Shahid Batalvi Speaks

with apology to Black Elk for he speaks first

What exactly DOES Quran say about alcohol ?

with 64 comments

For those know me, know that I won’t let this one slide by easily. The world media is awash with news about caning of this muslim woman, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, in Malaysia for consumption of alcohol. Recently, Marina Mahatir daughter of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, gave an interview to The Associated Press and among others, made the following statement:
"These types of punishments are in the books. Whether they are used or not is something else," Marina said, noting that many Muslim women do drink in Malaysia. "It is really between men and God. That’s how it should be. The Quran is clear that alcohol is prohibited but it does not impose a punishment."
I agree with most with the exception that "Quran is clear that alcohol is prohibited …."
This is the most generally misconceived notion that is held by majority of the muslim and non-muslim population in the world. Let me address this subject and then open the forum for any intelligent discussion.
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 (khMr) anytime, anywhere. KhMr is the arabic term used for anything that causes intoxication. In other words, alcohol has not been categorized as "haram" in the Quran. Only three things have been categorized as "haram". These are (a) animals that die of any basis other than being sacrificed ("halal") in the name of Allah, (b) blood of animals and (c) flesh of pigs. As such the reasoning behind every one of these items being categorized as "haram" was medical, especially undercooked pork which causes triganosis. This perhaps is a different discussion altogether.
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). What is within the bounds of the Quran or Prophet’s life is structured as Shariah and what occurs beyond is within the context of Fiqah and the two should not be confused. 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.
What occurs after the life of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) only has Fiqah and its consequental affects as its context. Islamic history just as the rest of human history is a matter of who wanted what as they dictated frameworks of social control through evolutionary constructs or lack thereof.
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 and Fiqah 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 refrain 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".
Just as a left handed glove does not become a right handed one by any and all forms of Euclidian motion, neither does "ijtinab" become "haram", "prohibited" or "forbidden" by any cognitively developed exegesis.
As my position on this and other similar associated subjects begins to ferment (no pun intended) I read the writings of "religious scholars" who suggest that certain ayat of the Quran are or have been "abrogated" in favour of others since the Quran was revealed over a significant time period. If the Quran is divine text then each and every word revealed from Allah is to be treated with equal repect and understood with cognitively and analytically formulated exegesis. The Quran is not a constitutional framework where clauses and amendments are abrogated to suit the wants of some or to force the interpretation and explanation to fit the needs of others.
I leave you at this stage to make your own assessment for I trust your analytical skills.
I am more than happy to have an intellectual discussion about this subject.
Just leave your C-4 jacket, assault weapon or side arm with the barkeep as you enter the premises.
August 30, 2009

Written by Shahid Batalvi

August 30, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Analysis

64 Responses

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  1. Really like that post, thank you for clearing my question. What I love about Islam every time I study a subject about it, it is that, Logical.Thank you


    September 9, 2009 at 5:09 am

  2. Hi Andria,You are very welcome.Reliance on or acceptance of misinformation without validation is worse than ignorance.Best regards,Shahid


    September 9, 2009 at 10:39 am

  3. Hello – very late in reading this article but thank you. Everything on main Islamic websites suggests if you do not follow the hadith then you are an apostate(melodrama seems essential for most discussion with Islamic ‘Scholars’.

    We have Scholars coming out of our ear holes an still sects, factions and varying opinions within Islam – something is not quite right. I have long thought alcohol is not haram but get shouted down by Islamic women do react is if the conversation itself is alcoholic and therefore to be avoided! Personally my thoughts towards following the Quran to the best of my own interpretation is the only way forward. I think the holy book could be ‘re translated’ for todays world – to make the lanaguage relevant to modern day. This would help muslims today living around the world to preserve and teach their children a most precious faith.


    November 24, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    • Hadith (or Hadees) are man made stories and if they are repugnant to the words or the exegetical analysis of the Quran’s text, then they should be done away with. The Hadith did to Islam what the First Council of Nicaea did to Christianity. The Council was more expressive and expeditious 🙂

      Shahid Batalvi

      November 29, 2010 at 6:11 pm

      • Salaam Aleykum
        Here is an article entitled “A Quranist’s response to the term “Hadith Rejector”
        Nice to meet you – I found your website from Facebook
        Asfora 🙂


        June 6, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      • Hello Shahid, excellent analysis, I have struggled with the judgement on alcohol for some time and honestly the struggle is not resolved. I see the ayah that says rijs of satan’s handwork so avoid it as well as in them great sin as conclusive to the haram status of alcohol. Since when is sinning encouraged by the Quran?


