You who believe, intoxicants and gambling, idolatrous practices, and [divining with] arrows are repugnant acts- Satan’s doing- shun them so that you may prosper.
Quran 5:90

The world we see today revolves around five main poisons. These poisons are very well approved and recommended by the guardians of our society. Especially in the Western World, even after having the highest peak of science we ever had the west unfortunately drowns in these five poisons because they have taken laws and boundaries for humanity not from the One who created Humans but from themselves. Nevertheless, these five poison have overtaken the secular society by storm and seems like until and unless the laws of the creator aren't placed for humanity, peace is far from even the grip of our fingers. These poisons are alcohol, drugs, gambling, sexual immorality & interest and let's not forget to mention that all these poisons are prohibited in Islam. Thereby all the Muslims who abide by the rules of Islam are safe from these deadly poisons which hurt people individually and the society collectively.

Nonetheless, let's go over these five poisons and see how they have affected the world of today...

1) Alcohol-

There is no safe amount of alcohol consumption for the brain, with even “moderate” drinking adversely affecting nearly every part of it, a study of more than 25,000 people in the UK has found. The study, which is still to be peer-reviewed, suggests that the more alcohol consumed, the lower the brain volume. In effect, the more you drink, the worse off your brain. “There’s no threshold drinking for harm – any alcohol is worse. Pretty much the whole brain seems to be affected – not just specific areas, as previously thought,” said the lead author, Anya Topiwala, a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Oxford. We usually see the Christians use the excuse 'moderate alcohol is okay' to justify that drinking a little bit alcohol doesn't hurt. The article says otherwise....

Moreover... an article from the NIH community shows with an analysis of U.S. death certificate data by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, found that nearly 1 million people died from alcohol-related causes between 1999 and 2017. The number of death certificates mentioning alcohol more than doubled from 35,914 in 1999 to 72,558 in 2017, the year in which alcohol played a role in 2.6% of all deaths in the United States. The increase in alcohol-related deaths is consistent with reports of increases in alcohol consumption and alcohol-involved emergency department visits and hospitalizations during the same period.

According to alcoholrehabguide the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that roughly 55% of domestic abuse perpetrators were drinking alcohol prior to assault, women who are abused are 15 times more likely to abuse alcohol and that 68% of the delinquent youths in Oregon treatment programs had witnessed their mother’s abuse or been abused themselves. "While there is much debate as to whether alcohol can be a lone trigger in domestic abuse, it cannot be denied that it is statistically more likely to be involved than it isn’t."

We have seen and know the fair share of why and how alcohol is affecting the society the way it is thereby we could conclude that we should stay away from it as the prevention of falling into its danger is way better than finding a cure...

2) Drugs-

Drugs have been the sole problem of the west especially , and seems like it is here to stay since getting rid of even something like it is like getting rid of your arrogance sometimes. Consequently, lets focus on why and how drugs like cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, opium just to name a few are destroying our society. CDC(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have stated that nearly 841,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose. In 2019, 70,630 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States. The age-adjusted rate of overdose deaths increased by over 4% from 2018 (20.7 per 100,000) to 2019 (21.6 per 100,000).

The use of drugs have also shifted geographically. From 2018 to 2019, the largest increase in death rates involving synthetic opioids occurred in the West (67.9%). The largest increase in death rates involving psychostimulants occurred in the Northeast (43.8%). Previously, the East had the highest increases in deaths involving synthetic opioids, and the Midwest had the highest increases in deaths involving psychostimulants. No state experienced a significant decrease from 2018-2019. We shouldn't be surprised or question ourselves to why we should never even go close to drugs...

3) Gambling-

Gambling is the type of poison which makes a person addicted to it to the point that they lose their mind over money. It can destroyed lives and families over night. A life ruined by gambling is not a great life. Gambling can affect the gambler and his or her family in many ways. This addiction causes social problems, emotional problems, physical problems, psychological problems, occupational problems, family problems, and of course, financial devastation.

Here are 5 crucial reasons why you shouldn't gamble...
a) Gambling addiction can cause you to lose your friends and family very easily. Many divorces are caused by a gambling addiction and result from untreated addiction. A gambling problem creates tremendous social isolation since gambling seems to become the most important thing.
b) An untreated and severe gambling problem can cause the worst anxiety and depression which leads to an incredible sense of despair. This despair can lead to gambling related suicides which are not uncommon. Gambling addiction has the highest suicide rate of all addictions, hands down.
c) This addiction can cause a lack of functioning in all areas of life, including work. Many people have lost their jobs as a result of a gambling problem. This can compound the financial devastation already experienced from the addiction itself.
Compulsive gambling can become all encompassing. The physical health of the gambler can deteriorate rapidly. If you are struggling with this addiction yourself, you may not be eating right, exercising, visiting a doctor, or taking care of your teeth. These physical problems can truly take a serious toll on health and the neglect of the body can result in very serious consequences.
Financial ruin is a direct result of this addiction and gambling debts can become so huge and insurmountable that bankruptcy seems to be the only option. Debt from gambling can also result in foreclosures, loss of savings, retirement accounts, and maxed out credit cards. The financial fallout of a gambling addiction can last long past the time that the addiction stops.

These 5 reasons why untreated gambling disorders are just a few of the reasons why you or your loved one should stop gambling and return to a better, healthier way of life. It is hoped that this article was helpful to you, and that you will do whatever it takes to get better. You will truly be happier when you stop gambling. You will have a better outlook, and more than anything, you will have hope again.

