In the name of Allah The Source of Mercy, the All Merciful
Article prepared by Keysar Trad for and on behalf of The Islamic Council of New South Wales (June 1996).
The word commonly used in Islamic lexicology for intoxicants is Khamr, the root meaning of the word is to
cover up, as in the word Khamara (covered), or Khimar (The veil worn by a woman to cover her hair). In
the context, it is regarded as a substance which clouds the intellect, or covers the brain. The other derived
meaning refers to fermentation, or similar processes which produce intoxicants. You could translate it as
mind altering substances, or intoxicants.
Khamr and intoxicants are mentioned in the Qur`an a number of times, chronologically, the following
verses express how it came to be prohibited to the extent that every Muslim is today aware of its
"They ask you concerning Khamr and gambling, say: In them is a great harm and benefits to people, but
their harm is bigger than their benefits." The Noble Qur`an Sura 2 v 219.
"O you who believed! Do not draw near to prayer while you are in a state of intoxication, until you know
what you are saying." The Noble Qur`an Sura 4 v 43.
"O you who believed, Indeed, Khamr and gambling, and idols, and divination are an abomination of the
work of Satan, so avoid it in order that you may succeed. Satan only seeks to cast amongst you enmity and
hatred by means of Khamr and gambling and to prevent you from remebering Allah, and from prayer, so
will you desist." The Noble Qur`an Sura 5 vv 90-91.
The six Saheeh books of traditions report the messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) as saying:
"Every Intoxicant is Khamr, and every Khamr is forbidden."
Having stated the above, Alcohol was hinted at first (sura 2; v219), then it was banned before prayer (sura 4;
v43), and finally, it was banned altogether (sura 5; 90 - 91). This gradual process saw the Muslims spill it
out and avoid it as soon as the prohibition came in sura 5; vv 90-91).
The messenger (peace and blessings upon him) stated: "Allah has cursed Khamr, its drinker, the person
who serves it, its seller, its purchaser, its presser, the person for whom it is rendered into juice, its carrier, the
person it is being carried to, and the person who takes its price." Narrated by Abu Dawood and Al Hakem
refer Saheeh Al Jame'ul Sagheer hadeeth number 5091.
The messenger (peace and blessings upon him) Told us: "There will come a time when some people from
my community will drink Khamr, describing it with a different name, they will have music played at their
heads, Allah will take the earth from under them and make of them apes and pigs." reported by Ibn Majah
and Al Tabarany, refer Saheeh Al Jame'ul Sagheer hadeeth number 5454)
The messenger (peace and blessings upon him) stated: "Khamr is from juice, sultanas, dates, Rye, barley,
and corn, and I forbid you from every intoxicant." (Tirmizy) In another Hadith, honey was also added to
the list, of products from which Khamr can be produced, so the list is not exhaustive, it deals with products which were commonly used to produce Khamr at that time, or in that region.
Ali (May Allah be please with him) reported that the messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings upon him)
had forbidden them Ji'at, Ji'at is the wine made from barley which is beer. Reported in Abu Dawood and
The messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said: "Every intoxicant is forbidden, and if a farq
of an intoxicant intoxicates, then a hand full is also forbidden." Farq is a measure of 920 Gallons according
to Manawy. Reported in Abu Dawood and Tirmizy, refer Saheeh Al Jame'ul Sagheer hadeeth number 4552
The messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said: "Anything which a large quantitiy of
intoxicates, a small quantity of it is also forbidden." Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Tirmizy, refer
Saheeh Al Jame'ul Sagheer hadeeth number 5530.
