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24 May 2019 CE | 20 Ramadhan 1440 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation

The Root of All Evil

Abdullah bin Amr Al-Aas narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “One of the kings of the Bani Israil arrested someone and put before him certain choices. He could drink wine, kill an infant, commit adultery or eat pork. But if he rejected all of these then he must be prepared to be put to death. He chose wine. Hence, when he drank wine, none of the other things remained forbidden to him (in his eyes and he did them all).”

“The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said at this time, ‘Whoever drinks wine, his salat are not accepted for forty nights (and days) and if he dies while there are traces of wine in his bladder then Jannat is forbidden to him but if he dies within forty days then he dies the death of the Days of Jahilliyah.’” [Nasai, Tabarani]

Once Abu Bakr, Umar and some other Sahabah (radi Allahu anhum) were sitting together and discussing what the gravest of sins would be. They were not sure and so sent a messenger to ask Abdullah bin Amr Al-Aas (radi Allahu anhu) who told him that drinking was the gravest sin. They disagreed and so they all went to the house of Abdullah bin Amr Al-Aas for an explanation. That is when he told them this hadith.

In the version of this hadith narrated by Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) the man was a great worshipper and an ascetic who was ensnared by an immoral woman. She sent a servant to him to ask him to come over and witness a transaction. The pious man went since acting as a witness is a virtuous deed. There he was locked in with the beautiful woman who asked him to commit adultery with her, kill the infant boy present there or drink a bottle of wine. Considering drinking to be the least harmful, the man drank the bottle of wine, got intoxicated, and ended up committing adultery as well as killing the child.

This hadith is a reminder of the great evil that can be wrought under the influence of alcohol. While intoxicated a person is unaware that he is beating, maiming, raping or killing anyone. Yet he will still carry the sins for his actions since by voluntarily consuming the intoxicant he gave himself permission to do anything. That is why Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) calls alcohol “an abomination of Shaytaan’s handiwork.” [Quran 5:90]

This hadith also shows us the difference between a pious worshipper and a man of religious understanding. A man of religious understanding would have shown will power and placed his reliance on Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) to get him out of the difficulty without committing any sins, as Yusuf (alaihis salam) had done. The knowledgable pious have shown many a times that they are prepared to die if necessary to avoid being sinful. Death is certain for everybody anyway, and a man only dies once.  

Every Muslim should constantly pray to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) to preserve him from being misled.

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