As previously scheduled, Yousef met his friend Michael at the café. Soon after they sat down.
Michael started talking to Yousef, saying:
Michael: “Tonight, I’m going to bring up a subject, and I think you will agree with my point of view.”
Yousef: “Come on my friend! Let's first have a drink.”
Michael: “Sorry for being in a rush, you’re right.”
Michael called the waiter, who went to them and took Yousef's order.
The waiter (in surprise): “Tea?!”
Yossuf: “ … with lemon.”
The waiter (in even more of a surprise): With lemon?!
Michael (laughing): “Yes, he’s a Muslim and doesn't drink alcohol. I’ll have tea with lemon as well, to apologize for being in a rush and to show my agreement with my friend.”
The waiter went to fetch their orders.
Yousef (muttering): “How strange that was?”
Michael: “Oh my friend, in our country drinking wine is like drinking water. There are different kinds of alcoholic drinks with various flavors and different styles of drinking. That’s why the waiter was surprised that you ordered tea instead of alcohol. This is not very common here amongst adults, I'm sorry to say .. really sorry.. “
Yousef (dazed): “But this is weird !”
Michael: “Why? What’s so weird about it? It’s not a new thing for us, and this is not in our country only, but in the entire West.”
Yousef: “That’s exactly it.”
Yousef: “Because most of you are Christians and you are supposed to believe in the Bible, and the Torah stated that drinking wine causes a great deal of harm. It stated: ‘Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh.’(Proverbs 23:20), and it forbad being drunk: ‘Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!’" (Isaiah 5:11)
And in the Bible, it is mentioned in Leviticus (10:9): "And the Lord spoke to Aaron: Do not drink wine nor strong drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest you die; it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations."
In Judges (13:14): "The angel of the LORD said to Manoah, ‘… She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink….’ And there are many other texts that dispraise winebibbers, and forbid associating with them, and also dispraise those who even look at wine.”
Michael: “Wait a moment, Yousef! Don't think that you are the only person who knows about the holy books. Many of our clerks allow drinking wine, and some of them quoted from the Old Testament that some prophets got drunk. Besides, I have heard from other clerks that actually what is forbidden is only intoxication. In the Bible, Jesus Christ drank wine. In Luke (7:33): ‘For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and you say, 'He has a devil'; 34 The Son of Man is come eating and drinking (wine); and you say, 'Behold a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of publicans and sinners!'’35 But wisdom is justified of all her children."
Yousef: “What you have mentioned takes us to two serious problems which affect the western man and the western communities, as well.
First, I'm sorry to say that your Holy Bible has been proved to have many texts that have been interpolated; and that the devil’s advocates twisted them, which resulted in contradictions in many doctrines; like prohibiting and allowing wine, claiming that Christ drank wine, but at the same time considering him too exalted for that. It is also mentioned in Luke (1:15) describing Jesus Christ, reported from Gabriel, peace be upon him: ‘For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink….’ The contradiction is obvious.”
Second, Your clerks monopolize the Bible, and others claim that they speak in the name of God, and many of them consider that they have the authority to prohibit and permit, and you follow their rules.”
Michael: “You do have a point there, and I admit that many of us don't really fully believe in the Bible and don't trust all of the clerks. Our society has been greatly changed since the Renaissance. Therefore, in real trials, we rely on only intellect and abstract science. Forget about holy books and religion, and let's talk reasonably and scientifically. “
Yousef: “First, allow me to say that this is your problem with religion, due to what you have suffered from the tyranny of the church and its fight against science, especially in the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, you consider every religion like that, assuming that it conflicts with science, and it is supposed to only exist in places of worship. On the contrary, in Islam we don't suffer from this ailment at all; rather our religion encourages science, without any holy secrets being monopolized by clerks.
Anyway, let's talk in the language that convinces you, though this won't oppose what I believe in. And I'll prove that for you.”
Michael: “Go ahead.”
Yousef: “You said that what you believe in now is intellect and science. Let's start with asking you: If intellect is of that much an importance to you, then does wine preserve intellect or make it dull?”
Michael: “This is a trap, not a question.”
Yousef: Allah honored man and privileged him over many other creatures. Allah bestowed the grace of intellect upon man. In Islam, Allah ordained that the insane person is not Mukallaf , even if his body is healthy. Allah commanded us to preserve this great grace and not to damage it by any means. And what’s more, preserving this grace is one of the five essential universal principles in Islam. This is why Islam prohibits drinking wine or taking drugs, or any other similar materials that befog the mind.”
