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Austin Cline

Islam & Alcohol: Shame and Fear of Muslims who Drink Alcohol

By November 13, 2007

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It is forbidden for Muslims to drink alcohol, but as with any religion not everyone perfectly follows all the rules — especially when Muslims live in a non-Muslim society. Even in staunchly Muslim Saudi Arabia, alcohol is consumed behind closed doors and among close friends; in western societies like Britain, the opportunities are much greater. In any society, though, most Muslims who drink alcohol feel the need to hide and lie about what they are doing lest they be condemned by their religious community.
Asad is 33 and goes to great lengths to hide his drinking from family and friends. "It is totally frowned upon in the Muslim community. "That is not to say our elders didn't drink. Some of them did but if someone finds out you drink it can bring great shame upon you. My wife doesn't know I drink. When we go out I always stay over at a friends place so there is never any comeback."

Asad said his wife became suspicious of his actions but he lied about what he was doing. "I came home once and I had been drinking. Normally she is asleep but this time she was awake. I went straight to the bathroom and pretended to be ill. She asked me if I was okay and I just ignored her. I made sure I didn't come home drunk again."

"Although I feel a little ashamed it is not as if I do it on a regular basis. I just like to let my hair down and have a good time every now and then."

Source: Asian Image

One thing that I find most remarkable about this is how similar this description would be to someone hiding the fact that they are gay, that they use illegal drugs, masturbation, that they are really into pornography, etc. As with these and so many other things, we are looking at actions which religion insists are shameful and this in turn produces all sorts of guilt when people go do them anyway.

Why should people have to be ashamed and lie to others just to "let their hair down and have a good time now and then"? Because by controlling people’s ability to experience pleasure, religions are able to exert a great deal more control over people and their lives generally.

Mehboob started drinking regularly whilst at University. "When it comes to alcohol my culture and relgion is in complete contrast to the way I was brought up."

"I have white friends who think it is quite strange I have to hide my drinking from people. It is not that I am ashamed or embarrassed but I just don't want people saying to my mum that her son drinks. I go to places where there are going to be few Asians. Once I was with my friends and a taxi-driver who knew my dad walked in."

"Thankfully, he didn't say anything to anyone."

People like Mehboob might have an easier time avoiding alcohol if they didn't live in a western, secular society, but would that really be better for them? In that case, people would also have far fewer opportunities to learn they can have a life outside the narrow regulations of Islam. You don't need to live according to religious dogmas — Muslim, Christian, Jewish, whatever — in order to live a good life or be a good person.

As one would probably expect, drinking alcohol is an even more difficult issue for women:

Faz is 23 years-old and started drinking when she was 18. "I have a close group of friends who I trust explicitly. It's not as if we go drinking all the time but every now and then I don't see anything wrong with it."

"I used to drink more when I was at Uni because I was living away from home but when you move back home it is more difficult especially for a girl."

"If my parents ever found out I would be in so much trouble."

So Faz is basically unable to live her life in a manner she regards as appropriate and reasonable because her parents won't be able to accept her moving beyond the boundaries of traditional Islam. Although the subject of this disagreement is alcohol, it could be repeated in numerous other contexts: clothing, intimate relationships, forms of entertainment, etc.

At least some Muslims have become quite open about drinking alcohol — no shame, no apologies, and no lies:

Zeg, 29 began drinking in his teens and feels there is no point in hiding at all. "I don't really care who finds out. So what if I drink? I know it's haram but what is it to anyone. ...I got stopped once coming out of a pub by someone who knew me. I told him where to go. So what if I am not a good Muslim? That's between me and god."

In the long term, the more Muslims who can be comfortable and unashamed about behaving in ways that contradict traditional Muslim norms the better. This might sound very strange to say, but it's the situation we already have with Christianity and Judaism, and I think that it's highly relevant to the lower amounts of violence and terrorism in those religions.

Comments
November 16, 2007 at 11:11 am
(1) Khurram Zaid says:

Why is the consumption of alcohol prohibited in Islam?

Read detailed article from Zakir Naik:

http://www.ilovezakirnaik.com/misconceptions/a12.htm

November 17, 2007 at 4:24 am
(2) God Isn't says:

“Because by controlling people’s ability to experience pleasure, religions are able to exert a great deal more control over people and their lives generally.”

I believe it’s even more insidious than that. The “leaders” can redirect all of the pent up frustrations of their “followers” to serve their own agenda. Such thinking is probably behind the old idea that men should not have sex before going into battle.

Khurram, I really don’t care why alcohol is prohibited in Islam. Any organization that prevents people from doing things that do not harm others is tyrranical.

November 17, 2007 at 4:11 pm
(3) Pearl Ostroff says:

Of course, wine is often mentioned in Persian poetry. (“A jug of wine, a book of verse and thou beside me in the wilderness” kind of stuff) I’m not sure how people get around that. Maybe by some sort of allegorical interpretation.

When I was in India I visited a friend and her family, who were very secular, educated Muslims. We went to a party where the only one who didn’t drink was me, a Jew.

May 24, 2008 at 8:02 am
(4) Dayana says:

Sadly, this article is really shallow. Think about this:

What does alcohol do? If you drink…most people would drink and get drunk. It influences someone to lose their senses. It makes people aggressive. It makes people flirtatious. It makes people horny. It’s addictive. It causes liver problems.

Fine, you want to let your hair down. Dance because you can’t dance when you’re sober. Socialize when you really socialize better if you’re drinking. If only everyone knows their limits. But of course, that’s the toughest thing to do, right? To Be RESPONSIBLE. You drink, and then what? Have one-night stands. Have fights. Spend a lot of money. Make new friends? Maybe a few enemies too (cause it seems that you cannot control what you say or are ‘HONEST’ when you’re drunk). And the noise! You have more fun when you drink don’t you? You suddenly OWN the place. You forget about other people and disrespect them because…you’re just confident like that. The drink helps you overcome your shyness that way. Wow…dat’s..”great”!

And then you’re upset. You’re stressed. You’re depressed. And you start having a drink when you wake up, before going to work, while at work, after work. You’ve developed high tolerance for it by now. And you think it’s not going to hurt. And is it safe to say you’re an ALCOHOLIC now? And just like smoking, soon you’ll have health complications. But it’s a habit.

ALCOHOL is a DRUG. People take painkillers to eliminate pain. What’s the difference with alcohol?

You say, people misuse alcohol? They just asked for it if they don’t know how to control themselves or limit themselves?

Whatever it is, try and understand that. That Islam does not prohibit the believers from doing anything that doesn’t BENEFIT them. It is not shallow like you are. Just because the westerners make it look and seem so HIP and HAPPENING, doesn’t mean that it’s so great. The western side has been a major influence to modernizing people from all parts of the world and races. Unfortunately, they have succeeded to make their culture, THE culture.

Hello. You can enjoy life here on earth in the now as much as you like. But don’t try to brainwash other people into thinking what Islam is NOT about living life to the fullest. If you get people to talk about it and want to write an article on this issue, FIND OUT THE REASONS WHY from other people who has the ANSWERS. NOT CONDEMN THE RELIGION AND ITS TEACHINGS. You are only blinding yourself.

May 24, 2008 at 8:43 am
(5) Austin Cline says:

Sadly, this article is really shallow.

Feel free to show how. Note: this would require doing more than simply explaining why you disagree with alcohol use.

What does alcohol do? If you drink…most people would drink and get drunk.

Do they? Do you have numbers and statistics that demonstrate this, or are you just making assumptions about others who do things you disapprove of?

Whatever it is, try and understand that. That Islam does not prohibit the believers from doing anything that doesn’t BENEFIT them.

Alcohol, especially in certain forms like red wine, have proven health benefits.

It is not shallow like you are.

That’s quite can accusation. Can you back it up?

Just because the westerners make it look and seem so HIP and HAPPENING, doesn’t mean that it’s so great.

That’s true, but also irrelevant.

Hello. You can enjoy life here on earth in the now as much as you like. But don’t try to brainwash other people into thinking what Islam is NOT about living life to the fullest.

Well, if you wish to argue that Islam is about “living life to the fullest,” then make your case.

If you get people to talk about it and want to write an article on this issue, FIND OUT THE REASONS WHY from other people who has the ANSWERS.

You’re implying that I have written falsehoods about Islam. Feel free to show where, or explain what you mean by the aove.

NOT CONDEMN THE RELIGION AND ITS TEACHINGS.

I think there is plenty to condemn in Islam and its teachings — and I have done so more than once here.

You are only blinding yourself.

Feel free to show how, If you can.

July 5, 2008 at 4:38 am
(6) Rachel says:

“In the long term, the more Muslims who can be comfortable and unashamed about behaving in ways that contradict traditional Muslim norms the better. This might sound very strange to say, but it’s the situation we already have with Christianity and Judaism, and I think that it’s highly relevant to the lower amounts of violence and terrorism in those religions.”

