Today, more than anything, people are concerned about what they eat and drink. And that is for a good reason; for you to live a fuller life, you need a healthy body alongside a healthy mind. And you can function better in the society as well. So a useful and practical food diet is the one which can guarantee both of these factors.
This is only one reason why Islam has forbidden drinking alcohol. Let’s regard this matter in depth.
There are many verses in the Quran that directly or indirectly prohibit Muslims from drinking alcohol and emphasize the disadvantages of this action, one of which is as follows:
“O you who have faith! Indeed wine, gambling, idols, and the divining arrows are abominations of Satan’s doing, so avoid them, so that you may be felicitous. Indeed Satan seeks to cast enmity and hatred among you through wine and gambling and to hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you, then, relinquish?” (5:90-91)
The above verse reveals two destructive effects of drinking alcohol. They are threatening to the society as well as each individual.
Morally speaking, it is evident in many instances that drinking alcohol lowers the brain’s function and makes it unclear  & . Thus the person would lose his/her control over his/her actions and could exhibit any behavior out of the moral boundaries. A simple misunderstanding, then, may cause a serious clash between the members of the society, since they are not in their right mind and cannot reason well.
Moreover, many car accidents in the society are caused by the drivers who have been under the influence of alcohol. According to a study:
Consuming alcohol before driving greatly increases the risk of car accidents, highway injuries, and vehicular deaths. The higher the amount of consumed alcohol, the more likely to be involved in an accident. When alcohol is consumed, many of the skills that safe driving requires – such as judgment, concentration, comprehension, coordination, visual acuity, and reaction time – become impaired .
The one who consumes alcohol will be occupied with such jubilant feeling caused by alcohol that he/she will forget his/her duty toward Allah. One of the essential teachings of Islam is that a Muslim should be able to feel Allah in his/her heart in every breath and His presence in all his/her actions [i].
Through drinking alcohol, even in small quantities, your mind loses its sharpness and focus to fully attend to your necessary actions as a Muslim, e.g., daily prayer (Salat).
We are born to be free, to choose and to decide for ourselves. That is why we are endowed with the power of reason. The one who drinks alcohol voluntarily drops the guard of his/her reasoning down. He/she deprives him/herself of the ability to choose the right manners and have control over his/her life. With an unclear mind no one can practice his right to choose, thus is not free!
The holy Quran says: “They ask you concerning wine and gambling. Say, ‘There is a great sin in both of them and some profits for the people, but their sinfulness outweighs their profit.’…” (2:219).
Almost in all our decisions, we are careful to choose the way that is more profitable for ourselves, be it financially, physically or morally. According to the Quran and many scientific studies, drinking alcohol brings more negative effects than positive. Thus its loss is way more than its profit. So it would be more rational to avoid drinking alcohol than to bear its negative consequences.
On the other hand, a lot of research conducted by scientists from all over the world shows that alcohol consumption has many detrimental effects on human health ,  & .
Brain and nervous system is the first part of the body that would be seriously harmed by drinking alcohol. According to research, “Heavy drinking can cause a form of nerve damage known as alcoholic neuropathy, which can produce a painful pins-and-needles feeling or numbness in the extremities as well as muscle weakness, incontinence, constipation, erectile dysfunction, and other problems” . Moreover, some scientists believe that one of the leading causes of depression is alcohol consumption.
According to a study:
1. “If you drink regularly, you increase your risk of developing pancreatitis.
2. Over the long term, drinking alcohol increases your risk of serious illnesses, such as mouth, throat and breast cancer
3. One of the most significant of these was the 2007 European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study which established a clear link between excessive alcohol intake and bowel cancer.
4. Drinking alcohol can contribute to the conditions that cause diabetes.
5. Our brains rely on a delicate balance of chemicals and processes. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it can disrupt that balance, affecting our thoughts, feelings, and actions – and sometimes our long-term mental health.
6. Drinking alcohol at any stage during pregnancy can cause harm to your baby and the more you drink, the greater the risk. This is why the UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMO) alcohol unit guideline advice to pregnant women is that the safest approach is to not drink alcohol at all during pregnancy.
