Thursday, June 30, 2022 - 2 Dhu-al-Hijjah 1443

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People get addicted to coffee just as they do to alcohol. Why alcohol is forbidden?

People get addicted to coffee just as they do to alcohol. Why alcohol is forbidden?

Answer

I heard that the food or drink which causes addiction to the body in large quantity cannot be take in small quantity. I also heard that this is the reason of forbidding alcohol in Islam. How about the addiction to tea or coffee and both of them have Caffeine and theophyilline in it? Many get coffee withdrawal symptoms too. Could you put some light on this topic please?

Answer

The questioner is mixing the word “addiction” with the word “drunkenness”. The hadith stated precisely that “if the huge consumption of anything leads to drunkenness, then little quantities of it is forbidden”. The religious scholars stated that the reason behind the prohibition of alcohol consumption is because it leads to drunkenness which in turn leads to the absence of mind. The mind in Islam is deemed essential because the legal capacity of a Muslim is determined by the sanity and the consciousness of the mind. Therefore intentional jeopardy of the sanity and the consciousness of the mind; be it with the consumption of alcohol or with drugs or any other substance that would lead to the intentional absence of the mind- other than for medical purposes- would be deemed prohibited.

The analogy which the questioner applied on coffee and tea is having the wrong base as the reason for the prohibition of alcohol or drugs is for the intentional absence of the mind and not for addiction. Excessive use of many lawful food and drinks could lead to addiction or could lead to harming the body which is wrong but there is a difference between excessive use of a substance that is originally lawful to use and between the use of a substance that is prohibited to use in the first place regardless of its used amount.