How exactly is that HIGHLY relevant to terrorism and violence? It seems more like a really abstract connection. I think you are gravely overlooking much of the political and economic situations of most countries that have high levels of terrorism, let alone their history. Aside from that, the largest population of Muslims (by country) is in Indonesia. That is not a nation heavily plagued with terrorism. Saudi Arabia also has very little internal terrorism. It is actually quite a stable nation. If Muslims being comfortable and unashamed of behaving against certain norms of a religion can help reduce violence and terrorism, then it should probably apply to every Muslim nation. This is definatly an issue that has to do with politics and economics, not the acceptance of social misdemeanors.I really doubt that if Afghanistan was more leniant about drinking that they would have less terrorism. Perhaps if they weren’t a 3rd world country with little recognition in the international playing field… well then there might be a slight reduction in the level of violence, no?

Maybe you are overlooking the fact that many Muslims may actually not support drinking because they really do believe it is unhealthy for the body and mind. Many people view alcohol that way regardless of religion. There are even medical professionals who believe that. I’m sure there are even athiests who believe that. Who would have thought that an entire religion could express that idea too? It’s just madness!

July 5, 2008 at 7:38 am
(7) Austin Cline says:

How exactly is that HIGHLY relevant to terrorism and violence?

For just the reason I said: it’s already the situation we have in Judaism and Christianity. Their scriptures are no less supportive of violence in name of God and religion than Muslim scriptures, but enough believers have moved beyond taking everything in those texts literally and give up traditional norms. The Christianity of today is radically different from the Christianity of 100, 500, or 1000 years ago.

I think you are gravely overlooking much of the political and economic situations of most countries that have high levels of terrorism

I think you’re overlooking the fact that nations with similar economic and political situations don’t create suicide bombers.

Aside from that, the largest population of Muslims (by country) is in Indonesia. That is not a nation heavily plagued with terrorism.

It is also a country which has, traditionally, had more liberal interpretations of Islam and Muslim traditions. Thank you for helping make my point.

I really doubt that if Afghanistan was more leniant about drinking that they would have less terrorism. Perhaps if they weren’t a 3rd world country with little recognition in the international playing field… well then there might be a slight reduction in the level of violence, no?

Funny, but most 3rd world nations with little recognition in the international playing field don’t produce or support worldwide terrorism.

Maybe you are overlooking the fact that many Muslims may actually not support drinking because they really do believe it is unhealthy for the body and mind.

The simple fact is, Muslims would oppose drinking alcohol even if it were proven that it were healthy. Medical arguments are rationalization, not a reason.

September 9, 2008 at 2:10 am
(8) Ali says:

alcoholism is unlawful in islam
that is reason of heart diseases and also kidney its also a reason of road accidents so plz leave it always
thanks a million…Ali jamali from pakistan sindh university

October 7, 2008 at 8:20 am
(9) shamylla says:

Islam strongly condemns the use of alcohol because of the personal and social problems it creates. It makes people more venerable and can place them in highly risky positions. But to drink or not to drink is a personal choice. I don’t drink because I am a Muslim and I don’t drink because my religion wisely explains why I shouldn’t. But what frustrates me those who claim to be Muslims and yet have nothing in their practice to prove that they are. Religions play a vital role in our society they support in creating a social order and social control. If you do not wish to follow it don’t criticise it, respect those who don’t drink and make those aware who drink of the consequences of drinking habits such as liver problems, heart attacks, Stomach ulcers and much more. No one goes out to drink sensibly alcohol starts to control you when you lose control on your self. so my advice is to keep you’re self safe because you are the most important person to you, do not interfere in the life’s of others protect you’re self because when you die and if your god fearing then remember on the day of judgements you will be only speaking for yourself not others.

October 7, 2008 at 10:02 am
(10) Austin Cline says:

Islam strongly condemns the use of alcohol because of the personal and social problems it creates.

So, it’s your position that moderate drinking is impossible?

Religions play a vital role in our society they support in creating a social order and social control.

Is it your position that social order and social control would be impossible without religion? Do you wish to argue that secular theists and secular atheists can’t have social order and social control? If not, then religion is completely dispensible.

If you do not wish to follow it don’t criticise it

Why? It doesn’t make sense to suggest that we shouldn’t ever criticize something we don’t participate in.

You don’t drink, yet you don’t seem to have a problem criticizing that. Why don’t you follow your own advice of “if you don’t wish to follow [do] it, don’t criticize it”? Why is it OK for you to criticize others’ drinking, but not OK for others to criticize Muslim arguments for not drinking?

No one goes out to drink sensibly alcohol starts to control you when you lose control on your self.

Maybe you would, but I don’t think that you should assume that everyone else will.

October 14, 2008 at 7:34 pm
(11) Tom Edgar says:

I have one outstanding objection here.

The non use of alcohol is somehow confined to Muslims and it is honorable.

No 1 there are Christian sects that prohibit
alcohol and equally as honorable as Muslims. i.e. not very.

No 2 Total abstinence is a personal choice and
so should it be.

No3 I am a,very long, life total abstainer and just as long life an ATHEIST. I don’t impose my abstinence on others nor did I proselytise or enforced, by infant indoctrination, my ways upon my children.

Being a total abstainer doesn’t, ipso facto,
qualify you for sainthood. From my perspective it is just common sense. I don’t need some childish ideology to convince me.

tomedgar@halenet.com.au

October 14, 2008 at 7:47 pm
(12) Aspentroll says:

Shamylla:
You are being controlled by Islam, especially if you are a women. I really can’t understand why a women is blamed if she gets raped and the 3 or 4 men also involved get away free.
That stated, makes me believe that is Islam is your form of alcohol and should be avoided at all cost.

November 7, 2008 at 11:42 am
(13) shamylla says:

moderate drinking is possible… in Christianity only and drunkenness is sinful, alcohol all together is prohibited in Islam and in many other religions such as Sikhism, Hinduism etc… the national health service in u-k has introduced sensible drinking limits (2-3 female and 3- 4 men units per day) to keep people healthy and sober but tell me who goes out to drink wisely and sensibly (apart from you)? Young people go out to get drunk and have a good time they don’t follow sensible drinking unit system. I am not contradicting those who drink we are all independent in this country and accountable for our own actions but why do you hold such malice against those who don’t drink (whats so great about drinking)? And Aspentroll as for you I am not controlled by my religion I think its people like you who are brain washed by media and incorrect interpretations of religion. I think you need to have explicit knowledge before you make comments based on your personal observations. A woman in Islam is precious most loved and looked after its culture of many different and unsociable countries, cities and villages that use religion to manipulate people.
Austin: Is it your position that social order and social control would be impossible without religion? Do you wish to argue that secular theists and secular atheists can’t have social order and social control? If not, then religion is completely dispensible.
Austin I think you have to remember that this entire world doesn’t live a western lifestyle where people can openly be atheists, non-believers and secular. There is a whole world out there which is relies on religion, religion is law, and religion is every day practice and for those religion is a means of social order and control (my reference to religion creating social control was to reflect on one its purpose is our society and our lives). Just because we are fortunate enough to be living in a civilized environment where views and opinions are valued doesn’t mean that the rest of the world is also in the similar position.
I was born Muslim but as an adult I had the choice to be who I wanted to and follow what I wanted to therefore I have studies my religion in a language I understood and believe me you there is nothing more beautiful than being a true Muslim in heart where I am taught to respect others be loyal and love my community and best of all to keep safe. I don’t drink to protect my health but who will protect me from those who drink of extensively that they than cause violence and hassle to others?

November 7, 2008 at 12:12 pm
(14) Austin Cline says:

but tell me who goes out to drink wisely and sensibly

Anything can be abused. If alcohol should be prohibited merely because it can be abused in ways that lead to health problems, why not prohibit fatty foods, cholesterol, and driving fast?

but why do you hold such malice against those who don’t drink

Feel free to show where I have expressed any malice.

Note: criticism is not the same as malice.

A woman in Islam is precious most loved and looked after

You mean, like that young girl in Somalia who was stoned to death for being raped?

Austin I think you have to remember that this entire world doesn’t live a western lifestyle where people can openly be atheists, non-believers and secular.

That is true, and it’s a sign of how oppressive and backwards other places are.

There is a whole world out there which is relies on religion, religion is law, and religion is every day practice and for those religion is a means of social order and control

The fact that religion is relied upon for social order does not answer the question social order can exist without religion.

there is nothing more beautiful than being a true Muslim in heart

So, being a “true Muslim” is “more beautiful” (superior? what?) than being an atheist?

I don’t drink to protect my health but who will protect me from those who drink of extensively that they than cause violence and hassle to others?

People don’t need to drink to cause violence and harass others. If we could wave a magic wand and cause all alcohol to simply disappear, violence and harassment would not also disappear. Indeed, I doubt if it would even drop much. These problems are the fault of the people in question, not alcohol.

November 8, 2008 at 12:33 pm
(15) Ali says:

The Quran claims to be unedited and unrevised since its conception, this is boasted above all else by muslims..
The Quran was designed to be extremely vague as to allow people in the future to freely interpret it and adapt it to current trends. While the text itself remains unchanged, the way its comprehended and applied to daily life, which is the essence of a religion itself, is in the hands of the leading religious scholars of the day, NOT God.

Here’s an example.. by the way the ‘Hanafi’ school of Islamic thought is the largest and most prevalent school in the Islamic world, with 80%+ of all muslims following it.

