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The Gradual Prohibition of Alcohol in Islam

Bassam Zawadi



Allah did not send down all the laws at one time. The Quran was sent down over a period of 23 years. In the first 13 years of Mecca, none of these laws were sent down. As a matter of fact, if you analyze the Meccan Surahs, they all talk about Tawheed, Shirk, Day of Judgment, and Hell, Heaven etc. This was done in order to first build up the faith of the believers. Then in Madina, the laws were sent down. This is to teach us that people change gradually and not just overnight.  This is the wisdom that Muslims even apply today. That if there is a sinner and wishes to turn back to God, he doesn’t conform to all the of laws and quit all the sins he does over night. His mind would eventually pop and lose hope of ever changing. But a person is to change gradually.

Drinking was a part of the lives of the people at that time and Allah in his divine wisdom had them quit gradually. This was Allah’s plan the whole time. But if Allah were to completely prohibit drinking all at once, it would have been very difficult for them to abide by that law immediately. This simply shows Allah’s mercy and consideration for his creation.


The gradual prohibition came in 3 verses in the following order:

Surah 2:219

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 profit. And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say: What you can spare. Thus does Allah make clear to you the communications, that you may ponder


Surah 4:43

O you who believe! do not go near prayer when you are Intoxicated until you know (well) what you say.....


Surah 5:90

O ye who believe ! wine and the game of chance and idols and divining arrows are only the abomination of Satan's handiwork. So shun each one of them that you may prosper.


That gradual change is better than any other rehabilitation programs out there http://www.soberforever.net/

Christians believe that moderate drinking is okay. But what do you mean by moderation? http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh23-1/05-14.pdf

Taken from http://mens-health.health-cares.net/moderate-drinking.php  

  They recommend the following people should not drink at all:

  women who are pregnant or trying to conceive

  people who plan to drive or engage in other activities that require attention or skill

  people taking medication, including over-the-counter medications

  recovering alcoholics

  people under the age of 21.

Tell me, who is left to drink?

It has harmful effects as well http://www.athealth.com/Consumer/disorders/womenalcohol.html

Consumption of alcohol has its harmful effects on society and is not a joke as some people might think http://www.ccri.edu/advising/health_and_wellness/alcohol.htm.

Moderate drinkers most likely become heavy drinkers anyway so why the risk? Islam does not like to take risks. It ensures the safety of society. There is no necessity at all for drinking alcohol in any way and should be totally prohibited even if it takes force to do so (just like the fight on drugs).

Additionally then can't a Christian  use the same argument. “Now if it is okay for me to drink but not get drunk, it is also okay for me to smoke marijuana and not get high”?  


One Christian Missionary by the name of Sam Shamoun asks this question in his article http://www../Shamoun/wine_consumption.htm

Muslims fail to realize how unfair this gradual progression truly is for others. After all, neither Muslim scholars nor those seeking to implement Islamic law will allow for the gradual abandonment of intoxicants. Anyone converting to Islam must immediately forsake all consumption of intoxicants since those verses which allowed for drinking have been abrogated by the outright prohibition of alcoholic drinks. Where is the fairness in that? Why was it permitted for the first generation of Muslims to slowly come off of drinking whereas all subsequent generations of converts must not drink at all, even if they may happen to be addicted to alcohol and might find it hard to just give it up instantaneously?

The answer to that is very simple. You have to understand that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) came alone as one man. He was bringing a revolution and he was on his own to help bring these people to the straight path. These people needed to slowly change. They needed to change spiritually first before they were to get themselves ready for the more physical laws. However, in today's society you have over 1.5 billion Muslims. If some one converts to Islam, he already has such a huge society filled with Muslims who are willing to support him in his struggle to join Islam, unlike the case when the Prophet first came to preach the Message and he was on his own. 

Links that Talk more about the Subject







http://drzakirnaik.com/pages/qanda/25.php (read the third point)





The prohibition of alcohol in Islam.

Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.

The Gradual ending of slavery in Islam.

Contradictions and History of Corruption in the Bible.

Bassam Zawadi's Rebuttals section.

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