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Islam and Alcohol - Is Alcohol Unclean?
Islam and alcohol

Alcohol law and its understanding is still a subject of great controversy in society. Some scholars believe that alcohol is considered unclean. Then what is the opinion on alcohol in Islam?

Before continuing with the discussion, we need to talk a little about the meaning of alcohol. Alcohol in Arabic is al-kul or al-kuhul. Alcohol is defined as a colorless, volatile, and flammable liquid. It is widely used in industry and medicine and is an intoxicating ingredient in most spirits. Alcohol can be produced through fermentation, distillation, and industrial processes that contain various carbon-containing substances (such as melase, cane sugar, and fruit juice).

Alcohol and Islam - history

Regarding hamr, Muslims agree that drinking hamr is haram based on the word of Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala. Alcohol and Islam are one of the most confusing problems in the history of our civilization. Alcohol is not an unclean thing. Therefore, when alcohol is used for useful things, such as medicine, mixing perfume, etc., then it is not prohibited because there is no illat, the prohibition of alcohol itself, solely intoxication. Essentially, alcohol is not unclean, although alcohol can become haram if misused in a drink that can be intoxicating. However, this prohibition is due to its intoxicating effect and not due to the admixture of alcohol.

The Islamic ban on alcohol is based on the Quran. However, in the scriptures of Islam, there are very different views on alcohol.

  • Sura 16 says, "And we give you some fruits of palms and vines, from which you can make a drink and get a good livelihood." In other words, an intoxicating drink made from wine or dates is a blessing that God gives to people, Islamic scholars say.

  • Another example can be found in Sura 4: "O you believers, do not come to prayer when you are drunk until you know what you are saying again."

  • Sura 5 says: “Wine, gambling, sacrificial stones, arrows for the lottery are an abomination and the work of the devil. Avoid it so that everything goes well. "

Wine consumption in Muslim countries has clearly been declining since the 13th century. But at the same time, other intoxicants such as hashish and opium have become more prominent. “This is not in the Quran,” the scholars emphasize. “Hashish doesn't exist. This is a plant. Plants are allowed. But while the Hanbali Law School in the Arabian Peninsula interpreted the ban as a strict ban on alcohol, the Hanafis were more liberal. Not only wine, but also aniseed schnapps was widespread between Istanbul, Damascus and Persia until the 19th century: “There were periods, especially during the Ottoman rule, when there was a lot of booze in the courts of Istanbul.

About the dangers of alcohol

Alcohol is harmful to the health of a Muslim, and alcoholism is a serious disease that is difficult to treat. As a result, alcoholism leads to death. This disease is facilitated by various problems that develop against the background of uncontrolled use of alcoholic beverages. We are talking about liver diseases, heart disorders, disorders of the nervous system, as well as problems with the lungs, stomach, and renal dysfunction. The social life of a person who often drinks alcohol is full of misfortunes and problems. Such people always have problems in their personal lives, they often commit crimes, end their lives in prison.

Do Muslims drink alcohol?

The majority of Muslims officially adopt a strict interpretation of the Quran: alcohol is the substance of the devil. The fatwa, an Islamic legal opinion, even required to clarify whether a Muslim could brush his teeth with a cream containing traces of alcohol. There is also a heated debate about the use of essential drugs containing alcohol. Interestingly, godly people also reject such substances, although there are enough legal opinions that they should be taken even in this case.

After the death of the Prophet Muhammad, alcohol was at times socially acceptable in Islamic countries. Today, alcohol is prohibited for many devout Muslims. But many young Muslims are not so strict about banning alcohol. Interestingly, among all the prohibitions in Islam, it is among young people that the prohibition of pork is most observed, but alcohol is consumed. Even in strictly religious countries, many Muslims cannot resist the temptation: “There are countries where alcohol is prohibited, for example, in Saudi Arabia, but then they fly to Paris and drink alcohol there.

In Iran, repeated use of alcohol continues to face the death penalty. However, scientists look at this much more philosophically. They believe that even those who have stumbled will not go to hell: “Because everyone sins. In Islam, if someone commits a sin and recognizes it as a sin,remains a Muslim.

Wine and other alcohol

Opponents of the prohibition argue that other alcoholic beverages are not mentioned in the Quran and hadith besides wine, so they can be consumed. Supporters refer to a hadith from a Muslim compilation that says that “every drug is hamr. Over the centuries, Muslims have reacted differently to this prohibition. At the beginning of Islam, it was adhered to very scrupulously, but later it began to be ignored. The wine was served at the courts of Muslim rulers - especially from the 8th to 10th centuries, in the last period of the Umayyad rule and the first centuries of the Abbasid dynasty. Medieval Muslim physicians also used wine for medicinal purposes. The alcoholic beverage has also been the subject of poetry.

From an eschatological point of view, wine has the properties of a spiritual substance. The Quran assures Muslims that there are streams in the Gardens of Eden filled with this drink. Abstinence on earth pays off to enjoy it in the future. One hadith also says that those who break the law will not share in the joy of drinking the heavenly drink.

Strict laws on alcohol consumption in Muslim countries

On the one hand, modern Muslims place a strong emphasis on complete abstinence from alcohol, thereby demonstrating their difference from non-Muslim practices. On the other hand, there are more and more young Muslim drug users, especially in Europe and the United States of America. Among Muslims living in the West today, there are doubts about whether they are allowed to work in places where alcohol is produced, sold, and served, such as vineyards, liquor stores, bars, and restaurants. Another problem for them is accepting invitations to dinner, during which alcohol is served.

In some Muslim countries such as Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan, civil law regulates the import and sale of alcohol, but alcohol consumption is permitted. In contrast, in countries where Islamic law is in force, the absolute prohibition on alcohol applies to Muslims and non-Muslims. For example, Saudi Arabia introduced such a ban for followers of Islam in 1929 and non-Muslims in 1952. In Libya, the ban has been in effect since 1971, in Sudan since 1983. Similar bans were introduced in the early 1980s in Iran and Pakistan, and partially in Malaysia in the 1990s. In addition, a global ban on alcohol is required by Muslim organizations and Islamic fundamentalist movements worldwide.

Today wine has become synonymous with alcohol, and abstinence from alcoholic beverages has become a symbol of Muslim identity.