Why is Alcohol the Mother of Evils?

The word alcohol is derived from the Arabic word al-kohl, which means fermented grains, fruits, or sugars that form an intoxicating beverage when fermented. Khamr or khamrah (which means ‘to cover’) is the word used in the Qur’ān to denote a fermented beverage that intoxicates a person when he/she drinks it. It is sometimes translated as “wine.”

Alcohol is a major dangerous public health menace all over the world. Drinking alcohol is a social evil and it has been listed as one of the major sins since the beginning of the Islamic era. It is also considered one of great sins for which eternal punishment is promised.

Drug abuse is not only a national problem, but has become a serious worldwide socio-medical problem. In spite of public education on the dangers of drug dependence, the number of drug-addicts is increasing day by day. The credit goes to Islam for successfully combating and eradicating drug-addiction.

Islam’s holistic approach to health and well-being means that anything that is harmful or mostly harmful, is forbidden.  Therefore,  Islam takes an uncompromising stand towards alcohol and forbids its consumption in either small or large quantities. In a Hadith it is said, “If a large amount of anything causes intoxication, a small amount of it is also prohibited.” (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud & Ibn Majah)

Alcohol is undoubtedly harmful and affects the mind and the body.  It clouds the mind, causes disease, wastes money, and destroys individuals, families and communities. Therefore alcohol, in Islam is mentioned next to clear instances of prohibitions, such as gambling and idol-worship. Drinking alcohol is defined as a satanic act. Because disobedience to the order of Allah is mostly due to alcoholism. Alcohol promotes a man to do evils. Therefore it is called the mother of evils.

One day, coming out of his mosque, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) noticed his cousin and son-in-law, Ali bin Abi Talib, visibly upset.  When the Prophet asked Ali what was troubling him, Ali simply pointed to the bloody carcass of his dearly cherished camel – no ordinary camel, but the war-weathered camel that Ali would mount in his valiant defense of the Prophet and Islam in the battlefield.  Ali told the Prophet that one of their uncles had been responsible for the unsanctioned slaughter of his animal, and so the Prophet went to ascertain his (i.e. the uncle’s) side of the story.

Entering in the presence of his uncle, the Prophet found him drunk with wine.  Upon seeing the displeasure on his nephew’s face, the uncle could know at once, despite his intoxication, that the Prophet had come to question him about Ali’s beast of war.  With nothing good to say in his defense, the guilt-ridden, drunken uncle blurted out to his nephew: ”You and your father are my slaves!” The Prophet’s only response to the blasphemous outburst was to exclaim: ”Truly, alcohol is the mother of every evil!”

And so, from the biography of Prophet Muhammad we learn a great lesson that alcoholic drink has evil consequences. Any one of the alcohol-inspired acts in this short episode from the blessed Prophet’s life would suffice the reader as an admonition: whether it be the killing of Ali’s camel, the drunken state of an uncle of a Prophet of God – let alone His being the last and final messenger to mankind – or the wicked insult he spewed out against him and his own deceased brother, who was no less than the father of the Prophet of God.  How much worse is it when we consider all these crimes together?  Not to mention the many evils indirectly resulting from the uncle’s consumption of the alcohol, such as the loss to the Muslim community of one of its battle-hardened steeds of war, or the pain, anguish and, perhaps, embarrassment that Muhammad must have felt at this tragic family affair.  No doubt, it was precisely because the Prophet recognised that it was the alcohol that gave birth to the evils and nurtured all these foul sins that he denounced it as ”the mother of every evil!”

Man is superior to animals by virtue of his mental faculties. If these faculties are impaired, he will act like an animal. Alcohol and narcotic drugs impair the higher centres of the brain resulting in a man’s losing of judgment, intellect, learning, reason, memory and orientation. The lower centers of the brain are freed from the inhibiting influence of the higher centers causing excitement and animalistic behaviours. Owing to this, the intoxicated person behaves recklessly and become loquacious and loses self-control, totters and is led by evil desires to commit crimes.

We hear a lot of cases where the drunkard driver occasionally caused so many accidents on the road and eventually took the lives of so many innocent people. At the end of the day, they regretted that they cannot even remember what had happened. We also hear how so many families are broken as a consequence of alcoholism. Alcohol sets the home into some kind of emotional confusion, embarrassment, shame, anger, violence and frustration.

Finally, alcohol is known to cause the incurable liver disorder; liver cirrhosis. Alcohol causes brain damage too. It is a danger to life. Many alcoholics have died of heart attack or respiratory arrest while consuming too much of it. The list of impeccable upsets caused by alcohol abuse is too long to mention.

Thus we can say that alcohol and narcotic drugs are the mother of evils.

There may be so many reasons to stop drinking but T.T.R. Clinical Research Foundation, Chennai gave ten reasons to stop drinking. The essence of those reasons are being given here:

1) Heavy drinking can lead to early death and permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and liver, etc.

2) It affects relationships and social life. Domestic violence and abusive behaviour is a regular thing at a drunkard’s house.

3) Its consumption is a costly addiction and can burn a hole in one’s pocket.

4) Drinking Alcohol can lead to accidents while driving.

5) It might get blackout or memory loss.

6) Drinking can also expose one to dangers or higher risk by making an easy target for robbery, rape, abuse, etc.

7) Nausea and Vomiting after drinking is the body’s mechanism to protect itself by getting rid of alcohol.

8) Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a serious consequence of drinking while pregnant and can result in mental retardation and other irreversible physical abnormalities of the child.

9) Alcohol is often associated with health conditions like obesity as alcohol is full of calories. Moreover, alcoholics also like to have fried foods and other unhealthy accompaniments along with drinks.

10) Alcoholics often suffer from depression and stress. They mostly suffer from severe sleep disorders.