The following three narrations have a weak link in the chain of narrators, however, they have been related
by the venerable scholar, Ibn Qayyim AlJawzy, in AL Jawab Al Kafy Li Man Sa`ala 'an Al Dawa` Ul Sahfy,
and they have been reported by more than one collector of Ahadeeth:
According to Abdullah Ibn 'Amr, according to the prophet (peace and blessings upon him): "Whoever
leaves prayer drunk once, it would be as if he possesed the earth and what is on it and he squandered it, and
whoever leaves prayer, drunk, four times, it becomes a right to Allah to cause him to drink from Tinatul
Khibal. It was asked, what is Tinatul Khibal o messenger of Allah? he (peace and blessings upon him) said:
The fluids of the people of Jahannam." (Jahannam is one of the levels of hell) (Ahmad, AlBayhaqi, and Al
"Whoever takes one drink of Khamr, his prayer for forty mornings will not be accepted, however, if he
repents, Allah would forgive him," the narrator states: I do not know whether he stated in the third or the
forth: "If he returns (to drinking Khamr), it would be a right for Allah to cause him to drink from Ridhjat al
Khibal on the day of resurrection." (reported in Nasa`i, Ibn Majah, Darimi, Ahmad, and Al Hakem)
Abi Musa said: The messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said: "whoever dies addicted to
Khamr, he would be made to drink from the river of Ghouta, it was asked, what is the river of Ghouta? he
said: a river running from the genitals of prostitutes, the smell which emanate from their genitals causes
harm to the people of the fire." (Ahmad, Ibn Habban, and Abi Dawood).
The following have been extracted from "Islam forbids Intoxicants and Gambling", Mohammad Iqbal
Siddiqi, Kazi Publications, Lahore, 1981.
Umm Salama (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: "My daughter complained to me of sickness. So I
prepared wine for her in an earthen pot. As it was boiling, the Holy prophet (peace and blessings upon him)
came to me and asked: "What is this, Umm Salama? I told him that I cured my daughter by that/ Upon
this the messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said: "Allah has not laid the cure of my
community in things which He has declared unlawful."
Dailama Al-Humairi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I asked the messenger of Allah (peace and
blessings upon him) about some problem and said: We live in a cold place and we do hard work there and
we prepare Khamr from wheat, which gives us strength in our works and in the chill of our cities. Upon this
the messenger (peace and blessings upon him) said: Does it intoxicate? Yes, I said. The messenger (peace
and blessings upon him) said: Give it up. I said: People cannot give it up. Upon this the messenger of
Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said: If they do not give it up, then fight them. (reported in the
collection of Abu Dawood)
Abu Darda` (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the messenger of Allah (peace and blessings
upon him) said: "Verily, Allah sent down ailment and cure. So He made a cure for every ailment. Seek
cure, but do not seek it in the forbidden things." (reported in the collection of Abu Dawood)
Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Apostle of Allah (peace and blessings upon
him) said: "An adulterer, at the time he is committing illegal sexual intercourse is not a believer; and a
person, at the time of drinking wine is not a believer; and a thief, at the time of stealing, is not a believer."
(reported in the collection of Bukhary)
Ibn 'Umar (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Apostle of Allah (peace and blessings upon him)
said: There are three for whom Paradise has been prohibited - a habitual drunkard, a person who is
disobedient to parents, and a careless husband who establishes impurity in his family. (reported in the
collection of Ahmad, Nasa`i)
Abu Musa Al-Ash'ary (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Apostle of Allah (peace and blessings
upon him) said: There are three who will not enter Paradise - a habitual drunkard, one who cuts off blood-
ties and one who believes in sorcery. (reported in the collection of Ahmad)
Abu Umama (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the apostle of Allah (peace and blessings upon
him) said that Allah the Almighty said: . . . By My Majesty, of My servants who drinks a cup of wine, I will
give him drink like it from hot water (of Hell); and one who gives it up out of fear of Me, I will give him
drink from the fountain (in Paradise). (reported in the collection of Ahmad)
Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that as the commandment regarding unlawfulness of
wine was revealed the companions went to one another and declared: Wine has been prohibited and is
tantamount to polytheism. (reported in the collection of Tibrani)
The following are from "Saheeh Muslim" Translated by the late Prof. Abdul Hameed Siddiqui, Sh
Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1990.
