khalid,
"No! By Allah I will not permit you even a drop of wine. Don't taste even a drop of it. Otherwise when your soul reaches here (Imam pointed towards his throat) you will only regret." Then Imam (a.s.) asked Umme Khalid thrice.

"Have you understood?"
"Yes", replied Umme Khalid.

A student of Fuzail Ibne Ayaz was on his deathbed. Fuzail came to him and sitting near his head began to recite Surah Yasin (al-Quran, chapter 36). The disciple told his teacher, "Do not recite the Quran!" Fuzail became silent. Then he began to urge his disciple to repeat "La ilaha illallah". The student said:
"I will not repeat this formula because I am disgusted with it!" and he died in the same condition.

Fuzail Ibne Ayaz was extremely perturbed. He returned home after completing his duties and went to sleep. He saw his student undergoing punishment. He asked him, "What is the reason of your being deprived of faith (Imaan) at the time of your death? You were one of my best students."

The student replied: "There are three reasons, firstly, I used to backbite too much, secondly, I used to be jealous, thirdly, a physician had prescribed for my malady a cup of wine every year. He told me that if I do not drink, the disease would never be cured. Every year I drank one cup of wine."
(Safinatun Behaar Vol. I Pg. 428)

Numerous traditional reports mention that "Haraam" things do not contain any cure. In the same way one must refrain from taking any medicine that contains even a drop of najis alcohol.

It is stated on page no 380 of the Journal of Anjuman Tablighate Islami:
"There is not a single doctor today who considers liquor to have any cure. No doctor permits even a small quantity of the same. If a physician prescribes liquor as a medicine for some cure, it must be understood that his medical knowledge is deficient."

A hundred years ago some of the doctors and physicians believed that wine had some curative effects. But recent researches show that wine not only lacks any beneficial value but is in fact harmful. The molecules of alcohol on entering the blood stream affect the white blood corpuscles. These corpuscles perform the function of protecting the human body against infectious disease.

The white blood cells engulf the disease causing germs and exterminate them. Anything that impairs the functioning of these blood cells exposes a person to numerous diseases because his body is unable to protect itself. Some people think that wine helps in digestion. This is just a false notion. The reality is just the opposite. Actually wine causes indigestion. The food hardens in the stomach and becomes indigestible. You can experiment by pouring wine upon a piece of cooked soft meat. It will become tough like leather, and absolutely unchewable. Wine also destroys the digestive juices secreted by the stomach and leads to flatulence and indigestion. Wine destroys appetite. Besides, alcohol causes addiction and wine taken for medicinal purpose soon becomes an addiction that is difficult to get rid of. We may observe that some alcoholics emerge perfectly healthy even after years of addiction. But what is apparent may be different from reality. If a medical check up is carried out, it will reveal the deteriorating condition of the internal organs and the digestive system of these addicts. Besides, often the maladies are not associated with alcohol and are attributed to other factors. It should be also noted that alcohol affects some people more than others. Some have a hereditary capacity to withstand the rouging effects of alcohol. They should thank Providence for it and refrain from drinking so that they can protect their future generation from developing a weakness for it.

Punishment for Drinking Liquor

If a sane adult person, knowing that liquor is Haraam, consumes even a drop of it of his own accord and later confesses to it or is seen in the act of drinking by two just witnesses who testify, the Judge is obliged to award punishment to him.

However punishment cannot be awarded under the following conditions: If the individual who drinks it is a child, or an insane person, or one who is unaware of its prohibition, or one drinks it by mistake being under the impression that it is not liquor and realizes the truth afterwards, or one who drinks it under coercion and force, or one who is compelled to drink due to extreme thirst there being no other way of quenching it.

The Islamic penalty for drinking is eighty lashes. Eighty lashes are given when the person drinks it for the first time. If he repeats the act after receiving 80 lashes he is lashed 160 times. If he repeats the sin again and confesses, or two just witnesses testify before a Qazi (religious Judge) the punishment is tripled; i.e. 240 lashes. The fourth instance of the crime entails capital punishment. Some Mujtahids are of the opinion that capital punishment should be given when the sin is repeated the third time.

