Prohibition of Khamr in Islam:
Intoxicants as Root of Evil
(Which leads to other Evils)
[And how to combat and cure addiction]
تحريم الخمر في الإسلام:
شرور الخمر لانها أم الخبائث
وكيف تعالج إدمانها
Compiled by Abu Salman, Deya-ud-Deen Eberle
أبو ســـــــلمان ضياء الدين ابرلي
[Asking Allah for His Mercy and Forgiveness]
Send any comments to:
Internet version with Arabic
Dedicated To The Youth,
Who are the strength of a nation.
Their success is the future success of the nation.
Their failure is the future failure of the nation.
Table of Contents
- Khamr and related terms in Arabic language, Qur’anic and Islamic usage
- Details of Fiqh (Jurisprudence) of the Prohibition of Intoxicants
- AYYAT OF THE QUR’AN and some commentary
- HADITH OF THE SUNNAH and some commentary
- Note on tobacco use
“…كل مسكر حرام.”
“…Everything that intoxicates is forbidden.”
“الخمر أم الخبائث.”
“Khamr is the “mother” (or root) of vile impurities.”
(i.e. wine and intoxicating substances are a root of corrupted, filthy
and shameful evils.)”
“الخمر أم الفواحش…”
“Khamr is the “mother” (or root) of vice and vile and monstrous deeds…”
“…لا تشرب الخمر فإنها مفتاح كل شر.”
“Do not drink Khamr since it is the key that opens up all evil.”
[NOTE that Khamr is wine and all intoxicants]
أحاديث رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم
Traditions of the Messenger of Allah
May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him and his family
Forth coming (insha-Allah: God willing)
Excerpt from pages 3-11
(Scroll down to bottom of page for footnotes)
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
إن الحمد لله نحمده ونستعينه ونستهديه ونستغفره، ونعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهده الله فلا مضل له، ومن يُضلل فلا هادي له . وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله
يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتقوا الله حق تُقاته ولا تموتنَّ إلا وأنتم مسلمون
يا أيها الناس اتقوا ربكم الذي خلقكم من نفسٍ واحدةٍ وخلق منها زوجها وبثَّ منهما رجالاً كثيراً ونساءً واتقوا الله الذي تساءلون به والأرحام إن الله كان عليكم رقيباً
يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولاً سديداً . يُصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم ومن يُطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزاً عظيماً
أما بعد: فإنَّ أصدقَ الحديثِ كتابُ الله، وخيرَ الهدي هديُ محمدٍ صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وشر الأمور مُحدثاتها، وكل محدثة بدعة، وكل بدعةٍ ضلالة، وكل ضلالة في النار
Indeed, all praise belongs to Allah. We praise Him, seek His Aid and His Forgiveness and we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of ourselves and from the evil of our actions. Whomsoever Allah guides, none can misguide, and whomsoever Allah leaves unguided none can guide thereafter. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah (nothing has the right to be worshipped except Him), who is alone without partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
“O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except that you are Muslims.” [Aal-i-'Imran 3:102]
“O Mankind! Fear your Lord, Who created you from a single soul (Adam) and from him created his partner (Hawwa, Eve) and from them both sent forth and scattered many men and women. So fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual rights and by the reverence of the wombs that bore you. For Allah is ever watchful over you.” [Nisa' 4:l]
“O you who believe! Fear Allah and say a truthful word. He will direct you to do righteous actions and will forgive your sins. Whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has already attained the highest success.”[Ahzab 33:70-71]
To proceed: Indeed the best speech is the Book of Allah and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him. The worst of affairs are the invented matters, for every invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in Hellfire.
Perhaps no other evil is as universally recognized for its destructive consequences as intoxicants are for mankind. Yet man stubbornly persists. He continues because: it feels good; it’s fun to party; it exhilarates; it helps loosen up inhibitions and bring one out of the shell; it gives hours of soothing stupor and numbness to escape from harsh realities; it’s profitable for the makers and sellers, and so on and on (or so they all think).