Anas Ibn Malik reported - a person who had drunk alcohol was brought before Allah's messenger (peace
and blessings upon him). He gave him forty stripes with 2 lashes.
Abu Bakr also did that, Umar during his caliphate consulted the people, Abd al Rahman said: The mildest
punishment is eighty stripes, and Umar prescribed it.
Anas Ibn Malik reported: I was serving drink to Abu Ubayda Ibn Al Jarrah, Abu Talha and Ubayy Ibn Ka'b,
prepared from unripe dates and fresh dates when a visitor came and said: Verily Khamr has been
prohibited. Thereupon Abu Talha said: Anas! stand up and break the pitch. I stood up and struck the
pitcher with a pointed stone until it broke to pieces."
Wa`il Al-Hadrani reported that Tariq Ibn Suwaid Al-Ju'fi asked Allah's messenger (Peace and blessings
upon him) about Khamr. He forbade its use and he expressed hatred that it should be prepared. Tariq said:
I prepare it as a medicine, the prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said: "It is no medicine but an
The following are from "Muwatta` Imam Malik" Translated by Prof. Mohammad Rahimuddin 1980.
Sa'ib b Yazid reported that 'Umar Ibn Al Khattab came to him and said: I smelt Khamr from the mouth of
so and so. He said that he drank Til'a ( a preparation from grape juice boiled until it becomes one third of
the original) and I say that if it is intoxicating, I shall punish him. Then 'Umar Ibnul Khattab gave him the
'A`isha, wife of the prophet (peace and blessings upon him) reported that a man asked the apostle of Allah
(peace and blessings upon him) about Bit' (Khamr made from honey). he replied: "Any drink which
intoxicates is forbidden."
Zaid Ibn Aslam reported on the authority of 'Ata` Ibn Yaser that the apostle of Allah (peace and blessings
upon him) was asked about liquor made from corn. he said: "There is no good in it and forbade its use."
'Abd Allah Ibn 'Umar reported that the apostle of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said: He who drank
khamr in this world and did not repent will be deprived of it in the hereafter.
Ibn Wa'lat Al-Misri reported that the asked 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Abbas how wine was prepared from grapes. Ibn
'Abbas said that a man brought to the apostle of Allah (Peace and blessings upon him) a water skin of wine
as a present. The apostle said: "Are you aware that the Lord has prohibited its use?" He answered he was
not aware. Another man who stood close to him whispered something in his ear. The apostle of Allah
(peace and blessings upon him) asked him what he had said. He said that he had said: sell it off. The
aposle of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) declared: "He who has prohibited the drinking of it has also
forbidden the sale of it." Hearing this the man opened the mouth of the skin and all the contents flowed
Mahmud Ibn Labid Ansari reported that when 'Umar Ibn Al-Khattab arrived in Syria, the people there
complained of the epidemic and unhealthy climate of the place and said that without wine, they could not
sustain their health. 'Umar asked them to take honey. They said that honey did not agree with them. One
of them said: Prepare it in such a manner that it will not intoxicate. 'Umar said: All right. They boiled it so
that two thirds evaporated and only one third remained and brought it to 'Umar. He put his finger in and it
began to stick. He said that this looks like Tila' of a camel (Tila` of a camel is the fatty substance found in its
hump) and permitted its use. 'Ubada Ibn Samit asked whether he had raised the interdict. 'Umar spoke out:
By the Lord, I have never made that valid which You have declared forbidden, nor have I made that
forbidden which You have commanded to be valid.
Nafi' reported that 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Umar said that some of the people of Iraq told him: O Abu 'Abd Al-
Rahman we buy dates and grapes and prepare wine and sell it. 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Umar said: I bring to
witness the Lord, His angels, and the men and the jinn who hear me, that I do not permit the sale of it or the
purchase of it, the pressing of it or the drinking of it, or the serving of it as drink, for wine is impure and the
act of Satan.
