Is alcohol haram?

In my ‘Islam-as I say-tion’ paper, I had written :

‘Most who profess a faith in Islam take the view that consumption of intoxicants per se is a sin. I do not share this view. I am particularly guided by Surah 5 verse 93.

“On those who believe and do good there is no blame for what they eat, when they are careful, believe and do good deeds. God loves those who do good.”

It does not matter that you do not share my understanding of this verse and all of the others that may or may not have a bearing on the issue of consumption of intoxicants. What does warrant constant remembrance is that all of us have been given Divine leave to study the Holy Qur’an and to take such guidance therefrom as we will.  

As always, I am mindful that I could be wrong in my understanding.

I am also mindful of the Divine Command with regard to this difference in understanding.  

Whatever it be on which you differ, the decision is with God. Such is God, my Lord. In Him I trust, and to Him I turn. – Surah 42 verse 10. 

“Shall I seek as my Lord other than God, when He is the Cherisher of all things? Every soul draws the meed of its acts on none but itself. No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another. Your return in the end is to God. He will tell you the truth of the things which you disputed.” – Surah 6 verse 164.

“If they do wrangle with you, say ‘God knows best what you are doing. God will judge between you on the Day of Judgment concerning your differences’”. – Surah 22 verses 68 and 69.

“O God, Creator of the heavens and earth, Knower of all that is open and concealed, it is You that will judge between Your servants in matters on which they differed”. – Surah 39 verse 46 ‘

Thought you might want to read about this ongoing debate on the fatwa on alcohol by Sheikh Qardawi.

 

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Published in: on April 16, 2008 at 12:25 pm  Comments (24)  

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  1. […] Is alcohol haram? “On those who believe and do good there is no blame for what they eat, when they are careful, believe and do good deeds. God loves those who do good.” It does not matter that you do not share my understanding of this verse and all of … […]

  2. Haris,

    “On those who believe and do good there is no blame for what they eat, when they are careful, believe and do good deeds. God loves those who do good.”
    (Al Quran, 5:93)

    By that same token, would it not then also be permissible to consume pork?

    Satya,

    It is not my say-so. You have made this surmise based on the text of 5 : 93, yes?

    ‘…no blame for what they eat, when they are careful, believe and do good deeds. God loves those who do good’.

  3. Haris,

    I looked up some other Quran translations of 5:93. Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s reads:

    “On those who believe and do deeds of righteousness there is no blame for what they ate (in the past) when they…”

    And he offers three possible translations for the rest of the verse. Anyway, he rendered “ate” instead of “eat”. Three other translations also refer to eating in the past tense:

    http://muttaqun.com/quran/e/
    http://www.iiu.edu.my/deed/quran/malay/
    http://soni69.tripod.com/quran.htm

    I confess I have NO knowledge of Arabic or its grammar whatsoever. And it looks like this discussion requires some. But why do you believe this verse speaks of what we eat and not what we ate?

    The past tense translations also seem (to me) more consistent with verses like 2:219, 5:3, and 5:90.

    Satya,

    My friend came back with an additional point to his earlier. Here it is :

    Had God really meant event in the past in 5:93, He would have then added ‘salafa’ to the verse; just like 2:275, 4:22, 4:23, 5:95, 8:38 and others.

    Satya,

    Referred your query to someone who is equipped with the requisite knowledge to answer. He is presently working on his own translation. Here’s the response :

    To be totally accurate to the tenses and grammar, verse 5:93 in my opinion should be translated as follows:-

    “There is no fault upon those who believed and practised the deeds of righteousness regarding what they tasted; when as long as they are conscious and believe and practise the deeds of righteousness, thereafter they are conscious and believe, thereafter they are conscious and do good; and the God loves the good‑doers.”

    In the first part, the word ‘believed’, ‘practised’ and ‘tasted’ are translated in the past tense. However after the word ‘when’ or ‘idzaa’, those same words, i.e., ‘believe’ and ‘practise’ as well as ‘conscious’ (or ‘godfearing’ according to Yusuf Ali) are to be treated as present tense. This is according to the rule of the arabic grammar .

