Alcoholic Drinks are Prohibited
(Friday Speech was delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at Islamic Center of Raleigh, N. C. in 1988)
Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat Al-Ma’idah, (verse 90&91), what can be translated as, "O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam, are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. Satan 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 prayer, So, will you not then abstain?"
Before Islam people used to drink wine and gamble. This situation continued till the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) migrated to Madinah. Then the questions from the Muslims increased asking about the rule of Allah about drinking alcohol and gambling because of what they saw from their harm. According to this Allah (S.W.T.) revealed (verse 219) in surat Al-Baqarah, what can be translated as, "They ask you (O Muhammad) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for people, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit."
Drinking alcohol and gambling are great sins, because of the financial, social and religious harms. Besides this, they have some financial benefits. This means the profit due to selling alcohol and earning money without work in gambling. In spite of this their harm is more than their benefits. This first stage was toward prohibition but not absolute. The next stage was prohibiting drinking alcohol before salah (prayer). This prohibiting was done with the people gradually because they used to drink a lot till it became part of their life.
Allah said in surat An-Nisa’(verses 43), what can be translated as, "O you who believe! Do not approach prayer when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning) of what you utter." Some Muslims said we could drink not in the time of salah (prayer) and stay at our houses. Others said there is no good in a thing, which stops us from praying with Muslims.
Then the (verse 90) from surat Al-Ma’idah revealed what can be translated as, "O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam, are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful."
This verse is speaking about four things, which are prohibited, and they are from the deeds of Satan:
- Azlam, were wooden pieces used by the idolaters for seeking luck or in making decision, existed with the servants of the idols around the Ka’bah.
- Ansab, which are stones that were put beside the idols to slaughter the Sacrifices.
- Al-Mayser is gambling.
- Al-Khamr is liquids prepared by fermenting some grains or fruits so the starch or sugar will become Alcohol. Which include all kinds of alcoholic drinks.
It is called "khamr" in Arabic because it is makes a shield around the mind and spoils its sense.
According to this definition anything that will cause one to get intoxicated is considered "Khamr" no matter what is the material from which it is extracted like grapes, dates, wheat, oats and so on.
Many traditions on these issues were reported with no doubt in them:
Imams Muslim, Ahmed and Abu-Dawood reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, "Every thing that causes one to get intoxicated is Khamr and every Khamr is prohibited."
Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that Omar (R.A.) said in one of his speech: "O people, prohibition of "Al-Khamr" is revealed and they are five things: grape, honey, wheat, and oat and Al-Khamr is what causes the mind to get intoxicated." He said that in the presence of the companions and no one objected, which means their consensus.
Imam Muslim reported that a man from Yaman asked the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) about a liquid they drank in their place and it was from corn called "Almazr" then the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "Does it cause one to get intoxicated?" The man said, Yes. Then the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Every thing that causes intoxication is prohibited, and Allah promises that whoever drinks alcoholic beverages will drink from the sweating of the people of the Hell Fire."
The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) told us that Iman "faith" and drinking alcohol cannot be together. Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, "...And a person, at the time of drinking an alcoholic beverage is not a believer..."
Islam prohibited either small or large amounts of alcoholic drinks. Imams Ahmed, Abou-Dawood and At-Termizi reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, "If a large amount of a thing intoxicates, then a small amount of it is forbidden."
Islam also prohibited one to trade all kinds of alcoholic drinks even with non- Muslims. The Muslim should not work as importer or exporter to all kinds of alcoholic drinks or an owner of shop selling all kinds of alcoholic drinks or a worker in a shop in which he sells any kinds of alcoholic drinks. Imam Bukhari reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, "I have prohibited trading in Al-Khamr." Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said in the year of the conquest when he was in Makkah, "Allah and His Messenger have forbidden the sale of alcoholic drinks, dead animals, swine and idols."
Imams At-Tirmizi and Ibn Majah reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.)"Had cursed ten kinds of people regarding alcoholic drinks: The person preparing it and the person who asked for it to be prepared for him/her, the person who drinks, the person who carries it, the person to whom it will be carried, the person who pours it in glasses to let the people drink, the seller, the person who benefit from its money, the person who buys it, and the person to whom it will be bought."
Islam ordered all Muslims to be away from the places, in which alcoholic drinks are served and not to sit with people who drink. Imams Ahmed and At-Tirmizi reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Day of Judgement must not sit at a table in which the alcoholic drink have been served."
Islam also prohibited to make or to use "Al-Khamr" as a medicine. Imams Muslim, Ahmad, Abou Dawood, and At-Tirmizi reported that a man asked the prophet (S.A.W.), "He said: I prepared "Al-Hkamr" to be used as medicine. The prophet (S.A.W.) said, "No, it is not a medicine, it is a disease." Muslims should be careful because some medicines, which are used nowadays, have a certain percentage of alcohol as a solvent, and the Muslim must not use them, especially if there is an alternative.
All that was mentioned before from the rules of prohibiting alcoholic drinks are applicable to all kinds of drugs and Hashish, which harm the body and the mind. Muslim scholars agree on the opinion that illicit drugs are prohibited. One of them is Imam Ibn Taymyyh who said, "This solid Hashish is prohibited if it causes one to get drunk or not, because it spoils the mind, and it came to the Muslims from Tatar when they invaded the Muslim land." There is a general rule in the Islamic law that says, "Any thing that harms the body or the mind in its eating, drinking or using is prohibited.