        January 12, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      • Hi Karim, sin and crime are two different matters. Sin is between you and the divine. No mortal may punish another for sin. Let the divine deal with it when that time cometh. Crime is what you commit through acts which are repugnant to just and equitable laws for all members of so society. Sin should not be conflated with crime.

        Shahid Batalvi

        February 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm

  4. AWW.Which ayah in the Quran Allah say there is little benefit in the alcohol and there is alot of problem

    Twalibu Abdallah

    February 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    • 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)

      Still the Quran nowhere says that alcohol is haram.

      Shahid Batalvi

      February 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm


    Muhammad Rafiq

    March 21, 2012 at 6:35 am

    • You are conflating SIN with CRIME.

      Sin is between you and the divine. No mortal has the right to punish another for sin. Crime is what you commit through acts which are repugnant to laws of human society. Said laws have to be just and equitable for ALL members of human society and said society evolves through habitual submission to said laws.

      Zina (consensual fornication) may be a sin but is not a crime. Neither is adultery, which finds its basis in judaic and biblical laws, a crime. Certain societies used to consider adultery as a sin and a crime; not any more. They have evolved in their legal framework and jurisprudence.

      Zina-bil-jabr ( the closest equivalent in definition to rape) is a crime and is duly punished by society.

      If my sister were not to consent, you would be committing zina-bil-jabr and not zina and society would duly and aptly punish you for the crime.

      “Jahalat is boundless but teaching jahalat is a crime against humanity.” – jLaLi FaqeeR

      Shahid Batalvi

      July 9, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      • Very good response Shahid. The questioner should have used a better way to ask the question about zina. But your response was very forthright. A good teacher or counsellor should never be provoked

        Tariq Rehman

        August 27, 2012 at 6:56 am


        Oscar David

        September 13, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    • I often wonder why the likes of Mr. Mohammad Rafiq only think of fornication when responding to the likes of Shahid Batalvi.


      October 30, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    • What ever is ur point of view.u have the right to disagree but instead to using words “doing zna with his sister” u can use the words “doing … with ur own sister” u have a sick mentality.if he is wrong bring ur point of view thats it….


      September 25, 2015 at 12:06 pm

  6. So what is your final take on it…… Can muslims than consume Alcohol


    March 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    • In my personal opionion, if a Muslim chooses to consume alcohol, he/she should be cognizant of the physical, physiological and psychological ramifications of such consumption. Beyond that as the realm of “sin” is understood,I believe it a personal matter and no other mortal has the right to punish the individual for consumption of alcohol.

      The above cognizance implies that one cannot be punished for the “sin” of consuming alcohol but can be punished, for example, for the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol since they would pose a danger or threat to society.

      Shahid Batalvi

      July 9, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      • I enjoy my wine. I do not drink and drive. So there is no crime here. It is only sin but that is not a clear cut and it does noting to do with anyone. By the way wine is good for my health.


        August 22, 2012 at 8:05 am

      • And I tend to agree with Shahid Batalvi here as well.

        Tariq Rehman

        August 27, 2012 at 6:56 am

  7. I have been drinking alcohol and have hated my self because I thought I was the most evil of evil for betraying my religion I have felt so ashamed but in my heart I love Islam sometimes I pray at because of people on the mosque judging


    August 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    • Home* me*


      August 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      • Sam,
        Next time some fellow Muslim wants to judge you for your actions associated with or related to religion, tell them that surah al-kafiroon ayat six (109:6) is meant not just for non-Muslims but also for all those Muslim bigots who think, assume or suggest that their understanding, belief and version of Islam is the ultimate and final truth. They all suffer from suffer from disease of which the most common symptoms are “holier-than-thou”.

