One of the great scholars in Islam, Abdullah Ibn Al-Mubarak once was asked: what would be the best gift a human being can claim to have? He said: “A true conscience or intellect.” He was asked: what if he did not have that? He said: “Then good manners.” He was asked: what if he did not have that? He said: “Good company and friends that shield him.” He was asked: what if he did not have that? He said: “Then let him be silent and quiet for as long as he can be.” He was asked: what if he did not have that? He said: “Then a destiny of death.” (Meaning, if one is living with no good whatsoever, he is just counting days for his death to come)

The blessing of having a brain or a mind is superior to any other blessing in life, it is the mother of all blessings. It is our intellect that makes us humans, helps us live honorably, makes us know our purpose in life and grants us choices that distinguishes us from animals and other creatures.

When God spoke about the way the human being was honored {and indeed We have honored the sons of Adam}, it included his creation by God’s Hands, breathing the soul into him, teaching him all matters of life and ordering angels to bow down in respect to him.

With our mind, we can know our Lord, make choices that bring benefit and prevent harm, and act on deeds that preserve us in this life and in the Hereafter. As a matter of fact, those who are mentally challenged are considered in Islamic Shari’ah as unaccountable for the choices they make, because they lack reason and logic.

For all that, Islam considered preserving the mind as one of the major themes in Shari’ah that was revealed to protect and preserve after protecting religion and self. It prohibited any harmful matters that can affect the ability to think and make free choices in life. Among the things Islam prohibited were all substances of intoxications like liquor, drugs, or marijuana. Those who end up in Hell at the Day of Judgment will relate that to their lack of using their intellect properly as saying: {And they say if we were hearing (properly) and were of true reason (in making choices), we would not have been among people of Hell.} 67:10.

Imam Hasan Al-Basri said: “If intellect was a product that people sell, it would be very expensive. It is surprising how people would buy substances that can affect their ability to use their intellect!” Even before the message of Islam with prophet Mohammad (ﷺ) some people would not drink wine. Abu Bakr (RAA) said: “I never drank wine because I saw when I was young, a drunk person who was trying to eat animal waste and every time he brings it to his mouth, he smells the foul odor and would turn away from it, so I chose not to drink any wine.”

The prophet (ﷺ) considered lack of reasoning and intellect as signs of the Day of Judgment. He said: “From among the portents of the Hour are the following: Religious knowledge will be taken away; General ignorance (in religious matters) will increase; illegal Sexual intercourse will prevail: Drinking of alcoholic drinks will prevail. Men will decrease in number, and women will increase in number, so much so that fifty women will be looked after by one man.”[1] He also said (ﷺ): “There will come to the people years of treachery, when the liar will be regarded as honest, and the honest man will be regarded as a liar; the traitor will be regarded as faithful, and the faithful man will be regarded as a traitor; and the Ruwaibidah will decide matters.’ It was said: ‘Who are the Ruwaibidah?’ He said: ‘Vile and base men who control the affairs of the people.”[2]

In Islam, anything that intoxicates you is called (Khamr- خمر) or intoxicants. The term (Khamr) means in Arabic: “to cover”[3], and such meaning comes from the way intoxicants cover the brain from functioning properly. And for that all types of intoxications are considered prohibited in Islam; be it wine, alcohol, drugs, marijuana etc. Allah (ﷻ) said: {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.} 5:90. The prophet (ﷺ) detailed matters and said: “Every intoxicant is unlawful, and every intoxicant is Khamr.”[4] He (ﷺ) said: “If a large amount of any beverage intoxicates, then even a small amount of it is prohibited.”[5]

We hope parents can pay attention to their kids as they are exposed to all kinds of intoxicants in public life, even schools! Watch out for signs of low grades, hanging out with wrong friends and any abnormal behavior, and seek help and guidance to deal with such matters before things could go in dangerous directions.

May Allah protect our kids and families, ameen.

By Imam Kifah Mustapha

[1] Bukhari

[2] Ibn Majah

[3] Maqayees Al-Lughah by Ibn Fares

[4] Al-Nasai’e

[5] Ahmad