Leaving Islam




While elaborating on the wine drinking habits of some of the Caliphs of Islam, Phillip K. Hitti, the eminent historian of the Arabs writes, “Khamr, made of dates was the favourite. Ibn Khaldun argues that such personages as al-Rashid and al-Ma’mun used only nabidh, prepared by soaking grapes, raisins or dates in water and allowing the juice to ferment slightly. Such drink was judged legal under certain conditions by at least one school of Moslem jurisprudence, the Hanafite. Muhammad himself drank it, especially before it was three days old.” (History of the Arabs; Philip K. Hitti, ch. xxvi, p.337)

In case you thought that P.K. Hitti was an infidel author, so his words cannot be trusted, here is a foot note that he cites to back up his claims.

Foot note 5: Mishkah, vol. ii, pp.172-3; ibn Hanbal, Musnad ( Cairo , 1313), vol.i, pp. 240, 287, 320; Bukhari, vol. vi, p.232  

In the same book, on p.227, Phillip K. Hitti lists the name of habitual drinkers among the Ummayad Caliphs; such as: 

  • Yazid I (680-683): he was Muawiyah’s son. He drank daily and won the title Yazid al-Khumur, the Yazid of wines.
  • Abd al-Malik (685-705): he drank once a month; but drank so heavily that he had to use ant-vomiting medicine to pacify his drinking bout.
  • Al-Walid I (705-715): he drank every other day.
  • Hisham ((724-743): He drank every Friday after the divine service.
  • Al-Walid II (743-744): Yazid II’s son. He would swim habitually in a pool of wine of which he would gulp enough to lower the surface appreciably. He also shot the Qur’an to pieces with his bow and arrow.

Professor Phillip K. Hitti authenticates his claims by foot-noting impeccable Islamic historians, such as: Aghani, Iqd, Masudi and Al-Nawaji.  

Clearly, all those Caliphs (the protectors of Islam) knew Muhammad’s Islam exceedingly well, because they ruled immediately after Muhammad’s death. If wine was haramzed by Muhammad they would have definitely refrained from consuming such haramized stuff; since none of them was reported to have consumed a single piece of pork and/or any other haram food.  

The total ban on the consumption of wine was truly enforced by the Abbasids, whose founder Abu al-Abbas, having the sobriquet al-Saffat (the blood shedder) was an absolutely cruel, deranged, despotic warlord who was bent to proclaim his brand of extreme chastisement (read Islam) through mindless torture and barbarism. It was during the Abbasid period that the first comprehensive compilation of hadis (Bukhari) was completed. This was around 830-840—almost 200 years after Muhammad’s death.  

The question is: who knew Muhammad’s Islam better—the Ummayad’s, who were in charge of Islam soon after his death, or the Abbasid’s whose brand of Islam was instituted after a long elapse of almost 200 years?                                  

Even the Abbasid Caliph al-Mamun was a regular drinker of wine. (Hitti, p.306)  

Here are a few ahadith on the ‘haramisation’ of alcoholic drink (I have cited only the main message, for details refer to the hadis number quoted):  


Sahih Bukhari: [http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/ ]  

All intoxicant drinks including wines are haram…1.4.243  

The selling of alcoholic drinks were made unlawful in the year of the conquest of Mecca ...Sahih Bukhari: 5.59.590  

Usury and trade in alcoholic drink were banned at the same time…6.60.64, 65, 66  

Sahih Muslims: [http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/ ]  

Drinking and selling of wine is forbidden…: 10.3835, 3836, 3838, 3839  

Every drink that causes intoxication is forbidden… 23.4956, 4957  

Wine cannot be used as a medicine; it is an ailment… 23.4892  

Sunaan Abu Dawud: [http://www.luc.edu/orgs/msa/abudawud/index.htm ]  

Wine is not a medicine but a disease…: 28.3864


Malik’s Muwatta: [http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muwatta/ ]  

The making and selling of wine is haram…Malik’s Muwatta: 42.5.12  

Wine is a work of Satan…Malik’s Muwatta: 42.5.15  

Conclusion: The Qur’an does not at all proscribe wine drinking. The ban on alcoholic drinks was certainly a later innovation by the Abbasids. They used questionable ahadith to institute such a ban. No one condones the harmful effects of excessive drinking; but it is simply too harsh the Islamic penalty (from 80 lashes to death for the repeat offenders) for occasional indulgence in a cup or two of red wine. As suggested by many cardiologists, this may even be beneficial for health, While the infidels enjoy wine and beat the Muslims hands down in maintaining good health and hygiene, the Muslims, on the other hand, mostly suffer from ill-health and poor hygiene. They must reflect on this reality and let those Muslims who like to drink in limited quantity do so without fear or prejudice. This is a basic right of a citizen which is often denied in Islamic Paradises. This forced inhibition on drink is totally unfair and tormenting. The Qur’an confirms that they have the right to consume alcohol—if they choose so.  


Abul Kasem writes from Sydney , Australia . Comments can be sent to [email protected]

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