The mind of man, his power of reason, discretion and intelligence, is what separates him from the brute animals. A child only becomes a responsible person once he or she reaches the age of discretion and the full use of a matured mind. To waste or harm the mind is ungratefulness to the Creator, wanton self-destruction, and often leads to the criminal abuse of others. Man’s natural inclination towards the good, and to the guidance of what is better, morally right and just, is what distinguishes him from the Shayaateen (devils) of the Jinn. The Shayaateen of the Jinn are our mortal enemies who have chosen disobedience and rebellion against their One Creator, Lord, Benefactor and Most Merciful, against their own well-being and better judgment. They use all means to entrap man to come along with them in idolatry, ungratefulness and wickedness, and lead him to the similar destruction for which they are headed. “Khamr” is one of their main weapons.
In the Bible, which the Jews and Christians hold as their sacred divine revelations, we read that the priests were forbidden wine. There are many other statements of condemnation in their scriptures:
“And the LORD spoke unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations” [Leviticus 10:8-10]
It is reported that Solomon (Sulaiman, may the peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” [Proverbs 20:1]
“Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again. [Proverbs 23:29-35]
“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.” [Proverbs 31:4-8]
And we read in their prophetic books: “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflames them! And the harp, and the viol, the tabret and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.” [Isaiah5:11-12]
And in Hosea we read him say: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children … [until he says] … “Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart. [Hosea 4:11]
And in the New Testament of the Christians, the direct command is written:
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” [1Corinthians 6:9-10]
And also: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; [Ephesians 5:18]
It should be noted that there are significant similarities and dissimilarities between these scriptures and the scriptures of Islam in the Qur’an and Sunnah, for those who observe and scrutinize, and who reflect and understand.
The Almighty Allah, Most Exalted, Beneficent, Just and Wise, prohibited all intoxicants in the Islamic Law, knowing well that this scourge would increase to epidemic proportions and become the root of much evil as we witness all over the world today.
In a hadith (tradition) the Messenger of Allah, may the of peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, informed us about the signs of the nearness of the Resurrection Day:
“أن من أشراط الساعة أن يرفع العلم، ويكثر الجهل، ويكثر الزنا، ويكثر شرب الخمر…” [رواه البخاري و مسلم وغيرهم]
“Verily, of the signs of the last days is the raising up (removal) of knowledge, the increase of ignorance (especially of the religion of Islam), much fornication and adultery, and abundance of drinking alcohol (and taking intoxicants)….” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim, and others]
Referring to the fact that with the passage of time this evil will increase to the extent where it will even become legalized, the Messenger of Allah said, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him:
“ليكونن من أمتي أقوام يستحلون الحر والحرير والخمر والمعازف …” [رواه البخاري وغيره]
“There will be some sections of my nation who will make fornication (and adultery), silk (for men), wine (and intoxicants), and musical instruments legal …” [Reported by Bukhari by a suspended narration, and confirmed as sound and authentic by him and many others, with correct chain of narrators]
And in another narration he said: may Allah’s peace be upon him:
“ليستحلن طائقة من أمتي الخمر باسم يسمونها إياه.” [رواه النسائي و ابن ماجة]
“There will be some of my nation who will make wine (and intoxicants) legal by calling it by a name they will attach to it.” [Reported by Ahmad and an-Nisa`e and verified by al-Albani]
And he also said, may Allah’s peace be upon him:
“ليشربن أناس من أمتي الخمر، يسمونها بغير اسمها، ويضرب على رؤوسهم بالمعازف و القينات، يخسف الله بهم الأرض، و يجعل منهم قردة وخنازير.” [رواه أبو داود وابن ماجة]
“There will be a people of my nation who will drink wine by naming it other than its name, and there will be musical instruments and female singers playing around their heads. Allah will make the earth to swallow them up. Some of them will be made (transformed miraculously) into monkeys and pigs.” [Reported by Abi Da`ood, Ibn Majah and others and verified by al-Albani]
If we understand the meaning of “Khamr” as an intoxicant or addicting material, and not only as “wine” as some mistakenly understood, then we can easily see that this has occurred. Many countries have legalized many intoxicants and they flow in their hotels and sanctioned bars. Often this kind or that kind of intoxicants as deemed “OK” and “Halal” with some arguing that ‘it’s not really ‘Khamr.’ One noteworthy story was of the Imam of a Masjid and his buddies, who would smoke marijuana somewhere on the premises of the Masjid compound, and then come for congregational Salah (prayer). Once he took a long time in his Sajdah (prostration) until they wondered what kind of amazingly long and pious Dua (supplication) was he making…. until they found that he had passed out!
