What is necessary to do in order to stop using alcohol?

The Details of the Question

Is there a prayer I can say so that a close relative of mine will stop using alcohol?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

We do not know a special prayer to be said to stop using alcohol. It is necessary to try to do something in order to stop using alcohol along with saying prayers. To try to do something is actual prayer. Actual prayer is one of the most effective prayers.

It was very difficult for Islam to eliminate the deep-rooted habits that had settled in the people living in the Arabian Peninsula as soon as it came. It was even more difficult to give up alcohol, which virtually enslaved people as they used it. However, the light brought by Islam eliminated alcohol from the community like the other bad habits. 

One of the names of Allah is Hakim (the Perfectly Wise). That is, He creates everything based on wisdom and usefulness. As a matter of fact, man's growing up and becoming an adult, a seed becoming green and a tree, an egg being hatched and a bird coming out take place through a certain process. It is possible to see this law of Allah, which is in effect in the universe, in some orders of the religion. Our Lord used the method of gradualism as a necessity of his name Hakim in order to eliminate the habit of drinking alcohol from that community. On the other hand, if alcohol had been prohibited suddenly, the alcoholics of that age could have avoided accepting Islam. They might not have wanted to give up their habits. Therefore, the verses of the Quran related to alcohol were sent down gradually in the following order:

1. “And from the fruit of the date-palm and the vine, ye get out wholesome drink, and food: behold in this also is a Sign for those who are wise.”(an-Nahl, 16/67)

It is stated in the verse above that alcohol is not good sustenance. Some Companions gave up drinking alcohol since it was understood when this verse was sent down that alcohol was not something approved by the religion of Islam. In fact, it was understood when this verse was sent down that alcohol would be prohibited in the future.

2. “They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit for men; but the sin is greater than the profit.”(al-Baqara, 2/219)

3. “O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say.”(an-Nisa, 4/43)

This verse prohibited performing prayers when one was drunk. In that case, a Companion who performed five daily prayers without missing them had to give up drinking alcohol between two prayers during the day. Otherwise, he would not be able to perform prayers if he drank between two prayers since the intoxicating effect of the alcohol would not fade. He could have drunk after the night prayer. When this verse was sent down, many Companions gave up alcohol. For, the bodies that were addicted to alcohol started to leave it gradually.

4. “O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination― of Satan's handiwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.” (al-Maida, 5/90)

5. “Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?” (al-Maida, 5/91)

Alcohol was definitely prohibited by this last verse. Hz. Anas, one of the Companions, narrates: We were having a drink party. I was serving alcoholic drinks. Somebody came and said, “Alcohol was rendered haram.” My friends ordered me. “Pour the drinks and clean the containers.” After that, nobody drank alcohol.

The following is stated in a hadith:

“It is certain that alcohol is not cure. On the contrary, it is sickness. It causes sickness.”(Ibn Majah, Tibb, 27; Muslim, Ashriba, 12)

As it is seen, these expressions stating that alcohol cannot be used as medicine no matter what type you use confirm the hadith clearly.

Does alcohol make blood pressure drop? Is it beneficial for the people with high blood pressure to use a little alcohol? Or, is it harmful?

In the past, people believed that having a small amount of alcohol was useful since they made blood vessels going to the heart wider (vasodilatation). However, recent research has shown that this idea is wrong. Whether a person is alcoholic or not, even a little amount of alcohol increases blood pressure whether that person has normal or high blood pressure.

A research made on 80.000 people aged between 15 and 80 showed that the blood pressure (systolic pressure) of a person who drinks a big glass of alcohol a day increases about 1 mmHg. When those who drink two or more glasses of alcohol a day are compared to those who do not drink at all, the blood pressure increases by doubling. About 10% of the cause of high blood pressure in men in the West is alcoholic drinks. In some countries, this rate goes up to 33%.  

Does Alcohol Help Digest Food?

The opposite is true. Let alone helping digest food, it is proved that alcoholic drinks delay digestion. For, when alcohol irritates the walls of the digestive tract, it causes more mucus and hydrochloric acid to be secreted. This affects digestion negatively. No matter what type of and what amount of alcohol is taken, it is not regarded as something that eases digestion. It is valid for beer and wine too.

Do alcoholic drinks heat the body? Can they be used in cold weather to increase the heat of the body?

Let alone increasing the body heat, alcohol has an effect that decreases the body heat. The skin vessels of a person dilate when he has alcohol. This causes heat loss in the body. The senses of a person who has alcohol lessen; so, he might not notice that he is outside in extremely cold weather. He might face the risk of being frozen. According to the Russian Interfax News Agency, in the winter of 1995-1996, 600 people died of cold only in Moscow. They were all alcoholics.  

Can alcohol cause death directly? Can it act like poison and cause death?

As it is known, if the level of alcohol in the blood vessels of a person rises above a certain level (400-700 mgr/mlt), it has an effect like poison. It causes a person to die of respiratory paralysis. Deaths caused by direct poisoning due to alcohol form 1/3 of all deaths caused by alcohol.

Alcohol poisoning is only second to carbon monoxide poisoning in terms of death due to poisoning in the USA. The number of deaths caused by alcohol poisoning and carbon monoxide poisoning is a lot more than all of the other types of poisoning.    (Hofmann FG: A Handbook on Drug and Alcohol Abuse. 2nd ed, Oxford University Press, 1983, s.115)

Is a glass of whisky useful when a snake bites you? Or, is it harmful? 

The alcohol in drinks does not neutralize snake venom; that is, it does not prevent its effect. The worst thing to do when a person is poisoned by a snake is to make that person drink alcohol.