4) Sexual Immorality-

Sexual immorality is having intercourse with someone you are not married to. It is a severe a problem because when a couple mess up their protection during intercourse there is a high possibility that the male will leave the female because they don't want to take the responsibility of having a child. Because of this we have so many single moms in the West today. Then these kids who grow from single parents lose their way of life and get addicted to the poisons of the society and end up in prisons. According to a study of 13,986 women in prison showed that more than half grew up without their father. 42% grew up in a single-mother household and 16% lived with neither parent.

Not to mention the spread of STDs have increased heavily after our society has started to become less moral towards having intercourse with the right person. New data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that reported annual cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States continued to climb in 2019, reaching an all-time high for the sixth consecutive year.

The newly released 2019 STD Surveillance Report found: 2.5 million reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, the three most commonly reported STDs in 2019. A nearly 30% increase in these reportable STDs between 2015 and 2019. The sharpest increase was in cases of syphilis among newborns (i.e., congenital syphilis), which nearly quadrupled between 2015 and 2019.

Gay and Bisexual Men Make up nearly half of all 2019 primary and secondary syphilis cases. Gonorrhea rates were 42 times that of heterosexual men in some areas.

Only if fornication and adultery wasn't so prevalent in our society as we see today crimes wouldn't be this high and the risk of more people losing lives wouldn't exist.

5) Interest-

Usually it leads to a headache, the discovery that a close friend is actually secretly a raging capitalist/socialist (replace as per your political proclivities), and – the worrying one – doubt about one’s religion and moral code. The good news is there are some sensible, clear answers to the question. The bad news is there are some (nearly as) sensible, clear answers to the answers. However the really good news is that a novel approach struck me during some recent research I was doing for an article on the nature of money (it is a high octane life we lead here). The approach is a simple, logical argument which doesn’t require detailed knowledge of the Qur’an and hadith on the topic. But, in order to get to the argument (in a follow-up article to this one), I need to lay the groundwork with an analysis of the usual answers that we can give.

Argument 1
Standardly the argument against interest is that it is exploitative. A rich person is one who has lots of money, and he is in a position to lend. A poor person has little money and is in need of lending money. If he takes out an interest-bearing loan, the net transfer will be from the poor to the rich, which is counter-intuitive and exploitative on all but a really hardline analysis. But what about the case of a doctor who earns £100,000 a year, who wants to take out a mortgage and pay £1000 a month for 25 years, and own his house at the end of it, rather than £1000 a month in rent for 25 years and own nothing at the end of it? The bank benefits and the doctor benefits – that doesn’t seem exploitative right? What does one do in such cases where it is not (prima facie) exploitative? Well then one makes the move that in general it is exploitative.

But what if, in our modern context, interest is arguably not even generally exploitative? Some people say that an interest-bearing loan can lead to a lot of growth for a business, or can (as the above example outlines) allow one to get onto the housing ladder and pay less money than they would if they were to rent.

These people are not correct in my opinion (and Argument 1 is fundamentally a very good argument, particularly for fractional-reserve banking economic model (that may require another article to fully unpack)), but it is obvious that if we are to say “interest is exploitative”, we invite counterattacks that say “here is an example of where interest is not exploitative”. So I don’t feel this is an argument without a comeback.

Argument 2
Another line that attempts to cut off any such counterattacks is: “money is simply a means of exchange, and as such Islam does not allow for a thing which in of itself has no value (and is not the objective of the transaction) to be ‘rented’”. The point being made here is simply that we don’t ever go to a shop to buy £5 notes to use as cooking stock, or 50p coins to use as a nail file. We like money because it buys us nice things, not because that piece of paper is really useful itself. So here any “interest-is-not-exploitative” arguments become irrelevant – as we’re not arguing that interest is exploitative or not in the first place.

One could argue that interest is simply a compensation for usage of money during the term of the loan. I lend you £100 for 2 months; I consequently don’t have access to my £100 for 2 months and should be compensated for that loss of opportunity. But the proponent of Argument 2 would argue that Islam simply doesn’t allow something like money to be rented. However, then the related question arises: does Islam allow the time-value of an item (the opportunity to use x thing) to be charged for in any case? The answer to that is yes. One can obviously rent things (my flat for example). One can also charge a different price for deferred payment of a good. So we’re allowed to “rent” things, just not money (and any item which is used as an alternative to money, such as gold coins back in the day).

But why is that? Well, to understand that, let’s have a look at what we’re “renting” out when we rent out money. Money is a store of value. That is the key quality of money. If one has renting out a gold coin (somehow back in vogue as a currency let’s say), we wouldn’t want the gold coin for itself, but for what nice things it could buy. On the other hand, a gold wire made out of the same amount of gold for use in a certain circuit, could, by a bold scholar, be argued to be valuable intrinsically. Renting out such an item would then be allowed, as the thing being rented out is the usage of the creation that took a great deal of technical skill and know-how to create, not just the raw gold material. This is a much more solid argument and lies at the heart of the Islamic prohibition on interest. It’s not that Islam forbids us making money, it’s that Allah has forbidden making money from things which are intrinsically useless.

The New Argument
So what is the problem with renting out a store of value? Well, what is this value that we are storing? The value in a £10 note is that which we are willing to give it. If our confidence in the acceptability of the £10 wavers, then our confidence in the £10 will crumble. The thing that gives value to the £10 is its widespread acceptance and our knowledge that we can use this intrinsically worthless little piece of paper to buy things that are intrinsically precious. So we’re renting out “confidence of many others in society”. I don’t like that – and that, I think, is ultimately why interest is haram. In part 2 of this article on why interest is haram, I’ll explore this line more fully. Here is the link for the next part...