This state of affairs -of rampant falsehood, disbelief, debauchery, and immorality- in our latter days, is similar in some ways to the state of the pagan Arabs in their period of ignorance before Islam. They loved intoxicants -and that which came with it like partying, playing music and fornication – with such a proverbial love that often a work of spoken art, their pre-eminent form of art and pride, was only considered complete by first singing and reciting the praises of wine in the song, poetry or eulogy.
Yet some of these pagan Arabs realized the evil of drinking and addiction, and spread the news of its multifold harms, as the poet Tarfah ibn al-Abd (طرفة بن العبد) said in his famous Mu’alliqah (Attached to K’abah) poem — even though he was one of the promoters of alcohol and wine:
وما زال تشرابي الخمور ولذتي
وبيعي وإتلافي طريفي ومتلدي
إلى أن تحامتني العشيرة كلها
وأفردت إفراد البعير المعبد
And my drinking of wine and pleasure has not ceased,
And my buying, and my wreckage of my humor and my argumentation,
Until my relatives all had forsaken me,
And I was alone, like a subdued camel, abandoned.
And many of them even made wine forbidden on themselves, and praised the prohibition in poetry, as the poet Qais ibn Asim (قيس بن عاصم المنقري) said:
|لعمرك إن الخمر ما دمت شارباًً||لسالبةٍ مالي ومذهبةٍ عقلي|
|وتاركتي من الضعاف قواهم||ومورثتي حرب الصديق بلا نبل|
By your life, as long as wine is consumed,
It will devour my wealth and the soundness of my mind,
It will destroy the strength of the feeble and weak
And bequeath to me, without honor, the enmity of my best friend.
It is reported that Qais came to the Prophet, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, and accepted Islam and the Prophet, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said of him:
“هذا سيد أهل الوبر.” [رواه البخاري في أدب المفرد]
“This is the leader of the inhabitant of tents (the Bedouins).” [Reported by Bukhari in Adab al-Mufrid, and verified by Ibn Hajar and al-Albani]
Allah the Almighty and His Messenger, peace be upon him, eradicated from this decadent cultural and social environment, the widespread drinking of wine and intoxicating beverages, which is a truly astounding accomplishment considering the level of which they were enamored with drink and drunken pastimes. How could they now resist its temptation, and the challenge of the fun seekers, urging them to come and join the party? It was only accomplished by a monumental and grand “paradigm” shift in the society, away from past polytheism, idolatry and drinking habits, towards true monotheistic faith, sobriety, and the highest moral standards. They believed in and practiced the divine guidance and revelations of Allah and His Messenger, revealed in the Book of Allah, the Qur’an, and divinely inspired statements and traditions of the Prophet’s Sunnah. This was the key of the paradigm shift; just as the key that had opened the door to debauchery was intoxication and drunkenness.
Below we will present some of the many Ayaat (verses) from the Qur’an, the Book of Allah, and the Hadith (traditions) from the Sunnah (Way) of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him, about the evils of intoxicants and drugs, their prohibition, the terrible prescribed punishments for those that indulge themselves into them, and the deterrents to cure the society from this festering disease.
I remain indebted to all those who have helped in the preparation of this work, especially Um Salamn for her continuing in depth review and scrutiny, and brothers Tariq, Gaysi, Danish, and the brothers of Islamhouse.com, for their comments for improvements.
