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LEGALITY IN THE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL BETWEEN RELIGIONS

1.0 ABSTRACT

2.0 INTRODUCTION

3.0 BACKGROUND
3.1 PROBLEM STATEMENTS
3.2 PURPOSES
3.3 DEFINITION
3.4 FACTORS OF CONSUMING ALCOHOL IN COMMUNITY
3.5 ALCOHOL’S CONSUMPTION EFFECT
3.6 OVERVIEW OF CONSUMING ALCOHOL IN MALAYSIAN LEGAL
SYSTEM
A. SHARIAH LAW
B. CIVIL LAW

4.0 FINDINGS
4.1 RELIGIOUS VIEW IN THE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL
(LEGALITY, REASONS, PUNISHMENT AND PERSONAL OPINION)
A. ISLAM
B. HINDU
C. BUDDHA
D. CHRISTIAN
E. SIKH

5.0 SUMMARY

6.0 CONCLUSION

7.0 REFERENCES

DEPARTMENTS
1. SHARIAH LAW DEPARTMENT
2. CIVIL LAW DEPARTMENT
3. MEDICAL EXPERT
4. POLICE DEPARTMENT
5. HINDU
6. BUDDHA
7. CHRISTIAN
8. SIKH
9. REHABILITATION CENTRE
10. INFA
1.0 ABSTRACT
Consuming alcohol is totally prohibited and illegal from Islamic perspective according to
the Quran and Sunnah. However, it leads to some confusion among community whether
the prohibition of consuming alcohol is only limited to Muslims or also applicable to any
other religions’ follower too. There are a few matters that can also be discussed in this
topic which are the factors of consuming alcohol among the community, the alcohol
consumption’s effect, and the overview of consuming alcohol in Malaysian legal system.

Keywords: factors, effects, overview, legal system, prohibition of consuming alcohol,

different religions

2.0 INTRODUCTION

We conducted a research entitled The Legality in The Consumption of Alcohol Between


Major Religions in Malaysia. This research covered the definition of alcohol from the
literary views, medical terms, Islamic perspective, which is based on the Quran and Sunnah
itself, and from the Black’s Law Dictionary.
From the view of Islamic Jurisprudence, the legality of consuming alcohol is definitely
illegal upon Muslim, as narrated in the Holy Quran that was revealed to Prophet
Muhammad p.b.u.h. Muslims are not only being prohibited to drink any alcoholic drinks,
but also in any circumstances relating with alcohol such as serving and dealing with
alcohols.

On the other hand, Civil Jurisprudence view is different which alcohol was legalised to be
consumed by people who had attained the legal age of drinking alcohol which is twenty-
one years old. Back then, the legal age of drinking alcohol in Malaysia was eighteen years
old prior to 1 December 2017. Besides that, the Malaysian law also have the legal limit for
the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) while driving. This shows that Malaysian law does not
totally prohibits the consumption of alcohol.
As to the view of consuming alcohol among different religions, we conducted an interview
upon religious people from each major religion in Malaysia to know in detail about the
legality of alcohol in the respective religions itself. The major religions in Malaysia are the
Islamic religion, Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. Based on a research, the
percentage of Malaysians professing the religion of Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and
Hinduism are 61.3%, 19.8%, 9.2% and 6.3% respectively.

For this research purpose, we will be meeting and interviewing some religious people from
the stated religions to know what the legal status of the consumption of alcohol from their
religions’ perspective is. The questions that will be asked to them includes what the legality
of the consumption of alcohol in their religions is and what is the reason behind it. Besides
that, we also would like to know what the punishment for the people is who consumed
alcohol in their religion if the act is prohibited. Lastly, we will hear what the religious
people’s opinion on the legality in the consumption of alcohol in regards of their own
religion and the Malaysian law is.

Indirectly, it helps us to enhance and increase our knowledge about other religions' view
regarding the legality of consuming alcohol.

We are keen to untangle the confusion among community about legality of alcohol's
consumption and its punishment from Civil and Shariah Jurisprudence so that it will clear
the misconception regarding the forbiddance of alcohol among religions.

3.0 BACKGROUND

3.1 PROBLEM STATEMENTS


A. Laymen’s perception which thinks that only Muslims are forbidden from
consuming alcohol.
B. Confusion among the community regarding the different view and
punishment between Shariah and Civil Laws.

3.2 PURPOSES
A. To study on the legality in the consumption of alcohol between religions.
B. To investigate on the different view and punishment in regards of
consuming alcohol between Shariah and Civil Laws.

4.0 HISTORY OF PROHIBITION OF ALCOHOL IN ISLAM


Khamr according to Islamic scholars means intoxicating drinks1. Therefore, any drink
which prevents the mind’s ability to judge normally is considered to be khamr. In the
Holy Qur'an the word Khamr has been used for alcoholic or any other intoxicating drinks.

In general, khamr was prohibited after the battle of Uḥud according to all of the Islamic
historians. However, they differed about the exact time of the battle, and most of them said
it was in the third year after the Hijra, the immigration to Madinah, that coincides with the
year of 625 C.E.

Regarding the procedures of prohibition of alcohol in Islam, it is also interesting to observe


that the Qur’anic verses of gradual prohibition occur in the order of the chapters in the
Qur’an which is in parallel with their chronological order, namely, from the Chapter of
Cow (the 2nd chapter) to the Chapter of Women (the 4th chapter), and to the Chapter of
the Table Spread (the 5th chapter). The gradual prohibition of alcohol involves 4 stages.