If a person confesses and repents before the testimony of two just witnesses, he is condoned. However after the testimony he cannot escape punishment. The drunkard cannot be punished while still intoxicated. He is punished only when he gets sober. If it is a man he is stripped above the waist and lashed from the shoulders and below. It is not allowed to hit the face or the private parts of the accused. If the accused is a woman she is lashed with her clothes on. If her dress is loose, it is made to stick to the body by tying it up. She is lashed in a sitting position.

If a person drinks wine at a sacred place, for example the Holy Kaaba or in a sacred period, like the month of Ramazan, he is lashed and also given a preventive punishment that is, he is beaten so much that he may not dare to repeat the crime.

Ibn Abil Hadid records the following incident in Sharh-e-Nahjul Balagha:
"Najashi was a famous poet of Kufa. He was originally from Yemen. He was among the army of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) at the Battle of Siffin. It was the first day of Ramazan when his friend, Abu Sammak instigated him to drink wine at the tavern. Under its intoxication he created such a bedlam that his neighbour was compelled to complain to Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.). Hazrat summoned both of them. Abu Sammak fled but Najashi was arrested and brought by the people. By the order of the Imam (a.s.) he was detained for the night. The next day, before the congregation of Muslims he was stripped to the waist and lashed eighty times for drinking wine. After this he was given twenty more lashes. Najashi said, "Eighty lashes were for drinking wine, but why twenty more?" Imam (a.s.) replied,
"This is because you dared to drink during the month of Ramazan and did not respect its sanctity."
(Furu Al Kafi, Chapter on Penal Code)

The relatives of Najashi were present in large numbers in the camp of Ali (a.s.). They were perturbed at the extra punishment. One of them, Tarikh Ibne Abdullah said:
"We Yemenis are among your loyal friends and Shias. We expected you to consider us differently from your enemies. Najashi is our respected kinsman. By lashing him publicly you have degraded us in the eyes of our friends and enemies. We have began to doubt if the path that we tread leads to Heaven." Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said,
"Strict adherence to justice and commands of Allah hurts the sinners. What have I done? Najashi dared to disobey the Divine command. I have only punished him according to the laws. Allah says:
'... And let not hatred of a people invite you not to act equitably; act equitably, that is nearer to piety, be careful of (your duty to) Allah...'"
(Surah Maidah 5: 8)

Ibn Abil Hadid writes, "Najashi and Tarikh were unable to assert their opinion. They left Kufa and went to Syria to join the group of Muawiya." Their meeting with Muawiya is not described here. Its details can be studied in Ibn Abil Hadid's Sharh-e-Nahjul Balagha, Vol. I part iv page no. 366.

Aloofness from the Drunkard

In order to discourage the evil habit of drinking, Allah and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has commanded that people should not associate with a drunkard and remain totally aloof from him. It is a method by which the drunkard will feel self-conscious about the lack of respect with which his vicinity members view him. Being strictly excluded from company, he will not be able to influence tender or immature minds to develop this obnoxious habit. We can thus restrict the evils of alcoholism that destroy the foundation of individual and social life.

Do not Give your Daughter in Marriage to a Drunkard

Hazrat Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) quotes the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.),
"Allah has made me to pronounce wine as Haraam, after this pronouncement if someone still drinks wine, he is not fit to have his proposal for marriage accepted, when he proposes. If he seeks recommendation, he should not be recommended. If he says something he must not be believed. His testimony must not be accepted. Nothing should be kept in his trust. Allah is not responsible for something kept with a drunkard, with the knowledge (of his vice). He will not receive any compensation. If the thing is lost, nothing could be taken in exchange and neither its cost."
(Al Kafi)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"One who marries his well-behaved daughter to a drunkard does Qat-e-Rahmi."
(Al Kafi)

Imam (a.s.) has also said,
"One who marries his well-behaved daughter to a drunkard; it is as if he has given her to adultery."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

Imam (a.s.) has also stated in a tradition,
"If a drunkard falls ill do not go to visit him. If he dies, do not attend his funeral."