Abu Salman, Deya-ud-Deen Eberle
أبو ســـــــلمان ضياء الدين ابرلي
Khamr and related terms in Arabic Language,
And Qur’anic and Islamic Usage
Know, may Allah guide and have mercy upon you and us, that all intoxicants are prohibited because “Khamr” (الخمر) is not only wine, beer, “hard” cider, “hard” liquor and alcoholic beverages, as some mistakenly think, but all that which intoxicates and alters the mind. Thus the prohibition includes narcotics, heroin and derivatives like “meth,” all “recreational” drugs, stimulants, depressants, barbiturates, marijuana, hashish, cocaine and derivatives like “crack” etc, all the psychedelic drugs that cause illusions and hallucinations, like peyote and LSD, emotion altering drugs like “ecstasy,” etc, and all their derivatives and likes, in the various societies around the world. The issue is not the actual substance, but the substance use and abuse causing intoxication. Thus paint thinner, glue, etc and all those foolish toxins and things sniffed or snorted are also included, as well as anything shot into the vein by needles or any other method of ingestion onto the body.
The three letter Arabic root of Khamr is from (خ م ر) [KH-M-R] and means to cover. Usages of the word include, for example, the Prophet, peace be upon him, orders to:
“خمروا الآنية وأوكئوا الأسقية وأجيفوا الأبواب واكفتوا صبيانكم عند المساء فإن للجن انتشارا”[رواه البخاري]
“Cover (Khammaru) your utensils and tighten the string on your pouches and secure the doors and hold back your children in the evening because the Jinns spread out.” [Reported by Bukhari]
The Commander of the faithful Umar ibn al-Khattab al-Farooq, the second Khalifa (Caliph), may Allah be pleased with him, said:
“…والخمر ما خامر العقل…” [رواه البخاري وغيره]
“al-Khamr ma Khaamar-al-‘Aql (i.e. Khamr is that which covers the mind, [or clouds and befogs the intelligence]).” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others]
The word Khamara means to cover, and for this reason a woman’s head covering is called a Khimar. A “Khamrah” is a little rug or matt.
Khamr can be defined as all intoxicants that “cover,” cloud and intoxicate the mind, and not just wine, as will be further proved by ample evidence below.
The Arabic word Sakara (سكر) and Sakraan (سكران) singular for Sukaara (سكارى) indicates intoxication and drunkenness. In the following verse Allah mentioned the state of extreme agitation when the Hour of Resurrection approaches.
يأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَيْءٌ عَظِيمٌ () يَوْمَ تَرَوْنَهَا تَذْهَلُ كُلُّ مُرْضِعَةٍ عَمَّا أَرْضَعَتْ وَتَضَعُ كُلُّ ذَاتِ حَمْلٍ حَمْلَهَا وَتَرَى النَّاسَ سُكَارَى وَمَا هُم بِسُكَارَى وَلَكِنَّ عَذَابَ اللَّهِ شَدِيدٌ ﴾
“O mankind! Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (of Judgment) is a terrible thing. The Day you shall see it, every nursing mother will forget her suckling, and every pregnant mother will drop her unborn, and you shall see mankind as in a drunken state, yet they will not be intoxicated, but severe indeed will be the Torment of Allah.” [22:2-3]
As all linguists know the word “alcohol” in English now called al-Kuhool (الكحول) by the Arabs is derived from “Kuhul” or “Kohl” which is a powder of antimony, used for the eyes as medicine or cosmetic, and was prepared by a distillation and fermentation method, which was originally introduced to Europe by the Muslims of Andalusia (Muslim Spain). The same chemical distilling process was then used in preparation of alcohol and intoxicants.
The word “Ghoul” (غَوْل) with the plural al-Aghwaal (الأغوال) and al-Ghaulaat (الغولات) is from the root GH-A-L- which means to assassinate and destroy someone. The infamous Ghuul غُول)) are the Jinni, demons and evil spirits of the deserts etc, being called so since they bring evil and destruction to a person. “Al-Ghoul’s” association with the chemical combination we call alcohol is easily understood.