The first stage was in the Makkah period, there came a verse which mentioned different
kinds of foods and drinks created for human beings, without a direct command or direct

1
Paizah Haji Ismail. 1996. Undang-Undang Jenayah Islam. Petaling Jaya: Dewan Pustaka Islam. p202
praise of them. Based on Surah An-Nahl, verse 67, while the fruits of dates and grapes are
mentioned, no intoxicant product derived from them was suggested at all.2

The revelation of a more specific verse in the second stage, which the companions had
addressed questions on khamr and gambling, and the Quran answered them directly. Some
companions at the second stage found this verse to be an indirect prohibition and it was
sufficient for them to stop drinking is it reveals that the evil of the intoxications are greater
than its good, while for others it was not enough to stop such habit.

“They will ask thee about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: “In both there is great evil
as well as some benefit for man; but the evil which they cause is greater than the benefit
which they bring.” And they will ask thee as to what they should spend [in God’s cause].
Say: “Whatever you can spare.” In this way God makes clear unto you His messages, so
that you might reflect.3

As for the third stage coincides with a verse with a conditional prohibition in a clear
manner. One day, it is reported, Abd al-Raḥmān ibn ʻAwf, one of the major personalities
in Madinah, made food and invited some of the companions, including ʻAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib.
He served them wine, so they drank and got intoxicated, and when the time of Maghrib
(sunset) prayer came, the imam (prayer leader) read Qur’anic verses wrongly. Instead of
reciting “we (Muslims) don’t worship what you worship (the idols),” the imam recited, “we
worship what you worship.” 4 On this occasion, they entered the third stage of prohibition.

Based on surah An-Nisa verse 435, they had to abstain from drinking khamr during the
prayer times. As the prayer times occupy most of daytime, except the morning after the
sunrise, and earlier parts of night after the sunset, they were left with chances to drink only
after the night prayer, but not close to the dawn prayer which is before the sun rise. They
also cannot consume intoxicants after the dawn prayer in the morning before starting their
works.

Last but not least, the fourth stage of the prohibition coincides with a verse with an
unconditional prohibition, linking it with Satan. According to reports, the occasion of the
final stage was also related to an invitation to food. Saʻd ibn Abi Waqqaṣ was invited by
some of al-Anṣar, and after drinking, they had an argument over which were better between

2
Khashan Ammar. 2016. “A Historical and Legal Analysis for the Sake of Contemporary Islamic Economics”.
The Quran’s Prohibition of Khamr (Intoxicants). March. p. 100
3
(Al-Quran. Al-Baqarah. 2:219)
4
Khashan Ammar. 2016. “A Historical and Legal Analysis for the Sake of Contemporary Islamic Economics”.
The Quran’s Prohibition of Khamr (Intoxicants). March. p. 102
5
O you who have attained to faith! Do not attempt to pray while you are in a state of drunkenness, [but wait]
until you know what you are saying; nor yet [while you are] in a state requiring total ablution, until you have
bathed — except if you are travelling [and are unable to do so]. But if you are ill, or are travelling, or have just
satisfied a want of nature, or have cohabited with a woman, and can find no water — then take resort to pure
dust, passing [there with] lightly over your face and your hands. Behold, God is indeed an absolver of sins,
much-forgiving.”
Muhajirin and al-Anṣar, which lead to a physical quarrel, ending with Saʻd being injured.
Responding to the event, Surah Al-Maidah, Verse 90-916 were revealed.

In a nutshell, the reason that Islam successfully eradicated alcohol was that it changed the
prevalent perceptions of alcohol at the time. Then, when the time came to forbid it
completely, it was done in a gradual manner, step by step so that it could be successfully
implemented.

5.0 FACTORS OF THE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL


Alcoholic beverages are commonly known as liquor. This type of drink can be intoxicating
and could lead to addiction and dependency. Across the globe, the consumption of alcoholic
drinks such as beer, wine and spirits are increasing.

Alcoholic beverages are also classified as a drug, as they can affect the central nervous
system or brain system. Besides affecting one’s nervous system, alcohols could also affect
the body of the consumer which will be explained in the next part of the research paper.
Alcohol is a pest of society since then. A continuous consumption of alcohol can result in
countless loss of life which also could cause misery to millions of people around the world.
Alcohol is the cause of many problems that must be faced by today's society.

There are many factors that could lead to the consumption of alcohol among the society
which will be divided into three main factors which are the environmental factor,
sociological factor and biological factor. These are the three main elements which had
contributed to the increasing number of people who consumed alcohol around the globe7.
For the environmental factors, the alcohol consumptions are increasing as alcoholic drinks
are easy to be obtained with a low price. Besides that, the alcoholic drinks are also
advertised regularly from time to time. The phenomenon of selling alcohol at reachable
outlets such as in grocery stores, coffee shops and supermarkets makes it easier for
adolescents to get these alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, there is no current law prohibits
non-Muslim teenagers from buying alcoholic beverages except the legal age for the buying
of alcohol. Although taxes or import duties on alcohols are increased from year to year, the
price of this drinks are still affordable for most of the people of this country especially
teenagers due to the existence of traditional alcoholic drinks such as samsu and todi. 8
Alcoholic beverages’ advertisements are often found in newspapers, magazines, cinemas,
and other media featuring a sophisticated lifestyle that is associated with alcohol
consumption. For example, the image of maturity and the adulterated success in
advertisements affects teenagers to consume alcoholic beverages.

