Drugs: The Scourge Of Society
DRUGS: The Scourge Of Society
The Muslims of today , especially the youth , are facing many problems and temptations that were not available a decade ago. This is particularly problematic for us as a minority Muslim population in this country (and elsewhere but the writer is in South Africa - Ed). The youth are easily distracted by activities such as addiction to TV , addiction to video games , gambling , disco parties , escort agencies and addiction to drugs. This brief article will explore the harmful effects of drugs on our youth , the family , the society and most important , on our Imaan.
Soorah 5, Aayat 90 : " O you who believe ! Intoxicants and gambling , (dedication of) stones and (divination by) arrows are an abomination of Satan's handiwork. Avoid (such abominations) that you may prosper." The Prophet Mohamed (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said : "Every intoxicant is khamr, and every khamr is haram"
Intoxicate : to produce a state ranging from euphoria to stupor ; to stimulate , to excite ; to poison We can draw the following conclusions from the above :
(1) an intoxicant is any substance which may be a liquid , solid or gas , that is voluntarily taken into the body by swallowing , injection , inhaling or ingesting , which produces an effect on the brain resulting in a change of mood of the individual
(2) examples of intoxicants (khamr) are alcohol, wine, beer, spirits, home made alcoholic brews, all forms of drugs such as cocaine, heroin , dagga etc
(3) all intoxicants are totally forbidden and Haraam irrespective of the quantity that is used ; even one drop of alcohol is haraam ; similarly , even one puff of dagga is haraam ; it is not the quantity that is important - the substance itself is haraam.
(4) Anyone who associates in any way with any aspect of the intoxicants (whether alcohol or drugs) such as the person who uses it , or sells it , or makes it , or delivers it , is a partner with Shaytaan , since all intoxicants are the handiwork of Shaytaan.
Youngsters are very gullible and vulnerable to influences of society , their friends , TV, adults and those that appear to be fashionable in the music and fashion industries. Hence, a youngster may find that all his friends have experimented with drugs and now he is feeling left out because everyone else appears to be having a good time , and all his friends tease him that he is chicken. This unsuspecting youth then decides to 'experiment' only once , 'just to try it out." Furthermore , if he does not have money to buy the drugs, someone may even offer it to him for free. What he does not realise , is that his first weakness , to please his friends , is the biggest mistake that he can make. The strategy of the drug pushers is to get as many customers as possible . Some drug dealers are so ruthless that they give out free sweets containing drugs to school children. The trick that they use is to give free drugs to unsuspecting people. Once a person becomes addicted ("hooked" ) he is now a customer for life. The addicted person will then beg , borrow , steal , prostitute themselves , just to make sure that they have money to buy drugs for their next fix. It is a vicious cycle of crime, prostitution, family breakdown, social breakdown, community breakdown. It is for this reason that khamr is known as the 'mother of all evils."
Types of Drugs
There are many types of drugs available on the market. The general effect of all drugs is basically very similar , though they differ in their speed of action as well as the severity of the harm on the body. All drugs directly affect the brain , since this is the only way of causing mood changes. Some examples of drugs are as follows:
(a) Heroin : highly addictive opiate ; gives very high rush , followed by many hours of fogginess ; the addict lives day to day for the next fix
(b) Marijuana : affects the parts of the brain that deals with emotions & memory (c) Alcohol : impairs judgements , memory lapses, blackouts
(d) Cocaine : whether in powder form or crack, it is a highly addictive stimulant ; addict loses interest in school, family , work etc
(e) Inhalents (glue ; petrol; hair spray ; paint thinners etc) ; destroy the protective layers around the brain cells
(f) Ecstasy : powerful amphetamine that causes problems in concentration and causes the person to find difficulty in knowing the difference between fantasy and reality
(g) LSD : gives a distorted view of time & space ; causes paranoia , confusion , panic attacks
(h) Steroids : used by 'body builders" to gain muscles ; causes mood changes and permanently impairs learning and memory
(i) Various "date rape prescription drugs " : causes short term memory loss ; colourless, odourless and tasteless ; inserted into the cool-drinks of girls at parties ; the girl is drugged , semi-conscious and is then raped
Harmful effects of Drugs
(1) Body The main effect of drugs is on the brain. However , other body organs that are damaged include the following:
