Abu Baseer was once in the company of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a) when a woman came and said to the Imam, “I have come to ask a question. I am ill. Physicians in Iraq have told me to take liquor. Now I want to know what to do in such circumstances?” The Imam asked her, “Why don’t you drink what the doctors have prescribed for you?” She replied, “As I am your follower, I shall obey what you say. If you permit me, I shall drink it; if not, I shall keep away from it; so that if I am asked by the Almighty God on the Day of Judgement why I did so, I shall reply that I followed the instructions of the Imam of the day.” Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a) turned to Abu Baseer and said: “O Abu Baseer. Did you listen to what this woman has to say? Are you not moved by her faith? Inspite of her illness, she is refraining from taking liquor without the Imam’s permission.” The Imam then turned to the woman and said, “By God, I do not permit you to drink. If you do so, you shall be sorry when your soul reaches your throat (that is at the time of death)”. So saying the Imam pointed at her throat; and asked her three times if she understood what he had said. The woman nodded her head. One of the things which Islam has strongly forbidden is the taking of any intoxicating drink, like beer, wine. They are harmful to the body and mind. Under their influence one loses one’s senses and is apt to commit criminal acts. We read of fatal accidents and crimes committed because of drinks. Even trading in liquor and sitting in bars where people are drinking are also forbidden in Islam so that there is no temptation in the way of people to taking them. The Holy Qur’an says, “O Believers, Intoxicants and games of chance, idols and divining arrows, are abominations devised by Satan. Avoid them, so that you may prosper. Satan desires to stir up enmity and hatred among you by means of intoxicants and gambling, and to keep you from the remembrance of Allah and from your prayers. Will you not abstain from them?” (Chapter 5, Verses 90, 91) The above verses from the Qur’an warn us of the effects of drinking. The first Imam, Ali (a), said, “Suppose a drop of liquor is put in a well and from its water a land is irrigated. Grass grows on the land and a sheep grazes there. That sheep then gets mixed in a flock of other sheep who have grazed elsewhere. If all the sheep are slaughtered making it difficult to identify the meat of the sheep who had grazed on a land which was irrigated from the water of the well, then I shall not eat any of that meat.” Thus Imam Ali (a) has emphasized the evil of alcohol. For the sake of our own physical, mental and spiritual welfare, we should always keep away from drinks.
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