Islam is the strictest of all religions when it comes to the vices of alcohol, drugs, music and pork. Islam views them as spiritually polluting and to be abstained from.
Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.
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We all know what goes on in parties even if we’ve never been in them. These parties usually have five things: music, alcohol, drugs, fornication and eating pork. In Abrahamic traditions, many of these things are considered vices, or at the very least, inadequate use of them are vices. Islam is by far the strictest when it comes to their prohibition.
In this lesson, we will look into Islam’s position on these five vices and when adequate, make comparisons between Islam’s position and that of other Abrahamic religions.
BODY OF TEXT
O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah ], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful. Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist? And obey Allah and obey the Messenger and beware. And if you turn away - then know that upon Our Messenger is only [the responsibility for] clear notification. (Chapter 5, verses 90 to 92 of the Holy Qur’an)
Music is part of every culture in the world. It is simply universal without any exception. Despite its prevalence, Islam has misgivings about music. Although some of it may have some therapeutic elements, Islam also believes that it can be destructive in influence.
Music has a tendency to inflame our passions. They can make us sad, happy, angry, depressed or courageous. They can either make us want to do good for people, or hurt them in some way. In sum, music has an immense influence over our moods and emotions which can cloud our minds.
This is not to mention the problematic lyrics that some songs have. With seductive beats, music can warp our sense of morality with lyrics we would not accept if the beats weren’t there.
For these reasons, Islam is very cautious when it comes to music and may forbid a lot of it. In order to know more about Islam’s position on the subject, please make sure to contact your Marja or resident scholar at a Masjid near you to learn more about music and Islamic law.
Christianity and Judaism allow alcohol. Alcohol is often used in religious rituals and ceremonies. Just because these religions condone alcohol does not mean that they endorse over consumption of it.
Islam’s position on alcohol is stricter. Not even a single drop of alcohol is permitted in Islam. This is so for multiple reasons.
- Alcohol is one of those substances that often has its limits stretched by its consumers. Thinking that they can control themselves, many people go over the border and get drunk. As a result of their drunkenness, they say or do many shameful acts which they otherwise wouldn’t do in a normal state. Islam therefore has a zero tolerance policy. Just like a red light, everyone has to obey the rules, no exceptions!
- Alcohol is ritually impure in Islam. This means that its consumption pollutes the human soul and makes it impermissible for a person to enter into prayer while in a state of drunkenness. The ritual impurity itself, which can come about even with a drop, is considered poisonous to the health of the human soul.
- The Qur’an does see some benefits in alcohol, but it says that its harms outweigh its good. But the Qur’an’s main central argument is that alcohol causes heedlessness and forgetfulness of God. So pay attention: the #1 reason why Islam forbids alcohol is because of its negative effects on the soul.
Alcohol is only permissible in Islam under times of extreme duress. For example, if you find yourself dying of thirst in the middle of a desert and all you have is a bottle of alcohol, then according to Islam it is permissible to drink alcohol and even obligatory in order to save your life.
Drugs are not explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an. However, there are some general principals in the hadith literature that makes any kind of recreational drug impermissible. The hadiths state that all forms of intoxicants and things which get us out of our normal state of minds (or aql) are forbidden.
This means that cocaine, heroin and even marijuana are forbidden in Islam. The question of pain killer drugs, like morphine, Vicodin or even medical marijuna are a different matter. Although these drugs can cause highs and interfere with our normal states of thinking, they can be taken if they are prescribed by a doctor for serious health reasons.
If one just wants to feel good with the drugs and go on a high, then it is forbidden.
Fornication or zina is also forbidden in Islam. Fornication is generally understood as intimate relations outside of marriage. Traditionally speaking, Abrahamic societies considered this to be a vice for many reasons. For one, it eroded the institution of marriage which is necessary for proper parenthood and healthy and stable societies.
Second, intimate relations outside the proper bounds that are set by God lead to spiritual corruption. As Islam and Christianity teach, fornication and adultery open up spiritual wounds by which demons or evil jinn can enter us. These demons can wreck havoc in our hearts and minds and distance us from God.
Pork is a specific dietary vice in Islam, Judaism and early Christianity. Islam believes that certain kinds of foods can be spiritually polluting even if they don’t intoxicate us. Pork, like alcohol, is ritually impure. For this reason, and perhaps others, it is forbidden to eat as it has a detrimental affect on our souls even if we don’t perceive it directly.
Being a Muslim isn’t always easy, especially if your converting to it. Here are a list of vices that people need to abstain from when they convert to Islam:
Islam is very cautious when it comes to music and may forbid most kinds as it has a way to encourage sin. In order to know more about Islam’s position on the subject, please make sure to contact your Marja or resident scholar at a Masjid near you to learn more about music and Islamic law.
Islam’s position on alcohol is the strictest of all religions. Not even a single drop of alcohol is permitted in Islam.
Drugs are not explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an. However, there are some general principals in the hadith literature that makes any kind of recreational drug impermissible. The hadiths state that all forms of intoxicants and things which get us out of our normal state of minds ( or aql) are forbidden.
Fornication or zina is also forbidden in Islam. Fornication is generally understood as intimacy outside of marriage. Traditionally speaking, Abrahamic societies considered this to be a vice.
Pork is a specific dietary vice in Islam, Judaism and early Christianity. Islam believes that certain kinds of foods can be spiritually polluting even if they don’t intoxicate us. Pork, like alcohol, is ritually impure.
Is all music forbidden in Islam?
Islam is very cautious when it comes to music. If you want to know if all music is forbidden in Islam, please refer to your Marja.
Why is alcohol forbidden in Islam?
Because it causes heedlessness of God and pollutes the human soul
Can I drink a small cup of beer if it doesn’t cause drunkenness in me?
No, not even a single drop is permissible.
Are mind altering drugs permitted in Islam?
The only mind altering drugs that are permissible in Islam are those that are prescribed by a doctor and necessary for health reasons.
Under what circumstances can I drink alcohol or eat pork in Islam?
If you are dying of hunger or thirst
islam’s position on alcohol