The Perspective of Wine Consumption in Islamic Theology
According to the Quran (The Holy Book of Muslims), consuming alcohol or any other intoxicating substance that detracts a person’s ability to remember God is Haram (forbidden). Similarly, the commandments regarding the prohibition of making, selling, transporting, and consuming alcohol are mentioned in the narrations of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Among the majority of Muslim scholars, a total prohibition of alcohol is commonly acknowledged as part of the overall Islamic dietary requirement.
According to Islamic teachings, God appointed Prophet Muhammad and ordered him to guide humanity to the righteous path. Prophet Muhammad preached the Islamic faith in the Arabian Peninsula. At that time, the Arabs had a high rate of alcohol consumption. They were addicted to the point that they would get drunk frequently and commit heinous crimes. Alcohol was a significant part of their daily lives, and they could not stop themselves from drinking. However, some people in pre-Islamic culture were adamant about not drinking alcohol or using other intoxicants to maintain their social standing and honor. It has been recorded that in the pre-Islamic era, people like Zayd ibn-Amr-ibn An-Nufail despised the usage of alcohol.
Bottles of wine
During the early stages of Islam, two commandments (Ayah in Quran) were revealed that ordered the Muslims to consume alcohol moderately and don’t go to Salah (Islamic prayer) in a drunken state. However, many early Muslims found it hard to abstain from alcohol. Finally, the Prophet revealed the third Ayah that banned all the activities related to wine production and consumption.
Following the divine commandment, alcohol consumption is minimal in Muslim communities worldwide. Practicing Muslims even refrain from alcoholic fragrances and avoid any meal with ethanol contents.
Why don’t Muslims drink wine?
- Wine and prayer: Salat (prayer) is among the essential pillars of Islamic theology. Muslims must pray five times a day, and it is strictly forbidden to pray in a drunken state. Muslims perform “wudh” (woo-dhoo) as a pre-image ritual. Wudh includes washing hands, face, and feet with water, helping believers connect to nature, and the environment, and improving their health by bringing them closer to God. However, in many Muslim scholars’ opinion, alcohol in the prayer room does not affect the prayers themselves but distracts the believers from God’s remembrance. Hence, Muslims must avoid alcohol to remain sober during Salah five times a day.
- Addiction to wine: Despite the early Islamic community’s recognition of alcohol’s health advantages, Prophet Muhammed compared any addiction with sickness with no cure and ordered the followers to abstain from it. According to the majority of Islamic scholars, addictions can lead to dependence that is hard to part with, and alcohol being addictive is forbidden for Muslims.
- Consumption of wine clouds intelligence: The Arabic word for drunkenness is Khamr. According to Muslim theology, alcohol consumption results in Khamr which impairs human judgment, and they cannot differentiate between right and wrong. The teaching of Islam promotes logical reasoning, realistic judgment, and intellectual discussions. Muslims must avoid alcohol to perform their religious and worldly affairs without clouding their intelligence.
- Wine consumption and wrong message: Although Islamic teachings allow sharing food and table with believers of other faiths. However, culturally, some orthodox Muslims do not participate in a meal where alcohol is consumed. They think that it will create discrimination on the table. Additionally, they feel that eateries with alcoholic content promote alcohol consumption in society. Furthermore, kids with little understanding may get influenced by alcohol-consuming adults and start drinking. Scholars of Islam, both modern and traditional, have debated and explained why being in an alcoholic zone is as harmful as drinking alcohol oneself.
“The distinction between [environmental prohibitions] and [prohibitions connected to end aims] is that although both are illegal, the former is deemed smaller in weight since it is tied to causes, while the latter is related to an actual unlawful act,” says Dr. Abdullah bin Bayyah. Sitting at the table, although not the same as drinking, may lead to it, while drinking is strictly prohibited.”
- Most people don’t recall: If alcohol is consumed in larger quantities, it has several harmful effects on human behavior. According to Islamic scholars, forgetfulness and deviance from the prescribed path of the Quran may be caused by alcoholic intoxication.
Wine and criminal activity: According to a narration of the Prophet Muhammad, alcohol is the key to all evils. Based on this narration, Islamic scholars forbid the use of alcohol to stop believers from engaging in all illegal activities. Although the association of the order to the Prophet is contested among the theologian, the interpretation of the narration relates alcohol to criminal activities.