6
“O you who have attained to faith! Intoxicants, and games of chance, and idolatrous practices, and the divining
of the future are but a loathsome evil of Satan’s doing shun it, then, so that you might attain to a happy state! By
means of intoxicants and games of chance Satan seeks only to sow enmity and hatred among you, and to turn
you away from the remembrance of God and from prayer. Will you not, then, desist?’
7
Ainagoundan, D. (n.d.). Minuman Beralkahol.

8
Devi Ainagoundan. 2007. Minuman Beralkahol. p7
Meanwhile for the sociological factors, it includes the peer influence, emulating their
parents and idols and their own culture which considers that alcohol consumption is normal
and normal. Most youths’ times are spent with peers. This free association with their peers
can encourage the teenagers to try something in groups such as alcohol, cigarettes, drugs,
and various devious behaviours, which can be harmful to them9. Through this way, many
teenagers are trapped in this social phenomenon due to peer pressure that is difficult to be
repugnant. Some families may give negative examples to the adolescents. It is likely that
their parents or other family members that consumed alcohol had made a profound impact
and influenced the adolescents to practice this bad habit. Most of the teenagers have idols
such as celebrities and any public figures who will be their example or follow-up. If their
idols consumed alcohol, it is likely to encourage the teenagers to consume alcohol in order
for them to be or to have the same character as their idols. Some cultures consider alcohol
consumption as commonplace and are widely served on occasions. Therefore, adolescents
from those groups consider the habit of taking alcohol is not a ban on their society. This
kind of scenario may involve adolescents to alcohol consumption and alcohol
dependence.10
The last factor for the consumption of alcohol among the society is the biological factors.
These includes the genetic, sex, ethnic and personality traits. Individuals from families with
a history of alcohol consumption have a higher tendency to take alcohol before they reach
the age of twenty. Genetic factors contribute to the habits of alcohol consumption among
these two genders. According to one study, most alcohol-brewing women have alcohol-
addicted parents11. Globally, most alcoholic couples are men, however, the trend in alcohol
consumption among women has increased over the last 30 years12. In Malaysia, the problem
of alcohol consumption is more pronounced among Indians than with other races13. Studies
show that alcohol intake is closely related to impulsive, excitable and enjoyable fun. Those
with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also add a risk to alcohol collection.

6.0 EFFECTS OF THE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL


Alcohol is a drink that is fermented until it changed into alcohol. It is the earliest drug
compounds produced and used by the world community. A commonly used type of alcohol
is ethanol with its chemical structure CH3CH2OH (Kobilinsky, 2012).14

When a person drinks a large quantity of wine, it affects the motor function in his body.
The motor function controlled by the central nervous system will be affected by the

9
Steven Miles. 2011. Youth Lifestyles in A Changing World. Pjiladelphia: Open University Press. p102
10
Devi Ainagoundan. 2007. Minuman Beralkahol. p8
11
n.a.. 20 March 2019. “Alcohol”. Addiction Centre. https://www.addictioncenter.com/alcohol/ .
12
Wilsnack. Richard W. Sharon C. Gerhard G. n.d.. “Gender Differences in Binge Drinking”. Alcoholism.
13
Kortteinen, S. 2008. Negotiating Ethnic Identities: Alcohol as a Social Marker in East and West Malaysia.

14
Khairul Adli Nikman. 7 January 2014. “Kerana Arak Badan Binasa”. Portal Rasmi MyHealth Kementerian
Kesihatan Malaysia. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/kerana-arak-badan-binasa/. 4.37p.m. 23rd March 2019
chemical reaction of the alcohol to the body system (National Institute of Health, 2008).15
As a result, the function of the brain will be disturbed, and this will affect someone’s focus.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) records in 2011, 2.5 million people
around the globe had died of alcohol and 9% of the deaths are among the youngsters aged
from fifteen to twenty-nine years old.

Once the alcohol was consumed, it will be absorbed into the bloodstream through the
abdominal and intestinal surfaces. Some of it will be transferred to the brain and the lungs
and be excreted through the respiratory tract. While the remaining alcohols will be
metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidneys through the urine.

The effect of alcohol on the consumer depends on the amount of alcohol in the person's
blood circulation. Drinkers who had consumed a large number of alcoholic beverages will
get drunk. When someone had been drunk, he will lose coordination of gestures and also
disruption to the consideration and reasoning of the mind. They may fall, experience
accidents, quarrels, injuries and memory blackouts which are the complications or effects
of short-term harm related to the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Another impression
of drunkenness is what is known as a hangover.
Alcohol hangover signs includes headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, bowel movement
disorders and trembling for several hours, depending on the amount of alcohol in the blood
at that time16. Hangover signs will disappear when all of the alcohol in the blood circulation
has been excreted from the body.

Alcohol may affect and causes damage to the brain (neuropsychiatry) by a long-term
consumption of alcohol and it is the most frequent alcohol effect that had affected the
adults. The effects of alcohol on mental health are includes behavioural disorders and
thoughts, anxiety and confusion, dependence on alcohol, having a temporary or permanent
memory loss, depression, having the tendency to commit suicide and psychosis.