        Shahid Batalvi

        August 29, 2012 at 10:14 pm

  8. I like this it has cleared up a lot of things


    August 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm

  9. Your analysis of the texts that refer to consumption of intoxicants concurs with my own conclusion as a recent muslim that consumption is not prohibited. I.e. Not haram. However you are not clear as to whether drinking alcohol is a sin which is what the poster who used capital letters seemed to be saying.
    If there is “some profit” in imbibing (e.g. health benefits of wine to cardivascular function) that seems to imply it is not a sin? And that the danger comes from the loss of control that excess produces. It leads to other sinful actions? In that case the question at the end of the verse makes sense. “What will you do?”
    Can you drink in moderation and gain the benefits without drinking to the point where you lose self control and sin or comit crime or both? Can anyone guarantee this in themselves?
    Do the verse also include other intoxicants? If so many are illegal to use and consumption IS a crime. In some countries consuming alcohol IS a crime.
    Finally. Even if we think we can consume moderately our actions are visible to others who may be less self controlled particularly youngsters. Should we forego our right to benefit from alcohol to demonstrate our self control and help others less strong to refrain from that which may hurt them?
    I greatly enjoy a glass of wine. I do not see any prohibition. I see consumption in moderation as not sinful. I believe abstenence is helpful to others. A conundrum


    September 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    • As far as the subject of sin and the consumption of alcohol within the construct of the Quran is concerned, it rather clear: as per 2:219 consumption of alcohol or for that matter any intoxicant (“Khmr”) is a sin. As far as my personal position on sin, it is clear from my comments above that I consider it a personal matter which does not come into the realm of society and cannot be conflated with crime.

      If you know your Arabic, the “profit” in this case speaks to monetary profit and not what you suggest. That is addressed in 16:67.

      The subject you raise of drinking in moderation or lack thereof is what I have addressed with the example above of punishment not for drinking but driving under the influence of alcohol. The former is a free choice with consequences and the latter with clear definition can felonious crime.

      Quran speaks to “Khmr” which can be any intoxicant including fermented or distilled alcohol. If it is a crime in said countries to consume alcohol, assuming these are Muslim countries, it has no bearing on what is stated in the Q. Many such manmade laws which are based on Shariah or Fiqh may not be in consensus with the Q. For example, there is no mention of Rajm (death by stoning) in the Q but it is prescribed as punishment in various countries based Hadith, the veracity oh which is questionable.

      Enjoy your glass of wine. As per the Q, it is sinful but that is between you and your understanding of the divine. No mortal has the right to punish you for said enjoyment. Conversely, society has a right to punish you if you drive while intoxicated and a likely threat or danger to others in society under such circumstances.

      Shahid Batalvi

      September 3, 2012 at 3:15 am

      • You saythat a crime defined in a country has no bearing pn what os stated in Quran. Does it say in Quran that we must obey the laws of the country we live in except where to obey conflicts with Qutan? Would that not argue that to disobey such laws is sinful?

        I would not enjpt y glass of wine with a meal if I believed it to be a sin. Alas I do not know my Arabic (yet) but have seen the verse rendered as “benefit” rather tham “profit”. As in “what profiteth a man that he gain the whole world but loseth his own soul?” This makes more sense to me given the “but” connecting the section describing the limited profit or benefit of consumption with the many disadvamtages amd problems. If both the profit and the problems are being described as disadvantageous surely it would say “and” not “but”?
        Also the monetary profit from alcohol is to the supplier not the consmer and is immense not limited. Theae difficulties present themselves toe when grappling with this issue and reconciling them fully with any interpretation I have thus far encountered.
        You are the first scholar who has actively encouraged rational debate and for that I am grateful fpr the time you jave taken to argue with me.


        September 3, 2012 at 10:18 am

      • Apologies for poor spellings. Fat fingers on tiny keys on my smartphone and difficulties in relocating cursor for editing.


        September 3, 2012 at 10:25 am

      • Regarding 2.219 it is not clear to me that consumption=sin. It says to me that there is sin in consumption but also limited benefit. In no way can sin benefit a person so I conclude there are a few circumstances where one may benefit but many many more that lead to sin. Until I have a good command of Arabic I must rely on comparison of translations and fit with the broader Message ofQiran


        September 3, 2012 at 10:36 am

      • “No mortal has the right to punish you for said enjoyment”
        ….became your fan after reading this. Very enlightening post. Thanks for sharing such valuable information despite the backlashing. I appreciate your contributions.

        “…bigots who think, assume or suggest that their understanding, belief and version of Islam is the ultimate and final truth.They all suffer from disease of which the most common symptoms are “holier-than-thou”.”
        …. Amen!!

        All we can do is setup a good example for others, just like our prophet did, so that people would get curious & want to follow our way of life. But we are so obssessed with interpretation & implementation of each & every word that we are forgetting the true essence of our faith, which is being kind towards our fellow-beings, irrespective of their race, faith, gender, status, etc.
        I love my faith & will continue to focus on becoming a better human being each day. To me the greatest sin of all is being abusive towards the weak, insulting others & breaking someone’s heart.