Mind altering drugs are similarly forbidden: Imam Ibn Taymiyya has stated: "Hemp is forbidden wether it
clouds the intellect or not. Immoral persons are used to it. . So whoso use hemp are like those who drink
Khamr as its effects are nearly the same." Refer Ibn Taymiyya, Fatawa, Vol. iv, p. 262, as quoted in Islam
Forbids Intoxicants and Gambling, Muhammad Iqbal Siddiqui, Lahore 1981.
It is not only intoxicants which are banned, verse 219 in Sura 2 stated that the harms of intoxicants are
greater than the benefit. This must be coupled with the other verses which state that those who are
extravagant are the brothers of devils (Sura 17; v 27), another verse states that you must not throw
yourselves with your own hands to destruction (Sura 2; v195).
so in the case of something other than intoxicants, smoking for example, we can clearly see that the harms
of it far outweigh any perceived benefit, so under the rule set in 2: 219 smoking would also be banned.
Extravagant wastes such as smoking would also be banned under the rule in 17:27, as this makes the
smoker in the same category as a brother of the devils, and a devil is cursed and is not a Muslim.
Take the third command in 2; 195, Do not throw yourselves with your own hands to destruction. It is clear
that a smoker casts himself and those with him to destruction.
So added to the personal harm there is the harm to the passive smoker which falls into the category of
harming others, and I suppose this is similar to the rule in Rylands v Fletcher, where the smoke which
escapes from you goes to harm other people without their consent.
The Noble Qur`an (Arabic)
Saheeh Muslim, Translated by the late Prof. Abdul Hameed Siddiqui printed, Sh Muhammad Ashraf,
Lahore, 1990. (English)
Muwatta` Imam Malik Translated by Prof. Mohammad Rahimuddin 1980. (English)
Sunan Abu Dawood Translated by Prof Ahmad Hasan, Sh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1993 (English)
Attiba`ul Gharb Yuhazzirun Min Shirbil Khamr, Dr Hassan Shamsy Basha, Darul Qalam Damascus, and Al
Darul Shamia Beirut, 1993. (Arabic)
AL Jawab Al Kafy Li Man Sa`ala 'an Al Dawa` Ul Sahfy, Ibn Qayyim AlJawzy, revision and commentary
by Abi Huzahfa Ubaidullah Bin Haliah, Dar Alkitabul 'Araby, Beirut, 1994. (Arabic)
Islam forbids Intoxicants and Gambling, Mohammad Iqbal Siddiqui, Kazi Publications, Lahore, 1981.
The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, Dr Yusuf AlQaradawi, International Islamic Publications (PVt) Ltd,
Other helpful sources.
Islam and Alcohol Prof Ahmad Sakr, Foundation for Islamic Knowledge, P O Box 665 Lombard Il 60148
Alcohol in Beverages, Drugs, Foods and Vitamins. Prof Ahmad Sakr, Foundation for Islamic Knowledge, P
O Box 665 Lombard Il 60148 USA.
Cecil Textbook of Medicine, Saunders, New York, 1992.
Braunwald E. Heart Disease, Saunders, New York, 1992.
Harrisons Principles of Internal Medicine McGraw Hill, New York, 1991.
Current Medical diagnosis and treatment Appleton of Large, New York 1992.
Sheehy T W Alcohol and the heart, Post Graduate Medicine, 1992, 91:271.
Hurst W, The Heart, Mcgraw Hill, New York 1990.
Bratter T. E. Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. The Free Press, Ney York, 1992.
Kumar Clinical Medicine. Bailliere, London, 1990.
Medicine International, 1989, 62:2538-42.
Lancet, Editorial, Dying for a drink, 1987, II, 1249-50.
Maynard, Measuring the Social Costs of Addictive Substances, Br, J Addiction, 1987, 82, 701-6.
The Wellness Encyclopedia, University of California, Houghton Company, Boston, 1991.
Saunders T. The Food Revolution London, Bartan Press, 1991.
Stephenson P. Safe Foood Handbook London Ebury Press 1990.
Encyclopedia Britanica, 1992. (entry on Alcohol)