There are several verses in the Qur’an that expressly decry the use of alcohol. In 4.43, the Qur’an forbids going to prayers while intoxicated. This is a general prohibition, referring not only to alcohol but to any intoxicating substance, including but not limited to cocaine, marijuana, glue, amphetamines or barbiturates. In 2.219, the verse is more ambivalent, claiming that there are some health benefits to wine, but that its evils far outweigh its benefits. 5.90-91 calls alcohol and other intoxicants tools of the devil.
Now, this is why Islam forbids alcohol because the Qur’an is plain in its message that alcohol and its inebriating effects can have deleterious consequences. Let’s examine these consequences in light of spiritual life.
The Consequences in light of spiritual life
Satan uses alcohol as a tool
First of all, as 2.219 makes clear, Satan uses alcohol as a tool. It’s most harmful consequence is that it takes us away from a fruitful and reverent study of God’s word. It is a distraction. It makes us forget what is important.
Think of it this way, if you are pursuing God’s will for your life with everything you have inside of you, do you really want to blunt that desire with something that will make your mind sluggish? Does an athlete drink before he competes? If Satan is your enemy, do you really want to give him an advantage in the competition for your soul? Now, that may seem overly dramatic, but the spiritual mind will see that this issue is really discussing eternal consequences.
The deleterious effects of Alcohol
Second, although there may be some health benefits to drinking some kinds of alcohol, their deleterious effects make them problematic. Heart disease, liver disease, dementia, any number of health problems are attributable to alcohol. In addition to that, there is the expense. Although this may seem a minor point, many people graduate from alcohol too much more serious and more expensive addictions.
Alcohol impairs one’s judgment
Third, even in the smallest amounts, those that might be marginally beneficial for health reasons, alcohol can impair our judgment. Even tiny amounts can have an impact on our driving skills, leading to disastrous accidents. And the incidence of all sort of immorality while drinking are legend. Many people take unnecessary chances and bluntly put their lives in extreme danger because they were high. A party buzz is just not worth it.
The beginning of a path from which some are unable to turn
Finally, the reason why Islam forbids alcohol is that it is the beginning of a path from which some are unable to turn. If I am not happy with the sharpness of my mind as it is, why in the world would I want to cloud it further? Now, there may be some people who are mentally strong enough and possess the will power to drink in extreme moderation. But that’s the problem. When you drink, it impacts your judgment. Your judgment is what prevents you from drinking too much. So drinking alcohol blunts your desire to stop drinking alcohol.
All of a sudden you’re not saying, “Let’s have a drink.” Instead, you’re saying, “Let’s get smashed. Let’s get stupid. Let’s drink until we pass out.” Now no one starts out thinking like this, but it is a slippery slope, and alcohol is the best lubricant for sin that exists.