        December 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

  10. Farhan, I think you are missing the point of what I am trying to suggest. Many laws exist in Islamic jurisprudence and these laws have been built upon edicts such as specific Hadees (Hadith) the veracity of which is questionable. Prohibition of alcohol and Rajm are two such examples.

    In 2:219, the use of the terms sin and profit (or benefit if you prefer) is in the context of both wine and gambling. They are both categorized similarly.

    Shahid Batalvi

    September 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    • I accept your point and agree with it if I understand ypu correctly. Laws that claim their basis on Quranic verses often rely on an interpretation that is questionable. My quest is not affected by Islamic law as I do.not live insucha coumtry. I wish to arrive at a correct understanding of what Allah requires of me. Rejecting medievall superstition and reliance on performance of ritual acts for my salvation in favour of a clear personal understanding of the central message. The issue of alcohol consumption is the least of my dilemae but serves to illustrate the problem I and many newcomers to Islam face when separating the wheat from the chaffe. I do mot know to whom I should for guidance. This blog if the first I have found where to question is not only encouraged but even demanded. I think I have read a similar demand of me in the Quran itself?


      September 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm

  11. Taking each of the 5 ayas in turn if we may?.
    The first 2.219 I have seen rendered variously and the word sin is sometimes given as trouble or unhappiness. Likewise profit is given as benefit or help. Could the Arabic be legitimately translated in this way? If so “… in them is found much trouble and some benefit to man. But the trouble outweighs the benefit” carries a very different connotation to the reader than the version you quote. My recollection of what I read the verse ends asking the reader “…. what will you do?” If so the reader is invited to question his or her lifestyle response to the difficulty alcohol presents to society. At no time is the consumption either prohibited or deemed sinful rather the reader is severely cautioned on the potential consequences and invited to act with extreme caution for their own choices and possibly the knock on effect of those choices for others both directly or indirectly. If this interpretation is legitimate from the Arabic text the Quran for me is transformed from legalistic tome that restricts and binds me into a compassionate manual for decent wholesome living that will please Allah and benfit me and my society. I reject the former and desperately need the latter.


    September 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    • The third sees the word befogged. Is this only ever used when associated with inebriation? Can it not also mean e.g. when too tired to think straight or when the mind is full of other thongs and not fully focused on the meaning of the prayer? I would describe my mental state as befogged when I recite the Arabic sounds that I am told are the prayers but with limited understanding of the literal meaning of the words. I think I have been befogged by the mists of ritual. Why must 4.43 only be seen as mraning intoxicated by someting imbibed?


      September 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      • The Arabic word in 4:43 used in this context is “sukran” which implies a drunken state of mind brought about through intoxication.

        Shahid Batalvi

        September 3, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      • In the larger context of religion and the purpose of religion as means of personal development, ritual is simply a means to an end. Ritual has nothing to do with the spiritual development of the person withinthe context of religion, once its purpose is understood.

        Shahid Batalvi

        September 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    • It is for this reason that one of my earlier comment above stated, “In my personal opionion, if a Muslim chooses to consume alcohol, he/she should be cognizant of the physical, physiological and psychological ramifications of such consumption. Beyond that as the realm of “sin” is understood,I believe it a personal matter and no other mortal has the right to punish the individual for consumption of alcohol.”

      Shahid Batalvi

      September 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      • 5 seems in my mind to confirm my understanding of 1 in that the sin is in the consequent actions of the drunk rather than the act of imbibing. Bit 4 leaves little ropm for is unequivocal that encouragement to drink gamble and engage in witchcraft are the work of Satan. Now my problems begin again. Is not Satan an angel and emissary of Allah doing His bidding establishing who will follow Allahs will and who will not? Or have I got that wrong? (the story of Job)


        September 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm

  12. It all depends on one’s understanding and comprehension in conjunction with one’s faith and belief. Does one see God or Allah an as anthropomorphic divine being? Also, does one see Satan as an anthropomorphic being as in some variant on an “angel” or perhaps it is the ability to fight with certain aspects of man’s nature with the overall construct of human nature and its challenges.

