Gambling and Intoxicants- The scientific view

Salam readers.

As you can see from the title of my post above, it’s going to be about gambling. And yes, this is a response towards the retarded decision of BN (or Be End, to borrow the oppositions’s expression, lol) to legalize World Cup Gambling.

Long before people talked about it on Facebook on how SINFUL for the government to legalize what is clearly haram in the eyes of Allah, long before people actually knew about the decision and talked about it in earnest, I had already heard of the news, thanks to my favourite blogger @ mahaguru58 who was very up-to-date in his research. He got wind of the decision long before others were talking about it. I could only speculate how he was able to accomplish such feat….was he being the-fly-on-the-wall during a cabinet meeting or did he have a private spy looking into the matter? I have no idea. My thought would be, the matter must have already made the headlines in the Chinese and Indian newspapers while the BH and the Utusan kept the matter silent.

We already knew the position of the Quran regarding this matter:
They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say in them, there is great sin and some benefit for men. (But)The sin is greater than the benefit. (Al-Baqarah: 2;219)

To say that this is only made legal to the non-muslims would be an insult to their intelligence. EVERY religion frowns upon gambling. Even the atheists would agree, if they are smart. There is no justification for anyone to gamble….

No JUSTIFICATION!

….unless you want to shun intelligent arguments and choose to use the ‘freedom’ ticket as your justification.

****

As many people like to claim that they are intellectuals who shun religious reasoning and only accept scientific proof, I will try to present the perils of gambling in its scientific medical explanation. Nope, not to appease the so-called intellectuals… but to show that gambling, in its own right, is a foolhardy thing to do.

Gambling is not bad because the religion prohibits it. Instead, the religion prohibits it BECAUSE it is bad.

(I just would like to have the cause-and-effect relationship clear in the mind of my dear respected readers.)

****

Have you ever wondered WHY gambling and intoxicants (i.e alcohol and addictive substances) are being put under the same sentence in the Quran?Let’s revisit the ayat again:

They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say in them, there is great sin and some benefit for men. (But) The sin is greater than the benefit. (Al-Baqarah: 2;219)

I mean, why not Gambling and Fornication? Or why not Gambling and Murder? Or why not Gambling and Stealing? In short, WHY of all the bad deeds in the world, does Allah pair up gambling with alcohol?

Wallahi, I don’t know. Who am I to presume I could read the reasoning of Allah, the All-Knower.

I could only speculate the reasons and here is what I could come up with:

1)To pair up Gambling with Fornication, or Gambling with Murder or with any other bad deeds, would not fit with the second half of the ayat which says “….-and some benefit. But the sin is greater than the benefit.”

I challenge you to come up with another bad deed which you could pair up with gambling that ALSO has a bit of benefit but many sins (bad side-effects)  in them.

In short, Allah DOES acknowledge that BOTH of them have some benefits, but considering the MUCH greater side effects of them, you might as well make do without the benefit.

So, in this ayat, it has already been anticipated that some people would justify gambling with the small benefit that it brings by saying “Oh, you can use the profit from gambling for sports development and what nots.”

Just like alcohol can be justified by saying, “Oh, a bit of wine can actually prevent ischaemic heart disease,” Which is true enough, I suppose, but Pfft! Ask any cardiologists in the world and they would say diet control and exercise are the main keys in treating ischaemic heart disease! Why do you want to bypass the BEST method of treatment for your heart, only to go for an obscure small benefit of wine? Get real, people!

So, nope! We are not denying the small benefits that they bring. The Al-Quran, being the word of God, already acknowledges the facts and even ANTICIPATE such response from the non-believers…but we are just saying that you can make do without the small benefits of alcohol and gambling, because they bring much greater harm with it. Besides, those small benefits can still be attained with other alternatives.

There’s another reason why I think Gambling and Intoxicants are JUST RIGHT to be paired up together:

2) Learning medicine has caused me to acquaint myself on how the brain works. And of all addictive activities, I challenge you to come up with another activity that would be just as similar in its effect to the brain, as gambling.

What I am trying to say is, alcohol and gambling works the EXACT same way, stimulate the exact same pathway in the brain that leads you to compulsively do something that you KNOW is harmful, but you could NOT stop.

And that pathway in the brain, that particular synaptic connections in the brain is called: The Dopamine Mesolimbic Pathway.

I know I sound really scientific here. Don’t worry! I will try to explain it in a layman term, because if you are not a medical student, there is no use for you to know in GREAT DETAILS all the scientific terms. I only include the name of the pathway so that you can double-check my facts if you are in any doubt of my truthfulness. But I will provide the link to a journal article of this Dopamine Mesolimbic Pathway HERE.

Notice that in the journal article, one particular sentence states that, and I quote:

“It (the study) shows that a known treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is effective when applied to pathological gambling.”

