A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Alcohol

According to the text of the Book of Aqdas, both light and strong drinks are prohibited. The reason for this prohibition is that alcohol leadeth the mind astray and causeth the weakening of the body. If alcohol were beneficial, it would have been brought into the world by the Divine creation and not by the effort of man. Whatever is beneficial for man existeth in creation. Now it hath been proved and is established medically and scientifically that liquor is harmful.
"As to the meaning of that which is written in the Tablets: ‘I have chosen for thee whatsoever is in the heaven and the earth‘, this signifieth those things which are in accordance with the Divine purpose and not the things which are harmful. For instance, one of the existing things is poison. Can we say that poison must be used as it hath been created by God? Nevertheless, intoxicating liquor, if prescribed by a physician for the patient and if its use is absolutely necessary, then it is permissible.
"In brief, I hope that thou mayest become inebriated with the wine of the love of God, find eternal bliss and receive inexhaustible joy and happiness.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 349)


Alcohol must not be served in a restaurant or other business which is wholly owned by Bahá’ís.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


All wine hath depression as an after effect, except the wine of the Love of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 349)


Although it is clear from the teachings that the use of alcohol is permitted if it is prescribed by a physician for treatment purposes, we have not been able to find any instructions which permit its use in the preparation of home remedies for common illnesses.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 350)


As a safeguard against intemperance he does not drink wine or spirits. Bahá’u’lláh has said it is not good for a sane man to take that which will destroy his health and sense.
(Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 31)


As a safeguard against intemperance he does not drink wine or spirits. Bahá’u’lláh has said it is not good for a sane man to take that which will destroy his health and sense.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 56)


As to those believers who continue to drink, they should be lovingly exhorted, then firmly warned and eventually deprived of their voting rights. The number of times a person is exhorted and warned is a matter left to the discretion of each Local Spiritual Assembly, in consultation with the National Spiritual Assembly. The policy you adopt should not be one of removing the administrative rights of the believers in a bureaucratic and automatic way, as this would be unwise and unjust. Your Assembly as well as all Local Spiritual Assemblies should courageously and continuously remind the friends of their obligation in this respect, handle firmly all flagrant cases, and use such cases, in a way that by force of example, they exert their influence upon the other believers. It must be made clear to the Local Assemblies that they should be willing to cooperate with the believers affected by such drinking habits, when any such believer promises gradually and systematically to reduce his drinking with the objective in mind of entirely abandoning this habit.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 351-352)


Concerning the sale of alcohol by a believer, as you state, “Obviously he should cease to deal in the sale of alcohol in his shop.” However, as he is a new believer and was engaged in this business before becoming a Bahá’í, he should be given a reasonable opportunity to find another means whereby he can earn a living and should be given every assistance by the National Spiritual Assembly to do so. He should be treated with patience and understanding, especially if he is making efforts to dispose of this business and to seek other employment. However, if after a reasonable time has elapsed and no effort has been made to comply with the Bahá’í law, then, as a last resort, the Assembly would have no alternative but to suspend his administrative rights.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


Concerning the third question (sale of alcoholic drinks at Bahá’í-owned premises and restaurants), the beloved Guardian has asked me to point out that this practice is highly improper and reprehensible and would be tantamount to encouraging acts that are forbidden in the Faith. It is indeed the conscientious duty of every true Bahá’í to abandon such practices. However, should a Bahá’í owner rent his property without himself taking any part whatever in the business, or giving aid to the tenant, then he would incur no responsibility. Nevertheless the landlord should resort to every possible means to rid his premises of the defilement of this degrading business; how far more injurious if he himself were engaged in such repugnant affairs.
(Shoghi Effendi, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


Concerning your question with regard to the use of alcohol for rubbing: the believers can make any use of alcohol for any such treatments, provided they do not drink it, unless, of course, they are compelled to do so, under the advice of a competent and conscientious physician, who may have to prescribe it for the cure of some special ailment.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 248)


Fear ye God, O people of the earth, and think not that the wine We have mentioned in Our Tablet is the wine which men drink, and which causeth their intelligence to pass away, their human nature to be perverted, their light to be changed, and their purity to be soiled.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 245)


