Tag Archives: mental

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

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The Amazing Race Of Ramadan: Episode One

Published on OnIslam.net
On 22nd June, 2015

Episode One: It’s An Inside Job!

heart and brain

Thundering slamming sounds of doors locking.
Roaring noises of steel chains clatter together.

Hearts melt as the smiles fill the skies…
And the golden gates are opened, filling the universe with the sparkling scents of Heaven….
People from all around the world gather together, excited and anxious to be amongst the frontrunners. From every race, age and color, the chosen contestants hold hands in peace; awaiting further reminders before they head off for the big win.

“Listen up people! This is it! The doors of Hell are locked, the devils are chained down and the gates of Paradise are wide open. Tonight we start the 30-day countdown of the Amazing Race! Let’s make EVERY. SECOND. COUNT!”

Millions of Muslims raise their hands to the sky and chant in unity “Allahu Akbar! God Is Great!”

“The more people you help along the way, the more you raise your chances of winning the ultimate reward, so stay close and have each others backs! Now please pick up a copy of your craziest imagination before heading to Conference Room A for a staff meeting with your organs. Good luck!”

Health Benefits Of Fasting: 

All the organs take their seats, giving full attention to the Heart that stands up and speaks first.
“I’d like to welcome you all to this great event. I’ll be your team leader and I hereby make it very clear that my approval is essential before every word and action you make. That means you Mr. Brain!”
“Hey! What did I do?” The Brain looks innocently confused.
“I would rather this meeting be productive so I won’t be pointing fingers! We are one family after all” The heart replies calmly. “If you look at the white board, you’ll see a list a job descriptions and goals for the Holy month. Let’s go through them quickly…”

  • Lungs: Good news! Fasting helps remove built up toxins there. This month is for us to literally take a ‘breather’.
  • Stomach: Will be using the foodless and waterless hours to work on removing any waste matter and allowing for better digestions. Good luck!
  • Blood vessels: Since less blood will flow to the digestive system, more blood will go to other tissues, removing the cholesterol lining in our blood vessels. Well, about time!
  • Intestines: Like the stomach, will finally use this period for detoxification.
  • Kidneys: Will absorb more salt and water, which will help stabilize blood pressure, improve the organ’s functions and avoid kidney stones. Congratulations!
  • Immune System: Fasting reduces free radical damage, regulates inflammatory conditions in the body, reduces stress on the internal system so we can fight infections and starve many types of cancer cells. (Impressive, ha?)
  • Complexion: While fasting, the body has free time to focus on its regenerative energies on other systems like clearing up skin, sweat glands and preventing acne. Yeah that’s why we glow in Ramadan.
  • Liver: Reserved ‘Glycogen’ in the liver will be broken into glucose, which all of us organs can use as extra fuel or energy. Thanks pal! We owe you one.
  • Body Fat: When the supply of glycogen runs out, we turn to stored body fat, breaking it into fatty acids and converting that to useable energy. Let’s lose some of that stubborn weight this summer guys!
  • Brain: Fasting boosts the levels of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’ that beats depression. It also enhances the production of proteins that activate brain stem cells, promotes brain functions, and protects it from diseases such as Alzheimer’s. We’re all counting on you this month dude!

    “Ummm Mr. Brain? Are you there?”
    “Ouch! Horrible Headache! Ahhhhh this really hurts!” The Brain screams as loud sirens shake the room.

Attention! Brace yourself while system resets. I repeat. All organs brace yourselves. This Is An Automated message.

“What’s happening?” The Kidney twins panic. “Is that an Earthquake? Oh my God we’re getting dizzy!”
“No that’s the Brain going into shock. It’s one of the expected side effects of adjusting to the new system” The Heart replies. “Guys if you’ll excuse us, I need to talk to the Brain privately please.”

Mental Benefits Of Fasting:

The Heart puts its hand on the Brain’s shoulder and speaks softly.

“Listen to me. I know the headache hurts but it will only last a day or two till the body adjusts to the fasting process. I need you to stay strong. This will pass I promise! Just breathe it out”
“I want pain killers, coffee, sweets, anything! Please!” The Brain holds its head.
“A war is raging inside coz you’re physically feeling hunger and thirst to the fullest. But I’m in charge now and I will see you through this. You’ll thank me later and here’s why…”

  • Increased focus, mental clarity and creativity.
  • Fasting is a powerful tool in maintaining a healthy mental state through clearing out suppressed ‘emotional baggage’.
  • Controlling impulsive urges which enhances wisdom.
  • Discontinuing bad habits and overcoming addictions
  • Fasting improves quality of sleep.
  • Ultimate awareness and living the ‘now’ helps you feel the ‘joy’.
  • Strengthening your will and inner power.

“You can do this. That’s the training you need to survive another year in the outside world. Together you and me, we will win this race every single day, because we have the ultimate goal in mind: Pleasing Allah and attaining the highest levels of Paradise inshAllah. You’re not alone pal”

“Oh you’re so sweet. How come we don’t spend more time together? Listening to you is really soothing… You’re so pure and genuine!” The Brain smiles.
“Tell me something I don’t know” The Heart winks back jokingly. “Now let’s catch up with the rest in Conference Room B. The ‘Soul’ will give the final speech.”

Spiritual Benefits Of Fasting

Dressed in a sheer white suit, the ‘Inner Being’ welcomes each organ with a rose. The sound of Qur’an in the background fills the room with tranquility. After the recitation is done, the ‘Soul’ stands up and asks the audience to close their eyes.

“Shhhhhhhh…. Listen to the silence inside of you. Separate from the worldly life for a moment and focus your attention inwards…

  • The body starts to feel lighter, senses are heightened and our beliefs and principles are crystalized. It’s Allah’s pleasure we are seeking.
  • This is the chance to embrace your new beginning. For even those with the worst past can create the best future.
  • The energies of the universe are bright and colorful in Ramadan. Your aura is cleansed and activated. Polish the mirror of your heart to reflect the ‘Divine Light’.
  • Feel the presence of your Lord and the angels around guarding you and recording your deeds. Allow yourself to absorb this month’s blessed glory.

    “Fasting is more than abstaining from food and water; it’s a spiritual journey towards Jannah. Let’s work as one team and promise ourselves to stay on the right path this year folks. Thank you for being here and good luck!”

I overhear the chitchats of millions of contestants on their way out of the auditoriums. Sorry, but I couldn’t help eavesdropping on some random conversations

“Man! That was impressive! It’s like all the organs are one happy family. How come we aren’t as close to our own parents and siblings outside Ramadan?”

“Tell me about it. Like my brother is so annoying I fantasize about punching him in the face sometimes.”

“I don’t remember the last time we all had a meal together!”

“My husband is married to his social media. I think if I disappear, the only way he will notice is if someone posts it on Facebook!”

Hmmmmm…I run quickly to fetch the blueprints for the next phase of the race and I chuckle with amusement!

Episode Two: ‘Joy Is A Six-Letter Word’.
Coming right up…. Stay tuned.

Lilly S. Mohsen