Additionally, a persistent intake of alcoholic beverages especially if it is taken in large


amounts, could cause a toxic effect on the organs of the body. The toxic effects of alcohol
on the brain can cause mental disorders such as depression and psychosis. In addition,
alcohol can cause liver cirrhosis and liver failure, heart failure, gastritis, ulcer, pancreatic
inflammation and oro-pharynx cancers (mouth and throat). These are all of the long-term
complications or effects of alcohol towards one’s health.

Premature death can occur due to the failure of these organs to function well. Besides,
scientific studies have also shown the link between the intake of alcoholic beverages among

15
Khairul Adli Nikman. 7 January 2014. “Kerana Arak Badan Binasa”. Portal Rasmi MyHealth Kementerian
Kesihatan Malaysia. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/kerana-arak-badan-binasa/. 4.37p.m. 23rd March 2019
16
N.a.. 26th February 2014. “Kesan Alkohol Terhadap Mental & Fizikal Manusia”. Portal Rasmi MyHealth
Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/kesan-alkohol-terhadap-mental-a-fizikal-
manusia/. 5.00p.m. 23rd March 2019
pregnant women with fetal defects and abnormalities, such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Sudden deaths may also be possible if an alcohol is taken in too much quantities at a time,
the blood alcohol levels will become too high which could cause poisoning or disturbing
the respiratory system.

The ban on wine and its adverse effects have been described in the verses of the Quran and
the Prophet's Hadith over 1400 years ago. To add, most of the world's religions such as
Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Sikhs have also banned the consumption of alcohol
as it causes more harm than good.

Those who consumed alcoholic beverages need to know the risks they are ought to face
due to their alcohol consumption pattern. Therefore, they need to meet health professionals
to assess their level of risk. Those who drink in hazardous or risky quantities should change
their drinking habits. Early intervention and treatment may prevent and reduce alcohol
harm.

7.0 OVERVIEW REGARDING THE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL FROM


SYARIAH AND CIVIL LEGAL PERSPECTIVE

7.1 Overview from Syariah legal perspective on the legality of consuming alcohol

According to Malaysia's Sharia Law, all Malaysian Muslims are prohibited from
consuming alcohol. It is also illegal to sell liquor or wine or any intoxicants to a Muslim.
According to the 7th Muzakarah (Conference) of the Fatwa Committee of the National
Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia has discussed alcohol from Islamic
point of view. The Committee has decided that:
1. Cordials that contained alcohol as a stabilizer is permissible to drink if:
a. The alcohol is not produced through the wine process
b. The quantity of alcohol is small and does not intoxicating17
2. Soft drink that is produced in the same way of liquor production and contains
either little amount of alcohol or the alcohol has been distilled is prohibited to
be consumed as it still undergo the liquor or wine process
3. Soft drink produced not to become liquor or intoxicants item and produced not
in the same process of liquor is lawful to be consumed
4. Tapai (fermented rice) is lawful to be eaten and does not contains alcohol
5. Alcohol that was produced as a by-product in food process is not najis and is
consumable
6. Medicines and fragrances containing alcohol are lawful to be used and put upon
our body

17
Bahagian Pengurusan Fatwa Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia. 2009. Keputusan Muzakarah Jawatankuasa
Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam Malaysia. Chapter 6: Food and Beverages. p95
At the state level particularly Selangor, there is no specific legal provision that regulates
the sale of liquor especially to Muslims. However, according to Planning and Research
Division, Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), throughout the state
in Malaysia each had provisions for drinking intoxicating drinks offences in the
respective State Syariah Criminal Offences Act or Enactment.

The provisions under the Shariah Criminal Acts or Enactments also include the making,
selling, offering, displaying (for sale), storing or buying intoxicants. Pursuant to Section
18 (1) of the Syariah Criminal Enactment (Selangor) 1995, any person, at any store or
other public places, drink any intoxicating drinks shall be guilty of an offense and shall
on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding three thousand ringgit or to imprisonment
for a term not over two years or both. According to Section 18 (2) of the same
enactment, any person who makes, sells, offers for sales, exhibits for sale, store or
purchase anything Intoxicated drinks are committing an offense and on conviction to a
fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three
years or both.

7.2 Overview from Civil legal perspective on the legality of consuming alcohol

In Malaysia, though Malaysian law forbids Muslims from imbibing alcoholic


beverages, the rest of the population is free to do so. Licensing laws for the sale of
alcohol are regulated by local authorities, however, and will vary from state to state.
Therefore, there are several laws and regulations which relates to the consumption of
alcohol.

1. Excise Act 1976 : enacted to amend and consolidate the law pertaining to excise in
Malaysia.
 According to Section 35(1) explained about types of licenses which includes
public house license18, beer house license19, retail shop license20 and
wholesale dealer’s license21
 Part VII of the Act served about toddy regulations and penalties
 Part XII of the Act is regarding the offences22 and penalties23

2. Road Transport (Amendment) Act 2016 Act 333


 Section 44 briefly explained about the offence and penalties of driving while
under influence of alcohol

18
Section 35(1)(a) of Excise Act 1976
19
Section 35(1)(b) of Excise Act 1976
20
Section 35(1)(c) of Excise Act 1976
21
Section 35(1)(d) of Excise Act 1976
22
Section 39 of Excise Act 1976
23
Section 40 of Excise Act 1976
 If liable for the offence of being in charge of motor vehicles under the
influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, may be fine not exceed RM 1000
or imprisonment for term not exceed 3 months
 Based on Section 45G defined “breath test” 24
 “prescribed limit” means 35mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath25 or 80mg of
alcohol in 100ml of blood26 or 107mg of alcohol in 100ml of urine27

3. Eradication of Illicit Samsu Act 1976: enacted to provide for the eradication of the
manufacture, trafficking and consumption of illicit samsu and for purposes
incidental thereto.