7. Drinking alcohol can increase your risk of developing liver disease and cause irreparable damage to this significant part of your body. In fact, alcohol is a major cause of the 25% increase in deaths from liver disease in England over the last decade (from 9,231 in 2001 to 11,575 in 2009)”  & 
Finally, you may say that all these health effects of Alcohol are probable. Or a day will come that scientists will find a way to drop these adverse effects. If we have accepted to be Muslim, to surrender to the will of Allah, and believe that He desires the best for us in this world, then we would easily trust Allah’s commands.
So, trust Him in eliminating what He calls disadvantageous for you. And keep in mind that there is always a rationale behind whatever Allah commands; whether this logic has been revealed to us or not.
[i] Quran (33:41-42)
The Holy Quran mentions about the Racism: O mankind! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female and made you nations and tribes that you may identify yourselves with one another. Indeed, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God wary among you. Indeed, Allah is all-knowing, all-aware (49:13).
"The issue of equality between all human beings, opposition to any type of racial, ancestral and class discrimination, fairness between all the children of Adam in relation to human rights and that no person is better than another due to his skin color, language, lineage or race - is one of the most important societal issues in the Qur’an which has been mentioned in various verses of this Heavenly Book. The Qur’an has denounced all sorts of superiority - whether it be of race, language, or skin color."
Likewise, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) says: Surely all of mankind – from the time of Adam until our time – are like the teeth of a comb (all equal to one another) and there is no greatness for an `Arab over a non-`Arab and no greatness for a red-skinned person over a black-skinned person, except due to one’s consciousness of Allah (taqwa).”
There are numerous verses in the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH & HP) that invite human beings towards brotherhood and equality. Throughout his life, the Holy Prophet (PBUH & HP) taught people that all humans are one and the only difference that exists is in their God-wariness as mentioned in verse 13 of Surah Hujarat. We learn from the Holy Prophet (PBUH & HP) and the Ahlul Bayt (AS) that Islam has established equality for the entire human race and struck at the very root of all distinctions based on color, race, language or nationality. According to Islam, Allah has given man this right of equality as a birthright. Thus, no man should be discriminated against on the basis of the color of his skin, his place of birth, his race or the nation in which he was born.
Apart from conveying the pure teachings of Islam, the Holy Prophet (PBUH &HP) was also able to rouse hope in the hearts of the poor and the downtrodden section of his society. In many instances within his practical life, he was successful in eliminating bigotry and racism that was surrounding him. In order for him to reach his aim of equality between all human beings, he married the daughter of his uncle to a slave named Zaid. In addition, he gave Bilal, who was both a non-`Arab and an African slave (at one point in his life), the important religious post of being the Muaddhin, the one who calls to prayer. He also convinced Ziyad ibn Labid who was one of the richest and noblest men from amongst the Ansar to marry his daughter to an African slave named Jubair. This marriage between a nobleman's daughter and a slave, was the beginning of many such marriages that broke mental and social barriers among the followers of Islam. Islam is a practical example of how human beings and societies can fight racial discrimination and create a society based on unity and brotherhood.
The annual ritual of Hajj is an outstanding display of beauty and splendor among the followers of Islam and it is this very beauty of Islam that inspired (Martyr) Malcolm X to write the following letter after he made his first Hajj:
"Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all the other prophets of the Holy Scriptures. For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colors.....There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and the non-white. You may be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions. This was not too difficult for me. Despite my firm convictions, I have been always a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth.
During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass and slept in the same bed (or on the same rug)-while praying to the same Allah with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of the blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the actions and in the deeds of the ‘white' Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.
We are truly all the same-brothers.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds."
The Holy Quran tells us:
"Certainly, We have honored the Children of Adam, and carried them over land and sea, and provided them with all the good things, and preferred them with a complete preference over many of those We have created." (17:70)
The Holy Quran teaches us that Islam lays down some rights for man as a human being. Every man whether he belongs to one country or the other, whether he is a believer or a non-believer, whether he lives in forest or desert, whatever be the case, he has some basic human rights simply because he is a human being, which should be recognized by every human being.
Today, the world is struggling to come to terms with equality in true sense. Racial discrimination continues to be a challenge, even for the most developed nations. However, Islam has shown the way to fight racial discrimination and create a society based on amity, love and unity. InshaAllah, the world will very soon realize that the only solution to racism lies in following Islam.
