In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِنَّمَا ٱلۡخَمۡرُ وَٱلۡمَيۡسِرُ وَٱلۡأَنصَابُ وَٱلۡأَزۡلَـٰمُ رِجۡسٌ۬ مِّنۡ عَمَلِ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنِ فَٱجۡتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ أَن يُوقِعَ بَيۡنَكُمُ ٱلۡعَدَٲوَةَ وَٱلۡبَغۡضَآءَ فِى ٱلۡخَمۡرِ وَٱلۡمَيۡسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمۡ عَن ذِكۡرِ ٱللَّهِ وَعَنِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِۖ فَهَلۡ أَنتُم مُّنتَہُونَ
O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitan’s (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. Satan only desires to precipitate enmity and hatred between you in regard to wine and arrow-shuffling, and to bar you from the remembrance of God, and from prayer. Will you then desist? [Surah Al-Maa’idah. Verses 90-91]
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: “Allah [The Exalted] dispraised these repugnant things and informs us that they are from the devil’s handiwork, and that they are an abomination; [فَٱجۡتَنِبُوهُ – so avoid (strictly all of it)]- Meaning, abandon it, [لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ – in order that you may be successful], because indeed success cannot be achieved except abandoning what Allaah made unlawful, especially these vile things that have been mentioned and they are: intoxicants, which is everything that seizes the mind (by removing it from its state of sound reasoning); gambling, which is all games in which both parties (agree to do away with something if they fail to win), such as betting and what is similar to it. Al-Ansaab is idols, things ascribed as partners to Allaah and what is similar to them, which are set up and worshipped besides Allaah. Al-Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck) were utilized for making a final decision. Allah prohibited these four things, warned against them and informed us about their corruption which orders that they must be abandoned and avoided.
From its corrupt consequences is that they are an abomination, meaning they vile things (that are detrimental to one’s moral conduct, behaviour, faith etc), even if it is not a physical impurity.
From its corrupt consequences is that they are from Shaytan’s handiwork, who is the greatest enemy to the human being. It is well known that one must be careful of the enemy, being careful of his snares and deeds, especially the deeds he does to trap his enemy, because in this there is destruction. Therefore, one should be absolutely determined to distance himself from the deeds of the clear enemy, being careful of falling into his actions and fearing that.
And from its corrupt consequences is that it is not possible for a person to be successful except by avoiding these things, because success (in reality) is to be successful by attaining the beloved things that are sought after (through permissible means)and to be saved from one fears. These things prevents (true) success and are an obstacle to it.
And from its corrupt consequences is that it will inevitably cause enmity and hatred between the people, and shaytaan is eager to spread it, especially through intoxicants and gambling in order to cause enmity and hatred between the believers, because indeed the loss of one’s intellect and the absence of its ability to make a good judgement due to intoxicants leads a person to enmity between a person and his brothers amongst the believers, especially when that includes insults, which is unavoidable as a result of alcohol consumption, rather it might even lead to murder. And what is accompanied in gambling when one wins and takes a lot of wealth from the other without giving anything else in return is one of the greatest causes of enmity and hatred.
And from its corrupt consequences is that these things hinders the heart from the remembrance of Allaah and the prayer, and the limbs follow suit, (even though remembrance of Allaah and the prayer are two affairs) for which the person was created and through which his (true) Sa’aadah (happiness, welfare, wellbeing) is attained”. (1)
Indeed, no permanent success is expected when seeking to find remedies for social ills unless we return to the commands of our Creator. It has been stated in some research that there are about between 300,000 and 1.4m gambling addicts in the UK, but instead of advocating for a complete ban on gambling, some writers suggest that gambling firms should be asked to fund treatment for gambling addicts. Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَمَنۡ أَحۡسَنُ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ حُكۡمً۬ا لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يُوقِنُونَ – And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm]. [Surah Al Maa’idah. Verse 50]
Whoever utilizes sound intellect to examine what the Messengers brought [i.e. the revelation] – what they commanded and guided the people to, such as knowledge and Awareness of Allaah, the worship of Allaah alone, turning to Allaah in repentance and obedience with true Faith (Islamic Monotheism) and the command to fulfil all the rights (of the people) based on courteous good will, perfecting one’s actions (i.e. based on sincerity to Allaah alone) and treating others with kindness (by sincerely seeking to benefit them though one’s knowledge, wealth or position), and that which they (i.e. Messengers) forbade; then thereafter he examines what the Mul’hidoon [i.e. who either deviate from the path of the Messengers completely or to some extent) call to, he will know that good (outcomes), success, sound rectification of the hearts and deeds, (sound rectification of) the worldly affairs and (sound rectification of the religious affairs and their end results in the afterlife) are all in agreement with what the Messengers called to. On the other hand, he will know that the call of the Mul’hidoon