Monthly Archives: January 2016

You Booze You Lose?

Published On Ink Of Faith
January 4th, 2016

Booze

You Booze You Lose
The 3 Reasons Why Some Muslims Drink

 

A glass of wine? A few beers? A shot of tequila? Scotch? On the rocks? With a twist? Man the choices are endless, and they sound so appealing, don’t they? (Oh don’t give me that look! Of course they do!)

If alcohol didn’t make people feel SO GOOD, why on earth would they start drinking? Seeking pleasure is a human instinct, and once you try the euphoric effect of alcohol, I guess it’s just hard to stop.

Now since I don’t even know what alcohol tastes like, I’ve never actually experienced that ‘euphoria’, which makes my personal reflections and opinions invalid in this case. So in the spirit of being objective, I think it’s time to put on the ‘neutral white hat’. Let’s take the emotions, opinions and arguments out of the equation and just rely on facts!

Ready? Here we go…

Why Do People Start Drinking?

According to an extensive study done at the ‘Health Study Center’ in West Virginia University, here are the top 3 reasons why people start consuming alcohol.

  • Curiosity (Phase One)
    Yes, it’s that little ‘Hmmmm’ voice inside of you that woke up when I said ‘Alcohol makes people feel SO GOOD’. Most alcohol consumers start out as ‘experimenters’ to see what all the fuss is about. Some Muslims believe they need to try it first before banishing the ‘forbidden juice’. Many think it just makes more sense to be your own judge.
  • The Effect (Phase Two)
    This is where it gets a bit tricky, because it depends on expectations and belief systems. Some Muslims who know drinking is ‘haram’ but try a sip anyway, will probably hate the whole experience, because deep down they have a strong belief system and they’re too scared of God to even let themselves enjoy it. Others will try it, struggle with their guilt, but will keep drinking coz the feeling is too good to resist and finally some Muslims, because they expected such a great experience from drinking and don’t have a very strong belief system, will trick their brains into believing drinking alcohol is so much fun and hey, how can something that makes you feel so good, be bad?
  • The Pressure (Phase Three)
    And now the pull comes in, depending on those you hang out with. If your friends and loved ones don’t do it, then avoiding the ‘drink’ is very easy coz it’s not even on the table. But if you’re around the wrong crowd most of the times, then yes chances are, the pull will drag you towards it, and the guilt will eventually work it’s way out. Peer pressure is a powerful tool people. That’s why I’m seriously considering hiring a private investigator to spy on my kids’ friends!

What’s So Wrong With Alcohol Anyway?

From a fun-loving perspective, it sounds like everything in Islam is ‘haram’, right?

I mean, why does alcohol and many other sinful temptations exist in the first? Why does God forbid us from having certain types of pleasures?

Wait, where’s that ‘white hat’? Let me make sure it’s on so we can objectively answer those questions…

  • Because Of The Well-Known Secret
    Even if you don’t get drunk or you’re an occasional drinker, there’s no such thing as ‘sensible drinking’ simply coz no level of alcohol is risk-free. Let’s look at some of the very high prices people pay for the ‘effect’…
    – According to the UK ‘Cancer Search Organization’, for every two units of alcohol (that’s a standard glass of wine) the risk of bowel cancer goes up by 8%. Studies prove alcohol consumption is linked to seven types of cancer, including mouth, throat, liver and breast cancer.
    -Drinking is one of the main culprits for weight gain. (Who wants that?!)
    -Alcohol damages the liver, raises blood pressure, and is the second highest cause for pancreatitis, which in time can become life-threatening.
    -You know that hangover when you can’t remember what happened last night? Yeah, this also creates permanent memory loss in time, and can specifically cause Wernicke Korsakoff’s Syndrome- a dementia-like illness.
    -Alcohol increases risk of stroke, infertility and damages the immune system. It also greatly affects men’s sexual performance (So if your husband drinks and isn’t being intimate while he’s sober, now you know why!)
  • Because God Loves Us.
    Besides the health risk, there are also mental and emotional damages too, but there’s no time to get into that coz woo-hoo boy are they A LOT! The forbiddance of drinking alcohol came about gradually though coz you know what else alcohol does? Studies show it releases endorphins, which are the ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain, and that’s why it makes sense for alcohol to be addictive. A sip turns into ‘I’m not dependent on alcohol… I just NEED a drink! NOWWWWW!’
    And because God loves us and knows His creation well, He took it out of people’s system slowly through revelation in stages. That was 1400 years ago. Now this method is used in rehab!
  • Because Hello! Life Is a Test!
    Even with knowing the risks, and even with the addiction struggle, some people still find drinking enticing. This is where the discipline comes in. “They ask you about drinking (Khamr) and gambling. Tell them ‘There is great sin in both, although they may have some benefit for men, but the sin is greater than the benefit” (Holy Quran 2:219)
    You’d think Allah would compare the benefit of alcohol with it’s harm, but no sire! He says even if it has good in it, its sin is greater!
     