- Islamic Moral System: Commentary of Surah Al-Hujurat Ayt. Jafar Subhani
- Malcolm X's letter http://islam.uga.edu/malcomx.html
We know leaders, kings, and queens by their power and might and sometimes feel terrified hearing their names. Those in power, usually, being occupied with many apparently vital matters, forget about those beneath them, the deprived ones. But, looking at the life of Imam Ali (AS), the commander of faithful and Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) rightful successor, we find a leader whose manner was incomparable to the ones we've seen or heard about so far. He was the father of orphans, a provider for the needy, and the defender of justice.
In what follows, we will have a glance at the life of this exceptional Islamic figure of all time.
Imam Ali (AS) was born inside the Ka'ba in Mecca on September 28, 600 CE . He was from Banu Hashim branch of Quraysh. His mother was Fatima bt. Asad and His father, Abu Talib, a respected man by various Arab tribes, was the uncle and guardian of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and was of the most celebrated personalities of the Quraysh .
When he was six years old, a famine took place in Mecca. Since Imam Ali's (AS) father had a large family and providing for them in that situation was a difficult job, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and his uncle, al-'Abbas, decided to help him. Therefore, they offered to take care of his children. So, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) took Imam Ali (AS) under his own guardianship . Imam Ali (AS) recounted those days as such:
"When I was a young child, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) took care of me. He would bring me to his chest and I would sleep in his bed, so close to him that I could even smell his scent. He would chew food for me and then feed me with it. He found no lies in my speech, nor any shortcomings in my actions" .
When the prophethood assigned to Muhammad (PBUH&HP) in 610 A.D in Hira cave through Gabriel sent by Allah, Imam Ali (AS) was the first man, and Khadija (AS) was the first woman to acknowledge his call and believed in him. The ten-year-old Ali (AS) at the time would pray with the Prophet (PBUH&HP) on the mountains around Mecca . He also supported Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) when he was ordered to announce his mission publicly, starting with his close relatives. In return, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) declared him as his brother, executor of his will (Wasi), and successor .
In 615 A.D, Polytheists besieged Muslims in a valley called Abu Talib, where they were prohibited from trade and were under severe sanctions. During this challenging time, Imam Ali (AS) and his father Abu Talib, devotedly helped Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). To save the Prophet's (PBUH&HP), which was under the threat of polytheists, Imam Ali (AS) risked his own life and even slept where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) used to sleep. The most well-known account of this sacrifice is when after Abu Talib's demise, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) decided to immigrate to Medina. He was informed of the secret plan of polytheists to murder him on the night when he was ready to start his journey to Medina. As a counteract, Imam Ali (AS) slept in Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) place, so that he could secretly leave his house to Medina . A few days later, Imam Ali (AS), along with his mother and Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) daughter, lady Fatima (AS), joined the Prophet (PBUH&HP) in Medina.
In 632 A.D, Imam Ali (AS) accompanied Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) on his last pilgrimage to Mecca . After the Hajj, on his way back to Medina in an area called Ghadir Khum, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) proclaimed Ali (AS) to be his successor and the executor of his will . This event is known as the Event of Ghadir Khum and is celebrated by many Muslims around the world.
Imam Ali (AS) asked Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) daughter's hand in marriage. He consulted this request with his daughter, lady Fatima (AS), and after realizing her willingness to marry such an honored and pious man, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) consented to their marriage.
There is a disagreement on the exact date of their marriage; however, the most accepted one is on May 25, 624 A.D . Together, they had five children named Hasan, Hussain, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum  and also Muhsin, who was aborted before his birth.
After Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) demise and despite his speech in the incident of Ghadir, while Imam Ali (AS) and the Prophet's (PBUH&HP) family were busy with his burial, a group of the heads of Medina gathered in a place called Saqifa Bani Sa'ida to choose a successor for the Prophet (PBUH&HP) from themselves . As a result, Abu Bakr was chosen as the caliph of Muslims, which was followed by Umar ibn Khattab's caliphate and then Uthman b.Affan.
Finally, in June, 656 A.D and after the assassination of Uthman, Imam Ali (AS) became the caliph and the leader of the Muslims. Two days after the beginning of his caliphate, in his first sermon, Ali (AS) urged that all the wealth and properties that had been unjustly taken must be returned, and emphasized justice concerning the distribution of public properties and wealth .