In response to questions raised on the permissibility of serving drinks in number of different circumstances, the Universal House of Justice has formulated the following guidelines. The fact that Bahá’ís themselves must not drink alcohol is abundantly clear and needs no comment here. With regard to the serving of alcohol to non-Bahá’ís:
1. No Bahá’í institution should serve alcohol to non-Bahá’ís under any circumstances.
2. If an individual Bahá’í entertaining an individual guest or a small group of guests as an official representative of the Bahá’í community, he should not serve alcohol in his own home, but must use his discretion whether or not to do so if the entertaining is taking place in a restaurant.
3. No Bahá’í should serve alcohol at any function or reception given by him, such as a wedding reception or a party to which a number of people are invited.
4. When a Bahá’í is privately entertaining a non-Bahá’í or a small group of guests in his own home, he must himself judge whether or not to serve alcohol. This will depend to a great degree on the customs of the country in which he is living, the individuals concerned, and the host’s relationship to his guests. Obviously it is better for the Bahá’í not to serve alcohol if possible, but against this he must weigh the probable reaction of the guest in the circumstances which prevail and in the particular situation. In some countries there would be no problem in failing to provide alcohol to a guest; in others it would be regarded as extremely peculiar and anti-social and would immediately raise a barrier to further contact. It is not desirable to make a major issue of the matter.
5. When such private entertaining of an individual or small group of non-Bahá’ís taking place in a restaurant the same general principles as in point 4 above apply, except that in such a public place a failure to provide alcoholic drinks would be less easily understood than in a private home, and the Bahá’í must use his discretion accordingly.
6. Alcohol must not be served in a restaurant or other business which is wholly owned by Bahá’ís.
7. If a Bahá’í is employed by others in a job which involves the serving of alcohol, he is not obliged to change that employment. This is a matter left to each individual to decide in the light of his own conscience. Obviously such kind of employment vary widely from bartending to serving in a grocery in which wine is retailed. If the job requires a great deal of involvement with the serving of alcohol it is better for the Bahá’í to obtain other employment if he can.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 350)


In the case of a believer who continues to take alcoholic drinks the Assembly should decide whether the offence is flagrant, and, if it is, should try to help him to understand the importance of obeying the Bahá’í law. If he does not respond he must be repeatedly warned and, if this is unsuccessful, he is subject to loss of his voting rights. In the case of an alcoholic who is trying to overcome his weakness the Assembly must show especial patience, and may have to suggest professional counselling and assistance. If the offence is not flagrant, the Assembly need take no action at all.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 51-52)


Institutions that are entirely managed by Bahá’ís are, for reasons that are only too obvious, under the obligation of enforcing all the laws and ordinances of the Faith, especially those whose observance constitutes a matter of conscience. There is no reason, no justification whatsoever, that they should act otherwise… .
(Shoghi Effendi, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


It is inadmissible that man, who hath been endowed with reason, should consume that which stealeth it away.
There are many references in the Bahá’í Writings which prohibit the use of wine and other intoxicating drinks and which describe the deleterious effect of such intoxicants on the individual. In one of His Tablets, Bahá’u’lláh states:
"Beware lest ye exchange the Wine of God for your own wine, for it will stupefy your minds, and turn your faces away from the Countenance of God, the All-Glorious, the Peerless, the Inaccessible. Approach it not, for it hath been forbidden unto you by the behest of God, the Exalted, the Almighty."
‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains that the Aqdas prohibits “both light and strong drinks,” and He states that the reason for prohibiting the use of alcoholic drinks is because “alcohol leadeth the mind astray and causeth the weakening of the body”. Shoghi Effendi, in letters written on his behalf, states that this prohibition includes not only the consumption of wine but of “everything that deranges the mind", and he clarifies that the use of alcohol is permitted only when it constitutes part of a medical treatment which is implemented “under the advice of a competent and conscientious physician, who may have to prescribe it for the cure of some special ailment.”
(Notes in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 227-228)


Make thy home in taverns, but tread not the path of the mischief-maker.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 337)


O ye, God’s loved ones! Experience hath shown how greatly the renouncing of … intoxicating drink … conduceth to health and vigour, to the expansion and keenness of the mind and to bodily strength. There is today a people [possibly ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was referring to the Sikhs; the description appears to apply to them] who strictly avoid tobacco, intoxicating liquor and opium. This people is far and away superior to the others, for strength and physical courage, for health, beauty and comeliness. A single one of their men can stand up to ten men of another tribe. This hath proved true of the entire people: that is, member for member, each individual of this community is in every respect superior to the individuals of other communities.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 150)


Shoghi Effendi, in letters written on his behalf, states
that this prohibition includes not only the consumption of wine but of “everything that deranges the mind", and he clarifies that the use of alcohol is permitted only when it constitutes part of a medical treatment which is implemented “under the advice of a competent and conscientious physician, who may have to prescribe it for the cure of some special ailment”.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 227)


Since no explicit text or instruction of the beloved Guardian has been found on such a situation, i.e. the sale of alcoholic beverages by a business in which a Bahá’í is a partner with non- Bahá’ís, the House of Justice feels that no hard and fast rules should be drawn at the present time. This is a matter which needs to be decided in each case in the light of the spirit of the teachings and the circumstances of the case and, unless the situation is endangering the good name of the Faith, it should be left to the conscience of the believer concerned who should, of course, make every effort to dissociate himself from such an activity.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 350)


Such a chaste and holy life, with its implications of modesty, purity, temperance, decency and clean-mindedness, involves no less than the exercise of moderation in all that pertains to dress, language, amusements, and all artistic and literary avocations. It demands daily vigilance in the control of one’s carnal desires and corrupt inclinations.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 364)