is designed to do away with good manners (traits, characteristics etc), whose end result is nothing but complete chaos and a state in which one goes along with lust (or evil desires of the soul) until the animals become more noble and beneficial than humans. This is no doubt their state of affairs – clearly manifested by what they are upon and what they proclaim with their tongues. Among the most amazing of affairs is that many contemporary writers and politicians seek to remedy the many social ills and try to do so do from many angles, however as for the problem related to deviation from Allaah’s revelation and the call of the Messenger -whose surge has carried away the majority of young people, they have not rushed to stop it by returning to sound faith and certainty; rather they have been abandoned to wander blindly in their misguidance and wavering in beguilement, and thus the social ills they seek to remedy gives birth to other social ills- because if the path to remedying social ills is not based on sound faith and religion, they will increase and become worse. (2)
Shaikh Abu Iyaad [may Allaah preseve him] stated, “The wisdom of the Islamic Shariah: Cut off evils and harms to society from their very roots and enjoy the resulting freedom, ease and wholesome life. In contrast: the barbarity and backwardness of commercialising corrosive evils– usurious banking, alcohol, gambling–in order to profit from the masses through affairs in which their ruin and impoverishment lies–and then managing this commercialisation through legislation, policies, guidelines and so on to “limit the harms”. The result? Inescapable enslavement, bondage, disease and ruin of the masses for the enrichment of the few who peddle these vices. Where is the intellect?!” http://www.shariah.ws/articles/suokooj-there-is-no-safe-limit-in-the-consumption-of-alcohol-and-the-prohibition-of-alcohol-in-the-quran.cfm [NB: For a more detailed discussion regarding how Islam robustly prevents all the means to evil, read Al-Fataawaa al-Kubraa (Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah). Vol 6, page 172 onwards, Section 24. Publisher: Daar Al-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah and I’laam Al-Muwaqqi’een (Ibnul Qayyim). Vol 4, page 553 onwards. 1st Edition 1423AH. Publisher: Daar Ibn Al-Jawzee]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Everyone with a bit of (sound) intellect knows that the corruption of the world and its ruin occurs due to giving precedence to opinion over the divine revelation and (evil) desires over sound intellect. These two corrupt motives are not entrenched in a heart except that its destruction becomes inevitable nor in a nation except that its affairs are completely corrupted”. (3)
Allaah [The Most High] said:
أَفَمَنۡ أَسَّسَ بُنۡيَـٰنَهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ تَقۡوَىٰ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرِضۡوَٲنٍ خَيۡرٌ أَم مَّنۡ أَسَّسَ بُنۡيَـٰنَهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ شَفَا جُرُفٍ هَارٍ۬ فَٱنۡہَارَ بِهِۦ فِى نَارِ جَهَنَّمَۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَہۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
Is it then he, who laid the foundation of his building on piety to Allah and His Good Pleasure, better, or he who laid the foundation of his building on an undetermined brink of a precipice ready to crumble down, so that it crumbled to pieces with him into the Fire of Hell. And Allah guides not the people who are the Zaalimoon [wrong doers]. [Soorah At-Tawbah. Verse 109]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Whoever wants his building to be elevated, then it is incumbent upon him to strengthen and fortify its foundation, because the elevation of the building is based on the firmness and fortification of its foundation. Deeds are a building and Eemaan is their foundation. If the foundation is strong, it carries and elevates the building, and if a part of the building is damaged, it is easy for it to bear the [damage]; but if the foundation is not firm, then neither will the building be elevated nor will it be firm. And if something from the foundation is damaged, the building will either collapse or close to that. Therefore, the duty of a knowledgeable person is that he makes the foundation sound and fortified. As for the ignorant person, he elevates [the building] whilst building upon other than a [strong] foundation, so his building does not remain. The foundation of deeds is like the physical strength of a person- if the strength is vigorous, the body will be able to withstand burden and repel many harmful things; but if it is weak, the body’s ability to withstand burden is weakened and harm quickly overcomes the person. Therefore, support your building [i.e. your actions and deeds] with the foundation of sound faith, because if something from the top of your building decays and falls down, then it would be much easier for the [building] to bear [the damage], rather than the destruction of the foundation. This foundation [i.e. sound faith] is based on two affairs: First: sound knowledge and awareness of Allaah, His Commandments, Names and Attributes. Secondly: Complete submission to Allaah alone [i.e. by worshipping Him alone] and [unconditional obedience to] His Messenger alone. This is the firmest foundation upon which the slave establishes his building [i.e. his actions and deeds]. Therefore, one solidifies the foundation, preserves its strength and carries on being enthusiastic, and thus what is desired [i.e. success in this life and the next] will be reached [InShaaAllaah]. (4)
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Adillatul Qawaatiq’ pages 40-41. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 3: A’laam Al-Muwaqqi’een 1/67-69]
[Ref 4: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Fawaa-id: page 154]