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AL-MAHDI INSTITUTE-(CONTACT)

Issue 3/Volume 1

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THE CASE OF WINE.
H.I.  SHAYKH ARIF ABDUL HUSSAIN TAKES AN USULI LOOK AT ISSUES RAISED BY THE  ARTICLE ON DRUGS IN THE LAST ISSUE OF THE JOURNAL.

     In the case of wine, which by its actual primary law is prohibited in all its aspects whether consumption or transaction by it, is either because of its causing intoxication or through the fact that it is an impure substance or both. As for it's being an intoxicant and hence prohibited both through positive and declarative law (in the sense of incurring sin through its sale and the transaction being void) where we find numerous authoritative reports explicitly indicating at the non-permissibility of consuming it or transacting with it.  However what is significant are the reports that indicate upon intoxication as the cause of this non-permissibility such as the report from Abi Ibrahim (the 7th Imam) (as) stating-" Allah did not prohibit wine for its name but due to its effect thus whatever has the effect of wine is wine."  Again in a report from Abi 'Abd Allah (the 6th Imam) (as) when asked about the cause for the prohibition of wine he replied- "Allah has forbidden it due to its effect and corruption."  Also the report from the Prophet (sa)- "every intoxicant is wine and every wine is prohibited."  Here intoxication is specified as the criterion for the law of prohibition and has extended itself to any substance possessing the quality of an intoxicant. Thus after ascertaining the definition of intoxication, either through the texts or convention, the law will apply to all substances capable of intoxicating whether in liquid or solid forms for all aspects of consumption or transaction.  It is all the same whether the intoxicating substance causes actual intoxication or not, as in the case of someone consuming it in minute proportions. This is due to the explicit tone of the reports and also the report of the Prophet (saw)- "everything that intoxicates through great quantities then its minute quantities are also non-permissible."  According to this, through primary law, it not allowed to transact or consume in any manner any substance that is an intoxicant. However looking more closely at the reports we understand that this law is formulated on the presumption that the transaction and consumption are for the purpose of intoxication and so if sold or consumed on the basis of medication then it would be allowed as primary law, if supported by evidence, or secondary law in the case of compulsion or as apparent law through the application of procedural principles.
     The only way that intoxicating substances would become permissible to transact and consume is when the capability for intoxication is removed from them, on the proviso that intoxication is the only criterion for the law. If other criteria for the law exist then the mere removal of its' intoxicating power would not suffice for the permissibility of its' use.  Let us say the designation  "wine" if influential in the law then at the removal of intoxication all substances not called wine would be permissible to transact with and consume but what is called wine would remain prohibited even if it is non-alcoholic.

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