4. Food Act 1983: Prevents the sale of alcoholic beverages to children / teens under
the age of 18 years.

8.0 RELIGIOUS VIEW IN THE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL

8.1 CHRISTIANITY
There is no specific legality on the consumption of alcoholic drinks among
Christians (Catholics) that is stated in The Bible. However, the Christians will
follow the civil law which allows the non-Muslims to consume alcohol.

The consumption of alcoholic drinks is at first, legal for the Christians. This could
be found in a verse which stated that hey asked their followers to eat their food with
gladness and drink their wine with a joyful heart as their God had not prohibit them
from doing so28.

However, the consumption of alcohol will be illegal and unlawful if the consumer
is getting drunk. “You can drink it, but don’t get drunk,”29. This could be found in
the Bible where it is prohibited for the Christians to get drunk as it will lead them
to do reckless actions30.

From this verse, we could find that drinking alcohols are not being forbid by the
Christianity. However, they must keep sober. If they consumed the alcoholic drinks
or wine until they are drunk, they will be punished.31

24
includes a preliminary test for the purpose of obtaining by means of a prescribes breath analyser, an
indication whether the proportion of alcohol in a person’s breath, blood and urine quals or exceed the prescribed
limit
25
Section 45G(a) of Road Transport (Amendment) Act 2016
26
Section 45G(b) of Road Transport (Amendment) Act 2016
27
Section 45G(c) of Road Transport (Amendment) Act 2016
28
Ecclesiastes 9:7
29
Eugene Benedict. 2019. “ The Legality of the Consumption of Alcohol Among Major Religions in Malaysia.”
Interview. 1st April 2019.
30
Ephesians 5:18
31
Eugene Benedict. 2019. “ The Legality of the Consumption of Alcohol Among Major Religions in Malaysia.”
Interview. 1st April 2019.
Besides that, those who are under the age of majority are also prohibited from
consuming alcohol. This is because, the Catholics recognized the Civil Law that is
practised in Malaysia as their source for the legality of the consumption of alcohol
among their followers.32

Thus, there are basically two types of consumption of alcoholic drinks or wine that
are prohibited and are recognized as sinful by the Christianity. They are the
underage drinking and drinking the alcoholic drinks until they are drunk.

The Christians who consumed alcoholic drinks until they are drunk and the ones
who are underaged but had consumed wines will need to meet the Father and Jesus
to ask for their forgiveness. Basically, the punishments that the sinner will get from
the Father comes in a personal punishment, which is not known by any other person
except for the Father and the sinner.

The sinner must first meet the Father in a room in a secret manner. Then, the sinner
will make a confession on all of his wrongdoings. The confession will be made in
secret. After the confession is done, the Father then will advise the sinner and ask
the sinner for not wasting the forgiveness that is given to him and to repent
heartfully for his sins. After the sinner had repented, then he will be given the
personal punishment in order to wash their sins. There are a few examples of
personal punishment which includes being a volunteer and to give food and help to
the people who are in need.

The Christianity allows their followers to consume alcohols due to some reasons
which are for their own health, giving joyous life to their followers and lastly, it is
for the glory of lord.

These are a few verses in the Bible which state the advantages that could be gained
by consuming alcohol.

The first verse had stated that wine will treat their stomach illness and any other
frequent illnesses33. Meanwhile for the second verse, it is stated that the sources of
wines which are the olives, vegetables, wheats and bread are made to strengthen
humans’ hearts and thus it should be legal to be consumed in any other forms34. The
next verse had proved that they are not prohibited to consume intoxicants35.

32
Eugene Benedict. 2019. “ The Legality of the Consumption of Alcohol Among Major Religions in Malaysia.”
Interview. 1st April 2019.
33
Timothy 5:23
34
Psalm 104:14-15
35
Ecclesiastes 9:7
The Christianity disallowed their followers to consume alcohol until they are
drunks due to the verses in their Bible which states that the wine will make people
to do reckless actions and cause troubles.

There are also some verses that shows the drunkenness is not allowed in
Christianity which are they are not allowed to consume intoxicants until they are
drunk as it will lead the drunk people to do reckless actions36. They also said that
the person who was intoxicated is not a wise person37.

Besides, the Christianity also believes that when one is drunk, they are more
vulnerable to be devoured by the Satan. It is proven in the verse 1 Peter 5:8 which
states that:

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”38

In conclusion, Christianity allows their followers to consume alcohol and wines as


they are enjoying their God’s gifts to them. However, one must not abuse the gift
that is given by the God. The consumption of alcohol will give good effects for its
consumer, but the abuse of alcohol will cause chaos and is sinful for the Christians.

8.2 HINDUISM
Hinduism does not prohibit their followers from consuming alcohol. This is because
the Sanathan Dharma (now known as Hinduism) does not have their own rules and
regulations. The do’s and don’ts’s are also never stated in their Books.39

Hinduism upholds the balance as the key of life. In the religion of Hinduism, their
followers must follow their instincts to determine whether some act is good or bad;
and whether the act is right or wrong. One must balance their acts and be moderate.

