Shahid Batalvi Speaks

with apology to Black Elk for he speaks first

Quran, Islam, Alcohol & Prohibition

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This is for all my friends and acquaintances (muslim and non-muslim) who have asked questions surrounding this subject over many years and in various contexts. I am no scholar in Islamic history, Islamic law, Islamic jurisprudence and above all an expert in exegesis of holy scripture but can present you with facts and information that you can use to make your own determination on this subject.

The five Ayat (Ayas) of the Quran that most directly address the consumption of alcohol are as follows:

1. 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." (Al-Baqara; 2:219)

2. And from the fruit of the date palm and the vine, ye get out wholesome drink and food: behold, in this also is a sign for those who are wise. (An-Nahl; 16:67)

3. O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say…. (An-Nisa; 4:43)

4. O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,–Of Satan’s handiwork: Eschew such (abomination) that ye may prosper. (Al Maeda; 5:90)

5. Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God, and from prayer: Will ye not then refrain? (Al-Maeda; 5:91)

Quran does not use the word "prohibition" in the context of alcohol (khamr) anytime, anywhere. Everything else in Islamic history, vis-a-vis alcohol is assoiciated with either Hadees (Hadith) and Sunat (Sunnah) that has to be taken in context or occurs after the life of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). One has to understand that if the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was dealing with an audience that was subpar in intellectual cognition, he would have been forced to use more expressive and descriptive language to explain the need for refrain to that audience.
If Quran is your reference, then this is what the Quran states. Everything that happens after the life of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) only has Islamic history as its context. Anything that happens outside the realm of the Quran has no bearing in the context of exegesis.
For those who understand Urdu and Arabic, the word for refain used in the Quran is "Ijtinab" (… Rijus Min Amal-i Al-Shaitan-i Fa-ijtanibu La-Alakum Tufl-i-Hoon; Al Maeda; 5:90). And for those who are more fluent in spoken Hindi or Urdu vernacular, the word for refrain is "PrHaez".
I leave you at this stage to make your own assessment for I trust your analytical skills.

Written by Shahid Batalvi

May 30, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Posted in Analysis

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