Nazafa (نزف) means to exhaust, drain and bleed, and its association with intoxication medically is well known since the intoxicating substances abused are actually poisons (toxins) that cause psychological and physical damage to the brain, liver, heart, etc. Nazafa is also another word for intoxication.
Nabeeth (نبيذ ) is what is left in water to become a drink, with or without fermentation, like fruit juices, grains, honey and sugar mixtures etc. Thus Nabeeth can be legal or illegal depending on whether it has become “sour” by fermentation and become intoxicating or not.
There are many different types of intoxicants, with various names and assorted containers from the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and more were added as the Sahabah traveled to different lands but it would be very lengthy and strenuous process to mentioned them all, as it would be to mention all the words associated with intoxication. What has proceeded will suffice us here, and other words will be defined as they occur.
Details of Fiqh (Jurisprudence) of the
Prohibition of Intoxicants
Introduction to the Subject
A general principle in Islam is that it is not allowed to harm yourself or others intentionally. This is mentioned repeatedly in the Qur’an, and reported in the sayings of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him:
We are commanded not to harm ourselves:
﴿ وَلاَ تَقْتُلُواْ أَنفُسَكُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ بِكُمْ رَحِيمًا ﴾
“…and do not kill yourselves, verily Allah is most merciful to you.” [4:29]
And the Most Exalted said:
﴿ وَلاَ تُلْقُواْ بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ ﴾
“…and do not throw yourselves by your own hands to destruction…” [2:195]
We are commanded to take of the pure, wholesome and legal food and drink that Allah in His Mercy and Bounty has provided us and abstain from all the harmful, corrupt, unclean, and filthy. One of the general principles of Islam is that all that is good, pure and beneficial is allowed, and all that is evil, filthy, unclean and harmful is forbidden.
As Allah the Sublime says:
﴿ الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الرَّسُولَ النَّبِيَّ الأُمِّيَّ الَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُ مَكْتُوبًا عِندَهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالإِنْجِيلِ يَأْمُرُهُم بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَآئِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالأَغْلاَلَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ … ﴾
“Those who follow the Messenger, the Illiterate Prophet, about whom they find written (and prophesized about) in the Torah and Gospel, who commands good and forbids evil, he makes the pure and good food legal for them and the corrupt and bad illegal, and he removes the burden of yokes that was upon them….” [7:157]
And as the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:
“لا ضرر و لا ضرار.” [رواه أحمد و الدارقطني]
“Do not harm yourself nor others.” [Reported by Ahmad, ad-Darqutni, and Ibn Majah, and verified by an-Nawawi and al-Albani]
Since intoxicating and addicting substances are harmful to self and others, not only that they are illegal for oneself but also to give, sell, produce or transport for others is prohibited.
عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : “إن الله تعـالى طيب لا يقبل إلا طيباً، وإن الله أمر المؤمنين بما أمر به المرسلين فقال تعالى: “ يا أيها الرسل كلوا من الطيبات واعملوا صالحا “ وقال تعالى: “يا أيها الذين آمنوا كلوا من طيبات ما رزقناكم “ ثم ذكر الرجل يطيل السفر أشعث أغبر يمد يديه إلى السماء: يا ربِّ يا ربِّ، ومطعمه حرام، ومشربه حرام، وملبسه حرام، وغذي بالحرام، فأنى يستجاب له؟” [رواه مسلم]
“Allah is good and pure and accepts only what is good and pure, and He has given the same command to the believers as He has given to the messengers, saying, “O messengers, eat of what good and pure and act righteously” [23:51] and also, “You who believe, eat of the good and pure things which We have provided for you” [2:172]. Then he mentioned a man who makes a long journey in a disheveled and dusty state, who stretches out his hands to the sky, saying: My Lord, my Lord, when his food, drink and clothing are of an unlawful nature, and he is nourished by what is unlawful. How can such a one be given an answer?” [Reported by Muslim]
The mind and ability to reason is an essential human necessity that distinguishes humans from animals and demonic maniacs. For the protection and development of the mind Islam obligated beneficial education on all Muslims and prohibited all intoxicants.