“Abu Hanifa held that “wine” (the fermented juice of dates or grapes) was absolutely prohibited. But he thought it was permissible to drink small non-intoxicating amounts of other alcoholic beverages (e.g. made from honey or grains). Later Hanafi scholars tend to rule that all alcoholic beverages are prohibited regardless of source.”

What? People who claim no supernatural status can modify the religion based on their own opinions. I fail to see any sign of a supernatural, omnipotent ‘God’ authoring something so rampant with logical fallibilities.
As said here by the original author, its all meant to control the way in which people experience and perceive pleasure. This has deep psychological results which effectively turn a person into an emotionless ‘carrier’ who’s sole cause is to propagate the religion and species.
I really could go on forever about this, I’ve studied it to incredible depths, and I dont want to. I plead with everyone reading this to use your intellect as a tool, which is hopefully still existent and competent enough, to analyze Islam from a 3rd person perspective with an open mind.

As a background, I consider myself a born muslim, and self-liberated athiest. Myself and my siblings are direct bloodline(mom and dad) descendants of the prophet Muhammad. I’m a Harvard medical school graduate and a final year resident in psychiatry.

November 25, 2008 at 12:16 pm
(16) shamylla syed says:

”If we could wave a magic wand and cause all alcohol to simply disappear, violence and harassment would not also disappear. Indeed, I doubt if it would even drop much. These problems are the fault of the people in question, not alcohol”
austin I agree that violence and crimes will always exist even if you take away alcohol, but disagree with you if you think it won’t bring any change. just imagine I am not saying that this should happen but if no alcohol was sold on Friday and Saturday evening do you not think that the police will be able to go home on time, do you not think that late night hospital staff would have peaceful weekend do you not think 80% people will be able to drive home safely, do you not think people will be less vulnerable to be mugged and assaulted.
‘You mean, like that young girl in Somalia who was stoned to death for being raped?’ oh and this comment of yours how disgusting why did you not copy and paste the whole statement? I had also said its culture of many different and unsociable countries, cities and villages that use religion to manipulate people. People abuse power in the name of religion. I hate people who claim to be Muslims and yet understand nothing about the religion. I can also understand where you’re bitterness towards Islam is coming from you only hear and see what the media portrays and if you’re negative about something you will never see the positive side of it. ‘That is true, and it’s a sign of how oppressive and backwards other places are’ that’s a very cruel comment yes people are backward, yes places are still oppressive but do you know why? because they didn’t get the same education as you, because they can not go traveling like you, because they don’t have the funds to go abroad for studies, because there are no jobs so they can be employed, because they are too poor to stand up for their rights, because they are so helpless to bring change, because they do the labor work and get only 10peance for the designer goods you buy for £200. ‘So, being a “true Muslim” is “more beautiful” (superior? what?) than being an atheist’? There is nothing more beautiful than being a true Muslim in heart for ‘ME’ Austin not anyone else. No it doesn’t make me superior it teaches me to love and respect everyone, to treat people like human and equally, to help people and to appreciate life. social control is possible without religion but I was making references to the historic functions of religion when law and order wasn’t in place and sadly undeveloped part of the world still uses religion and unfortunately not correctly.

November 25, 2008 at 7:48 pm
(17) Austin Cline says:

do you not think that the police will be able to go home on time, do you not think that late night hospital staff would have peaceful weekend do you not think 80% people will be able to drive home safely, do you not think people will be less vulnerable  to be mugged and assaulted.

No.

oh and this comment of yours how disgusting why did you not copy and paste the whole statement?

I copied what was relevant.

Isn’t it interesting how unsafe that girl was even without alcohol present.

I had also said its culture of many different and unsociable countries, cities and villages that use religion to manipulate people. People abuse power in the name of religion.

And it’s much easier to abuse much more power in the name of religion than in any secular philosophy.

There is nothing more beautiful than being a true Muslim in heart for ‘ME’

How do you know that?

November 26, 2008 at 7:38 am
(18) shamylla syed says:

”There is nothing more beautiful than being a true Muslim in heart for ‘ME’ ”
I am living an independent life, I socialise with people from very diverse backgrounds, I have seen the up’s and down’s of life, I have caring and loyal friends, I have a loving family and a loving husband (oh before you jump to conclusions I wasn’t forced into the marriage, I loved my husband prior to us getting married so it was a marriage of choice, which Islam strongly approves) , I have a job that I truly enjoy, I am outgoing, I am politically engaged, I contribute to the society as an active citizen, I have faith, I am successful, I am modest, I haven’t missed out on anything in life and my religion has never stopped me from enjoying life to its fullest. I thank god every day for blessing me with a beautiful life and ‘Imaan’ (Becoming true to the trust with respect to which Allah Has confided in me). I have achieved almost everything in the 26 years of my life within the context of Islam that’s why I feel there couldn’t have been anything more beautiful then being a true person a true Muslim in heart. Again this is a personal view I am not speaking for others.

November 18, 2011 at 4:46 am
(19) Benjamin says:

I just want to add something here, I am a born Muslim but I believe it was an invention made by man for man. I can appreciate your position, I know many people like you and it’s a good thing, if you’re happy and a good person I see nothing wrong with that.

However, my wife is exactly like you but I am the opposite, I love my wife dearly and she loves me, she doesn’t drink, but I do, she doesn’t pray and even though I don’t pray i remind her sometimes because I know how much it means to her. When I met her I knew she had a deep connection to religion that stemmed from her child hood and upbringing. Now, my Muslim friends know I believe that religion has caused more pain than happiness, it gives my parents comfort and that means something to me, but I don’t believe in make believe.

There’s just too many holes and I’ve been on khorouj many many times, i’ve been to Hajj last year (to make my wife happy) but honestly, there’s a good and bad side to it.

The good side, is simply that it teaches people to be good.

The bad side, is the psychological effects it has on communities and cultures. In the above article, it illustrates how many people have to hide their activities or who they are because they may be shunned by their community and gossiped about (which is forbidden) that’s where it goes wrong, Muslim women (my wife and her family included) sit around and talk about PEOPLE, their clothes and what they’re doing etc. And having lived in Saudi, Dubai, New Jersey and now Melbourne Australia, I’ve seen it everywhere.

November 26, 2008 at 8:48 am
(20) Austin Cline says:

I have achieved almost everything in the 26 years of my life within the context of Islam

So you admit that you don’t really know what it’s like to be anything. So, you can’t know that nothing else could be as good, never mind better.

You should have stuck with simply saying that being a Muslim has been good for you. Asserting that nothing could possibly be better is a much more dramatic assertion that you can’t support and can’t possibly claim to know for sure.

Making such an assertion does, however, strongly suggest a failure to think seriously and carefully about alternatives out there. It suggests ideological blinders. This is revealed in your original assertion where you didn’t bother to qualify your statement that there is nothing more beautiful than being a Muslim for you. Your original assertion was more generally worded to apply to all people everywhere.

You say that you don’t believe you are superior to others, but many of the other things you write suggest otherwise. Perhaps you should take a step back and reevaluate what you really feel here.

November 30, 2008 at 6:20 am
(21) Al says:

but it does harm people. alcohol kills so many. its the root of many bad things. that and well bad intentions.
there is no end right?
soon we’ll have to accept other things.
who is society to decide for us?
society is composed of the individual and the individual is flawed.
i don’t need a group of erring humans to decide for me what is write and wrong.

and to say that people hiding their drinking is one of the reasons that terrorism and violence exist in these religions is ridiculous.

and abuse in humans is related to alcohol consumption.

peace.

November 30, 2008 at 8:40 am
(22) Austin Cline says:

but it does harm people. alcohol kills so many. its the root of many bad things.

The same can be said about many things besides alcohol. Do you refuse to eat fatty food or drive cars?

i don’t need a group of erring humans to decide for me what is write and wrong.

Who said you did?

and to say that people hiding their drinking is one of the reasons that terrorism and violence exist in these religions is ridiculous.

You are completely misreading and misrepresenting what I wrote.

December 9, 2008 at 12:17 pm
(23) shamylla syed says:

‘You should have stuck with simply saying that being a Muslim has been good for you. Asserting that nothing could possibly be better is a much more dramatic assertion that you can’t support and can’t possibly claim to know for sure’.

Austin i dont think you’re anyone to tell me how i should word what i feel i am proud to be what i am and i am proud muslim.

‘ So you admit that you don’t really know what it’s like to be anything. So, you can’t know that nothing else could be as good’, never mind better

i dont think i am missing out on much by not drinking alcohol, thank god i dont get carried home on a Saturday night and feel like shit (hangover)for the next two day’s and thank god i don’t phone up at work on a monday morning with a lame excuse for not coming in.

‘ The same can be said about many things besides alcohol. Do you refuse to eat fatty food or drive cars’

Emmm I don’t recall to any incidents that cause violence on streets due to eating fatty food…does anyone else? There is no law that says you can’t eat fatty food and drive. Far more accidents on roads are related to drink and driving than careless driving.

December 9, 2008 at 3:28 pm
(24) Austin Cline says:

Austin i dont think you’re anyone to tell me how i should word what i feel i am proud to be what i am and i am proud muslim.

If you word things in a way that causes you to claim knowledge that you can’t possibly have, others have a right to suggest that you rephrase. I explained why your claim was a problem and instead of offering a counter-argument for why you don’t think it was problematic, you simply become indignant and insist that your wording shouldn’t be criticized. Do you see the problem in that?

