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Shadia: The wine cork is still in the bottle

Unveiled: A Muslim Girl in O.C.

September 12, 2012|By Mona Shadia

I'm a hypocrite.

I'm a Muslim who drinks alcohol — except during the month of Ramadan, of course.

There. I said it. I am a hypocrite.

Alcohol is forbidden in Islam.

There are those Muslims, however, including me, who argue that alcohol is not really a big deal, and as long as you don't get drunk, drink before praying or become dependent, it's fine to imbibe in moderation.

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But I can't get away with that. The problem here is I can read. I can reason.

And based on all of those readings, the history of alcohol during the Prophet Muhammad's life and verses in the Koran, alcohol is not allowed (and that's just not cool).

Alcohol was not immediately prohibited. When Islam was first revealed in Mecca, everyone, including the few who accepted it from the beginning, drank. It is said that there were more than 40 Arabic words for wine. Alcohol was gradually eliminated during the life of the Prophet.

In fact, forbidding alcohol all at once would have been against Islam's philosophy. You just can't tell a bunch of people to quit everything they do and revamp their lifestyle all at once.

Alcohol was first prohibited during prayer. Some early Muslims prayed while drunk until a verse came down prohibiting the practice.

Then, as time passed, as people became versed in the philosophy and teaching of Islam, alcohol was forbidden altogether. The faithful accepted it.

When I say forbidden, I mean Islam also forbids Muslims from selling alcohol, buying it or benefiting financially from it.

Even though, according to the Koran, God notes that there are some benefits to alcohol, its negatives far outweigh them, because alcohol, like gambling, is viewed as a vice.

I had my first drink at 17. I was already attending college at the time, and one day, I went to a party and there it was. I knew I wasn't supposed to drink, but I was curious and wanted to try it. It tasted so bad.

Until I moved to the United States from Cairo about two years before then, I don't recall ever seeing alcohol, a person drinking or a drunk person, unless it was on television or in the movies.

Though my very first experience with alcohol wasn't all that great, over the years, I've grown to enjoy drinking and learned to be selective.

I've grown accustomed to drinking when I'm out with friends or when I am at a nice dinner. Even at home after a long day at work, I enjoy a glass of red wine.

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