Boycott of the Drunkard

By adopting this attitude we fulfill our duty of Nahy Anil Munkar. No one should trust or believe a drunkard, and no one should have any dealings with him whatsoever. As clearly ordered by our Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and our Imam (a.s.) no one should give his daughter in marriage to a drunkard. When the drunkard finds himself so totally cut off from the society in which he lives, he will be compelled to give up his sinful habit.

Jehad Against Intoxicants

The book Burhan-e-Quran writes against intoxicants:
"The evil of intoxicants can be easily proved by the fact that in a country like France a woman legislator urged the parliament to abolish intoxicants completely. She was so disgusted by the ill-effects of alcohol that she protested against it vehemently. Obviously, until the powerful governments put an end to such evils they cannot be eradicated. Mere crusades of individuals, or social boycott will not have much effect."

It is true that life can be very difficult for some individuals. They face hardships and frustrations till they are driven to despair. Even so, drinking liquor to forget their troubles is not a solution. The physical, economic and social repercussions of this evil will only magnify their problems and engulf them in a vicious circle from which it will be almost impossible to extricate themselves. It is an evil that must be fought by individuals, by society and by the governments. Individual effort and social boycott will certainly help to a great extent. But the authority that the government can exercise in enforcing strict measures will go a long way in eradicating this evil. The American government in the year 1930 had made a serious effort to discourage the use of intoxicants. The propaganda was carried out through newspapers, magazines, radio, television, films and all modes of communication. The total expenses incurred by the government were eight million dollars. Ten billion pages of books and magazines were printed. Within a span of 14 years 250 million dollars were spent. 300 people were hanged, 532000 people were sent to prison, penalties were collected from 1,60,00,000 people and property worth $ 41,50,00,000 was confiscated. All this did not yield the desired result and the number of alcoholics, in fact, increased. In 1933 all these restrictions were withdrawn and complete freedom was given to the public to consume liquor.
(From Tankihat of Abul Ala Maududi)

This only goes to show that government restriction alone will not cure this malady. What is needed are the co-ordinated efforts of strict government rules and the boycott of the alcoholics by society.

When Islam prohibited liquor, it considered all these aspects. Islam first strived to remove the causes of alcoholism. After this, it promulgated that liquor is Haraam. One of the causes that promotes this habit are the people who themselves give a free rein to this vice. They do not adopt strict methods of prevention. Our society does not view the drunkards unfavourably and does not boycott them so that they may be compelled to give up their habits. According to Islam, dangerous diseases and ailments that befall the soul must be eradicated by all means. The drunkards and alcoholics must also be boycotted economically. People should not transact any business with them and they must also be socially boycotted. Proposals for their marriage must be rejected and none should keep company with them. An ideological war must be carried out against them. They must also be a spiritually cured. Along with heavy penal punishment they must be informed of the ill effects of liquor and other intoxicants. 

Gambling is the fourteenth Greater Sin. The following statements support this view. The Holy Quran states in Surah Baqarah:
"They ask you about intoxicants and games of chances. Say: in both of them there is a great sin..."
(Surah Baqarah 2:219)

"Ithme kabir" means a very great sin. The Holy Quran has used this phrase only for drinking and gambling."

The tradition related by Fazl Ibne Shazaan from Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.) also included gambling among the Greater sins. Similarly, gambling is clearly mentioned as a Greater Sin in the tradition related by Amash from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.).

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.), is reported to have told Abu Basir:
"It is Haraam to sell chess. It is Haraam to spend the income of this sale. To keep chess (board and pieces) in ones possession is tantamount to kufr (disbelief). To play chess is equal to ascribing partners to Allah. It is a sin even to salute one who plays chess. One who touches it in order to play it, it is, as if he has contaminated his hands by touching pork."
(Wasaelush Shia. Chapter on Business Transactions)

The same tradition is recorded in the book Man La Yahzarul Faqih with the addition inter alia that:
"To teach chess to others is also a kind of destructive sin."

It is related from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.):
"Allah pardons all the sinners in the month of Ramazan except three kinds of people; those who drink wine, those who gamble and those who harbour enmity and avarice towards a Muslim."