Consumption of halal wine in Islam:
In earlier times, wine was considered to be a disinfectant, and Ibn Kathir, an Islamic philosopher, argued that wine consumption would improve digestion. Even a Quranic ayah mentioned the benefits of alcohol consumption. However, the same Ayah stated that the harmful effects of alcohol are larger than the little benefits.
According to Quran, “those who follow and maintain God’s rules on Earth will be given a paradise with rivers of milk, wine, and honey that do not intoxicate “(47:15).
Muslims may now drink wine certified as halal by private companies. The Islamic committee approved Halal Champ Wine and Patritti Wines of Dover Gardens in 2003.
Several liberal Islamic scholars allow cosmetics with alcohol content because the scent does not cause khamr. However, even plant-based ethanol is prohibited in countries like Saudi Arabia.
In recent years, an Islamic fatwa (religious decree) allowed the use of alcohol in cosmetics. However, the majority of Islamic scholars still prohibit drinking alcohol at all costs.
In recent research, moderate wine drinking has been demonstrated to lessen the risk of peptic ulcers.
Buying and selling of wine in Islam
According to Hazrat Anas, one of Muhammad’s friends, the following persons are considered to be in the same situation as someone who uses alcohol.
- Producers of wine, those who provide the wine, the carrier of wine, the person who brings another alcohol, the vintage merchants of wines, wine shoppers, and the ones for whom wine is bought.
In short, Mohammed advised his followers to leave all alcohol-related activities.
Punishment for wine consumption in Islam
Islamic teaching portrays alcohol consumption as a devil’s attempt to separate practicing Muslims from God. Jabir bin Abdullah referred to the Prophet: that those who consume intoxicants would have to eat the perspiration of those in hell. In (Meshakat-3616), people who take drinks face further punishment.
This Day in Wine History
1442 – Quran commanded that alcohol and gambling activities are forbidden (Soura 5:90-91). According to the readings of these statements, it is not permitted to consume alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, or spirits.
Order of 1979 – Pakistani constitution introduced a law that an individual guilty of consuming alcohol will be sentenced with 80 lashes. Saudi Arabia passed a law to whip a proven drinker along with other punishments.
1951 – During an incident involving alcohol in 1951, the son of King Abdulaziz assassinated a British vice-consul in Saudi. Soon after, the monarch prohibited the use of alcoholic beverages in the country.
July 10th, 2018 – The penalty for a guy found guilty of intoxication on a public plaza in the Iranian city of Kashmar was 80 lashes administered to him in a public square.
Want to read more? Try these books!
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 Kueny, Kathryn M. Rhetoric of Sobriety, The: Wine in Early Islam. SUNY Press, 2001.
 Mz, Rafika Dwi Rahmah. “Alcohol and khamr in fiqh based on science perspective.” IJISH (International Journal of Islamic Studies and Humanities) 2, no. 1 (2019): 1-10.
 Sheikh, Mustapha, and Tajul Islam. “Islam, Alcohol, and Identity: Towards a Critical Muslim Studies Approach.” ReOrient 3, no. 2 (2018): 185-211.
 Al‐Ansari, Basma, Anne‐Marie Thow, Carolyn A. Day, and Katherine M. Conigrave. “Extent of alcohol prohibition in civil policy in Muslim majority countries: the impact of globalization.” Addiction 111, no. 10 (2016): 1703-1713.
 Moghadam, Mohamad Hassan Ghosian, and Mohammad Moradi. “Effects of Alcohol Consumption on Human Health from the Perspective of Holy Quran and Modern Medicine.” قران و طب= Quran and Medicine 3 (2012).
 Khaderi, Saira Aijaz. “Introduction: Alcohol and alcoholism.” Clinics in liver disease 23, no. 1 (2019): 1-10.
 Awan, Hafiz Muhamamd Abrar, and Hafiz Asif Ismail. “خمر کی تجارت، حد خمر، نفاذکی شروط اور فقہی مباحث: تعارف وتجزیہ: AN INTRODUCTION AND ANALYSIS OF WINE TRADE, ITS PUNISHMENT, CONDITIONS OF IMPLEMENTATION AND JURISPRUDENTIAL DISCUSSIONS.” Zia e Tahqeeq 11, no. 22 (2021): 47-58.