As George Jordac, the Lebanese Christian writer puts:
"In the eyes of Ali son of Abu Talib rulership and caliphate did not mean that the ruler should sit on the throne of dignity, strengthen his power and make his position the means of enslaving the people… Caliphate does not mean that people should be subjugated at the point of the sword, and by means of bloodshed and force, or that they should obey the caliph on account of fear or covetousness. Ali was a man who did not worship God because he desired forgiveness or because he feared punishment. On the contrary, he worshipped God because He deserved to be worshipped. He wished that the people should obey the caliph on account of his being worthy of obedience and not because of fear or greed of gain" .
During his four-year rule, he never did injustice to a soul, and he distributed wealth among people fairly, was observant of the poor, orphans, and the homeless. He was more like a compassionate father to people than a mighty unapproachable ruler. He lived a simple life, as he thought his life had to be like the poorest in society. He never favored any of his relatives over others in his government and refused to give them what they didn't deserve or had not any right to. In short, his government was the best instance of an ideal Islamic political and social system.
As Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said in a narration Imam Ali's (AS) virtues and merits are impossible to number . Nevertheless, we will try to mention some of his most significant characteristics.
His Unbound Compassion and Generosity
Kindness and compassion was an inherent characteristic of Imam Ali (AS). Poor or rich, young or old, Muslim or non-Muslim, man or woman, all would enjoy his regard and profound generosity. It is said that he used to water the date gardens of Jews in Medina with his own hands . Jordac describes this characteristic of him as such:
"Ali was more kind to the people than anyone else and refrained from harming any person. He became oblivious of his own self in order to assist others and considered this self-abnegation to be part and parcel of his life. His entire life was dedicated to the support of the oppressed and the helpless so that he might realize their rights from the tyrants who considered themselves entitled to usurp the rights of others on account of noble descent and racial discrimination." 
This noble character was so kind that he refused to take revenge from the person who attacked him while praying in the mosque, which caused his martyrdom a few days later. He forbade his children to bring any harm to this person and commanded them to give him food and drink instead and treat him respectfully.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: "I am the city of knowledge, and Ali (AS) is its gate, whoever wants to enter this city, has to pass the gate first." . Allah had endowed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) a breath of His divine wisdom, so when he calls Imam Ali (AS) as "the gate" to this divine wisdom through which people can enter, he is considering Imam Ali's (AS) wisdom as the prerequisite for reaching out to this vast knowledge.
As Jordac puts: "Ali was brought up by his cousin. He became his disciple and adopted his habits and conduct. The Prophet's heritage became implanted in his heart and brain. He reflected over the Qur'an with the intellect and eye of a sage and learned its latent realities" .
Imam Ali (AS) himself used to invite people to ask him their questions before they lost him since he was sure he would answer them in the wisest manner possible .
Imam Ali (AS) used to fast during the day and give away his food to the poor at night and slept hungrily. Based on an account, he and his family fasted for three days, and each night gave away their Iftar to one needy person who had come to their door. Some interpreters of the Quran believe that this act of Imam Ali (AS) and his family was followed by revealing this verse of the Quran :
"Those who give their wealth by night and day, secretly and openly, they shall have their reward near their Lord, and they will have no fear, nor will they grieve" (2:274)
He also gave away the money he earned through labor and tied a stone to his stomach to fight off his hunger. Whenever he gained a considerable amount of money, he informed the poor and the needy of it and divided it between them and then gave thanks to Allah through performing Salat .
According to some hadiths, one day a beggar entered the mosque and asked for help; but, no one gave him anything. He raised his hands toward the sky and said, "O God! Witness that I asked for help in the mosque of Your Prophet (PBUH&HP) and no one gave me anything." When he said this, Imam Ali (AS) was performing ruku' in prayer and pointed to the small finger of his right hand which had a ring on. The beggar went near and took the ring off from Imam's (AS) finger. Some exegetes believe  that this verse of the Quran referred to this incident: "Your guardian is only Allah, His Apostle, and the faithful who maintain the prayer and give the zakat while bowing down" (5:55).
