Why Muslims don't drink alcohol - Green Prophet (2024)

It is a well known fact that Muslims don’t drink alcohol. It is haram, which means forbidden. Muslims don’t eat foods with any kind of alcohol or ethanol, they don’t wear perfumes containing alcoholic ingredients and they stay away from all forms of intoxicating substances. Muslims in Dubai also don’t tolerate medical cannabis of any form, even harmless CBD oil. Read here about a man from the UK who was served 25 years in a Dubai prison for 4 bottles of CBD oil.
This abstinence from drugs and alcohol is a command from God, the law maker for Muslims’ health and environment. But why else is alcohol, and drugs in general, haram in Islam? Let’s take a look.

Alcohol in Islam

Linguistically, khamr (خمر) the Arabic word for “wine”, is alcohol derived from grapes. This is what is prohibited by specific texts of the Quran (see 5:90). Therefore alcohol is categorically unlawful (haraam) and considered impure (najis). Consuming any amount is unlawful, even if it doesn’t create any drunken effects. This is opposite to Judaism which consecrates its Sabbath every Friday night using alcohol specifically made from grapes.
But when we go back to Islam, the Prophet Muhammad of Islam said, “Intoxicants are from these two trees,” while pointing to grapevines and date-palms. Alcohol derived from dates or raisins is also prohibited, again regardless of the amount consumed.
At first, a general warning in the Quran was given to forbid Muslims from attending prayers while in a drunken state (Quran, 4:43). Then a later verse was revealed to Prophet Muhammad which said that while specifically alcohol had some medicinal benefits, the negative effects of it outweighed the good (Quran, 2:219).
Finally, “intoxicants and gambling” were called “abominations of Satan’s handiwork,” which warned people with self-consciousness to not turn away from God and forget about prayer, and Muslims were ordered to abstain (Quran, 5:90-91).
The Prophet Muhammad also instructed his companions to avoid any intoxicating substances (paraphrased), “if it intoxicates in a large amount, it is forbidden even in a small amount.” For this reason, most observant Muslimsavoid alcohol in any form, even small amounts that are sometimes used in cooking.

1. Alcohol and prayer do not mix

Prayer (salat) is a fundamental part of the Muslim lifestyle, an obligatory call to God five times a day. A ritual eco “wudhu” (woo-dhoo) is necessary before the prayer which involves a water saving ablution to spiritually connect to environment, health and creation. The presence of alcohol in the same room does not affect the prayer, according to Islamic scholars, but anyone who drinks alcohol cannot pray for a month, unless he or she repents. Another obligation to Muslims is the annual Hajj or Haj pilgrimage, at least once in their lifetime. This year Hajj has been cancelled, thanks to corona.

2. It’s addictive

Even when the early Muslims recognised alcohol for its medicinal uses, Prophet Muhammad likened the drink to a “disease”, saying there is no cure in things that God has forbidden. Like the first puff of a cigarette, it is up to individual will-power to continue or stop drinking. Nonetheless, some Muslims seekalcohol treatment.

3. Liquor clouds the intellect

Khamr also describes how alcohol consumption makes it difficult to differentiate between right and wrong. Muslim faith is founded on the intellect, rational thought and good judgement. Anything that could jeopardise this behaviour is forbidden, and another reason why Muslims don’t drink.

4. It gives the wrong message to children

Sitting in a restaurant where alcohol is served is not the same as drinking it. This is why Islamic law has the flexibility to say if someone needs to sit in such a restaurant for a work meeting or because no other diners are available, he/she can, but should not sit at a table where alcohol is served.
Bars and environments where alcohol is served could lead to drinking and in the presence of children, it could teach them to explore drinking. Mature Muslim adults are role models and carry a message that you don’t have to drink to have a good time, to work or to socialise.
Classical and contemporary Islamic scholars have helped explain why an alcohol zone can be as bad as drinking itself,
“The difference between [prohibitions in environment] and [prohibitions related to the end goals] is that while both are forbidden, the former is considered lesser in weight because it is related to causes, whereas the latter is related to an actual forbidden act. Thus, sitting at the table, although not the same as drinking, could lead to it whereas drinking in itself is absolutely forbidden,” says Dr. Abdullah bin Bayyah from Suhaibwebb.