    Still the term ‘alladziina aamanuu’ has always been interpreted by the Qur’an translators to mean ‘those who believe’. It’s the same with ‘amilushshaalihaat’. There are many examples of these, and to cite a few will be 2:25-26, 2:82, 2:212, 2:218, 3:57, 4:57 and a lot of other verses.

    Therefore, if one has to be grammatically accurate as well as consistent in its usage throughout the Qur’an, then we can translate the verse like this:-

    “There is no fault upon those who have believed and practised the deeds of righteousness regarding what they have tasted, when as long as they are conscious and believe and practise the deeds of righteousness, thereafter they are conscious and believe, thereafter they are conscious and do good; and the God loves the good‑doers.”

    Arberry simplifies it and just translated the first part of the verse in the present tense. And I inclined to follow the same step. Therefore, my current final translation for 5:93 reads:-

    “There is no fault upon those who believe and practise the deeds of righteousness regarding what they taste, when as long as they are conscious and believe and practise the deeds of righteousness, thereafter they are conscious and believe, thereafter they are conscious and do good; and the God loves the good‑doers.”

    I hope that’s a help.

  4. Haris,

    5:93 applies only to those who do good AND BELIEVE.
    What do you think about these two verses? :

    7:33
    Say: “But my Lord forbade the enormous/atrocious deeds what is/became visible from it, and what is/was hidden, and the sin/crime, and the oppression/transgression/corruption without the right , and that you share/make partners (with God) what He did not descend with it a proof/evidence , and that you say on (about) God what you do not know.

    2:219 They ask/question you about the intoxicants/substances affecting the brain and the gambling , say: “In them (B) (is a) great sin/crime and benefits/uses to the people and their (B’s) sin/crime (is) bigger/greater from (than) their (B’s) benefit/use, and they ask/question you what they (should) spend, say: “The excess over expense/goodness .” Like that God clarifies for you the signs/verses/evidences, maybe you think.

    Would a believer do something that God prohibited, on purpose, knowingly? Or do these verses only apply to submitters?

    ciliboh,

    I note with interest that you make the distinction between a believer and a submitter. With interest because I too have long noted a distinction.

    Will give some thought to your inquiries and will respond vide a post. Will take some time though, as am presently bogged down with bread and butter issues.

    • ALLAH has said meaninng more or less to Rasullulah (s) that anything that intoxicates a person and makes them unaware of what is happening is harram. as we all know alcohol makes us loose all concious of what is right and wrong. and we are unaware of what we are doing. also at the time when allah revealed that verse, abu bakr may allah be pleased with him waz about to drink alcohol but spit it out right away. is abu bakr not a believer? he most certainly is so in short ALCOHOL IS SURELY HARAM!! if anyone thinks otherwise on the day of jugdment (which is close according to rasullullah which said the time span is of his to fingers and that was 1400 years ago) they can ask ALLAH or INSHALLAH i will remeber to.

      • It is stated in the Qur’ân: “They ask you regarding wine and gambling. Say, in both of them is major sin, and there is some benefit for men, but the sin of them is far greater than benefit ”
        (Surah Baqarah)

      • It is stated in the Qur’ân: “They ask you regarding wine and gambling. Say, in both of them is major sin, and there is some benefit for men, but the sin of them is far greater than benefit ”
        (Surah Baqarah)
        At first, it was forbidden for Muslims to attend to prayers while intoxicated (4:43). Then a later verse was revealed which said that alcohol contains some good and some evil, but the evil is greater than the good (2:219). This was the next step in turning people away from consumption of it. Finally, “intoxicants and games of chance” were called “abominations of Satan’s handiwork,” intended to turn people away from God and forget about prayer, and Muslims were ordered to abstain (5:90-91).