Another proof is the following verse of Quran, which shows that gambling, is a Greater Sin:
"O you who believe! Intoxicants and (maeser) games of chance and divining (azlam) by arrows are only an uncleanness, the Shaitan's work; shun it therefore that you may be successful."
(Surah Maaidah 5:90)

What do 'Maesir' and 'Azlam' Denote?

Games of chances that are mentioned in this Quranic verse include all types of gambling. The Arabic equivalent to this is "Maeser" which is derived from the root word "yusur" which means 'ease'. Since a gambler does not perform a laborious work and is able to easily grab the money belonging to others, gambling is called "Maeser".

"Azlam" is a game of chance that is played with dice. Actually, there used to be special pieces of wood which were used in gambling. Azlam is also known as "aqlaam". The gamblers used to purchase a camel and divide the meat of the slaughtered camel into twenty-eight parts. Ten pieces of arrow-shaped wood were kept at the venue of gambling. Each piece had a specific name. The names of seven of those pieces were faz, tawaam, raqeeb, halas, nafis, masbal and mualla. Specific portion of meat was allotted to each of the arrows. For example faz was equal to one portion and mualla had seven portions. The meat that had been divided into twenty-eight pieces was distributed only to these ten pieces of wood. Some of the arrows were such that no meat was allotted to them and in fact those who got them had to reimburse the cost of camel in full. The total of participants in this game was ten, and the three unlucky ones were expelled. The three unlucky arrows were named "manaj, safih and raghad".

'Azlaam' is a kind of a wager whereas 'maeser' includes all forms of gambling. Azlaam is mentioned specifically because it was popular before the advent of Islam. Other methods of azlaam are also recorded but irrespective of the method, all types of wagers are Haraam. Wine, gambling, idol worship and azlaam are all satanic works. Involving oneself in these would deprive the person of salvation and success in the hereafter. It is therefore commanded not to even go near wine and gambling.

Gambling and Wine Cause Avarice and Enmity

"The Shaitan only desires to cause enmity and hatred to spring in your midst by means of intoxicants and games of chance..."
(Surah Maidah 5:91)

It is common knowledge that a man loses his senses under the influence of alcohol and in this condition behaves in a most indiscreet manner. He is therefore bound to create enemies due to his shoddy behaviour. Drunkards are also known to murder their own family members and friends. As far as gambling is concerned, enmity between the participants is the most natural outcome in a game of chance. The person who loses his money to his opponent is bound to resent him and have a feeling of vengeance and there is bound to be a winner and a loser. The dominating influence on the gamblers is that of hatred and enmity.

Gambling Causes Voluptuousness and Sensuality

A person who wins in gambling makes a lot of easy money. Obviously, he looks for ways and means for self-indulgence to splurge his ill-gotten wealth. In fact, profit from Haraam means paves the way towards further unlawful evils. Avarice is the characteristic of all gamblers. The gambler who wins is so obsessed that he wagers more around larger profits. The loser is equally obsessed to win back what he has lost. Such compulsive obsessions have disastrous consequences. The book "Balahaee-e-ijtemai" Pg.231 contains an incident where an inhabitant of an Iranian town stabbed his opponent thrice and killed him. The accused gave the following statement: "The victim has grabbed a lot of my money through gambling. He was not prepared to lay another bet despite my persuasion and ran away. I followed and killed him."

On page 325 of the same book, the following is quoted from the magazine "Roshan Fikr". "In the town of Monte Carlo, Argentina, a gambler lost around forty hundred thousand tumans in a game that lasted for sixteen hours. When the casino closed, he drove his car to the forest and shot himself in the head."

Incidents of suicide are common in the woods surrounding Monte Carlo. Most often, those who arrive in this city to gamble lose all their money. Sometimes, they cannot even pay for their return journey. Such people go into the woods and commit suicide. One of the casinos has decided to loan the return fare to those who lose all their money.

The weekly magazine of 'Ittelat Daily' No.1060 contains the following item.

"Suicides due to gambling are on the increase according to the available statistics. More suicides were committed in this year (1361 solar) compared to the number in previous years. The casino owners have, as a result named this as the 'unlucky year'. In the previous year, 120 people committed suicide after losing in Paris. The statisticians of America state that the cause of thirty percent of all crimes is gambling."
(Balahae-e- Ijtemai Pg.329)

It is noticed that most of the criminals like robbers, pickpockets and murderers commit crimes after leaving their gambling dens.