5. Alcohol makes one forget

Any intoxicating substance, whether it’s wine, beer, gin, whiskey or drugs, affects a person’s faculties and behaviour. The result is the same, and the Quran outlines that it is the intoxication-which makes one forgetful of God and prayer-that is harmful.

6. Alcohol can lead to crime

Think about the ridiculous things you might have done when drunk. Although a controversial statement, in Islam alcohol is viewed as the “key to every evil” (hadith), because of its close relation to creating or making criminal behaviour easier to commit. That isn’t an omission of the medicinal uses of alcohol, but to say that a prevention is better than a cure. Thus, the Quran explains, “in alcohol there is a great sin, and some benefits, but the sin outweighs its benefit.” (2:219).
All intoxicants were made haraam in Islam’s religious scripture at different times over a period of years. Even CBD oil. Over the years, the list of intoxicating substances has come to include more modern street drugs and the like. But some plants with intoxicating effects such as chewing khat in Yemen and cannabis have slipped into Islam. According to this site, the Muslim scholars are divided over khat:
“The three main positions on khat are that it is halal (permissible), makruh (detested or discouraged) or haraam (forbidden). It may be shown that each view has some support in the scholarly literature of Islam.
“Each was accepted by some members of the focus groups. Most of those who participated in the focus groups had a strong view on the correct position pursuant to Islam and this view influenced their decision to support or reject prohibition and to chew or not to chew khat.”
Young man selling khat, gat or qat leaves in Yemen
Islam prohibits the use of narcotics noting that “every intoxicant is haram (unlawful)”. Recreational drugs have become the social culture and despite religious prohibitions, Muslims are just as susceptible to cannabis (marijuana), hashish, and the supposedly herbal ‘hukkah‘ (a tobacco smoking pipe). W
e suggest you speak to your local clerics about individual use because the use of these substances is not cut and dry. Nonetheless, this drug abuse is also haram, not to mention encouraging illegal drug trade and addiction.

Wine that’s halal?

Without side-sweeping the nutritional value to alcoholic beverages, we must accept that wine in particular is not completely “evil”. Wine contains coronary benefits and according to studies, decreases the risk of peptic ulcers.
Hippocrates recommended specific wines to disinfect wounds, and even the great Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir noted wine’s force for better digestion.
In the Quran is the promise of Paradise for people who conserve God’s laws on Earth and leave it as they found it, or better. This Paradise contains rivers of honey, milk and wine which does not intoxicate (see 47:15):
The description of the Paradise promised to the righteous is that in it are rivers of fresh water, rivers of milk that never changes in taste, rivers of wine delicious to drink, and rivers of pure honey. There they will ˹also˺ have all kinds of fruit, and forgiveness from their Lord. ˹Can they be˺ like those who will stay in the Fire forever, left to drink boiling water that will tear apart their insides?
Some great entrepreneurs took this verse from the Quran as inspiration, leading to the production of halal approved wines such as Halal Champ Wine, and Australia’s Patritti Wines of Dover Gardens, which was accredited by the Islamic Council in 2003.
According to a more lenient school of thought in Islam, creams and deodorants containing alcohol are alright to use as it is invariably a synthetic alcohol and not wine (khamr). In Saudi Arabia though, evenfuel containing ethanol is getting the haram boot.
A contemporary fatwa (Islamic ruling) classified non-wine alcohol as permitted in external uses such as perfumes and soaps so long as it’s not used in vain or for intoxicating purposes. However, the main consensus is to religiously avoid it.