When a snake bites a person, the body has a certain reaction, which makes the body tense. This causes the vessels to contract. Such a state is useful for the body at that time. When a snake bites a person, the part that is poisoned on the hand and foot is wrapped by thick tape in order to prevent the poison from entering circulatory system. If such a person drinks whisky or some other alcoholic drink at that time, the vessels under the skin will dilate and the poison will spread to the body more easily. This will deteriorate the situation.  

Snake venom generally causes the blood pressure to fall. Beer, wine or any other alcoholic drink decreases the blood pressure. When the decrease of the blood pressure by snake venom is accompanied by the decrease of the blood pressure by alcohol, this may cause death.

Is lead poisoning seen in the people who drink alcohol?

Many studies show that there is a certain amount of lead in some alcoholic drinks especially beer and wine. When the blood of the people who used alcohol were analyzed, it was seen that there was lead in their blood based on the amount of alcohol they took. It was also seen that smoking increased the amount of lead in the blood like alcohol and that the amount of lead in the blood of the people who both drank alcohol and smoked increased 44% compared to those who did not drink or smoke at all.   

The meaning of this is clear. Those who drink alcohol are poisoned due to alcohol and they become exposed to lead poisoning. Then, they catch various diseases like kidney diseases and hypertension.

Are alcoholic drinks nutrients?

We can answer this question by one sentence: No matter why alcohol is taken, it is not a nutrient. We will explain it as follows:

1.A nutrient needs to help the body develop and grow. It should be used for the renewal of the cells that get old and die. Proteins, oils, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and water are the substances that the body needs. However, alcohol has no useful effect on the repair, growth and development of the body. It is not regarded as a nutrient.

2. When nutrients break up, they give energy to the body. When alcohol breaks up in the body, it also gives a certain amount of energy. However, when nutrients give energy and heat to the body, they do not cause any harm. Nevertheless, as soon as alcohol enters the body, it has toxic and harmful effects on the body. Any drop of alcohol that enters the body harms it. The more alcohol enters the body, the more it harms the body.

3. Nutrients are actually chemical substances that are transformed into blood, muscle and bones. They are necessary for the growth and development of the body. The contraction of muscles is the source of the energy that is necessary for the activity of the nerve cells. They help the body against diseases. They do not desensitize and destroy high brain centers.

The alcohol in drinks decreases the power of muscles and desensitizes nerve centers unlike nutrients. The alcohol in drinks decreases the resistance of the body against diseases. Let alone helping the renewal of tissues, it kills even the living tissues.  

4.Nutrients are stored in the body in various forms and used when they are needed. Unlike nutrients, alcohol is not stored in the body. As soon as alcohol enters the body, the body tries to get rid of it as soon as possible.

5. Prof. Dr. Şinasi Özsoylu, who is an expert in hematology, that is, diseases related to blood, states the following whether alcohol is hematinic or not:  

“I have read the publications about blood for years. I have never read anything stating that alcohol is hematinic. If a person has some iron deficiency, he is advised to eat liver and spleen. He is advised to eat grilled rare veal. When a person has erythrocyte (red blood cells) deficiency, he is administered some iron preparations, folic acid, B12 vitamin and erythropoietin. Wine is not advised as a hematinic substance. Is it not significant that the French advise Bordeaux wine, the British advise Scotch whisky and the Russians advise Russian vodka?”

In conclusion, we can say again that alcohol is not a nutrient as various studies indicate. 

Are small amounts of alcohol useful?

1. Even very small amounts of alcohol (one or two glasses) decreases the reaction time of the body, that is, the response of the body to light and sound stimuli about 5% to 10% .

No matter how much alcohol a person has taken, he will make more mistakes compared to his performance when he has not taken any alcohol while typing, using a device, etc. Think how important such an outcome is for a person who drives a car or flies a plane that does 1000 kmh.

2. Death due to cirrhosis of the liver increases in the people who take alcohol, though a little. Alcohol causes hypertension, traffic accidents by drunken drivers, injuries and sudden deaths. Breast cancer and large intestine cancer are seen more frequently in the people who take alcohol compared to those who do not.

3. According to a research done on young people aged between 15 and 20, the rate of committing suicide, death due to traffic accidents, death due to violence is 75% higher in those who take alcohol even if they drink only a few glasses a day than those who do not.  

The first years of youth called adolescence are the most dangerous ages to start alcohol. Only a few glasses of alcohol taken at those ages can cause addiction, leading to negative states and situations.

4. According to the results of the research done by the American Cancer Society on 276.000 men, the rate of death in men who drink only one glass of alcoholic drink a day has increased a lot compared to those who do not drink at all.

5. According to the results of a wide range statistical study in Europe, when those who drank certain amounts of alcohol used only one extra glass of alcohol a week, the number of alcoholics increased 10%. Consequently, to advice alcohol in order to prevent coronary heart disease will be useful for the merchants of alcohol only.  

6. Each glass of alcohol causes the death of about 2000 nerve cells in the brain. There is detailed information about it in the coming pages of the book.

7. One of the points that should not be forgotten is that a little alcohol makes a person drink more. This is called tolerance in medicine. That is, the body tends to drink more. Do not forget that alcoholics started with one glass of alcohol.

You can see the label that is compulsory to put on the bottles of alcoholic drinks in the United States of America since 1989.  It is stated in the label that women, especially pregnant women, should not drink alcohol since it harms the unborn babies. Besides, it is stated that alcoholic drinks distorts the ability to drive and to use any device and that it may cause diseases.

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