      • IN THE AYAHS BELLOW IT SHOWS ALCOHOL IS HARAM. IN JANNAH THERE WILL BE 4 RIVERS THAT WILL NEVER STOP FOLLOWING 1 WILL BE A NON INTOXICATING WINE. WHY CANT U JUST COLLECT UR DEEDS AND PRAY U WILL GO TO JANNAH THEN DRINK ALL U WANT. TO ME IT IS SAD THAT MUSLIM ADULTS R DEBATING ABOUT IF SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN FORDBIDDDEN IN THE QURAN MANY TIMES IS HARAM OR HALLAL. I AM SAFETY AWARE BUT I WILL SAY I AM YOUNG NOT OVER 15 OR YOUNGER THAN 10 BUT ALLHAMDULILAH I GO TO A ALL GIRLS MUSLIM SCHOOL AND I UNDERSTAND WAT ALLLAH WANTS AND WHAT HE DOES NOT. AND ALHAMDULLILAH I HAVE NEVER THOUGHT ONCE OF DRINKING INTOXICANTS OR COMMIT IDOLTRY. (MASHALLAH). I AM NOT TRYING TO SHOW HOW GOOD I AM FOR THAT WOULD BE A SIN OF TRYING TO MAKE MY SELF HIGH WHEN ONLY ALLAH IS HIGH. I AM ONLY TRYING TO SAY THAT U R MUSLIMS AS TO WAT U SAY AND IF U R ONLY ALLAH NOWS BUT ALL MUSLIMS WILL GO TO JANNAH EVEN IF THEY GO TO HELL (THEY WILL DO PUNISHMENT THEN GO TO JANNAH IF THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO GO TO HELL) AND THEY WILL BE ALLOWED TO DRINK FROM THE WINE RIVERS SO JUST BE PATIENT.( i am the same person from the post above and bellow. under the name of yasmin. 😛 not my real name btw)

      • srry for the miis type i am only the person that goes by the name yasmin

      • O you believe! Intoxicants and gambling, sacrificing to stones, And (divination by) arrows, Are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. Eschew such (abomination), that you may prosper. Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants, And gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: Will you not then abstain ?.

        Alcohol is not haraam. It is forbidden. There is a slight difference, as there are only three things in the Quran that are haraam: The blood of slaughtered animals, the flesh of the pig, and one more which I cannot remember but is haram. Alcohol nonetheless is forbidden, and there is no question on that, as the aiyat above is supported with Hadiths.

  5. My view is that it is not the consumption of alcohol per se that is a sin. It is that, by the consumption of alcohol, one is exposing oneself to the possibility of intoxicated behaviour that could lead one to insult or injure another.

    Sin, as I see it, is anything done that harms another.

  6. it doesn’t matter what your “views” are. the qur’an specifically makes alcohol haram… end of story – and yes, you harm yourself as well as the very fabric of your society by consuming it.

    • i was about to say they same thing. your view is nothing (no offense) ALLAH has said it so it is wat it is. any one who feels one part or even one letter of the quran is not right they are surely not a beleiver and will not be with RASSULULLAH (S) on the day of judgement

      • im sorrying for miss spelling or not proper language i am not as old as ppl who right on this website

  7. dear ammar,

    Which verse(s) are u referring to?Because 2:219 say specifically otherwise ?

    Pls donnot quote the non-specific 4:43.

    U can forget about those satanic BS either.(5:90)

  8. The disputes arises from assumptions and some of these assumption must be view under the light of wisdom.A body is an Alat dream up by GOD and like any piece of equipment have its limitation on the fuel it uses[comsumed]to power its various functions.A diesel engine cannot use gasoline as the fuel is incompatible to its design.However the diesel engine can run on vegetable oil quite well.Depending on the varying design of the piece of equpment,we can identify the envelope of its limitation.
    Now a human body will failed if one consumed poison such as cynide.As for other fuels each have its own tresh hold of tolerence.If one consumed too much of alcohol[over the limit of tolerance which vary with each piece egupment determine by the DNA],it result in drunkeness.One must also understand that when one consume an overdose of plain water[exceeding the design limit of the body]one can die of water poisoning[do consult your doctor friends]

    What is required is that we are intimate with our body equpment and recognise the envelope of limitation which changes as we age[as it is not static]An old engine can run better with a more viscous engine oil.
    An engine may be the heart of the car,but it is not the car without simple items like tyres that shoed it.Likewise the Qu’ran must be read in total and not one single surah over ride the rest.Be Holistic in our understanding and avoid being symtomatic.The content and context are one and indivisible.If any word or sentence is NOT useful in the Qu’ran,it will NOT be in the Qu’ran.If you read differences with its parts,it is a way of telling you,you have not reach complete understanding.If one have the final understanding,there is not the slightest difference even if we want to split hair.

