Leaving Islam




Wine Drinking in Islam  


Abul Kasem  

April 14, 2005  


INE AND LIQUEUR (including beer, whisky, brandy, Martini, vermouth, gin, vodka, Champagne , Port, Sherry…) are great taboos in Islam. It is a great sin even to hold a bottle of one of these dreadful stuffs, not to talk of dropping a single drop of these haram liquids into one’s ( I mean, a Muslim’s) throat. Ask any Muslim and he will surely attest to what I have diligently written just now. There are severe prescribed (read Islamic) punishments for the production, distribution, sale, trading and consumption of these egregious products. Would you care to know that this is truly a sheer hypocrisy in Islam? When one carefully reads the Qur’an one cannot but be utterly shocked at the unbridled flow of supreme wine and dazzling sex-damsels reserved for the best of the adherents of the faith, while totally forbidding this ‘heavenly’ liquids in this world. Believe it or not in Islamic Paradise it is only non-stop fountain of wine and unlimited supply of women (read sex) for the pious believers (male, of course). If these earthly drinks (wine) are so notorious then why Allah has to reserve their exclusive pleasures for the after world? Why one (a Muslim) must die first to enjoy these subsequent supreme delights? –one may legitimately ask.  

Did Qur’an really forbid the consumption of wine? Let us open the infallible Qur’an, the uncontaminated words of Allah, and carefully read in chronological order the relevant verses (note: the numbers inside the brackets indicate the chronological order):  

Wine and gambling -- some good but great sins...2:219 (87)

YUSUFALI: They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit." They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: "What is beyond your needs." Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider-

This verse clearly exhorts the comparative merits and demerits of gambling and drinking wine. It, by no means, makes consumption of alcoholic drinks unlawful. This verse even states that one should carefully spend only his left-over money (after his living expenses) to engage in such treats (i.e., wine consumption, gambling), thus guiding the believers not to overspend in the consumption of liqueur and gaming.  

Here is another verse on the consumption of wine (?):  

Can't go to a mosque intoxicated or after having touched a woman… 4:43 (92)  

YUSUFALI: O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say,- nor in a state of ceremonial impurity (Except when travelling on the road), until after washing your whole body. If ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands. For Allah doth blot out sins and forgive again and again.

Most erudite Islamic scholars associate this verse with the non-attendance in a mosque when intoxicated (or after having sex with a woman). It is of course true that there is no use to attend prayers when one is drunk. However, what these learned scholars forget to mention is that the word ‘defogged’ does not necessarily mean a state of drunkenness. This state could arise due to many reasons, such as: a family quarrel, a physical fight, an over dose of sleep, suffering from a severe headache, a mental disorder…..and so on. Therefore, relating this verse only to intoxication is rather too simplistic, to say the least.  In fact, in its literal meaning, this verse has nothing to do with wine drinking. It even does not mention the word wine or any intoxicant. Therefore, this verse cannot be used to prohibit the consumption of alcohol.  

Let us read the next verse:

Intoxicants (wine and spirit) and gambling are Satan's handiwork, avoid them...5:90 (112)  

YUSUFALI: O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.  

This is the verse the zealot Islamists often use to justify the legal prohibition on all affairs dealing with alcoholic drinks. Read this verse once again. There is no way this verse makes alcoholic drinks illegal to consume, produce, distribute, sale or trade. Along with other acts like, gambling, divination…etc. this verse merely declares the danger of intoxicants. This is similar to the present-day government warning on the dangers of smoking tobacco products. Despite severe warning notices on every packet of cigarette sold, the habit of smoking continues. No country (except perhaps Bhutan ) has ever tried to ban or make smoking illegal and a punishable offence—at least not yet, so far. The same argument can be easily extended for the consumption of wine during Muhammad’s time. You see, Allah (i.e., Muhammad) was quite a smart person not to force an immediate ban on the consumption of wine, because He knew this would bring immediate retaliation from His adherents who were so used to daily drinking of wine. So, Allah merely advised His followers to eschew this bad habit without He taking a clear stand on the outright banning of drinking wine. While His injunction on the eating of pork and pork products was absolutely unmistakeable, He was quite hesitant in taking such a decisive step on wine drinking. If Allah chose He could have easily promulgated an outright ban on wine. But He did not. Allah (i.e., Muhammad) simply took the step akin to the steps taken by many of today’s governments regarding smoking.    


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