Prophet Muhammad said, “Every intoxicant is Khamr and every intoxicant is forbidden” (Sahih Muslim), and he also said. “Khamr is the key of all evil” (Sahih Ibn Majah). Drinking is a major sin in Islam coz it clouds your judgment and makes good people do horrible things! There’s a reason ten kinds of people are cursed with it, and prayer isn’t accepted for 40 days when someone drinks. But if we don’t care about all the risks or aren’t convinced, how about abstaining for this reason…. Ummm because Allah said so!

But Seriously, Why Do People Still Drink?

Muslims who drink are not morons. They surely understand the risks, know the Islamic laws and deep down feel guilty they’re doing ‘haram’. (I even know Muslims who went as far as believing drinking alcohol is permissible!) Most of them wouldn’t eat bacon or ham if their lives depended on it, but they still drink for other invisible reasons that the majority of us don’t get, and here they are…
Drum roll please….

  • According to NIAAA statistics show people who start drinking share common personality characteristics like being depressed, self-destructive, disruptive, insecure, rebellious, hyperactive and/or withdrawn. They drink to self-medicate a deeply rooted personality trait, and because alcohol is both a depressant and a stimulant, it releases endorphins causing a temporary ‘ecstatic effect’. So they keep drinking coz it’s easier to cover up the problem than deal with it.
  • 90% have tried alcohol for the first time in a social gathering. Ever wonder why? Coz they wanna fit in! They crumble under peer pressure. They don’t have the stamina or the confidence or the courage to say ‘NO’. They wanna look and feel cool, so they follow instead of lead. All humans are weak, and being desperate to fit in is just another form of human weakness.
  • Some Muslims drink to escape. It’s as simple as that. They wanna escape their problems, their fears, their realities… the list goes on. But the most they wanna escape is themselves. Drinking alcohol makes a person more relaxed. It releases inhibitions. According to the ‘Journal of Experimental Social Psychology’, analysis revealed a strong connection between low-self esteem and drinking alcohol. These people are usually sad, lonely and feel like total losers without the booze. They don’t trust or like themselves sober, and without the back-up fake confidence they get from drinking, they feel small and incompetent. So they tell themselves it’s okay to drink. But ask those same Muslims, especially the men, if they’re okay with their moms or daughters drinking, their response will probably be a punch in your face!

If you know one of these people, I’m urging you to please don’t slam them down. Chances are they’re already broken to start with. God does not grant peace and happiness to those who disobey Him, but you know what? He grants forgiveness when they repent… lots and lots and lots of forgiveness. We all sin differently, and no one knows whom Allah will accept in the end. At least these Muslims acknowledge and admit they’re doing wrong, which many of us don’t have the courage to do when it comes to owning up to our sins. Some of my loved ones drink, and it makes me feel so helpless.. It’s beyond painful seeing those you love so much hurt themselves and their families this way. There are no words to describe this heartache.. but this helplessness is also humbling coz it’s a constant reminder….Without Allah’s guidance we would all be ‘booze losers’ too. Because we are all flawed, we are all weak and we are all struggling…
May Allah help us, our loved ones and this beloved ummah to see the light… May we never feel this helpless or this weak when it comes to pleasing Him….

May He grant us the serenity to accept the things we can’t change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference…

Lilly S. Mohsen

Change Your Story… BACKWARDS!

Published on IUO Blog
31st December, 2015
This is the original version

 

Change.jpg

You’ll never believe what just came in the mail right now….

A DVD of YOUR life!

Wanna have a movie night? Yay!

I got popcorn, candy and sodas. Let’s skip the trailers and get to the good part.

Awwww here you are crawling! Oh and there you are taking your first steps! That’s SO CUTE!

Here you’re disgusted coz you don’t like your veggies…
Potty training, chicken pox, time outs…

Okay skip, skip, skip….

First day of school…
First tooth falling off…
Oops! Finding out tooth fairies don’t exist (sorry!)
First secret crush…. Long weekends, spring breaks and summers… all the way to graduation… wow those must be some really cherished memories….

You smile and tear up as you relive those moments and I just sit here munching on popcorn and watching you instead of the movie!

Okay, change of plans! Let’s skip to the beginning of Year 2015…

There we are… perfect!

It’s January 2015 and you have that determined look on your face! You have so many plans and so many dreams! “2015 is the year people!” You announce proudly. You promise to be organized, productive, positive….