Michael: “What are these five essential universal principles that you have just mentioned?”
Yousef: “Discussing this point will side track us. Anyway, they are, in general, religion, soul, intellect, one’s honor and money.”
Michael: “Fine. Go on.”
Yousef: “It is scientifically known that alcohol, which is the intoxicating substance in wine, is quickly absorbed in the stomach and small intestines, and quickly reaches the blood, and then it easily penetrates all the tissues of the body; like the central nervous system.
Even in very small amounts (about 0.03%), alcohol affects the functions of neurons and slows down the transfer of the neuro-currents between them; which results in a reduction in concentration, imbalance, and mental derangement. It is strictly forbidden in the Holy Qur'an, which says: ‘O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-¬Ansâb (altar stones), and Al¬-Azlâm (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitân's (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful)’ [Al-Mâ'idah:90]”
Michael: “But we see some benefits in wine, such as refreshment and warmness, especially in our cold country.”
Yousef: The Holy Qur'an doesn't deny that it has some benefits. Allah, glory be to Him, said: ‘They ask you (O Muhammad, prayers and peace be upon you) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit.’ [Al-Baqarah: 219] When comparing these benefits with the harms it brings, the Qur'an prohibited it, as their harm is greater. Let's talk scientifically, which you believe in.
Besides the behavioral impacts, psychological and social harms, and unconscious behaviors that lead to committing crimes, financial loss and the well known acts of harming others, science has proved that drinking intoxicants, especially when a state of drunkenness is reached, results in the following health damages:
Wine (intoxicants) affects the glands of the body in general, causing disorder, for both the glands and the heart.
It causes congestion in the reproductive organs.
It also causes gastric and duodenal ulcers and inflammations in the digestive system,
which directly causes severe infections of the mouth, pharynx, stomach, intestines, nerves, endocrine glands and senses.
It also causes hepatitis and hepatorrhexis, which leads to hepatic fibrosis, and then the incurable hepatic cirrhosis which finally results in liver cancer.
The damages to the respiratory system are uncountable.
As for getting warm by means of drinking wine, according to your words, this is a result of the effect of wine-saturated blood on the skin, which causes vasodilatation (expansion in the blood vessels "arterial capillaries" at the end of the capillaries of the veins and arteries ). So the surface of the skin becomes full of warm blood from all the parts of the body, carrying with it heat and warmth. This causes a false warmth to the alcoholic. Therefore the alcoholic’s skin is blushed and glows, and he doesn't feel the cold anymore. The warm flow of blood continues from all over the parts of the body, which causes interior heat and warmth loss that are necessary for physiological operations needed for life.
There are so many ways to feel warm, other than drinking intoxicants. It is well known that Muslims who live in cold areas don't drink intoxicants seeking warmth.”
Michael: “But notice, Mr. Yousef, that your talk applies the assumption that one reaches the state of drunkenness, thus I believe that drinking a little amount of wine is still okay.”
Yousef: “The problem is that when you start drinking, it influences your mood, then the body starts asking for more, which makes the wine drinker ask for more. The more the ratio of alcohol increases, the more the body needs more, and so on.
Let me tell you about the abstract of a New Zealand medical study which indicated that the harms resulted from drinking intoxicants, even in small or moderate amounts, exceed any prospected benefits, which opposes the common conception widely spread in the West, that one cup of intoxicant a day prevents heart diseases. In his published article in the Lancet, a general medical journal, Dr. Rod Jackson, a professor of epidemiology at Auckland University, New Zealand, concluded that there is no overall benefit for light to moderate drinking. They stated that any coronary protection that exists in light-to-moderate drinking is very small compared to the harms related to such consumption, which outweigh any benefits.
Here lies the scientific and Islamic legislative miracle in the Prophetic Hadith : ‘Every intoxicating drink is Haram (i.e. forbidden), whatever intoxicates in a large amount, a small amount of it is Haram.’"
Michael (Sarcastically): “Wow! That sure was a hot discussion, not just warm. I think I need a cold cup of lemon in conclusion to our meeting.”
Yousef (laughing): “Lemon without tea?! But you didn't even mention the topic that I was supposed to agree with you on.”
Michael: “Let's have it in the next meeting then.”
Yousef: “In sha'a Allah Ta'ala (If God wills).”