Striving for Excellence in Taqwa & Character

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{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.

There is not upon those who believe and do righteousness [any] blame concerning what they have eaten [in the past] if they fear Allah and believe and do righteous deeds, and then fear Allah and believe, and then fear Allah and do good; and Allah loves the doers of good.}

Quran 5:90-93

Today’s verses made me pause and wonder.

These verses are the final verses that absolutely prohibited the drinking of alcohol. Before the advent of Islam, the Arabs were big drinkers and thus Allah decreed that he would gradually legislate the prohibition of alcohol until faith was firm in their hearts. Imagine, alcohol wasn’t forbidden until the Muslims were established in Madina. That was almost 17 years after Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) was given the message of Islam.

Notice that Allah mentioned four things together which are ‘filth’ and avoiding them is a cause for success: alcohol, gambling, sacrificing on stone alters and a form of fortune telling. One can write a whole essay on the evils of each of these things. One thing to mention though; when Allah mentioned the sacrificing on alters along with fortune telling it is showing a commonality between these two. Fortune telling is seeking to find the unknown from other than Allah and thus attributing a creation with an attribute of the creator. Therefore, as sacrificing to other than Allah violates unifying Allah with worship, attributing what is to Allah to his creation also violates the belief in the attributes that are unique to Allah.

Alcohol and gambling got mentioned again to emphasise their harm. Know that the order things are stated in the Quran are significant. The first issue mentioned is causing enmity between people THEN the distraction from the general remembrance of Allah and specifically in prayer. How amazing is that? What has been forbidden to us is not just for our personal benefit but also for our community. It is to preserve our ties of kinship and friendship.

The community of believers at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were true examples of brotherhood. When these verses were revealed forbidding alcohol, the companions were concerned for the Muslims who died before the verses and were still drinking alcohol. Allah responded {There is not upon those who believe and do righteousness [any] blame concerning what they have eaten}.

May Allah make us of those who see the truth and are granted the ability to follow it and be an aid for other to follow the truth.

May Allah grant us his love and the love of those he loves {… and Allah loves the doers of good.}

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