    Shahid Batalvi

    September 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    • The nature of Allah or Satam are dependent upon ones view or understanding of them? That would make them figments of onez imagination wouldnt it? In that case sin is whatever you want it to b and Quran is non definitive? Is that what you are saying?


      September 4, 2012 at 6:47 am

      • I think you miss the point. Once one believes in the construct of the divine then based on one’s comprehension and understanding in conjunction with one’s belief, how does one construe what the divine is? Scripture is the result of revelation in a religious framework. Revelation is the expression of divine inspiration.

        Shahid Batalvi

        September 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      • Yees I am afraid I do miss the point. I am rather simple and deal in absolutes. I dont really understand your last response. I think what I will take from this exchange is that I am responsible for figuring it out and cannot expect nor should I desire anyone else to take responsibilty for guiding me.
        I dont think having a glass of wine discretely harms me or anyone else and is therefore not a sin. I dont belive it is prohibited by the Quran. But I do heed the dire warning that the Quran issues concerning alcohol.
        Beyond that


        September 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      • Beyond that I cannot comment.


        September 4, 2012 at 7:50 pm

  13. What does ijtinab means?


    April 14, 2013 at 10:23 am

    • Faris, if you had read through the content you would have realized that “ijtinab” means “”refrain” or in Urdu or Hindi implies “PrHaez”. I hope that answers your question.

      Shahid Batalvi

      April 14, 2013 at 10:33 am

      • All I need to know is whether or not sin will prevent me from going to paradise.


        September 28, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      • Mohamed, it is what you construe paradise and “going to paradise” to be. If the Divine is an anthropomorphic being and paradise is an actual physical place rather than a metaphysical construction in ones mind then if the anthropomorphic being forgives you for your sins I would assume you would go to this place called paradise. But what do I or for that matter anyone truly knows? 🙂

        Shahid Batalvi

        December 22, 2015 at 3:18 pm

  14. This is a healthy discussion on a topic that needs to be talked about. Not because we want to deduce if we could consume alcohol or not, but because we need to know how does Islam treat the mortal nature of a human.

    If we rely on Hadith alone, we will be left flummoxed. What we need is to reject all Hadith that contradict or suggest conclusions that do not confirm what’s there in the Quran. I think it is ascribed to Ali, the heir to the Prophet’s wisdom, where he is quoted as saying there’s no sin that one cannot ask forgiveness for (except shirk), and that there’s no sin greater than thinking one’s sin is easily pardonable.

    This corresponds to Mr Batalvi’s point of view: that it is entirely up to Allah if He want to forgive or punish us for any of our wrong deed. Any mullah or religious scholar does not hold the right to pass a decree in this regard. It is between the Creator and the created. There’s no doubt in my mind that drinking is a sin, and I also affirm that it can lead to a crime.

    When every mullah is hellbent on declaring alcohol-consuming individuals as fodder for the pit, they never quote from the hadith which point to the fact that this discussion is trivial: what is more important is something they will never see; not because they cannot, but because their minds are inclined towards hating rather than loving, and they waste their time cursing people and proclaiming themselves as more holy and deserving of paradise than some inebriated mongrel.

    There’s a Hadith in Bukhari in which the Prophet promised paradise for a drunkard. And what was that person’s merit, you might want to know! It was that he loved the Prophet and would care for his relaxation by telling him some interesting anecdote that would refresh the Prophet. It doesn’t matter if the Prophet actually did feel refreshed after his company or not, or if that person really knew when to stop consuming so to avoid sin at the onset of over-consumption, what is important is that person’s love and caring for the Prophet.

    This love, this goal of a human, a mullah will never understand.


    January 3, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    • I agree Fezz
      From my uninterlectual study of the Qur’an shortly after 5:90 I read in my translation 5:93 “There shall be no sin (imputed) to those who believe and do good works for what they may have eaten (in the past)”
      I understand from this that it is the living a good pious life and the doing good with consideration and care for others that is impoertant while the alcohol aspect is more trivial (as it could be said that alchohol itself naturally derives from Allahs own produce: grapes)
      I have never been able to understand the reasons behind Sharia law making the consumption of alcohol a severe crime punishable by 80 lashes!


      March 4, 2015 at 8:42 am

  15. Excellent points ….I am fed up with so called Islamic scholars offering their own interpretations based on Hadith and traditions , which is just history with some wisdom in it. I like ti when quran directly speaks.

    I am glad I stumbled upon your article. As a consultant in addictions field it is vital knowledge for me to help my patients who are more concerned with “sin” yet unable to control their drinking. Great job please do offer more such articles.