The Hindus must use their own judgment to determine whether their act is sinful or
not. This due to the freedom that their religion had given to them where a person
can determine the legality of their own acts.40 Hindus must also learn on how to

36
Ephesians 5:18 “
37
Proverbs 20:1
38
1 Peter 5:8
39
N.a.. 3rd July 2017. “Why is Alcohol Not Forbidden in Hinduism”. Quora. https://www.quora.com/Why-is-
alcohol-not-forbidden-in-Hinduism 10.35p.m, 28th April 2019
40
N.a.. 5th September 2016. “A Hindu View on Drinking Alcohol”. Hindu Human Rights.
http://www.hinduhumanrights.info/a-hindu-view-on-drinking-alcohol/ 10.32 a.m., 28th April 2019
decide freely without any rigid rules and regulations.41 However, one must not do
any act excessively or doing any act without any limit because in Hinduism, balance
is the key of life.

For the consumption of alcohol, the Hindus are not prohibited from consuming it.
However, they must not drink it excessively as it could cause chaotic situations such
as quarrels and accidents which will causing trouble to other people.

The consumption of alcohol among Hindus are not recommended, but it is also
allowed to be used during special occasions and occupations. Although the
consumption of alcohol is never be mentioned in their books, but according to the
Hinduism law book, the consumption of alcohol is prohibited42.

However, in some special occasions or rituals, the Hindus are allowed to consume
such alcoholic drinks. Besides, for some occupations such as Kshatriyas and
Shudras, they are also allowed to consume alcohol as a tool of relaxation and to
relieve their pain43.

Besides allowing the consumption of alcohol for some special occasions and
occupations, the Hindus are also allowed to consume alcoholic drinks for their
medication. In a documented system of medicine44, it is stated that the use of wine
is allowed only for medication and it is not recommended for everyone.

Based on the book of Ayurveda, there are two types of alcohol that is used to heal
the body which are the Arishthas and Asavas. These two types of alcohols are
fermented from juices and herbs which are used to heal some illness such as weak
digestions and as relaxants to their body45.

To conclude, basically, Hinduism does not have any specific rules for the
prohibition of the consumption of alcoholic drinks. However, with the existence of
Dharma Shastras, the alcoholic drinks are prohibited to be consumed but it is
allowed to be consumed for some special occasions or occupations. Besides, the
alcoholic drinks are also allowable to the Hindus if it is used for medications as
stated in their book of Ayurveda.

41
N.a.. 15th April 2018. “Does Hindusim Prohibit Drinking Alcohol.” Boldsky: Yoga Spirituality.
https://www.boldsky.com/yoga-spirituality/faith-mysticism/2014/does-hinduism-prohibit-drinking-
alcohol/articlecontent-pf66229-045962.html 12.45p.m , 28th April 2019
42
Dharma Shastras
43
N.a.. 31st March 2001. “ Is Drinking Alcohol Prohibited in Hinduism?”. Pakpassion.
http://www.pakpassion.net/ppforum/showthread.php?31075-Is-drinking-Alcohol-Prohibited-in-Hinduism
11.07 p.m., 28th April 2019
44
Ayurveda
45
N.a.. 8th May 2015. “Draksharishta- Grape Wine and Other Ayurvedic Wines Used Originally As Medicine”.
Chakra News. http://www.chakranews.com/draksharishta-grape-wine-and-other-ayurvedic-wines-used-
originally-as-medicine/1660 2.45pm, 28th April 2019
8.3 BUDDHISM
Buddhism is a religion that was founded by Siddhartha Gautama (“The Buddha”)
more than 2,500 years ago in India. With about 470 million followers, scholars
consider Buddhism one of the major world religions46. The five precepts were part
of early Buddhism and are common to nearly all schools of Buddhism. In early
Buddhism, the five precepts were regarded as an ethic of restraint, to restrain
unwholesome tendencies and thereby purify one's being to attain enlightenment.

In some suttas only the first four precepts are mentioned, whereas all five precepts
are described together in other suttas. The first four precepts are pakati-sila whereas
the fifth precept is pannati-sila.
These are the words of the Buddha from the Dhammapada47:

“Whoever destroys living beings, speaks false words, who in the world takes that
which is not given to him or goes too with another's wife or takes distilled,
fermented drinks – whatever man indulges thus extirpates the roots of himself even
here in this very world.”. (Appendix A3 for Pali)

Panca Sila (The Five Precepts) in the Pali Canon

1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.


I undertake the rule of training to refrain from killing living beings.
2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
I undertake the rule of training to refrain from taking what is not given.
3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
I undertake the rule of training to refrain from sexual misconduct.
4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
I undertake the rule of training to refrain from false speech.
5. Sura meraya majja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the rule of training to refrain from drugs and drink which tend to
cloud the mind.

Principles

46
N.a.. 22nd November 2006. “Buddhism”. History: Religion. https://www.history.com/topics/religion/buddhism.
5.00 p.m., 28th April 2019
47
N.a.. 3rd December 2004. “The Five Precepts”. Vipassana. retrieved from
http://www.vipassana.com/resources/the_5_precepts.php 5.45p.m., 28th April 2019
Related to
Precept Accompanying virtues
human rights

1. Abstention from
Kindness and compassion Right to life
killing living beings

2. Abstention from theft Generosity and renunciation Right of property

3. Abstention from sexual Contentment and respect for Right to fidelity


misconduct faithfulness in marriage

Right of human
4. Abstention from falsehood Being honest and dependable
dignity

5. Abstention from Right of security


Mindfulness and responsibility
intoxication and safety

These precepts are the basic and minimal observance of moral conduct by a
Buddhist. They are designed to restrain him from making bad kamma in speech and
body and to serve as the basis for further growth in the Dhamma. The precept does
not cast alcohol as a sin. It stems more from the problems caused by a clouded mind.
The Fifth Precept is interpreted somewhat differently
in Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism.