Forgetting Allah

Alcohol and gambling are vices leading to spiritual bankruptcy. These offenders are oblivious of Allah and of their duties towards their Creator. Living in a state of forgetfulness of Allah is the worst tragedy that befalls the unfortunate victims of these vices.

"...And to keep you off from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer...."
(Surah Maidah 5:91)

An alcoholic in a state of intoxication is in no condition to remember Allah and he abandons even an obligation like namaz. In the same way, the craze of a gambler to obtain wealth or make up for his losses is all consuming and he loses awareness of all obligatory acts including prayers. In order to stress this point, Allah continues in the same verse:
"Will you then desist?"
(Surah Maidah 5:91)

It means that even after being informed of the demerits of these vices, will you still not reform?

The next verse continues the emphasis:
"And obey Allah and obey the apostle and be cautious. But if you turn back, then know that only a clear deliverance of the message is (incumbent) on your apostle."
(Surah Maidah 5:92)

In this way, the argument is completed. Now, you cannot say that you have not been warned.
Now, we shall describe some forms of gambling.

Objects of Gambling and Laying of Bets

There is a universal agreement among the Mujtahids that articles normally used in gambling should not be played with, even if one is not gambling. The tradition mentioned previously which states that one who touches chess is like one who smears his hand in pork; continues,
"The prayers of chess-players are not valid till they wash their hands after the game. And to watch a game of chess is like looking at the genitals of ones own mother."
(Wasaelush Shia. Chapter of Business Transactions)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) on being inquired concerning chess replied:
"Leave the preoccupations of the fire-worshippers to them."
That is, Muslims should not even go near chess.

In another tradition, Imam (a.s.) says:
"Do not even approach chess."

The tradition from the book, Tohafful Uqool distinctly states that the articles employed in gambling cannot be used for any purpose whatsoever and it is Haraam to do so.
"All the tools and actions of gambling are Haraam."

Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) has said:
"All kinds of games of betting are gambling and the sale, the purchase and the use of all the tools of gambling are Haraam. It is only an act that Shaitan instigates you to do."
(Tafsir-e-Qummi)

Chess and cards should not be indulged in even when played only for intellectual stimulation games with no intent to gamble. These games have an inherent power to obsess the player till he becomes oblivious of his responsibilities towards his family and even his livelihood. Such all-consuming activities lead to the disruption of an otherwise happy family life. Shaitan also will not lose the opportunity to incite the players to play for stakes. Very soon, the game started as an intellectual exercise will slip into a game for making money. The only effective way to eradicate gambling from society is to stay clear of such games as commanded by our Imam (a.s.). Hence, Islam has declared that to manufacture the tools of gambling is Haraam; to buy or sell them is Haraam and to spend from the profits of these transactions is Haraam. It is Haraam even to have the tools of gambling in ones possession. It is obligatory to destroy them.

Ishaq Ibne Ammar asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that children play with eggs and cashew nuts in the same way as gambling? Imam (a.s.) told him:
"Do not even eat these things!"

The following verse of the Divine Book ordains the income of gambling to be Haraam and makes it obligatory upon the person who wins to restore the amount back to the person who lost it.

"O you who believe! Do not devour your property among yourselves falsely...?"
(Surah Nisa 4:29)

Playing Games of Chance Without Betting

We know from the above discussion that to play with articles used in gambling even without betting is Haraam.

To sit and watch the game is also Haraam. The practice of Nahy anil Munkar makes it obligatory on us to leave the place where people are gambling. It is recommended (mustahab) that if perchance our eyes fall upon an article of gambling, we should remember Imam Husain (a.s.) and curse Yazid (l.a.).

Fazl Ibne Shazaan reports from Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.), "At the time the blessed head of Husain Ibne Ali (a.s.) was carried into Shaam, Yazid (l.a.) started to dine and drink barley wine (similar to modern day 'beer') with his associates. After the meal, Yazid (l.a.) ordered the blessed head to be kept in a salver and placed at the foot of his throne. A chessboard was spread out and the accursed Yazid sat down to play chess. During the game, he ridiculed Imam Husain (a.s.), his father (a.s.) and grandfather (s.a.w.s.). Whenever he won a game, he used to take hold of the barley wine and drink three goblets. Then he used to pour the remaining wine in the salver upon the head of Imam Husain (a.s.)."