    Hadith has been a curse on Islam and the root cause for all the mishappenings in Islamic world today.


    April 3, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    • The article from shahid is excellent. In addition, I agree 100% with you saying, “Hadith has been a curse on Islam and the root cause for all the mishappenings in Islamic world today.”

      The field of “hadith” became a dumping ground in which tons of stupidities were poured over the centuries.
      It is so extremely contaminated that every human that consumed from it, is intoxicated for life.

      The danger come from the fact that Muslim population is mostly ignorant. We should admit it, because it is a blatant reality.
      Those who know how to talk (hadiths) to ignorants have won the big lottery. I call it ignorance management.

      It is time to wake up and denounce these manipulators. They are harmful to every decedent of a Muslim parent.

      Rachid B

      October 30, 2015 at 2:16 pm

  16. a fantastic treatise on a subject that is so trivial, yet assumes deathly proportions…us Muslims have tio break out of the straitjackets designed by the bigots…that was real reason why Islam spread so fast,,.it freed man from the Mullah…
    every Muslim is his own mullah…I do not need to line-up behind an idiot…

    Pervez Iqbal

    November 15, 2015 at 11:50 pm

  17. Hi there,
    As a non-Muslim seeking clarification, you might be able to help me better understand the matter.

    I was always under the distinct impression that the consumption of alcohol was strictly forbidden by the Quran, yet five years ago, when I was managing a large group of Iraqi’s and Afghans on a training program with the US military, I came in for a surprise. The very first evening that I took the group out for dinner we finished our meal and I turned to them and asked if they’d mind my ordering a beer for myself. To my distinct surprise just about all of them turned to me with wide grins on their faces and said no, not as long as I bought them some as well! When I asked them why or how it was permitted, they told me that the Quran doesn’t expressly forbid alcohol consumption, simply getting intoxicated. Thus they never partook of more than 2 – 3 beers at any one time, even though I was more than happy to buy the group a couple of cartons of beer each day. Out of the group (there was about 40, including an Egyptian and Saudi Arabian) only one strictly observed halal, though all of them refrained from eating pork.

    I took my family to a local mosque here in Orlando on Saturday for my children’s benefit and education, specifically because I wanted them to see Muslim people going about their prayers and just being ‘normal’ if you know what I mean, because there’s so much hatred doing the rounds at the moment that I wanted them to appreciate that there’s a distinction between what a tiny minority do and what the vast majority of Muslims are like. It was a nice experience for them, not too dissimilar to when I took my wife to Turkey some years ago during Ramadan. At one point a local scholar sat down with the group for a Q & A on Islam, and I specifically asked him for some clarification on the question of alcohol when it actually came up in discussion. When I gave him the example of the people I worked on that exercise five years ago he quite emphatically stated that they were in the wrong from a technical sense in that there is no place in the Quran at all that makes the distinction they applied. Yet reading some of the passages about ‘intoxicants’ above seems to me to leave it somewhat open-ended – you can obviously partake of intoxicating substances without actually getting intoxicated, it’s just a matter of abusing it causing problems. The scholar did however make one interesting point, that the Quran does allow for the consumption of alcohol, even pork, in extenuating circumstances where it may make the difference between life and death.

    I’d sincerely be interested in other opinions on the matter.


    November 24, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    • Hi Tim,
      I am also unaware of this distinction regarding the consumption of alcohol vs. intoxication as far as Quranic text is concerned.
      As far as consumption of pork it is categorically stated as forbidden or haram. This by the way is also the case in the Bible and there are verses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy which also forbid the consumption of swine/pork. Christian societies and cultures slowly moved away from this edict starting around the 7th century.

      Shahid Batalvi

      December 22, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      • Hello Shahid,
        So I guess it ultimately means that the situation remains an ambiguous one subject to personal interpretation?

        As for the point about pork, I had always been led to believe that it was the one thing ALL Muslims strictly observed, just as I witnessed with the group I managed. What was interesting though was the easy attitude most took to the matter. For example, if I ordered in pizza most were happy to take it as it came as long as it didn’t contain pork. Only the one who strictly observed halal took issue with it because of the fact he could never be sure that the slicer hadn’t been used on another pizza with pork in it. It made life difficult, as I invariably had to take him to separate restaurants or hunt up alternative takeout, but as a vegetarian myself I could understand – I would certainly feel uncomfortable eating food that had been cooked in oil which meat had previously been prepared in.

