Islam's response to contemporary world problems (38)



We conclude this chapter on Socio-Economic Peace based on the teachings of the Holy Quran

(You can consult the references of the Holy Quran at

Continuing with the analysis of why the Holy Quran prohibits drinking and gambling, the Holy Quran states:


"They ask you about wine and gambling. Say: 'In both there is great sin and also some advantages for men; but their evil is greater than their advantages'. And they ask you about what they should spend. Say: "Whatever you can afford". Thus Al'lah clarifies His commandments for you that ye may reflect." (2:220)

It could be argued that obtaining pleasure through the money one earns is not the concern of others: let one enjoy as one pleases. Society has no right to interfere with the freedom of the individual to the extent of telling him where to spend his earnings.

But it must be borne in mind that most religious teachings consist of admonitions and warnings. Measures of coercion here on earth have no place in the teachings of any religion, unless specific crimes are committed against others, crimes recognised even from a non-religious point of view. Murder, theft, fraud, corruption and usurpation of rights fall into this category. However, there are other social crimes that, according to religions, are poisonous to society as a whole. However, the penalty for such crimes is not imposed at the individual level: it is suffered by society as a whole. It is the more liberal social laws that pass the sentence.

Consent to drink and alcohol soon becomes a social debauchery for society as a whole, but this is not surprising.

Moreover, these societies become increasingly expensive to maintain. A considerable part of the national wealth is squandered. Frustration grows in this climate. Crime goes hand in hand with alcohol and gambling. The miseries and tragedies in many homes where family peace is destroyed are the direct and growing consequence of drink and gambling. Many broken homes and shattered marriages are a direct result.

Alcoholism has serious negative economic and social consequences, recently studied and published in Scientific American magazine. Apart from domestic violence, child abuse, incest and rape occur due to the suppression of inhibitions under the influence of alcohol.

Mortality Statistics:

Ten-year decrease in life expectancy of alcoholics.

Twice the average mortality rate for men and three times the average for women.

Six times more suicides among alcoholics.

Alcohol is the leading factor in the four leading causes of death in men aged 25-44: accidents (50%), homicides (60%), suicides and alcoholic cirrhosis.

In various statistical forums analysing the total cost of alcohol abuse worldwide, the figures are in excess of tens of billions of euros per year. These losses are further subdivided into material losses, health costs, alcohol-related accident costs, alcohol-related violent crime costs, alcohol-related fire losses, costs of the social response to the above-mentioned cases...

Drinking, gambling, music, dance and other forms of pleasure are commonly regarded as innocent entertainment activities by most societies in the world. They are presented as essential parts of different cultures. Although the form of expression varies from one society to another, the basic features remain the same. Except for sculpture, painting, etc., most of the above mentioned activities do not continue to endure as innocent features of culture, but become tyrants that sometimes overburden and break the backbone of society. Society ceases to be master of its destiny and is no longer in control of its course. Drinking, gambling, music, dancing etc., begin to attract people's growing attention. The speed at which they capture young people soon turns into a stampede.

Observing such societies, one comes to believe that the pursuit of vain pleasures and total submission to sensual desires is, in fact, the ultimate object of man's creation.

According to Islam this is not so:


"Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the succession of night and day, there are, no doubt, Signs for men of sense. Those who remember Al'lah when they stand, sit and lie on their sides, and meditate on the creation of the heavens and the earth: "Our Lord, You have not created this in vain; nay, Holy are You; save us then from the punishment of the Fire. (3:191-192)

This is the statement which the Holy Quran attributes to the wise servants of Al'lah who, after meditating on the mystery of creation and life, spontaneously exclaim that whatever the purpose of creation is, it is certainly not vanity.

These verses of the Holy Quran remind us of Archimedes' immense expression of joy when he exclaimed: Eureka!

Thus, there are two totally different environments. According to The Holy Quran, the human being has been created to achieve the noble goal of following the path that leads to his Creator. In this broad meaning of worship, The Holy Quran states:


"For I have not created the Jinn and mankind except that they may worship Me". (51:57)

If we examine each form of obtaining pleasure, we may not find excessive evils in each of them to justify their total prohibition. Particularly in the free societies of the world, it is difficult for people to understand why Islam is so puritanical to the point of seeming arid. Islam is by no means arid or boring although it may seem so from a distance. First of all, those who acquire a taste for good also learn to derive sublime pleasure from acts that may appear grey to the outsider. Secondly, the more fortunate among those who experience the true love of God, transcend to a state of sublimity in which worldly pleasures seem to them too lowly, miserable, insignificant and transitory. Thirdly, in its broadest sense, a society that does not indulge in the pursuit of pleasures is not left empty-handed at the end of the day. In its final analysis, it is only an exchange of values: excitement, stimulants, intense sensual experiences and explosive ecstasies are exchanged for peace, tranquillity, balance, a growing sense of security, nobility and joy, which as a reward per se is the noblest of all rewards.

When both environments and social environments are compared side by side, it is not at all difficult to understand that the tree of love and devotion to God can rarely take root in the materialistic environment of a fun-loving society. There are exceptions no doubt, but the exception does not make the rule. The two environments are very different.

(lpbD) - God's peace and blessings be upon him.

(To be continued in issue 39, which will deal with Economic Peace, a new topic).