Monday, 24 October 2011

One perspective on the 'advance' development of the west and Islam


In this entry, comparison will be made on the prohibition of alcohol in Islam and the west.

Most muslims understand the word 'jahilliyah' as the period of ignorance in Arabia before the coming of the Prophet salallahualaihiwassalam. During this period, the arabs of Makkah are involved in a lot of activities where we would say are backwards, disgusting and immoral.

In this period of ignorance (jahilliyah) also refers to individual education. Most of them were illiterate, barely have any understanding of science and basically no system in life. One thing for sure is that, the arabs during jahilliyah heavily rely on alcohol as part of their lives. They had about 250 names for alcohol which shows their obsession for alcohol. Having 250 names for a type of drink is exceptional for any culture.

The came of Islam brought changes to this jahilliyah or backward culture. The changes are in the sequence manner. First they asked Prophet Muhammad salallahualaihiwasalam for guidance on liquor. "They ask you about strong drinks and games of chance. Say :"in both is great evil, even though there is some benefit for people, but their evil is greater than their benefit." They ask: "What shall we spend in the Way of Allah?" Say :"Whatever you can spare." In this way Allah clearly expounds His injunctions to you that you may reflect upon them." (Surah albaqarah verse 219) Then, as they were difficult to part with alcohol, some offer their solah while intoxicated hence making errors in Qur'anic recitation. Then the verse was revealed "O you who believe! Do not draw near to the prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying; nor when you are defiled..." (Surah nisa verse 43) Liquor still showed its harm as people fight with each other and etc hence the following verse was revealed. "O you who believe! Strong drink and game of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. Leave it aside in order that you may succeed." (Surah al maidah verse 90)

After receiving this clear instruction from Allah, the arabs of jahilliyah who were so attached to alcohol part their ways with alcohol. Until today, muslims still stay away from alcohol. Of course there are some of those black sheeps, but generally muslims avoid alcohol. The punishment for a muslim to be caught drinking alcohol was 80 lashes. Even without the practise of this punishment, muslims generally manage to keep a distance from alcohol.

In the U.S around 1930's they tried to banned liquor. They spend about 600 million dollars for campaign and all the expenses to prohibit alcohol. Even with most of its population who are literate and generally have good knowledge of science, the prohibition of alcohol didn't last long. In the end, the community caused the prohibition to be taken off. The law of prohibition of alcohol in this context was created by human. The rationale of the law comes from the will of the people. Therefore if people do not will such prohibition, it will then be lifted or taken off. This shows the weakness of the so called "democracy" - the voice of majority. The voice of majority doesn't necessarily proves that it is the correct guidance/path. Hence if the voice of majority is being followed, the minority will then suffer. The rationale of the law also comes from the feelings and influence of what the majority receive. Creating a law following instinct or feelings can cause a great error in our lives. Hence we actually need a law that does not originate from human.

Islam managed to prohibit alcohol without even spending one penny/cent for campaigns and etc. It is done through iman and fear of Allah. This is the strength and benefits of Islam that victory can be obtained through iman. Usually the west is being labelled more advance compared to the muslim countries. Despite their "advance" they could not achieve what the muslims did and it lasted for more than 1400 years. I'm of the opinion that Islam is more advance because it takes into consideration of the next life or the life in hereafter. The west only 'advances' in this life in the world and do not have a clue or preparation for the life of the hereafter.

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