‘ So you admit that you don’t really know what it’s like to be anything. So, you can’t know that nothing else could be as good’, never mind better

i dont think i am missing out on much by not drinking alcohol, thank god i dont get carried home on a Saturday night and feel like shit (hangover)for the next two day’s and thank god i don’t phone up at work on a monday morning with a lame excuse for not coming in.

I didn’t say anything about missing out on drinking alcohol, so this is just a red herring. Since you avoid actually addressing the substance of what I wrote, can I take it that you recognize that what I wrote is correct but don’t want to say so?

‘ The same can be said about many things besides alcohol. Do you refuse to eat fatty food or drive cars’

Emmm I don’t recall to any incidents that cause violence on streets due to eating fatty food…does anyone else?

1. I was responding to your comment that alcohol “does harm people. alcohol kills so many. its the root of many bad things.” So I did not assert that fatty food causes violence in the streets — and I think you know this. I think you changed the context in order to deliberately make it appear as if I asserted something other than what I wrote.

2. Are you going to address the fact the fatty goods harm people, kills many, and is at the root of many bad things? If you think those are good reasons to refuse to drink alcohol, then you have three options: use them as reasons not to eat fatty foods (as well as other things that cause harm and death), continue eating fatty foods anyway and be a hypocrite, or admit that your original statement was overly broad and amend it.

3. I think I perceive a pattern of not wanting to admit overly broad generalizations that can be shown to have implications that are false or inappropriate. How hard is it to say “I phrased that badly, let me reword it”?

There is no law that says you can’t eat fatty food and drive.

There’s no law saying that you can’t drink alcohol, either, so that’s about as irrelevant a response as one could write.

Far more accidents on roads are related to drink and driving than careless driving.

I happen to know that this is false, at least in the United States, but since you are in another country I’ll give you the opportunity to either support your claim or retract it.

January 21, 2009 at 3:07 am
(25) FreeChagos says:

“Because by controlling people’s ability to experience pleasure, religions are able to exert a great deal more control over people and their lives generally.”

I believe it’s even more insidious than that. The “leaders” can redirect all of the pent up frustrations of their “followers” to serve their own agenda. Such thinking is probably behind the old idea that men should not have sex before going into battle.

This can happen anywhere and not just with religion. Look at our own society. Laws against marijuana were tightened when it was associated with people who weren’t following the leaders’ agenda in Vietnam.

Emmm I don’t recall to any incidents that cause violence on streets due to eating fatty food…does anyone else?

Austin’s right. You’re changing the subject. But I’ll address your implication which is basically nobody should ever drink alcohol because people sometimes commit acts of violence under the influence.

Still doesn’t prove that all alcohol use is harmful. People get violent if they get really, really drunk. Most people who drink alcohol do not get into fights. People who do that wind up in jail and if they know what’s good for them they stop drinking or at least cut down enough so they stop getting into fights otherwise they go back to jail. Those who don’t get into fights and also don’t drive drunk don’t wind up in jail. What’s wrong with that? If a person can drink and not be violent and if they don’t drive drunk they’re not hurting other people. And if they don’t do it all the time and they don’t let it get in the way of their responsibilities then they’re not really hurting themselves either.

January 21, 2009 at 3:20 am
(26) FreeChagos says:

Oops somehow everything wound up in italics. Sorry.

Anyways I just found this website that says that Muslims get to drink in paradice, but ONLY if they haven’t drunk in real life.

Of course denying people pleasure in the now is easier if you promise them everything in the hereafter.

http://www.islamweb.net/ver2/Fatwa/ShowFatwa.php?lang=E&Id=281&Option=FatwaId

March 31, 2009 at 12:59 am
(27) KMA says:

I find it amusing that you associate alcohol with pleasure. The only pleasure that you might get from alcohol itself is the taste.

What alcohol does is inhibits your self.

What seperate humans from animals is our consciousness and alcohol removes that and frees our animal instincts.

Alcohol has absolutely no benefits and does nothing for society. It harms your heart,stomach,mouth and liver.

If a religion prohibitted trans fats because they were bad for you would you be opposed to that?

“In the long term, the more Muslims who can be comfortable and unashamed about behaving in ways that contradict traditional Muslim norms the better. This might sound very strange to say, but it’s the situation we already have with Christianity and Judaism, and I think that it’s highly relevant to the lower amounts of violence and terrorism in those religions. ”

Muslims that live in ways the condradict Islam would no longer be muslims would they? essentially you are saying the more people that are not muslim, the better.

If anything alcohol increases incidents of violence. I guarantee that more people die from alcohol related incidents than from “terrorism”.

Humans have been fighting from day one. They delineate themselves, always seeking seperation and acceptance. There are always groups fighting other groups. If people are not fighting on religious ideology then they fight over something else, this has absolutely nothing to do with religion nor would acceptance of alcohol or other intoxicants solve this problem.

Take a look at the crime rate in secular societies vs religious societies…it is always higher in secular societies and these crimes are normally violent.

I support your right to be an atheist but if you are going to attack religion on something try to find something useful to society that religion prohibits.

The people quoted in your article are not ashamed of consuming alcohol, they are ashamed of dissapointing their parents and family in general, this has nothing to do with religion.

March 31, 2009 at 6:25 am
(28) Austin Cline says:

I find it amusing that you associate alcohol with pleasure. The only pleasure that you might get from alcohol itself is the taste.

No, that’s not true.

What seperate humans from animals is our consciousness and alcohol removes that and frees our animal instincts.

No, that’s not true either.

Alcohol has absolutely no benefits and does nothing for society. It harms your heart,stomach,mouth and liver.

That’s false as well.

If a religion prohibitted trans fats because they were bad for you would you be opposed to that?

I would evaluate transfats on their own merits and ignore what religion has to say.

Muslims that live in ways the condradict Islam would no longer be muslims would they?

Only if you assume that the “traditional norms” can never change.

essentially you are saying the more people that are not muslim, the better.

Actually, what I am saying is that the more people are not beholden to traditional religious norms, the better.

If anything alcohol increases incidents of violence.

You mean “religion,” not “alcohol.”

Take a look at the crime rate in secular societies vs religious societies…it is always higher in secular societies and these crimes are normally violent.

OK, let’s take a look. Provide your numbers.

April 3, 2009 at 4:49 pm
(29) Marc says:

@ FreeChagos – Yeah, like lots and lots of virgins! :-) By the way “shamylla syed”, I have consumed alcoholic beverages in moderation most of my life and have NEVER been out of control or committed any crimes because of that consumption! I don’t “need” them, I enjoy them occasionally, and I don’t consume them to “get drunk.” Have you heard the phrase “guns don’t kill people, people do”? Alcohol doesn’t cause people to act irrationally, people do! It’s all about personal responsibility! By the way, I don’t need any organized ideaology to help me act responsibly either.

April 3, 2009 at 8:06 pm
(30) Jolly Jack says:

Ali says:
alcoholism is unlawful in islam
that is reason of heart diseases and also kidney its also a reason of road accidents so plz leave it always

I would like to insert a little balance here.
A few years ago, a cousin of mine, aged 82, passed away.
He was a life-long, devout Methodist, non-drinker and non-smoker.
He died of liver cancer!
Our life didn’t come with any guarantees.
We often read of someone who subsisted on a bottle of Scotch every day, smoked Havana cigars to his heart’s content, and lived until 105.
Others, healthy to the nth degree, suddenly succumb to an innocuous ailment at a young age, like one of my friends at 45.
Live and let live is a favorite maxim of mine!
That, unfortunately, is not the case with Muslims.
Also, unfortunately, Islam’s harsh Sharia law doesn’t stop with alcohol, but pervades every single facet of Muslim life, exerting total control until they don’t have a mind of their own!
Of course, Muslims will defend their religion, even its strict rules and regulations. Dare they do anything else?They’ve been brainwashed since birth and have never experienced the freedoms enjoyed by others.
If they want to wallow in a life of misery, let them do so, BUT, don’t allow them to impose it on us!

April 4, 2009 at 1:35 am
(31) Zack says:

What seperate humans from animals is our consciousness and alcohol removes that and frees our animal instincts. — KMA on March 31, 2009 at 12:59 am

You could replace the word “alchohol” with the word “Islam” and still have a true sentence. The baleful effects of Islam are more tenacious than those of alcohol, however.

I am reminded of the famous exchange between Bessie Braddock and Winston Churchill:

Braddock: “Mr. Churchill, this is a disgrace. You are quite drunk.”

Churchill: “And Bessie, you are ugly. You are very ugly. In the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.”

April 4, 2009 at 9:18 pm
(32) Tom Edgar says:

KMA… You are so wrong with your statements regarding crime and religion. Unarguably the U S A is the most religion bound country in the “Western” world by far, but with only 5% of the world’s population it has 25% of the world’s prison population. The violent crime rate in the United States is so far ahead of the rate in Scandinavia and Europe that the figures become meaningless. One city alone outstripping the whole of,the largely secular, U.K. The American crime level is only matched by the U S unique level of violent judiciary retribution.