Fifth Precept in Theravada Buddhism48


According to Bhikkhu Bodhi, violating the precept requires an intoxicant, an
intention to take an intoxicant, the activity of ingesting the intoxicant, and the actual
ingestion of the intoxicant. Taking medication containing alcohol, opiates or other
intoxicants for genuine medical reasons does not count, nor does eating food
flavored with a small amount of liquor. Otherwise, Theravada Buddhism considers
the Fifth Precept to be a clear prohibition of drinking.

Fifth Precept in Mahayana Buddhism49


For the most part, Mahayana Buddhists follow the precepts as explained in
the Mahayana Brahmajala Sutra. In this sutra, drinking liquor is a "minor"
offense, but selling it is a major breach of the precepts. Within the several schools
of Mahayana, there are some sectarian differences on the matter of drinking, but

48
N.a.. 3rd December 2004. “The Five Precepts”. Vipassana.
http://www.vipassana.com/resources/the_5_precepts.php 5.45p.m. 28th April 2019
49
N.a.. 3rd December 2004. “The Five Precepts”. Vipassana.
http://www.vipassana.com/resources/the_5_precepts.php 5.45p.m. 28th April 2019
the Fifth Precept often is not treated as an absolute prohibition. Further, the
meaning of "intoxicant" is broadened to include anything that distracts us from the
path, not just alcohol and drugs. It means to take care not to use them as
intoxicants, as ways of soothing and distracting ourselves from the direct and
intimate experience of life. In other words, whatever we use to distract ourselves
into heedlessness is an intoxicant.

9.0 COMPARISON REGARDING THE LEGALITY OF THE CONSUMPTION OF


ALCOHOL BETWEEN ISLAM AND OTHER MAJOR RELIGIONS IN
MALAYSIA
Here, we will discuss the comparison regarding the legality of the consumption of
alcohol between Islam and other major religions in Malaysia which are Christianity,
Hinduism and Buddhism.

ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY


Both Muslims and Christians are prohibited from consuming alcohol from the
beginning. However, due to some amendments that had been done against The Bible,
its legality had differed from each groups of Christians. Some groups of Christians are
still totally prohibiting their followers from consuming intoxicants. However, there are
also some groups of Christians that allows their followers to consume alcoholic drinks.

In Malaysia, the largest group of Christians are the Catholics. Based on our research,
the Catholics does not have any specific law regarding the legality of the consumption
of alcohol and thus, they followed the civil law in Malaysia which prohibits the
consumption of alcoholic drinks for the underaged. The legal age for the consumption
of alcohol with regards with the Malaysian civil law was 21 years old50. Besides, the
Christians are also not allowed to drink intoxicants until they are drunk. Meanwhile in
the Islamic Syariah Law, their followers are totally prohibited from consuming
intoxicants. Even though the Muslims did not consume the intoxicants, they will still
be liable if they are enlisted under the ten groups that are cursed by Allah51.
Secondly, the Muslims are prohibited from the consumption of intoxicants due to the
occurrence of some events such as the Imam had recited the Al-Quran during the prayer
wrongly52 and quarrels that had occurred during the companion’s times53. These events
had led to the prohibition from consuming intoxicants among Muslims by Allah. For
the Christians, they are allowed to consume intoxicants due to the glory of God, to have

50
Food Act 1983
51
"The Messenger of Allah (‫ )ﷺ‬cursed ten involved in wine: The one who presses it, the one who has it pressed,
its drinker, its carrier, and the one it is carried to, its server, its seller, the consumption of its price, the one who
purchases it and the one it was purchased for.". At-Tirmidzi. The Book on Business - ‫كتاب البيوع عن رسول هللا صلى‬
‫هللا عليه وسلم‬: The Prohibition to Use Wine to Make Vinegar: Anas bin Malik: 1: #1295.
52
Al-Quran. An Nisa’. 4:43
53
Al-Quran. Al Maidah. 5: 90-91
a joyous life and to heal their inner body. Besides, the Christians in Malaysia who
professes the Catholics are allowed to consume intoxicants because the Malaysian civil
law did not prohibit the consumption of intoxicants among their citizens.

Meanwhile in the Islamic Syariah law, the Muslims are prohibited from consuming
intoxicants from the verse 90 and 91 of Surah AlMaidah. This verse was revealed when
one of the companions had quarrelled and they were hurt. Meanwhile in the Bible, there
are also some verses that shows the prohibition to consume intoxicants among their
followers. However, there also exists some verses that allows them to consume
intoxicants. Some of the verses allows their followers to consume intoxicants for the
glory of their God who had created the plantations54. Besides, they are also allowed to
consume intoxicants to regain their health55.

Muslims will be punished with 40 lashes if they are found guilty for consuming
alcoholic drinks. Meanwhile for the Christians, they will need to do charity works and
volunteerism.

In conclusion, both Islam and Catholic Christians differs from one and another with
regard with the consumption of alcohol among their followers.