And do you know WHY the same treatment for drug and alcohol addiction (i.e intoxicants addiction) are THE SAME as for pathological gambling? Yup, because they have the exact same disease aetiology, affecting the exact same type of neurons, at the exact same brain area, making use of the exact same chemicals.

In other words: They BOTH affect the mesolimbic dopamine pathway (similar disease aetiology), with activation of GABA neurons (the same type of neurons), begins at the ventral tegmental area (the same part of the brain), with dopamine as its neurotransmitter (the same chemicals).

It makes PERFECT SENSE why Allah in that particular sentence pairs them up together. Subhanallah!

For me to go into details how the Mesolimbic Dopamine Pathway works would not be beneficial to others who have never learned Neurology as part of their medical studies. Enough for me to say that you could NOT pass second-year exam without knowing this pathway by heart.

But basically, this pathway is called the ‘reward’ pathway, in which you can become addicted to certain behaviours when you associate your activity with a particular ‘reward’ (for instance, ‘money’ or ‘feelings of euphoria’).

Take morphine (a type of intoxicant) for example. Have you ever wondered WHY when a patient in pain was given morphine, he/she is not addicted to it once he/she is out of hospital and pain-free and can go on with his/her life as normal; but a drug addict who has associated morphine with feelings of euphoria (i.e a reward), become addicted to it?

It’s exactly because when a patient takes morphine for pain, NO REWARD ASSOCIATION was being made by the patient, and a different pathway is triggered. But someone who takes morphine drug for pleasure, DOES associate her activity with a feeling of euphoria, and thus activating the mesolimbic dopamine pathway…overtime, its synaptic connections become more powerful, and thus causing her to become addicted.

So, if you think alcohol is bad, then gambling is JUST AS BAD!

Problems arise when people don’t think alcohol is bad and therefore, just could not compute how bad gambling is.

If you ever doubt how bad alcohol drinking is, just go to any hospital in Australia; go to the Emergency Department and ask the doctors there how many patients have presented with alcohol-related health issues in the ED. Wallahi, we EVEN need a special team to manage these patients. All medical students by now would be familiar with the “Drug and Alcohol” team (affectionately abbreviated as D&A in the Emergency white board) being called upon to review the patients! Some of them, for being sooo intoxicated, need to have a toxicologist review as well.

I am currently doing my emergency term at the moment and I see patients with alcohol dependence EVERYDAY!!

For a non-Muslim, it’s fine if you don’t want to bow to our rules and regulations, just because it’s coming from Islam.

But trust me, the brain of a non-Muslim works exactly the same way as the brain of a Muslim. So what’s bad for a Muslim (regardless of whether or not it is in the religion) MUST be bad for the non-muslim too. If only for this reason, I implore each and everyone of us to have a care when you support the government’s decision to legalize gambling and intoxicants!

****

Some even have the cheek to say, “Well, what’s the difference between legalizing gambling NOW….it’s not like we don’t already have one impressively large casino in Genting, right? And why should you make such a big deal out of legalizing gambling when legalizing alcohol has been going on since forever?’

To answer that question, I give you the quote from our beloved prophet (S.A.W):

“Barangsiapa melihat suatu kemungkaran hendaklah ia mengubah dengan
tangannya. Apabila tidak mampu, hendaklah dengan lidahnya (ucapan),
dan apabila tidak mampu juga hendaklah dengan hatinya dan itulah
keimanan yang paling lemah."

The government SHOULD NEVER have legalized gambling no matter how powerless they are in changing what is a chronic state of wrongdoing. Don’t hide behind statements like “We can control illegal gambling much better by giving so-and-so a license.” Pfft! The government, even if paralyzed to change the bad deeds now, should demonstrate their hatred of such deeds by refusing to allow legal gambling… and that is only the weakest of iman.

And the liberals out there, if you can’t appreciate the scientific reasons of why intoxicants and gambling are SINFUL, then you can use the expression of ‘freedom of conduct’ (over and over again!!) ad nauseam…see how beneficial your freedom would be in the long run.

I leave my respected readers with this famous quotes for reflection:

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Shaytan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from As-salat. So, will you not then abstain? (Al-Quran, 5:91)

2 thoughts on “Gambling and Intoxicants- The scientific view

  1. correction: albaqarah 219 (2:219). n i think u shud put almaidah 91 (5:91) to conclude this post.

    ayat suruhan 2:219 dimansuhkan dgn turunnya ayat 5:91. just a suggestion.

    like drugs, alcohol, tobacco, opium etc, all of them have their own benefit.

    Like

    1. Thanks Ihsan! The correction done..terlepas pandang.

      And your brilliant suggestion attended to, mate! Again, in the 5:91, you can’t miss how gambling and intoxicants are being paired up together every time. Amazing!

      Like

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