I also take issue with others regarding consumption of alcohol not being a primary cause of violence and anti social behaviour.
In my early years I spent considerable time as a mariner and saw too much violence and
ill mannered behaviour, solely brought about by consumption of alcohol releasing the inhibitions sobriety maintained. You say, and do, when drunk what you think when sober.
So yes the person is the problem but alcohol releases the restraints. Just as a perfectly good driver becomes, in his drunken mind, even better but then so often,sadly disillusioned.

As a lifelong total abstainer from personal choice, I had no qualms when purchasing the occasional Tia Maria for my wife whilst consuming a non alcoholic beverage myself.

From reading the apologists for Islam, or for Christianity or even Judaism I gather they are claiming some sort of superior morality
engendered from being adherents of their particular ideologies. If that is your reason for being “GOOD”, it is a damned poor excuse. My personal behaviour has included but the one woman in my life, which has remained so eleven years after her death, and forty six years of marriage. I don’t attend race courses, nor casinos, by choice and, maybe,financial circumstance. I’ve never been a thief,hit a woman, nor started a fight.I don’t need some imaginary Sky monster to frighten me into being good. I try to be as nice to people as I would wish in return. And all because it is MY choice. Besides my Mom wouldn’t have approved of anything else.

April 6, 2009 at 5:47 pm
(33) Drew says:

I chose yesterday to bring a can of beer as my family walked to my mother’s house for dinner. I did so partly out of the desire to be seen publicly consuming alcohol. Partly because I wanted a cold beer before dinner.

My wife bugged me and asked where my wife-beater shirt was, but I asked her if that “white-trash” image was the reason for public alcohol consumption being disapproved of, or if it were yet another form of religious disapproval, dressed up in a secular garment. We agreed to disagree, but I think it has more to do with traditional religious control – which is why I took such delight in using the beverage holder in the baby’s stroller for the purpose it was intended for. Well, sort-of intended for.

August 14, 2009 at 11:01 pm
(34) Lara says:

I am a muslim woman living with my 5 years daughter I started drinking alcohol after my divorce from my ex-husband, It started with a lot of vomiting and nausea ans stomach ache and I wondered what was so spacial about it and very slowly over a period of year my body developed an immune to alcohol!

I was feeling guilty every time I drank but after I have my drink the problems seemed to go a way for an hour and afterwords I would be even more depressed before I had my first drink so I thought will maybe another drink will do it and so on …

nobody knew about this until last year when I had my DUI arrest and I almost went to jail… but god was mereciful and I did not and I had to dig deeper inside me to find out why I needed to drink in the first place. I was trying to run away from my problems and stress … the problem seemed to go a way for few hours and then it will come back with all that guilt from drinking. and then I reliased something about all this issue, that my worst day sober was so much better than my best day under the influence, I am glad I stopped and it dose not even occur to me now to even think about drinking. I am much happier person now I pray all 5 prayers ever day and I feel more blessed in my life since I abounded alcohol. I hope what I said could help all people Muslims and non Muslims and it is not about the religion in my case it is about how bad it was for me.

August 17, 2009 at 1:13 am
(35) Bob says:

I think choosing to drink or not to drink should completely be in the hands of the person who will be consuming the alcohol. I have personally chosen not to do it because of religion but I do hang out with a bunch of people [some of them Muslims] who do drink every once in a while. I believe that it is completely up to them to choose if its right or wrong as they have probably thought about it before having their first drink.
I’ve seen a couple of the other comments. Some of them mentioned how alcohol causes diseases and that would be why, according to the author of these comments, consuming alcohol is prohibited in Islam [which I agree with]. I have also seen other comments however which state that there is such a thing as consuming alcohol moderately and responsibly which will probably not lead to diseases, drunk driving or other accidents [which I also agree with]. I think that both of these statements are right but I also think that it is wrong if you are a Muslim and you are trying to justify your drinking with moderate consumption. I mean, you do have freewill and a choice; religion is not exactly forcing you to do anything but religion does have rules. And truly speaking its about faith: if you do drink that would be your choice and thats fine but Islam does say don’t consume alcohol. So I don’t see why a Muslim would try to justify their drinking.Its not permitted and that’s the bottomline.
As for other people like parents and such, you can’t really expect them to just be happy with your consumption of alcohol. I mean choosing to drink is a choice that you believe is right but trying to get your muslim parents [who have always believed that drinking is wrong] to just accept it is not exactly acceptable. I guess that would be because Islam does require parents to direct their kids to the right way by following the rules of religion. Islam does also say that not doing so is a form of sinning for the parents. So just think of it with the perspective of parents: they have always lived as muslims; they consider drinking to be wrong and not prohibiting their kids from drinking is a form of sinning for them and in a way it makes them feel that they have failed as Muslims. Sooo basically what i’m trying to say is that I agree that drinking is your choice and that’s fine but I do not think that you should expect your parents or relatives to simply agree with that. I mean yes, having fear and shame for the actions that you take part in, does make one’s life a real pain. I completely understand that a muslim who does drink would be much happier if he didn’t have these feelings when he drank but do try to think of it with other people’s perspectives.

November 24, 2009 at 6:23 pm
(36) Thorongil says:

Hey ppl!
Firstly, I deeply respect true atheists and have nothing against ur beliefs…i can never rationally prove the existence of God. To be honest, i don’t clearly understand the meaning of word God…and have never met anybody who can explain it too! ;)

But, I am convinced that Prohibiting Alcohol is definitely not a negative aspect of the religion Islam.
As for the whole of your article- its not religion to be blamed but the individuals, their relatives and the society as a whole.
In an ideal world, maybe religions may not exist…or…the choice need not matter at all.
BUT…Religion may define rules that are to be followed…but YOU and YOU alone make the decision to follow a religion(ie, if u want to). So, blaming Islam is foolish.
The problems you have mentioned…ie, abt hiding, guilt etc, is the problem of ppl and society, in general. A change in religion should not be frowned upon…even if it’s ur close relative.

Now, about alcohol…there are benefits…true…but com’on- there are a lot of bad consequences too…who r we kidding here- ourselves? so be it! ;)

I prefer to do my bit to change things…like trying to reduce consumption of alcohol, meat, etc…
My decisions are purely rational…and i can defend it if u want me to.

And a note abt Islam: No offense…but in my opinion, the whole of the so called Muslims are disillusioned. Prophet Muhammad was clearly the most forward-thinking man of his time-agreed! The obstacles he faced were from ppl who were not accepting to make a rational improvement in their lives- Agreed…
BUT- u guys are forgetting the essence of Islam, and religions, in general! I am convinced(not rationally, just a strong assumption) that if Prophet Muhammad were alive today, Muslims would kill him in the name of Islam! ;)

I remember a quote by Abraham Lincoln(tht a friend of mine posted on fb): “When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.”

That’s all folks…that’s all!

March 28, 2010 at 7:09 pm
(37) JM says:

The real problem is flawed interpretation.

April 5, 2010 at 10:58 am
(38) DamnRight says:

Many many Christians also claim the abstinence stance, claiming it’s Bible based… but, the admonition of the Bible is “do get drunk”… if this means “do not drink” then the only safe way to avoid gluttony would be to refrain from eating…

April 10, 2010 at 3:23 am
(39) ThereIsAGod...HeBelievesInYou...EvenIfYouDontBelieveInHIM says:

@ Everyone

Alcohol is a man-made substance. ITs not something thats natural, you cant compare it to food. All, I know is that is poison, and it doesnt do your body any good. Even wine, someone on this site said it helps your health, but that like ounces, not GLASSES….or BOTTLES. Even Beer, they say helps your bones. but only a bottle, not a sixer, or a keg of it…but its not ALCOHOL that helps your body. Its usually what they put in IT.

There is nothing GOOD that comes out of alcohol. I am a muslim, and I have drank. I didnt like it. Beer taste like shit, sorry for all the beer drinkers. Liquors, tastes alright, but anything that makes me NOT STABLE in the MIND is bad in general. There for I wont drink, even if it is for the tase, you should not consume anything that will change your behavior or mind set. alcohol does that, weed does that, whether they are good or bad…medical or not…peopel do it because they are unpure.

April 13, 2010 at 5:54 pm
(40) Helen says:

I’d be interested to know how Buddhists (as in, cultural Buddhists, where it’s part of your community) regard alcohol consumption. My understanding of Buddhism is that any form of intoxicant is similarly held in a bad light, because it clouds the mind. Monks and nuns abstain, but my impression is that its up to the individual to make skillful or unskillful choices about how they conduct themselves. It doesn’t need to be imposed dogmatically.

April 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm
(41) Bob Wood says:

To quote Frank Sinatra, ” It must be awful to wake up knowing that’s the best you’re gonna feel all day “. Alcohol is a warm friend and a terrible master. Enjot accordingly…(sigh)

April 20, 2010 at 2:40 pm
(42) Todd says:

Trust and control are mutually opposing forces. When i didn’t trust myself i controlled myself by not drinking at all. i got over that fear and now i’m a big fan of wine.

When it comes to cultural or legal prohibition it is a matter of control. They don’t trust, so they exert control.

My Buddist friends drink in moderation.