        As for the point made to me about its consumption in extreme circumstances, the way the matter was explained to me by the scholar is that suicide is considered one of the paramount sins as far as the quran is concerned, and thus if wine and pork were the only items available the quran would permit and forgive their consumption if it made the difference between life and death on the basis that to willingly allow oneself to die under the circumstances would be considered a suicide, and thus a sin. I would assume, from the point the scholar was trying to make, that it boils down to which of the two is the greater sin and acting accordingly. I would stress that I’m the last person to render an opinion on the matter – I’m simply echoing the views imparted to me.


        December 22, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      • Hi Tim,
        Interpretation, above and beyond translation is a task in itself. That is why exegesis as it applies to any scripture is such a critical activity. Different schools of thought over the entire range of very liberal to extremely conservative get developed over time, based on the works of leading religious scholars. This also leads to different sects within a religious construct.
        As for consumption of forbidden items in extreme circumstances, the position you are stating and as explained, is correct.

        Shahid Batalvi

        December 22, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      • us Muslims need to get off these PETTY “divine” rules and get on with life on this planet…we have shown the world that we are are imbeciles, stuck in a paganistic quagmire…with hatred as our number one asset…
        no one wants to improve their lot..get rid of corruption, lies,deceit, hatred, envy…yet we will bang our heads five times a day….ahh ..come on folks..let us wake up….stop worrying about what EXACTLY it means about alcohol….

        Pervez Iqbal

        December 22, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      • Pervez,
        Imbeciles can come from all backgrounds and all religious persuasions or for that matter absence thereof. Hatred is also not the monopoly of ALL Muslims or Muslims alone.
        As far as rituals within a religious construct, I agree these are merely means to an end, the purpose being the evolution of the individual towards becoming a positive values reinforcing member of human society.
        The challenge is that at times people see rituals as the ends in themselves and never get to the next stage of their social evolution.

        Shahid Batalvi

        December 22, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      • I think you’re being a bit harsh on the Muslim collective, given how widespread the faith is and the manner in which different countries and nationalities choose to interpret the Quran. Certainly there are some who choose to take an extremely conservative, even radical, interpretation of the book. I think the Quran is no different to the bible in terms of how local customs tend to become infused within the teachings and perspectives, but as an outsider looking in it seems to me that most Muslims, as well as countries I’ve been to that are predominately Muslim, tend to have fairly moderate, even liberal, views when measured against bastions of conservatism such as Iran or Saudi Arabia.


        December 22, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      • somehow we have to break out of this fascination with religion…we are a dead nation…what have contributed to modern science/medicine/technology in the past 500 years..nothing..nada…zippo…we have nothing to show for ourselves..yet we have elected to believe that our sorry lot will be cured by Allah alone…
        we have elected to backpedal to the ‘security blanket’ of religion, because we are impotent in the comity of nations..we are weak militarily, weak in our education, weak in our economics…it is time we looked hard at ourselves…STOP blaming the kafirs for our ills..and get our act together…Allah will not send an army of angels nor will he send great presidents to pull the Muslims out of the corruptive mess they have put themselves in…..there are issues FAR more important than to worry about alcohol..paradise or hell….we need to reset our moral compass…

        Pervez Iqbal

        December 22, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      • You are painting with an extremely wide brush. Not everyone coming from a Muslim religious background thinks that way.

        Shahid Batalvi

        December 22, 2015 at 10:34 pm

  18. I always had a feeling that the Quran gives advice rather then forbidding things. I am happy to read this article. However, check your spelling. As I wanted to find out more about triganosis, nothing came back from the search engine (because it is written triginosis). Very interesting and open minded anyway.


    December 22, 2015 at 2:00 pm

  19. A thoroughly clear statement on what the Quran says about whether alcohol is haram ( prohibited) or not. The facts are there, it is up to each person how to interpret it. In Islam, your faith is something between Allah and you ONLY. No one else has the authority to do otherwise.


    December 25, 2016 at 7:09 pm

  20. the worse sin/crime is praying 5 times a day, then going about lying,cheating, back-stabbing, stealing, being corrupt…….a Muslim who has a drink but does nothing of the above is a real Muslim…we will remain backward if we confuse religion with civic duties…

    Pervez Iqbal

    December 25, 2016 at 9:28 pm

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