Hazrat Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.) then continues, "Whoever is our Shia must abstain from barley wine and chess. One who sees barley wine or chess must remember Imam Husain (a.s.) and invoke curse upon Yazid and the progeny of Yazid. If a Shia does this, Allah the Almighty will forgive all his sins even if they are more numerous than the stars."
(Uyoon Akhbare Reza)

Betting With Articles Not Normally Used For Gambling

To lay bets with articles not usually employed in gambling is also Haraam. Archery and horse racing are exceptions to the extent that it is permissible only for those who participate in the sports to bet amongst themselves. Apart from these two games it is Haraam to bet in any other competition. For example, yatching, weightlifting, lancing etc. The income of the participant who wins is Haraam. He must return it to his opponent.

Horse racing and Archery

It is undoubtedly permissible for participants (and not for spectators) in horse racing and archery to bet among themselves. The winner can rightfully own the amount he wins. Islam has permitted these two competitions because such sports contribute to the overall capabilities of a warrior, and a Muslim well versed in these is better equipped to challenge his adversaries. The details could be pursued in the books of legal rulings.

Shaheed Thani in his book "Masalik" quotes the unanimous verdict of the Mujtahids. Three traditions are recorded in the book "Al-Wafi" from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) which state that except for horse racing and archery whenever a game is played for stakes, the angels are infuriated and curse the people who lay the bet.

It is recorded that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said:
"Angles are present when a competition of horse and camel racing or archery is held. Except for these three, every competition is gambling and (also) Haraam."
(Al-Wafi)

In another tradition, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has prohibited all types of competitions except these three.

"Except for horse racing, camel racing and archery, no contest is proper."
(Al-Wafi)

An authentic tradition by Muhammad Ibne Qays related from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) says:
"Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) issued a verdict against a man who had wagered with his friends on the maximum consumption of sheep's meat. Issuing the judgement Imam (a.s.) said, 'If you have already eaten the sheep, it is yours. But if you have only laid a bet and have not commenced eating, then you have to pay a penalty. This penalty is equal for all the participants and has no connection with who ate more or less. However, he refrained the loser to bear any loss (of money etc.). The one who ate the least and lost the bet will not incur any loss because the bet is invalid.'"

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) concludes that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) has decreed such a deal to be Haraam
(Makasib, quoted from Al Kafi and Tehzeeb)

. Hazrat Jabir (r.a.) narrates from the report of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) who has quoted from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.):
"Every competition is gambling where the loser has to pay a certain amount. Even if it consist of a cashew-nut or wager dung."

To employ any article for the purpose of taking a bet is gambling even if such an article is not generally associated with gambling.

Game Without Wager

There is some difference of opinion among the Mujtahids regarding the games of competition that neither use tools of gambling nor are played with stakes. Most of the jurists consider such competitions to be Haraam.

Allama Hilli (r.a.) in his book "Tazkerah" writes, "Yatching competition is not permitted even if the loser may not have to pay anything. This is the unanimous verdict of the scholars."

Allama Hilli (r.a.) also states, "Competition of throwing stones with ones bare hands is not allowed. In the same way, racing any beast except horse and camel, yatching or racing of birds is not permitted even if a monetary bet is not involved. Cockfights and goat fights are also prohibited. In short, all those contests are prohibited that do not contribute usefully in the field of Jehad. For example, standing on foot for a long time, guessing games or number games, staying under water for a long time. In conclusion, except for horse racing and archery, no competition is permitted. Whether it involves a bet or not."

Certain Jurists like Shaheed Thani do not consider such games Haraam where the tools of gambling are not used and where a bet is not involved. He is inclined to permit such competitions. This opinion appears to be valid especially for a contest where the Haraam aspects of our religion are not compromised in any way or for a contest which has a typical aim like competition of calligraphy, reading, sewing, building, farming, etc. Athletics and boating can also be in the same category. But since most of the Mujtahids have prohibited all competitions except horse racing and archery, it is better to refrain from contests as a precautionary measure.