April 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm
(43) MaryL says:

ThereIsAGod(etc): FYI, alcohol does accur naturally. Many fruits create it while still on the tree or vine. There are probably vegetables that do the same. Get your facts straight, please.

April 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm
(44) Alex says:

An angle that has not been touched upon is the cultural framework for alcohol consumption. Western cultures mostly have such a framework – appropriate ages, behaviors, and situations, that serve to allow drinkers to better control it. Muslim cultures, for example, do not have anything like this. Native American cultures do not either, which can lead to serious misuse and abuse.
If it is true that Muslims relocating to western countries arrive already suspicious of the non-Muslim majority and they are unwilling to adopt the cultural ways of that culture, of course they will be blindsided by alcohol. They cling to religious prohibitions but are obviously confused at how the residents of their new country can mostly consume alcohol without negative consequences. To turn around and ‘blame’ westerners for their evil alcohol, and being able to drink it, is silly, as is being distraught with guilt because Mo frowns on beer and wine.
It would have served every self-described Muslim posting here, the ones against alcohol, to simply say that their god wants it that way. That is all they have to offer, really. They’ll look stupid, but that’s the price for wading in at an atheist forum.

April 26, 2010 at 1:24 pm
(45) Ernie says:

Seems like the article is not so much about alcohol, though it is, as it is about about religions tendency to control the flock by forbidding personal choice. The author is not promoting alcohol consumption but freedom of choice and alcohol consumption just happens to be a good example.

May 14, 2010 at 8:39 am
(46) The Gaul says:

The reason I have arrived at this article is some research after reading a recent decision by the Muslim Board to ban cigarette use. This is because there is a chance that alcohol derivatives (especially wine and rum) may be used in the manufacture of filters. There was also an outcry against Coca Cola over a proposition to use the carbon dioxide generated in the production of beer to “gas” their products.

My question to all those teetotaller Muslims is this: this situation clearly will not allow you to become drunk (this also includes many food products prepared with alcohol since the alcohol boils off leaving the flavour), so why should this be illegal in the Islamic religion? All arguments regarding alcohol abuse become null and void.

May 27, 2010 at 9:25 am
(47) luqmanafiq says:

why is that alcohol can lead someone to a better life? it doesnt make sense at all

http://luqblogluq.blogspot.com/2010/02/alcohol-is-mother-of-all-sins-harful.html

June 9, 2010 at 6:26 am
(48) Nuot Bara says:

The President of American Atheists Debates Islam in the UK soon with The BIG debates.

Should be interesting; well worth attending. No alcohol allowed lol!

June 29, 2010 at 11:11 pm
(49) Lissa says:

Austin: Poor child mama and papa didn’t love ya enough :( Get of your highhorse, everything you say has no relevance to Islam, your facts come from your tiny brain….ours…come from GOD! I think I’d rather to listen to the power that created me and (sadly) YOU than listen to you and a bunch of other qwacks on here.

And to continue with what I was originally gonna say : I’m muslim btw :D :D:D: YAY!

GOD has given us all freewill…the freedom to choose wether we wanna be idiots or good people following the right way. This life is a temporary life and it’s a test with a lot of temptations which include alcohol which is BAD FOR YOU! DUH! But according to Austin it’s good..so since he’s SO WISE..listen to him ya’ll :D

anywho where was I…yes ….ok soo…here we go…iSLAM never said NO to the beneficial things…it’s always NO to the crappy things that do us bad…i.e ALC/PORK/AUSTIN…etc, u get the point peeps. AND also to the rest of the muslims…dont waste your time explaining over and over and over and over and over why alcohol is banned they have been blinded and are made deaf…the right path is a long ways for them if it’s even available to them anymore expecially buddah AUSTIN the oh so wise… and OH THAT IN ISLAM NO WHERE DOES IT SAY TO STONE WOMEN FOR RAPE OR W/E OTHER REASON…IT;S THE PEOPLE WHO DO IT, AND MUSLIMS WHO DO IT ARE EVIL IN MY EYES! SO BOOOYAA!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just like to say ladiez N GentZ have a lovely life…love one another..dont hate appreciate b**ches!!!!!!!!!!

June 30, 2010 at 6:43 am
(50) Austin Cline says:

Austin: Poor child mama and papa didn’t love ya enough :( Get of your highhorse, everything you say has no relevance to Islam,

Yet, you are unable to point out any errors in what I wrote. All you can manage are ad hominems.

And to continue with what I was originally gonna say : I’m muslim btw :D :D :D: YAY!

What a surprise.

GOD has given us all freewill…the freedom to choose wether we wanna be idiots or good people following the right way.

So, atheists can’t be good people? That would make you a bigot.

This life is a temporary life and it’s a test with a lot of temptations which include alcohol which is BAD FOR YOU! DUH! But according to Austin it’s good..so since he’s SO WISE..listen to him ya’ll :D

Actually, the reports of health benefits of alcohol come from the medical and scientific fields. I’m simply repeating the information.

But I guess you don’t need science or medicine because you have your god.

October 21, 2010 at 10:41 am
(51) Kay says:

Wow… Are Muslims really being criticized here because they refuse to drink alcohol?! What has this world come to.. Let’s criticize atheists because they don’t believe in God, shall we…not! I don’t have that time, and I happen to respect other’s beliefs and leave them be. I don’t remember a time where not having alcohol caused violence or terrorism. Probably vice versa, to be honest. Those 9/11 terrorists must have been pretty drunk to crash that plane and take a million lives. But since I know that you happen to pinpoint every word in people’s responses, let me clarify: I don’t know for sure that they were drunk, I’m saying that the behavior could be related to alcohol. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.
And just an FYI, terrorism has many other causes besides religion.. and who’s to say that the US government aren’t terrorists themselves? They aren’t perfect either, but they have money, and universal power. That makes a huge difference. Become an expert of World Geography and terrorism, then come speak to me.
G’Day.

October 21, 2010 at 12:33 pm
(52) Austin Cline says:

Wow… Are Muslims really being criticized here because they refuse to drink alcohol?!

No. Perhaps you should re-read the article.

Let’s criticize atheists because they don’t believe in God, shall we…not!

Actually, we get that all the time.

I don’t remember a time where not having alcohol caused violence or terrorism.

Perhaps you should stop to look at how Muslims who do drink are treated by other Muslims.

let me clarify: I don’t know for sure that they were drunk, I’m saying that the behavior could be related to alcohol.

Why could it be related to alcohol?

Don’t get your panties in a bunch.

They aren’t. You, however, should substantiate what you allege.

Become an expert of World Geography and terrorism, then come speak to me.

Maybe you should pay a little more attention to what you read and write before trying to criticize others?

October 21, 2010 at 10:45 am
(53) Kay says:

Oh

“So, atheists can’t be good people? That would make you a bigot.”

I don’t think the individual was referring to atheists, Christians etc. being bad people, stop putting negativity in everyone’s opinion, just to attempt to prove your own point. All they said was God allowed them to choose whether to be good or the alternative.
They have their own opinion of good/bad, just like your opinion of good (drunks) and bad (Muslims).

October 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm
(54) Austin Cline says:

I don’t think the individual was referring to atheists

Why not?

stop putting negativity in everyone’s opinion,

You haven’t established that the negativity wasn’t already there.

All they said was God allowed them to choose whether to be good or the alternative.

No, that’s not all they said.

They have their own opinion of good/bad, just like your opinion of good (drunks) and bad (Muslims).

I haven’t said anything about “drunks” being good or Muslims being “bad.” Now who is putting “negativity” into others’ opinions?

March 4, 2011 at 10:19 pm
(55) Sameer says:

Yes, Alcohol is prohibited in Islam.. yet it depends how the person practices… I’m Muslim and nt drinker, but i will nt surprise with some one who drinks.. coz, if he is doing bad things. it is upto between him and His God… so every body just talk abt ur self dont talk abt others.

March 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm
(56) FK says:

This article is nothing but intelligent, it make illogical conclusions, and it lame how the author is defending it.

March 31, 2011 at 5:54 pm
(57) Austin Cline says:

This article is nothing but intelligent, it make illogical conclusions, and it lame how the author is defending it.

Then you should be able to point to errors.

May 11, 2011 at 5:54 am
(58) Mingha says:

Alcohol in Islam is HARAM, period!!As soon as you start to justify drinking-alittle or alot, What kind of MUSlim are you?I have afamily member that drinks, what do we do- confront, leave it.Why do we even have to be put in this situation? If my creator forbids it, who am i to condone it?

July 29, 2011 at 2:51 pm
(59) Some guy says:

I am not fan of being drunk myself (I am not muslim, I am ruskie), I can drink however one cup of liquor or rum.

I was drunk (the way I was sleeping in toilet) only once in my life, and I was very ashamed after people who saw me.

September 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm
(60) just passingby says:

@Austin

you are one logical person.

i know your just showing your opinions and stuff,
and who am i to stop you from doing what you do, your a
college graduate and you have a higher IQ than me.

but the things i have read feels like you’re downgrading
Islam or am i wrong in interpreting your posts.

well peace to every one here. stop the flame wars

and by the way im Muslim and please dont reply to this post

i might cry in a corner

September 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm
(61) Austin Cline says:

but the things i have read feels like you’re downgrading Islam or am i wrong in interpreting your posts.