He loved Allah, and his love was not tainted by fear or expecting a reward. His worships and prayers were purely for His sake and with the intention of His satisfaction; "The basis of this worship is reason, conscience, and spiritual perfection" . This deep and pure faith that had penetrated his very bones turned him into a self-aware and pious man who aligned his every action with Allah's will and commands. As Jordac puts:
"Ali's piety was not the outcome of circumstances like that of other pious persons, who engage themselves in worship on account of the weakness of their souls, or to escape the vicissitudes of life and to keep aloof from the people, or in imitation of their ancestors, and the effects of the events of life confirm it because as a rule, people accord respect to ancestral customs and traditions… His worship was, in fact, a continuous effort and a campaign against mischief for the sake of human life and prosperity… According to Ali, the essence of piety is to sacrifice one's life for the sake of truth and justice" 
He was born in the house of Allah, Ka'aba, and martyred in his dwelling, the mosque. As if Allah had destined him to always be in His arms.
Imam Ali (AS) said: "Your faith should be at such a level that you should prefer truth to falsehood even though it may cause you loss and falsehood may bring you gain" . And he did so in practice. He would choose truthfulness no matter what the result and never surrendered to injustice.
Another sign of his bravery was his disapproval of going into a war. Despite his strength and high physical power, he would rather peace and would not start a war unless it was inevitable. However, when he attended a battlefield, he fought courageously and never escaped from the enemy. Even on the battlefield, he was the forgiving man who pardoned his enemy when he found them defeated and defenseless.
On the morning of January 26, 661, Imam Ali (AS) was struck with a poisoned sword of Abd al-Rahman b. Muljam al-Muradi who was one of the renegades (Kharijites) [i] while performing Salat in the Grand Mosque of Kufa (today's Najaf in Iraq). He was martyred from this injury two days later and was buried secretly at his request .
Imam Ali, The Beacon of Justice and Humanity
Imam Ali's (AS) exemplary character and life can be a guiding light for all truth-seeking human beings. His deep affection for people, his care for justice and equality, his social and political insight, and his sincere devotion and faith in Allah made him a man whose fame reaches out to generations centuries later than his martyrdom.
[i] Khawārij or Kharijites were a group of Muslims who rioted against Imam Ali (AS) in the middle of, and after, the Battle of Siffin, as well as in the event of Arbitration. They then began the Battle of Nahrawan against the Imam (AS).
- Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 1, p. 5.
- Ibn Athīr, Usd al-ghāba, vol. 1, p. 15.
- Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya, vol. 1, p. 162.
- Nahj al-balagha, Sermon 192, p. 222.
- Muṣāḥib, Dāʾirat al-maʿārif-i Farsī, vol. 2, p. 1760.
- Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, History of the Prophets and Kings, vol.2, p.331.
- Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 2, p. 131.
- Ayyāshī, Tafsīr al-ʿAyyāshī, vol. 1, p. 4.
- Mufīd, Masār al-Shīʿa, p. 17.
- Masʿūdī, Ithbāt al-waṣīyya, p. 153.
- Ibn Shahrāshūb, Manāqib Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, vol. 3, p. 133.
- Nahj al-Balagha, Sermon 15. , p.39.
- George Jordac, The Voice of Human Justice (Sautu'l ' Adalati'l Insaniyah), p.72. PDF.
- Yusuf b. Qazawughli, Tadhkirat al-khawas, p. 13.
- George Jordac, The Voice of Human Justice (Sautu'l ' Adalati'l Insaniyah), p.33. PDF.
- Al-Hakim al-Nishapuri, Al-Mustadrak alaa al-Sahihain, vol.3, p. 126.
- George Jordac, The Voice of Human Justice (Sautu'l ' Adalati'l Insaniyah), p.40. PDF.
- Ali ibn Abd-al-Malik al-Hindi, Kanz al-Ummal, vo.13, p.165.
- Abbas Qomi, Muntahi al-Amal, vol.1, p.284.
- al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Al-Amali, p.169.
- Ḥākim al-Ḥaskānī, Shawāhid al-tanzīl, vol. 1, p. 209-239.
- George Jordac, The Voice of Human Justice (Sautu'l ' Adalati'l Insaniyah), p.29. PDF.
- ibid, p.28.
- Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.70. p.106.
- Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 1, p. 27-28.