It is a general assumption that Muslims can not drink alcohol. Not that all believers of Islam go through life sober, but still it’s considered a sin to have a beer. Well, we did a lot of research and in this story we will explain to you why this assumption is wrong. Muslims are indeed allowed to drink. Wine is even glorified in their holy book the Quran and the prophet Muhammad himself drank too. We hope that soon everywhere in the Middle East the sounds of glasses bashing into eachother will replace those of gunshots. Here we go…
The first thing we need to do is to establish that drinking alcohol is not prohibited by the Quran as is claimed by many. There are three passages that hint in this direction. However not in a single occasion it is called haraam, or forbidden by God, like pork meat for example. Here are the three passages:
Quran 2:219 “They ask you concerning alcoholic drinks and games of chance. Say: in them are harm and goods for men, but their harms exeeds their good effects.”
Quran 4:43 “Do not approach prayers while you are drunk.”
Quran 5:90 “O you who believe! Intoxications and gambling, (dedication of) stones and (divination by) arrows are an abomination of Satan’s handwork: so avoid it that you may prosper.”
Yes, alcohol is not being encouraged here. Although it is said that there are good sides to it, the emphasis is on the bad effects. Still it seems more like an advice not to drink as long as you don’t do your prayers drunk. We understand that talking to God with a double tongue is probably not the greatest idea, but as long as you keep that in mind there isn’t a good reason to chose for abstinence.
Now that we established that let’s check out another passage from the Quran that speaks of alcohol:
Quran 16.67 “And of the fruits of the date palms and the grapes, you obtain alcoholic drinks and goods. Verily in that is a sign for a people who use their understanding.”
In this verse without a doubt is said that God bestowed grapes and dates upon people, so they can make alcoholic drinks from them. That’s right, wine making is encouraged here.
Since we know for sure now that alcohol was not prohibited, but even encouraged, it’s interesting to see how the prophet Muhammad handled his liquor. There are plenty of examples in the Hadiths (tales about Muhammad’s life that are used to understand the meaning of the Quran) that prove he indeed drank alcohol. Here is the most interesting one:
Muslim 3753 “We were with the prophet of Allah and he was thirsty. And a man said: ‘O prophet of Allah, do you want to drink wine?’ Prophet of Allah said: ‘Yes’. The man went to get the wine. The prophet of Allah said: ‘Make it intoxicated’. And he drank.”
Because the Arabian word that was used ‘nabeed’ can also mean alcohol free wine, the addition by the prophet that is must be intoxicated is a very valuable one. There are plenty more passages where Muhammad is drinking wine, both in the morning and in the evening. In many cases the Islamic opponents of alcohol can hide behind the double meaning of the word ‘nabeed’, but in the last habith the Arabic word ‘khamra’ is used, which means alcohol.
And actually Muhammad wasn’t the only one drinking, so did his companions. Anas Bin Malek serves alcohol in Muslim 23, 4884 and 4886. The Mujahedeen drank it in the Battle of Uhud and the prophet’s uncle Hamza even got drunk. When he did, Hamza got mad and Muhammad was scared. This was probably one of the reasons for him to disencourage people to drink too much. There’s also a tale that angels from Allah get drunk and kill a child. Another indication that bad stuff comes from drinking of course.
Still the conclusion must be that although moderation of alcohol is encouraged in Islam, it is absolutely not prohibited. The Quran states nowhere that it is haraam or sinful. The prophet Muhhamad himself that is a role-model for Muslims himself drank wine, just like his companions and Jesus, who in Islam is also considered a prophet. Now that’s one less reason to fight between religions and one more reason to celebrate. Nice to know with the Sugar Feast coming up this week too. So to finish in Arabic: besaha!
Here’s another interesting article on the subject by Mesbahuddin Faruq from the Islamic site free-minds.org.
Related posts on Lords of the Drinks:
Taking it up with the super religious freaks (versus Christians who claim it’s a sin to drink)