I don’t think any more highly of Islam than I do of other religions.

September 26, 2011 at 8:07 pm
(62) robert says:

i dont mind if people choose their religion…as long as they stay out of my life. all should be free to do whatever in private spaces…consenting adults etc.

by all means if somber reflection and religion are your thing…i urge u to continue.

however…if u wish to limit my private life and freedoms…then i will come for yours as well. quid pro quo??

November 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm
(63) 666 says:

Consumption of Alcohol in Islam is down to choice. Same as whether or not you want to believe in it at all. Any Muslim who believes otherwise must remind themselves that only God knows best and you were not sent here to judge anybody. The Quran doesn’t ask you not to drink but to use your reasons.

Austin: You mean, like that young girl in Somalia who was stoned to death for being raped?

That’s not Islam.

Austin: I think you’re overlooking the fact that nations with similar economic and political situations don’t create suicide bombers.

That’s not Islam either.

Austin: Are you going to address the fact the fatty goods harm people, kills many, and is at the root of many bad things?

Yes. Believers are constantly reminded to use reasons. It applies to everything in life. Whether or not they want to recognise that along with alcohol use is their choice.

Austin: Actually, the reports of health benefits of alcohol come from the medical and scientific fields. I’m simply repeating the information.

And this shouldn’t be new to believers. The Quran states that in it there is sin and there are benefits; but the sin is greater than the benefits. And when do you know how much is too much? When it is beyond your needs – the Quran continues.

Austin: In that case, people would also have far fewer opportunities to learn they can have a life outside the narrow regulations of Islam.

Islam or cultures?

Just passingby: Who am i to stop you from doing what you do, your a college graduate and you have a higher IQ than me.

That doesn’t mean he knows everything or know more than you in general. The article is about cultural differences, controls and misunderstanding of faith. Nothing about Islam and nothing about downgrading it.

November 17, 2011 at 7:05 am
(64) Austin Cline says:

The Quran doesn’t ask you not to drink but to use your reasons.

Some Muslims would disagree.

Austin: You mean, like that young girl in Somalia who was stoned to death for being raped?

That’s not Islam.

Yes, it is. Islam is integral to what happened and denying the role of Islam in this simply won’t work. On the contrary, pretending that Islam has nothing to do with it is the best way to ensure that it continues.

It may not be what you want Islam to be, but it’s what Islam is for too many to pretend otherwise. You won’t change them by telling them or me that they aren’t “real” Muslims or that their actions are not “really” Islamic.

Austin: I think you’re overlooking the fact that nations with similar economic and political situations don’t create suicide bombers.

That’s not Islam either.

Yes, it is. Islam is integral to what happened and denying the role of Islam in this simply won’t work. On the contrary, pretending that Islam has nothing to do with it is the best way to ensure that it continues.

It may not be what you want Islam to be, but it’s what Islam is for too many to pretend otherwise. You won’t change them by telling them or me that they aren’t “real” Muslims or that their actions are not “really” Islamic.

Believers are constantly reminded to use reasons.

Curious how they don’t.

Austin: Actually, the reports of health benefits of alcohol come from the medical and scientific fields. I’m simply repeating the information.

And this shouldn’t be new to believers. The Quran states that in it there is sin and there are benefits; but the sin is greater than the benefits.

So there is something that may help people live longer, healthier, better lives, but it’s forbidden. That would mean it’s forbidden to live longer, healthier, and better.

Thanks for providing such a nice reason to reject Islam as anti-reason and anti-life.

Austin: In that case, people would also have far fewer opportunities to learn they can have a life outside the narrow regulations of Islam.

Islam or cultures?

You can’t separate the two as if they were completely independent. Islam was created out of particular culture, influenced every culture it was taken to, and absorbs aspects of every culture it enters. That’s why it’s a little different everywhere you find it and why it’s a little different today from what it was centuries ago.

Every major religion that spreads to such an extent is the same way – the ability to change, adapt, and absorb is precisely why a religion can spread and endure. Christianity is the same way.

Just passingby: Who am i to stop you from doing what you do, your a college graduate and you have a higher IQ than me.

You could offer “reasons” that would demonstrate that your position is correct.

But, clearly, you can’t.

November 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm
(65) 666 says:

Austin: Some Muslims would disagree.

-That’s up to them.

Austin: Yes, it is. Islam is integral to what happened and denying the role of Islam in this simply won’t work. On the contrary, pretending that Islam has nothing to do with it is the best way to ensure that it continues. It may not be what you want Islam to be, but it’s what Islam is for too many to pretend otherwise. You won’t change them by telling them or me that they aren’t “real” Muslims or that their actions are not “really” Islamic.

-Then you are just as ignorant as those so-called Muslims. Islam is not what you or people make it to be or think it is. It is what it is whether you can comprehend it or not, following it or not, believing in it or not.

Austin: So there is something that may help people live longer, healthier, better lives, but it’s forbidden. That would mean it’s forbidden to live longer, healthier, and better.

-Are you now saying not drinking alcohol is rejecting life? If you don’t drink you will die quicker or become unhealthy? I don’t think so.

November 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm
(66) 666 says:

Austin: Thanks for providing such a nice reason to reject Islam as anti-reason and anti-life.

-If it wasn’t for the law people would be taking drugs freely, they wouldn’t have to hind it from friends or family, drugs have health benefits too. Going by your own reason to reject Islam, shouldn’t you be rejecting secular law?

Austin: You can’t separate the two as if they were completely independent.

Yes, you can. Many follow Islam without letting cultures interfering their belief.

Just passingby says: Who am i to stop you from doing what you do, your a college graduate and you have a higher IQ than me.

666 says: That doesn’t mean he knows everything or know more than you in general. The article is about cultural differences, controls and misunderstanding of faith. Nothing about Islam and nothing about downgrading it.

Austin says: Austin says: You could offer “reasons” that would demonstrate that your position is correct. But, clearly, you can’t.

The last reply wasn’t for you but for ‘Just passingby’. So you have some degrees, Just passingby seemed to be intimidated by it. He should not be. Your so-called reasons are evidently based on your lack of knowledge. You are aware of problems some Muslims have faced or caused and you shared it but that is all. You may have convinced yourself that cultures and belief are inseparable and perhaps nobody can make you see that it is quite the opposite but that’s your choice. It is not the case that I haven’t offered reasons, it is more the case that you don’t like them or can’t accept them.

December 3, 2011 at 1:05 pm
(67) shahev says:

man, all this debate about drinking!! Quran says this, Bible says that!! man, if u really wanna drink then go ahead & drink.. we don’t care, God don’t care.. if u don’t wanna drink then don’t drink.. we still don’t care, God still don’t care.. get it?? :)

keep it simple silly…

December 7, 2011 at 1:00 am
(68) Alan says:

It seems to me that identification with,”an image, a religion, a god, a country, a belief, a political system, leader, etc. etc.” seems to be a root of the human dilemma.
It seems to be that we cut ourselves off from the whole life expression, both so called “good & bad” by identifying with a separate image.
It is as if we are undeveloped & immature, when we separate ourselves into opposing “beliefs” etc.
I also think we need to appreciate people like Austin who put themselves on the “line”, and expose a lot of the hidden, murky areas of our lives. He is very valuable as a means of bringing & challenging our collective delusions However exalted & “holy” we assume them to be.
Austin I bow to you as a gesture of respect-keep up the good work.
Alan.

December 7, 2011 at 8:14 am
(69) Grandpa_In_The_East says:

(62) robert

“i dont mind if people choose their religion…”

That’s mighty generous of robert! In most cases, however, religion is chosen for them. This is especially true of the very young.

Grandpa

December 9, 2011 at 2:39 am
(70) Alan says:

It seems that when you identify with a religion, belief, etc. your mind becomes limited & bound to that particular philosophy/way of life. Isn’t our capacity for self deception just amazing, notice all the adherents claiming to be free, as they entangle themselves in a quagmire of ethics and guilt…

February 9, 2012 at 5:22 am
(71) Khan says:

Austin, my observation is that you have no idea what Islam is, by picking up words from people comments and using twisting them you have been doing the same thing what priests used to do in the middle ages (some still do now). In doing so you have also clearly demonstrated how illeterate Imams in Somalia or any other countries can interpret and force thier interpretions on people in the name of religion.
However, a reporter or columnist, should do perfect research before writing an article on a subject.
Its almost sad that when you say Islam in western society one starts thinking about exteremism and violence since this what people see on the media.
I dont expect western society to learn everthing about Islam, but I do expect adults to be adults and not generalize whole of the Muslim population based on actions of a few.
My opinion, nobody needs to justify his or her choice of religion since this is a personal choice. Needless to say every human regardless of religion condemns violence and inhuman acts.
Most religions are not practiced in true sense and represent just centuries old traditions.
Food for thought, has anybody ever questioned themselves why they go to a mosque, church or synagogue ? or why they celebrate certain religious days ?
I believe you will find most of the answers if you question yourself rather than pointing fingers or judging others.

Now to comment on the real topic, I dont have to say anything you can visit the NHS site
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Alcohol/Pages/Alcoholhome.aspx
Logical conclusion, there would be no such page on the UK NHS website if alcohol was really that good for heath.