  9. Leaving aside any citigs from Quran and Hadith..the importance of the prohibition of Alcohol can be gauged by the number of verses and Hadith discussing it in a negative way..and while there is none in the world who can claim that Allah will forgive him, even Sahaba would weep as they were not sure whether they will be free from Allah’s wrath..The best way forward is to avoid something which is doubtful to avoid Fitna..If you can’t control your habits better sin away from public eye and not create doubts in the eyes of other believing Muslims and seek, for sinning with yourself, Allah might have mercy on you but when you do so openly or advocate it openly, your sin becomes greater..By your same logic one can eat pork as long as one does so reasonably, and test whether it affects your health or not?

  10. ASSALAMUALIKUM WA REHMATULLAHI WA BARAKATHU:

    ALchahol is haram my friend, period!!! it is forbiddon!! it is in hadith, you have to believe in the Quran and the authentic hadiths!! “some people of my ummah will make lawfull, fornication, alchahol, music” (prphet mohammed pbuh) unfortuntaly i do not remember the refrence of this hadith, but it is a well known one so i hope u will able to find it without difficulty.

    Furthermore intitially alchahol wasn’t haram, the order came during the years of our prophet Mohammed (pbuh) the Quran also tells you to “obey the prophet” on many occasions, so one cannot reject the authentic hadiths (as some modern muslims do), they are gold dusts!. “people will form many diffrent sects in islam based on what they WANT to believe” (or similer)
    you have been informed.. i leave the rest up to you to research, may Allah guide all of us to the right path

  11. After reading the article, I feel that I need more information on the topic. Could you suggest some resources ?

  12. This verse cannot overrise the verse which prohibits Pork. As for alcohol Allah advise to refrain from alcohol.This cannot be taken as haram because Allah also admit there are good and bad and that the bad is more than the good.
    Anyway Islam is not forced upon Muslims or non Muslims.AlQuran 2:256 “There is no compulsion in religion”. Like the TQM(Quality Religion), to have quality you must volunteer to do it. Anything by force is not Quality and not Islam.

    http://warongpakyeh,blogspot.com

  13. Asalaam o alaikum,
    I have read your post with interest as i was researching he word “avoid” in the Quran regarding alcohol, how does one drink alcohol while avoiding it??

    When one’s Nafs is riding rampant, it finds ways to wiggle the word of the Divine to “do what it desires”

    As muslims the more we decide to obey Allah the more closer we get to Him and feel His love……….or we can argue and bring excuses to disobey Him and obey our Nafs and inclinations for the short period in this life. However we will then be distancing ourselves from Him (Subhanawataala) in the Hereafter and will feel the heat of the Fire in the end……..which is it to be?

    It is time for intelligent people to look in the mirror and say “who do I want to obey? Allah Subhanawataala and His Rasool (pbuh) or my base desires?

    Decide for your self and thus decide your consequences too, because they are clearly outlined in Surah Zumar in which as you read, you will find out which group you belong to and where will you end.

    Jazaaik Allah Khair!

  14. The actual translation of the verse is,

    Al-Maeda
    There shall be no sin (imputed) unto those who believe and do good works for what they may have eaten (in the past). So be mindful for your duty (to Allah), and do good works; and again; be mindful your duty, and believe; and once again: be mindful your duty, and do right, Allah loveth the good. (93)

    So you may be forgiven for your past, as long as you do good, brother I have drank a lot in the past and all it has lead to is guilt, and once you feel guilt and regret it means the action done is haram. This is my own view of this topic

  15. The way of Allah is to avoid doubt and proclaim good and refrain oneself and others from evil. Islam is not a private religion as Truth can’t be private and mean one thing for someone and other for others. Islam asks for preparing for your true life and not the life of trials of this world and avoiding alcohol is one of the little things that you can do for that.

  16. theres no point in twisting translations to suit ones desires. you should believe in whats right, not in what you WANT to believe. deep down, surely, one will know his true intentions. DO NOT FOLLOW WHAT THIS BLOG POST SAYS and whoever wrote this, please dont mislead others with your “translations”.


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