ISLAM AND HINDUISM

As stated before, the Muslims are prohibited from consuming alcohol. However, in
Hinduism, their followers are not prohibited from consuming intoxicants.

They are not prohibited from consuming intoxicants due to the factors that there is no
such verse that prohibits them from consuming alcoholic drinks.

However, we would like to emphasize that there is a slight difference between the
Hindu’s book of law56 and their book of medications57 with regards on the use of
intoxicants.

In their law book, it is stated that the Hindus are prohibited from consuming alcohol
except for some special occasions and occupations. The occasions that was referred to
are their rituals which in the rituals, they will serve wine to their Gods. Meanwhile the
special occupations that was referred to is their Kshatriyas and Shudras. They are
allowed to consume intoxicants because they are the soldiers and thus, they need to
relieve their pain. Besides, wines will also be used as the relaxants. However, in the

54
Ecclesiastes 9:7
55
Timothy 5:23
56
Dharma Shastras
57
Ayurveda
Hindu’s book of medication, it is stated that wine is not recommendable to others except
to heal their pain such as weak digestions and as relaxants.

Meanwhile in Islam, the Muslims are prohibited from consuming intoxicants in any
situations, either for cooking or as casual drinks. Nevertheless, in medications, Muslims
are allowed to consume medicines that contains alcohol. However, the alcohol that was
contained in such medicines will not contribute to drunkenness as it does not undergo
the wine process.

ISLAM AND BUDDHISM

The religion of Islam has clearly prohibit the Muslim from consuming khamr (alcohol).
Therefore, if they consume alcohol they are regarded as committing as it is against the
precepts of Islamic teachings and beliefs.

As for the religion of Buddha, according to the teachings of Pencasila (Five Precepts),
the last precepts states that one must avoid intoxicating beverage. In the Pali language
“Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami” translated as
abstaining oneself from drinking intoxicating beverage.

Buddhism preaches vegetarianism and shunning alcohol and drugs. Islam also bans
alcohol but does not preach vegetarianism. Even a Buddhist Monk by the name of
Master Hsing Yun in his book, The Five Precepts states it is still forbidden to consume
even a little of alcohol.
“The Vibhanga states that even as little as a drop the size of a dewdrop on the tip of a
balde of grass is enough to constitute a violation. So, having even small glass of wine,
even if it does not make one drunk, is a transgression.” 58

In reference to Islamic teaching, a hadith narrated by Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Apostle said,
"Whoever drinks alcoholic drinks in the world and does not repent (before dying), will
be deprived of it in the Hereafter."59

This proven that both Islam and Buddhism did not allow their follower to consume
alcohol. For the religion of Buddha, avoidance of consuming alcohol is encouraged as
committing it violates the 5th of the Five Precepts, the basic Buddhist code of ethics
and can disrupt mindfulness and impede one's progress in the Noble Eightfold Path.60
On the other hand, the religion of Islam strictly prohibit and banned the usage of
consumption of alcohol upon Muslim.

10.0 CONCLUSION

58
Veberable Fa Xun: One Life Five Precepts: 2011: page 73
59
Sahih Bukhari, Book 65 ;Book of Drinks, hadith 481. Retrieved on 25 April 2019 from
https://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=69&translator=1&start=0&number=0.
60
Retrieved on 26 April 2019 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_and_alcohol
Alcohol has played an instrumental role in the development of religions for thousands
of years. The fermentation of organic matter and subsequent consumption by people in
an effort to achieve an altered state of consciousness is as intrinsic to human culture as
the very need for religion itself. There are some religious beliefs which leads people
toward alcoholism and others are against it as an effort to keep the usage of alcohol out
of the lives of its followers.

The most strong religious stand which against the consumption of alcohol are Islam and
Buddhism. Both religions prohibit the use of alcohol in any form. Buddhism believes
that intoxicants destroy a person’s mindfulness, Islam believes that anything that harms
a person’s mind or body is prohibited in the eyes of Allah. There were also some of the
followers who still consume alcohol despite their religious teachings which can be
regarded as sins by these religions.

Besides, for the religion of Christian and Hinduism, they did not prohibit their follower
from consuming alcohol. However, there are also some restriction upon the
consumption of alcohol between these religions. As for Christians, they believe that
alcohol are regarded as God’s creature and therefore shall be cherish. While Hindu,
they believe that they need to strive for balance between life and enjoyment.

Upon our study, we found some issues regarding religions and its relation to the
consumption of alcohol. Firstly, eventhough the religion have prohibit or ban from
consuming alcohol, there are still who disobey the command and continue to consume
alcohol in their life. Secondly, even between the religion scriptures and holy book there
have been various interpretation of it which subsequently leads to different
understanding and practise by its followers.

Furthermore, regarding punishment or penalty upon the commission of consuming


alcohol for the religion which prohibit it, only Islam has specifically provide the
punishment to be imposed upon its followers which aim to deter the tendency of future
commission by other religion while others did not provide strictly the punishment.

From the result of our study, we can conclude that both the content of a religion’s
precepts, teaching and beliefs upon consumption of alcohol and individual’s religious
commitment were strongly in relation to the consumption of alcohol.

A simple hypothesis can be made which the higher one’s religious commitment, the
higher the obedience of oneself towards the religious teachings and practises. In
applying to our current study, the level of one’s religious commitment affect the
consumption of alcohol in oneself.
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