So what if we’re tipsy..

Salamualaykum,

Let’s take a moment to reflect on this ayah from Surah Nisa’. (It’s actually not really focussed on women)

4:43

O you who have believed, do not approach prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying or in a state of janabah, except those passing through [a place of prayer], until you have washed [your whole body]. And if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and find no water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and your hands [with it]. Indeed, Allah is ever Pardoning and Forgiving.

Alcohol was banned for the believers in a number of stages. 3 stages, if I remember correctly. In the early periods of Wahi, it was not prohibited, but it was discouraged. In ayah 219 of Surah Baqarah, Allah Subhanahu Wat’ala says that there is great sin in gambling and drinking though there is some benefit in it for men. Also, we know that Allah permits all food and intake that is tayyib (briefly, tayyib linguistically means that the food must look good, taste good, and be good–healthy). Alcohol is not wholesome and therefore, not tayyib for the believers. In the second stage, alcohol was prohibited at certain occasions. The ayah above was revealed later on in Madinah. So lets zoom in on this. Getting drunk and becoming sober takes a number of hours. There are 5 prayers in a day. To drink and be sober by the next prayer was almost impossible. SubhanAllah, Allah created a step-by-step, gradual system of self-cleansing to help the believers rid themselves of their addiction. But why? Allah says: “..do not approach prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying“. The intoxicated person does not understand clearly. He may hear the ayaat of Allah being recited, but they do not register; his heart is not shaken.

Now lets think about us. When we stand in Salah, what do we understand? When the Imam recites ayaat about the ahzaab of Allah, how do we react? When he hear the descriptions of Jahannum and the perished nations of past, what part of those ayaat are registering in our mind? What parts, if any, are we taking reminders from?

This ayaat alone presents a crystal clear reason for why it is imperative that each and every Muslim learns the Arabic language (classical) or if not the entire language, then at least–the tafsir of Qur’an in Arabic. May Allah Subhanahu Wat’ala make it easy for us to learn Arabic and understand it, but more importantly may we put in the time, effort, and money necessary to achieve this goal bi’ithnillah.

EDIT: 3rd stage not mentioned in my flow of ideas. The last stage was obviously prohibition.

-Fi Amanillah-

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