The consumption of alcohol is a global phenomenon and is typically practiced by many including countless Muslims as a recreational substance in the form of alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and spirits.

Alcohol is commonly consumed as a recreational substance, especially during socialisation, due to its psychoactive effects. Given its perception as a recreational substance, alcohol has developed somewhat of a positive identity and is, therefore, widely available and easily accessible even by minors.

Economic pressures combined with the moral and social changes inspired by the abstinence, women’s rights groups, and labour movements have all played a role in the changes to the drinking culture in modern societies whether that is in Egypt, a majority Muslim country or in Australia, a secular modern nation-state.

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In recent decades there has been a move towards social integration of drinking in many countries both Western and non-Western, with women having the same access as men to drinking establishments.

Mass media advertisements and events have heightened the positive framing of alcohol, with alcohol associated with high profile sporting and cultural events.

There may be some benefits of alcohol consumption (and the benefits are open to arbitrary definition) but overall there are numerous negative consequences of alcohol consumption in all societies of the world.

Yet, the producers of alcohol and those commercially linked with it who often happen to be powerful wealthy individuals and conglomerates either hide or downplay the harmful health effects of alcohol consumption.

People are not the same, that is, they differ from one another physically and mentally and so, the effects of alcohol vary from person to person. While some individuals may be able to limit their drinking, others might find it difficult to control their alcohol consumption.

The effects of alcohol can be influenced by numerous risk factors, for example, the amount of alcohol consumed, the individual’s medical history, his or her tolerance to alcohol, and whether alcohol is consumed in conjunction with other legal or illegal drugs.

Modern medicine has proven that alcohol consumption directly affects a person’s central nervous system. Thus, a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) determines the effect of alcohol on the central nervous system. Depending on a person’s BAC, he or she can experience a range of side effects that extend from minor complications to more severe problems.

The following are a brief list of symptoms or the side effects of alcohol consumption impacting on the central nervous system:

• Shorter attention span,
• Lack of fine motor coordination,
• Impairment of judgment,
• Sedation,
• Loss of memory and lack of comprehension,
• Delayed motor reactions,
• Blurred vision and sensation impairment,
• In and out of consciousness or complete unconsciousness,
• Amnesia during the events while intoxicated,
• Vomiting with aspiration,
• Respiratory depression,
• Incontinence of urine,
• Slowed heart rate,
• Comatose,
• Lack of pupillary response to light,
• Severe decrease in heart rate, and
• Death.

Alcohol can affect the outer as well as inner body and its abuse can result in the damage of an organ or organs. It can affect the brain and cause temporary complications, for instance, memory loss and coordination and in more serious case can lead to long-term side effects that may not be reversible.

The heart can suffer and with extensive alcohol consumption can lead to the weakening of the heart, impacting on the oxygen flow and the delivery of nutrients to other vital organs in the body.

Excessive alcohol consumption can increase triglyceride levels which is a type of fat in the blood. High levels of triglycerides can lead to heart disease and diabetes. The liver can be exposed to harmful risk through alcohol consumption.

When one drinks alcohol, the liver breaks down alcohol and removes it from the blood but too much alcohol in a short period of time can crush the metabolism process and lead to fatty liver.

Pancreas which is a part of the digestive process can be negatively impacted by regular alcohol consumption. Long-Term alcohol abuse can ultimately cause the blood vessels around the pancreas to swell, leading to pancreatitis.

For these and other reasons, Islam has made alcohol consumption prohibited. The prohibition of alcohol in Islam is derived from the Qur’an directly and various hadiths.

They ask you (O Muhammad (s)) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit” (Al-Qur’an 2:219).

The Qur’an says, “Do not approach prayers while you are drunk” (Al-Quran 4:43).

Further, the Qur’an says, “O ye who believe! Intoxicants and Gambling, (Dedication of) stones, And (divination by) arrows, Are an Abomination – Of Satan’s handiwork; Eschew such (abomination), That ye may prosper” (Al-Qur’an 5:90).

In a hadith (coming from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar) it is reported that Muhammad (PBU) said:
“Whoever drinks wine in this world and does not repent from that, he will be deprived of it in the Hereafter” (Saheeh al-Bukhaari [2295] and Saheeh Muslim [86]).