You know what? You vow to just be A-MAZING!

By June, motivation pipes down and you realize most of what you had planned is still un-done, you’re falling back into old habits and well… Who cares anyway! It’s summer time so let’s just relax and enjoy it….

And it’s all fun and entertainment till the very serious month of September peeps in and you realize three quarters of the year had passed and you’re still the same… staring at your ‘I’m gonna be amazing’ list with one eye-brow up.

Hmmmmm…

And before you know it, you’re holding the little 2016 calendar that came as a gift with the too many pizzas you ordered and you’re like, “What? It’s December already?? Fine! Then 2016 is the year people!”
The screen reads “To Be Continued… (Or actually: To Be Repeated Next Year…)
You look at me, shrug, then get up to leave.

“Hey, where you going? Come back!” I momentarily stop eating popcorn. “Give me that remote!”

The Things You Wouldn’t Change

We tend to be so hard on ourselves sometimes. We tend to look at the bad and believe our worst reviews, all the while letting the good slip away. This IS NOT the story of your life. There’s so much more…. Let’s rewind…

Here! Pause this scene!

Look! You’re sleeping peacefully…. Because you didn’t hold grudges or maybe you made someone smile from the heart that day! Remember?

There… It’s Ramadan and your tears are falling down during prayer… you prostrate and make Du’a… coz you know Allah is listening and you suddenly feel so close to Him… You know He’s there watching over you… Would you even trade that serene moment for the world?

Pause these scenes: You’re focused on your studies, swallowing your anger, holding the door for a stranger, hugging a scared child, smiling with so much love at your spouse or kids, kissing your mom’s hand, running an errand for someone in need… this is all you! You’ve done so much good this year…. You just forgot….

Go backwards and relive your story…
All this pain you’ve endured…
All the times you thought you failed and decided not to give up….
All the problems you’ve managed to solve…
All the lessons you learnt through people who walked into your life to teach you something new…
All the laughter, the heartache, the surprises, the celebrations, the disappointments, and the stress…. So much has happened…

And you know how I know you’re already amazing? It’s coz you’re reading this now…. And let’s face it, all my readers are amazing… (Yeah, I’m just biased that way J)

But the main reason you’re a success is coz you’ve been through all of this. You’ve fallen and gotten back up and you’re ready to start again….

You’re amazing because you’ve survived….

 

The Things You Can’t Change

I’m confused. Your life-movie is suddenly a sob-fest. What did I miss?

You’ve heard bad news. Things didn’t go your way. You’ve lost a loved one. There was an accident, or a downfall, or an unexpected detour….

Was it something that you did wrong? If yes, then yeah beat yourself up a little bit and then go fix it! Deal with the damage. Apologize. Seek Allah’s forgiveness. Start over and do it right this time.

But if it’s something you can’t change, if it’s not a mistake or something you can control then I’m telling you, it’s destiny… it’s meant to be. It’s an integral part of the script… that scary or sad scene that turns events around before the happy ending.

Maybe you don’t know it now… but you will find out soon. God does everything for a good reason. You just need to trust in His choices and accept them.

(And then when you see the blessing behind it eventually, you’ll come back and tell us, coz we’re dying of curiosity here, okay!)

 

The Things You Really Want To Change

If this year was just a dress rehearsal, and next year is the real thing, what would you change?

If you could go to bed right now, wake up and all your problems have suddenly disappeared. What would your life be like?

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently…?

Big questions, huh? And we rarely think of the answers coz we simply save last year’s file on the desktop and open a new window.

New promises. New plans. New resolutions!

Wake up and smell the promotional calendars people! It’s a trap!!
You can’t navigate to a better place if you don’t know where you are now.

You need to look back, see what you did wrong before you can ever try to make it right.

Look back at all the good you did, and repeat the pattern that worked best for you. Maintain the habits, attitudes, and the little things you did to pile up a cherished treasure of amazing memories.

Look back and accept the things you can’t change. Make room for them in your life. Switch stuff around and adjust to your reality peacefully.

Look back and find the courage to change the things you can. It won’t happen overnight, but at least there’s a starting point on your map.

Your life is not scattered notes. It’s all connected, flowing and perfectly managed by the One Merciful Allah. It’s a beautiful book that tells your unique story… and how you’ve touched and changed so many lives around you.

Look back; give yourself credit for reaching this far and embrace who you are…

Coz sometimes it’s the new things you learn about your past that can totally change your future…

See the bigger picture and realize the truth of this present moment… It’s not what you did, or what you will do…

It’s what’s in your heart right now that makes you amazing….

 

Happy New Years!

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

Tell us about something good you did this year in the comments box below. Inspire others with your story…. Sometimes one word can change someone’s world…