(a) damaged nasal septum (through snorting the drugs)
(b) collapsed & clotted veins
(c) kidney , liver & lung failure to various degrees
(d) damage to the brain
(e) infected needles causes Hepatitis Infection and HIV/AIDS
(2) Social The person displays anti-social behaviour such as :
(a) stays away from home
(b) stealing ; crime
(c) job loss ;
(d) withdrawal from community
(e) embarrassing behaviour in public
(f) deterioration in relationship with parents or wife or children
(3) Brain The most harmful effect of drugs is on the brain. The brain is the most delicate and powerful computer - it is an amazing organ , with virtually limitless potential - it is a Gift from Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) ; it has to be protected and cherished and its full potential must be utilized. The moment any person takes a drug into the body (either by nose , mouth or vein ) the drug enters the blood stream and goes directly to the brain, crosses the blood -brain barrier (BBB) and occupies various receptor sites in the brain. This leads to alteration in the chemical and electrical neuronal functioning of the brain which also leads to eventual organic damage to this delicate , yet powerful organ. These changes in the brain is what causes the state of 'addiction'- eventually , the body automatically starts craving for the damaging drug leading to a vicious cycle of abuse and further damage.
(4) Baby Addicts Some mothers who are pregnant sometimes take drugs. These drugs enter the brain of their unborn baby , so that the baby becomes addicted even before birth. When these babies are born , they show withdrawal symptoms and will develop with various learning disabilities. This is a crime against the innocent unborn child.
Symptoms of drug abuse
Some of the symptoms that indicate whether a person in your family , or a friend is addicted to drugs are the following:
(a) sudden mood changes ;
(b) unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite
(c) no interest in school , work or life
(d) no longer any interest in themselves : no longer caring about personal hygiene, clothing and dressing ; always looking disheveled
(e) frequent prescription medication
(f) depression and mood swings Way forward & suggestions If there is someone in your family or close friend , who you suspect has a problem with drugs , then it is our duty to assist them in any way possible. Some suggestions are as follows
(1) Communicate. Don't pretend that the problem will go away or that it cannot be happening in your own family. Parents and families must learn the art of healthy , open communication and discuss issues in an open, frank and friendly atmosphere. Even if things get heated in a discussion, it is better to talk now rather than wait until your loved one is dead
(2) Show sympathy. Even if it is to a stranger. The person who is addicted has a disease. He/she needs our help. There may have been a family problem that led the person to experiment. Or the person may have thought that it will be 'fun' just to try it out. No one deliberately says "I want to be a drug addict." What they don't realise is , that after the first taste of the drug , 'you are hooked." Instead of condemning them , offer counselling , moral support , send to drug rehabilitation and offer words of encouragement
(3) The Imams must speak out against this evil from the Mimbars and discuss the devastating effects of drugs on the individual , his family as well as on society.
(4) Muslim communities must provide alternative forms of recreation for our youth ; these could be community centers , sports , youth camps etc , where the youth can socialise in an Islamic environment and are then not tempted to experiment out of boredom
(5) The addicted youth should be encouraged to turn to Islam. There have been many examples of heavily addicted muslim youth , who have been rehabilitated by turning to Islam. Today they are speaking from the mimbar about their experiences and are totally devoted to Islam. Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) accepts sincere repentance and an intention to give up the way of Shaytaan and rather follow the Straight Path
(6) Mothers have a very important role to play in the upbringing of their children. Mothers have to take charge and even go on marches against the drug dealers in a community . The whole community must work actively to rid society of drugs. Only a mother knows the pain and sorrow of seeing her beloved child being a slave to the evils of drugs. Every mother has hopes for her child, hopes that he/she will be healthy, get a job , get married , have children and lead a happy life.
Drugs destroy the dreams of every mother. Make dua for all the Muslim youth in our community and throughout the world. We have a responsibility to look after our youth and protect them from the dangers of society. Our youth are our future. Ameen.
- Ahmed Adam
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