However even contests that can be considered permissible are prohibited if they involve a risk. For example, hazardous car-racing competition or gluttony and the dangerous methods of yatching are all Haraam for they involve risks.

Purchase of lottery tickets in the name of charity, where the money is not refundable and only a few people win money without any effort, is Haraam. It is gambling and a very great sin.

 

Playing instruments of music is a Greater Sin. It is Haraam to play instruments like guitar, piano, tambourine, drums etc. Listening to music is also a Greater Sin. Music as a Greater sin is reported by Fazl ibn Shazaan from Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.):
"And to be engrossed in musical instruments is also a Greater Sin."

All the Mujtahids are unanimous in their opinion that the manufacture, sale and purchase of musical instruments is Haraam and the income derived from musical activity is also Haraam. The transactions involving these (instruments) are invalid. It is Haraam even to keep instruments of music in one's possession. It is obligatory to destroy them. This is revealed in a lengthy tradition of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) as recorded in the book "Tohafful Uqool". Similarly, Shaykh Hurr al-Aamili records the following tradition from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.):
"The Almighty Allah has prohibited the manufacture of all such things that are exclusively used in Haraam ways; and things that only create evil like pipe, flute, chess and all types of instruments of gambling, images, statues. The manufacture of all such articles is Haraam."

Imam (a.s.) concluded, "Then even learning to sing or play music and teaching it, to sing and play music, to be paid for these things or to be in any way engrossed in these vices is Haraam."

Music - According to the Traditions

Some more traditions prohibiting music are given below.

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) reports from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) that he said:
"I prohibit for you dancing and playing flute, drums and tabla."
(Al Kafi)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has also said,
"The Almighty Allah has sent me as a mercy to the worlds, to guide the people. And He ordered me to eradicate the playing of flute and other instruments of music, all games of vice, idol (worship) and all practices of the days of ignorance."
(Mustadrakul Wasael, Chapter 79)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says,
"A person who has received blessings from Allah and while having these blessings, he plays flute. It is as if he has been thankless of the blessings."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Every moment of our lives, we are enjoying Allah's unlimited benevolence.

Music Causes Shamelessness and Hypocrisy

The Sixth Imam (a.s.) has also stated,
"The playing of violin promotes the growth of hypocrisy in the heart like water assists the growth of vegetation (algae)."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Imam (a.s.) also says,
"If drums and cymbals are played at one's house for forty days, Allah will impose a satan by the name of 'faqandir'. The satans will infiltrate into every cell of the person's body. With the spread of this evil, the person loses all sense of dignity and self-esteem. He will then not care as to what he says or what is said about him. Then, this satan blows into this person. As a result, he becomes utterly shameless. So mush so that he is not concerned or affected even if his women are dishonoured."
(Wasaelush Shia)

It is usually observed that the people in whose homes music is played with regularity either using musical instruments or by radio or cassettes are absolutely shameless and wanton.

Musician and the Song

Muadda Ibne Ziyad says, "I was in the company of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) when a person said, "When I go to the toilet, I can hear the singing girls of my neighbour. Sometimes, I remain (in toilet) longer so that I may listen to more of it."

Imam (a.s.) said:
"Desist from listening to music and songs attentively."

Then this man further said, "Master, I do not go to music gatherings! I only hear the sounds!"

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said,
"Have you not read this Quranic verse...

"Surely, the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these shall be questioned about that?"
(Surah Bani Israel 17:36)

The man replied, "I was not aware of this ayat. I regret my actions. I shall not do so in the future. I repent for my past sins and I seek forgiveness from my Lord."