February 9, 2012 at 7:38 am
(72) Austin Cline says:

Austin, my observation is that you have no idea what Islam is

Then you should be able to demonstrate how.

Now to comment on the real topic, I dont have to say anything you can visit the NHS site …Logical conclusion, there would be no such page on the UK NHS website if alcohol was really that good for heath.

Really? Here’s a NHS page on salt. Like the page on alcohol, it has information on cutting back salt intake.

By your “logic,” the NHS wouldn’t have a page if salt “was really that good for health.” In reality, salt is necessary for life – if you don’t get enough salt, you die.

As we can see, your understanding of what constitutes a “logical” conclusion leaves much to be desired. This is consistent with your complete failure to even attempt to address any of the scientific evidence for how alcohol can be beneficial for health.

What was it you were saying about doing “perfect” research? Maybe you should try just doing a little research before advising others.

March 29, 2012 at 9:15 am
(73) Fely says:

Indeed alcohol was a problematic issue in the Muslim-majority countries. That is the matter of interconnecting between extremist and moderate, faith and state. Take an example in Indonesia as a country with the largest Muslim populations had implementing a strict policy against alcoholic beverage, and there always occur hot pros and cons, as I read a post titled : Long Journey for alcoholic beverage in Indonesia

May 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm
(74) Fanon says:

I don’t think that forbidding alcohol is somehow invalidating Islam as a way of life, religion, whatever you’d like to call it. Although there are several schools of thought with intricate institutions of scholars, Islam is individualized. The relationship is between you and God, there are no clergy members aside from Imams who lead prayer & give advice; I think that’s a great way to bind communities- decentralization.

If Islam and faith provides one with happiness and strength, then why not?

Veiling sheer hatred and intolerance for Islam by allegedly promoting “critical” thinking is just as bad, or worse than what Atheists and Agnostics believe is religious intolerance.

Critical thinking, being a decent human being, and following a religion one truly believes may mesh rather well.

So before you try and criticize religion as contradictory or not making sense, take a look at your own beliefs. I highly doubt that your beliefs are so succinctly blended together to form one perfect human being.

July 29, 2012 at 11:26 pm
(75) Joseph says:

Good article other than the islamophobic and racist comment at the end. Muslims are more violent than Jews and Christians? How many people did America’s invasion of Iraq kill? At the absolute lowest estimates its a few hundred thousand, at the highest estimates it’s around 2 million. What country did a Muslim majority country invade recently? Was it anything close to the figure stated for one war by a Christian majority country? And 9-11 attacks was 3,000 people. America has killed hundreds of thousands if not millions since then. So, let’s be realistic here.

I am so sick of the hatred of Muslims and Arabs. It has to stop. America needs to look at its own actions and take responsibility for its worldwide murder campaigns and stop pointing the finger to blame others.

August 7, 2012 at 9:56 am
(76) This guy serious? says:

First of all, if you drink then you are not a Muslim. It was told in the Quran that it was forbidden because it intoxicated the mind.

This article seems to see wrong that a religion forbids drinking. And that if a Muslim drank they should not be ashamed and hide it because they are having “fun”.

But who are these people kidding? They are putting on a act and are not really Muslim. They committed big sin and they know its very serious, because they try so hard to hide it.

The man who stopped by the other man was doing his duty to warn his Muslim brother to stray away from the wrong path he was on. And you a problem with this? All because you think Muslims should be able to drink?

If a shakh in Islam had the same opinion as you(authubillah), it would not change anything because it is FORBIDDEN.

August 9, 2012 at 7:42 pm
(77) Austin Cline says:

First of all, if you drink then you are not a Muslim.

It’s not licit for a Muslim to deny that someone else is a “real” Muslim.

It was told in the Quran that it was forbidden because it intoxicated the mind.

Except for the parts before that, when drinking was allowed.

August 23, 2012 at 12:07 am
(78) e.g says:

hey,if god is the omni-this and omni-that………………….he or she must be the greatest,right? he create and yet he or she created imperfection….and thats crap and stupid. so he or she god might be an idiot afterall

November 17, 2012 at 11:04 pm
(79) UniGirl says:

Austin, thank you so much for this article. I’m a 3rd year university student in the US. I am a Muslim and I do drink. I see nothing wrong with it. The only issue I had with it was feeling guilt from not telling my parents for issues non-religion related.

If I am comfortable enough with my faith to decide what I deem appropriate then I think no one else has the right to tell me what to do. Religion needs to be interpreted in your own personal view. You know how much other stuff should be done according to the Quaran but doesn’t happen? A lot of things. Alcohol drinking is not so much a religious issue as it is a CULTURAL issue now.

Reading through some of the comments, people said alcohol is banned because it spirals into addiction/bad things. I drink every weekend and not once has this happened to me. It is illogical for someone who has never drunk to say that drinking causes these issues. Drinking is NOT the cause of these issues.

And to the people saying how addicting/dangerous alcohol is, what about heroin? What about opioids and other drugs?

March 1, 2013 at 12:56 am
(80) God is one says:

I’m really sad reading this. It sounds very ignorant! I’m a 29 year old Muslim girl who was born here in the US & I have never touched alcohol. Educate your self on my religion & the real effects of Alcohol before you sound like an idiot! Check out this link: http://www.islam101.com/sociology/alcohol.html. You are just a sad person trying to justify probably your alcoholic reasons for wanting to drink! Btw in Islam if you commit a sin you don’t boast about it because that itself is a sin! All these idiots that you have mentioned seems a little bs! I’m not trying to say that my people don’t drink at all but you trying to make the religion look bad only proves your an idiot & haven’t done any research at all!

March 6, 2013 at 6:15 pm
(81) Austin Cline says:

You are just a sad person trying to justify probably your alcoholic reasons for wanting to drink!

It’s important that you’re only able to respond with personal attacks while utterly failing to address any of the substantive issues.

May 12, 2013 at 6:47 pm
(82) John Doe says:

You’re entitled to your beliefs and interpretations of whatever text you choose to read. But I have to say, as both a Muslim and a(n occassional) drinker of alcohol, it’s a wee-bit preposterous to advocate the health benefits of alcohol against all the adverse effects, isn’t it? I understand that wine and whatnot have their health benefits, and I enjoy a good scotch as much as the next guy, but come on man. Look at drunk driving incidents, alcohol dependency and it’s role in domestic violence and the effects it has on the human body through such things as liver disease. Which is what killed my father. So don’t pretend that alcohol is in some way “okay.” A lot of things in moderation are “okay.” But, at the same time, as obesity in America and the health complications from that will show you, people often do not understand where the “healthy” limitations of such moderation lie. Is that an issue of personal choice? Should a person be allowed to eat fast food until they need multiple bypasses and can’t haul themselves out of bed? Perhaps so. I’m a bit of a libertarian, so I say, “why not?” But isn’t it also possible that Allah included an exclusion of alcohol consumption to help protect those who chose to listen from the dangers of a substance that can possibly at times, and sometimes without recognition, be over-consumed, and prove harmful? I don’t know the answer. And neither do you. I’m sure we will have to agree to disagree. But don’t pretend that just because you don’t believe it that it must be a harmful, arbitrary statute implemented only for the purpose of controlling a “weak minded” population.

Anyway, there is a character limit, so I will end here. I do not mean to attack you, as I am sure you are a good person. But your comments about Islam are saddening, because I fear you have a lot of hatred in your heart for our beliefs and practices, and I hope that I am mistaken about that!

May 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm
(83) Austin Cline says:

it’s a wee-bit preposterous to advocate the health benefits of alcohol against all the adverse effects, isn’t it?

Everything has negative side-effects. Even water.

Which is what killed my father. So don’t pretend that alcohol is in some way “okay.” A lot of things in moderation are “okay.” But, at the same time, as obesity in America and the health complications from that will show you, people often do not understand where the “healthy” limitations of such moderation lie.

All true. That does not, however, mean that whatever might be harmful in excess should be banned.

But isn’t it also possible that Allah included an exclusion of alcohol consumption to help protect those who chose to listen from the dangers of a substance that can possibly at times, and sometimes without recognition, be over-consumed, and prove harmful?

No, because otherwise all things harmful in excess would be banned. Which is… everything. Including water.

May 16, 2013 at 8:57 pm
(84) John Doe says:

I certainly see your point in mentioning that there is a plethora of harmful things that aren’t outwardly banned by the Qu’ran. I also remember how shocked I was when I first read about the way in which water, when consumed to the extreme, suffocates your cells and causes your brain to swell. Scary stuff. And certainly very true. While we both know it takes far more water consumption to risk intoxication (as well as a couple of other factors) than alcohol, I don’t really wish to argue this point further. We both have our beliefs about things and I’ve never been in the business of trying to change people’s minds. For me, I can see clearly why Allah has chosen to prescribe the things he has, and I feel that adherence to his laws has helped make me a better person. I know I am not perfect, but at the end of the day, I feel like a better person. I am not a zealot, and I will never tell anyone they’re less of a person than I am because they don’t worship in the same way as me. But I hope that we can maintain a healthy disagreement and continue living our lives without petty bickering.

August 29, 2013 at 8:06 pm
(85) Sana says:

@danyaya . I agree with you wholeheartedly

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