The Assemblies must be wise and gentle in dealing with such cases (i.e. Bahá’ís using alcoholic beverages), but at the same time must not tolerate a prolonged and flagrant disregard of the Bahá’í Teachings as regards alcohol.
(Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í News, June 1958, p. 16)


The House of Justice ... points out that, as far as advertising is concerned, the Bahá’í must use wisdom in deciding what is allowable and what is not. For example, while the issuing of an advertisement specifically for wines would seem to be inadmissible, there would be no objection to a Bahá’í advertising agent’s issuing an advertisement listing the prices of goods on sale at a supermarket even if wines and spirits are included on it. It is, thus, a matter of emphasis and wisdom. Primarily the House of Justice wishes the decision in such matters to be left to the judgement of the individual concerned, but where there is any doubt, or where the National Spiritual Assembly feels that the good name of the Faith is being injured, the Assembly should, of course, be consulted and could decide in specific instances. In view of the requirements of his conscience in light of Bahá’í Law, a Bahá’í advertising agent might be well advised to include a clause in any contract he signs in which difficulties of this nature might arise, protecting his right to demur.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 352)


The drinking of wine … is, according to the text of the Most Holy Book, forbidden; for it is the cause of chronic diseases, weakeneth the nerves, and consumeth the mind.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 32)


The future christening of the child should present no problem, for the Bahá’í parent should have no objection to the baptism of his child if the Catholic mother wishes it. Similarly, the use of champagne upon that occasion is a matter which she is free to undertake, but of course the Bahá’ís would not partake of alcoholic beverages.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 352)


The malign effects of the widespread use of alcoholic beverages upon almost every society in the world cannot but confirm every Bahá’í in the wisdom of Bahá’u’lláh in banning its use, thereby shielding faithful believers from a legion of difficulties.
(Universal House of Justice, dated August 8, 1979, to a National Spiritual Assembly)


The reason Bahá’u’lláh forbade drinking alcoholic beverages is because it is bad for the health, more particularly for the mind. Of course you can point this out to Mr. ... and Mr. ... and you can also pray that they will themselves feel the urge to give it up; but these are habits each individual should seek to surmount for his own good.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. II, no. 1797)


Under no circumstances should Bahá’ís drink. It is unambiguously forbidden in the Tablet of Bahá’u’lláh, that there is no excuse for them even touching it in the form of a toast, or in a burning plum pudding; in fact, in any way.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 349)


When we realize that Bahá’u’lláh says … that drinking destroys the mind, and not to so much as approach it, we see how clear are our teachings on these subjects.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 344)


While the problem of addiction to alcohol or other substances can, indeed, have a medical component as such addictions normally require medical treatment to overcome, as far as the Bahá’í Faith is concerned substance abuse also involves issues of morality and Bahá’í law. There is no moral distinction drawn in the Bahá’í teachings between the social use of alcohol and drugs and the abuse of those substances by individuals who have become addicted to them. The method of treatment may be different, but the prohibition against the use of such substances applies equally to both the casual user and the addict. While the medical aspect of the recovery process is left to the expertise of competent medical and mental health professionals, the Bahá’í institutions do have a responsibility to counsel the individual about the Bahá’í laws and to protect the good name of the faith. This sometimes requires that an individual suffering from alcoholism or abuse of other substances will be deprived of his or her administrative rights.
(From the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States to a Local Spiritual Assembly, October 18, 1990.)


With reference to your question whether those foods which have been flavoured with alcoholic liquors such as brandy, rum, etc., should be classified under the same category as the intoxicating drinks, and consequently be avoided by believers, the Guardian wishes all the friends to know that such food, or beverages, are strictly prohibited.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 350)


With regard to the problem of alcoholism, which is indeed a terrible scourge to mankind, it must never become a source of disunity among believers. Bahá’u’lláh’s principle, in case of sickness, is to consult the best physician you can, follow his advice, and pray. If therefore, you have consulted Alcoholics Anonymous, this should be your procedure. If, however, you are not satisfied with them, you are entirely free to consult someone else. But the same principle would apply. Do what the doctor (or expert) says and pray.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


With regard to your first question on alcohol and drinking, Bahá’u’lláh, fully aware of the great misery that it bring about, prohibits it as He expressly states that everything that takes away the mind, or in other words makes one drunk, is forbidden.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 349)


You ask whether it is permissible for the friends to use cake flavours, such as vanilla, lemon and rum flavoured extracts, as such flavours have a certain percentage of alcohol in them, and whether Bahá’ís may work in factories manufacturing such extracts. We have found no texts prohibiting the friends from using flavoured extracts in their food. This may be a matter for later legislation by the Universal House of Justice but for the time being the friends should be left free to do as they choose. The same principle applies to those who are employed in factories manufacturing such extracts.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 350)