Seeing his condition, Imam (a.s.) said,
"Get up ! Go and perform ghusl and offer namaz and pray for forgiveness. You have certainly been involved in a deadly sin and a terrible situation. You have repented for it and I thank Allah for that; and I seek forgiveness of Allah for all those things that He dislikes. Certainly, Allah only dislikes the evil things. Leave the evil things to the evil people because there are different people suitable for different things."
(Al Kafi Chapter of Music)

Divine Bounties (Barakat) are Removed

Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) says,
"Angels do not even enter a house that has wine, drum, tambourine or a flute. Even the prayers of the inhabitants of this house are unacceptable. They are deprived of barakat."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Hazrat Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.) has said,
"To listen to a musical instrument is one of the Greater Sins."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

The Blackened Face of the Musician

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has stated,
"A person who possesses a sitar, on the day of Qiyamat will be raised with a black face. His hands will be holding a sitar of fire. Seventy thousand angels with maces of fire will be hitting him on the face and the head. The singer will arise from his grave, blind, deaf and dumb. The adulterer will be similarly raised. The player of flute will also be made to rise in this way as will be the drum player."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

It means that all such people willemergeon the field of "Mahshar" (on the day of reckoning) as blind, deaf and dumb.

A House Where Music is Played for Forty Days

Hazrat Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.) remarks,
"A person invites Divine wrath when in his house instruments like flute, drum and chess are played for forty days. If this man dies within these forty days, his death would be of a sinner and a transgressor. His place shall be in Hell. And what a dreadful place it is!"
(Mustanad al Taraqi)

Music and the Last Period of Time

The traditions concerning the signs of the last stage before the Zuhoor of our Imam (a.s.) mention music:
"And you shall see that music will be so prevalent that no one will dissuade others nor will he find in himself the need to do so. And you shall see that music would be openly played even in the two sanctuaries (the city of Makkah and Madinah)."
(Mustanade Naraqi)

This is what we see in the present age where obscene music is openly played in the markets, on the streets, in shops and houses and even cars and no one bothers to prevent it!

So far we have mentioned the punishment of the hereafter for the sin of playing or listening to music. Now, we shall discuss the evils of music that affect life on earth. These evils too are numerous. Scholars have compiled complete books on this subject. For example we have the following books in Persian, "Munazrah Doctor-o-Peer", "Balahaee Ijtemai", "Mauseeqi-o-Islam", etc.

Effects of Music on the Nervous System

Expert Doctors, Scientists and biologists have defined two types of nerves, the principal nerves and the arterial nerves. The principal nerves stretch from the neck to all vital organs. The arterial nerves spread from the main nerves to all parts of the body. The secondary nerves are connected to outward parts of the body and convey the messages to the brain. When the veins enlarge the blood pressure decreases. Due to the shrivelling of blood vessels, the blood pressure increases. When the blood pressure varies at different parts of the body it affects the health.

When the secondary nerves work they produce heat whereas the functioning of the central nerves produces the opposite effect. It is due to these nerves that feelings of sloth, sleep, thoughtlessness, forgetfulness, grief, sorrow, fainting, unconsciousness and even death occur. Obviously, when music can affect various nerves, it can give rise to various maladies. Mental diseases as well as physical ailments can occur. These mental effects can destroy man's reasoning capacity. It is for this reason that one who listens to music is unable to perform work that can be accomplished by a sane person.

Music creates vibrations in the body and these are conveyed to all the parts of the body through the nervous system. As a result of this, indigestion occurs. Music affects the heart in such a way that the heartbeats become irregular. The blood pressure goes awry. All such ailments make a person permanently ill. Consequently, even modern medical science, in spite of its astonishing progress, fails in such a situation. Sometimes, the music is so intense that the listeners lose their sanity. They become dumb and various kinds of mental diseases occur. In places where music is more prevalent, we find that there are more neurotic illnesses. It is for this reason that more mental hospitals are to be found in Europe and America.

Dr. Adlen writes against music, "Even though it seems pleasant, the effect of music is profound upon the nervous system. Especially, when the temperature is high, the ill effect of music is more. This is the reason that ill effects of music are more in the hot areas of Iran and Saudi Arabia. The American people are so disgusted with the bane of music that they have united to demand from the senate a permanent ban on music. It is a pity that the whole world clearly perceives the evils of music and yet adopts music as entertainment."
(Refer to the booklet; "Tasir Mausiqi bar Asaab" Pg.3, 6

 


source : GREATER SINS Shaheede Mehraab Ayatullah-ul-Uzma Al-Haaj Sayed Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi (r.a.)
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