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Intoxication is drunkenness. Drunkenness is disparate, and the drunkards are diverse. One is drunk with the wine of the grape, another with the wine of heedlessness, another with love for this world, another with the frivolity of the soul and self-love. This last is the most difficult, for self-love is the basis of idol-worship, the seed of estrangement, the curtain of ill fortune, and the root of every darkness. 

4:43 O you who have faith! Do not approach the prayer when you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying, or defiled—except for travelers on the road—until you have made the full ablution… Surely God is pardoning, forgiving.

When someone is drunk with wine and is fearful and shaking in dread of punishment, the end of his work will be burning in the fire of punishment—if He does not forgive him. But He may indeed forgive him, for He says, “Surely God forgives the sins altogether” [39:53]. When someone is drunk with the soul’s arrogance and with pride and self-worship, his work is in peril. His basis is loss, his deeds damage him, and he dwells in the peril of being led on and deceived and the danger of everlasting separation. Or defiled—except for travelers on the road—until you have made the full ablution. If the religion were based on reasoning, then the greater ablution would be incumbent after urination, and the minor ablution after ejaculation. Urine is impure and semen is pure. With impure urine, the lesser purity is mandatory, but with pure semen the greater purity. This is so that you will know that the religion is founded on the transmitted, not on the rationally derived; on the Book, not on reasoning; on making oneself a servant, not on self-exertion.

The origin of the major ablution is from the era of Adam. When Adam came from paradise to this world, he fell into companionship with Eve. Gabriel came and said, “O Adam, make a full ablution, for God commands you to do so.” Adam obeyed the command and then said, “O Gabriel, what is the reward for this ablution?” Gabriel said, “For every hair on your body, a one-year’s reward will be written for you in the ledger. For every drop of water that passes over your body, God will create an angel that will obey and worship until the Day of Resurrection, and He will give its reward to you.” He said, “O Gabriel, is this for me specifically? Or is it for me and my children generally?”Gabriel said, “It is for you, the faithful, and your children until the resurrection.”

Thus the ablution for defilement was made mandatory in all the shariah of the prophets from the era of Adam until the time of the Master of the World—upon all of them be God’s blessings and peace! One of the imams even said, “The Trust that Adam lifted up, concerning which God said, ‘And man carried it’ [33:72], was the trust of the ablution for defilement.”

Then at the end of the verse, He says, “Surely God is pardoning, forgiving.” God passes over sins, curtains the defects of those who apologize and conceals the offenses of the sighers. The meaning of bringing these two names of pardon and forgiveness in this place is this: “Before I sent the commands and prohibitions I took away whatever you have done up until today, and I have passed over you. My servant, no one’s sin can overcome My solicitude. And who finds My bounty other than the one on whom the sun of solicitude shines? My servant, if you straighten your aim, I am there for you in the road. If you ask forgiveness from Me, I am aware of your heart’s thoughts. I am the forgiver of your offenses and I want good for you. Wherever there is someone with ruined life and destitute days, I buy him. Wherever there is a poor man, wounded by offenses, helpless in the hands of an adversary, I am his Patron! Wherever there is someone weeping in shame, his head bowed because of not having anyone, I am his proof. Wherever there is someone burnt because of having lost his heart, someone in pain from selflessness, I am the happiness of his spirit.”

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