Buying and selling wine in Islam

For Muslims, when something is made haraam, this means that thing is harmful to one’s health and contribution to the community. That also means Muslims aren’t supposed to encourage others to consume in any haraam, irrespective of who they are.
Dealing with the alcohol trade comes under the haraam category. The Prophet Muhammad forbade people from all actions related to the wine industry, including pressing wine, drinking it, serving it, selling it or buying it. This severity is to stop the expansion of harm caused by alcohol.
And above all, drinking is a lifestyle choice for socialising and enjoying food, a lifestyle that Muslims simply do not indulge in.
Shaving in the western east: the Halal and the Haram

More onMuslim health issues:

Khitan – Circumcision Is Healthy For Muslim Sexuality
Lifestyle Poor for Abu Dhabi Women’s Health, Pregnancies, Babies
Egyptians Question the Health of Their Tap Water
If It’s Not Organic, It’s Not Halal (4 Ethical Zabiha Principles)


Why Muslims don't drink alcohol - Green Prophet (2024)


Why Muslims don't drink alcohol - Green Prophet? ›

Muslims abstain from alcohol because the Prophet Muhammad , to whom Muslims believe the word of God was revealed in the Qur'an, spoke against it. Though Muhammad said alcohol may have some medicinal value, as recorded in the Qur'an, he believed its potential for sin was "far greater" than its benefits.

Does the Quran say not to drink alcohol? ›

The Quran warns that alcohol contains both good and evil, but that the evil is greater. Dear DO: Alcohol is forbidden in Islam because it is considered an intoxicant, which technically means poison. The Holy Quran in several verses forbids intoxicants because one is not meant to harm oneself in any way or form.

Why alcohol is prohibited in Islam? ›

In (Quran, 5:90-91), intoxicants and gambling are called “abominations of Satan's handiwork”, which was aimed to warn righteous Muslims to not turn away from prayers and forget god. Therefore, Muslims were ordered to abstain from the consumption of alcohol.

When did Islam ban alcohol? ›

However, from the 12th century, the Hanafi school embraced the general prohibition of all alcoholic prohibitions, in line with the other schools. Alcohol derived from honey, wheat, barley or corn is haram when used as an intoxicant, in an amount that intoxicates.

Is it a sin to drink alcohol? ›

Drinking as a Christian. The Bible makes it clear that drinking in moderation is not a sin. Yet, you must be careful to avoid the temptation of drunkenness, drinking to excess, and addiction. Alcohol is tempting and it can lead you into sin.

Can I pray if I drink alcohol? ›

The presence of alcohol in the same room does not affect the prayer, according to Islamic scholars, but anyone who drinks alcohol cannot pray for a month, unless he or she repents.

What religions dont drink alcohol? ›

Unlike Judaism and Christianity, Islam strictly forbids alcohol consumption. While Muslims consider the Hebrew Bible and Gospels of Jesus to be relevant scriptures, the Quran supersedes previous scriptures. For Muslims, the Quran is the ultimate criterion for judging the true, ethical, and moral way of life.

Why can't Muslims touch dogs? ›

Traditionally, dogs are considered haram, or forbidden, in Islam as they are thought of as dirty. But while conservatives advocate complete avoidance, moderates simply say Muslims should not touch the animal's mucous membranes — such as the nose or mouth — which are considered especially impure.

Is red wine haram? ›

Is It Haram To Drink Wine? Wine is one of the haram items in Islam, and Muslims are well aware of this. As a result, they usually avoid consuming it.

Which alcohol is halal in Islam? ›

Any ethanol produced by anaerobic fermentation and ranging between 1 and 15% is considered to be Haram (non-Halal, Forbidden), whereas ethanol produced by natural fermentation and less than 1% is considered as preserving agent and its Halal status is allowed.

Can Muslims drink alcohol? ›

Although alcohol is considered haram (prohibited or sinful) by the majority of Muslims, a significant minority drinks, and those who do often outdrink their Western counterparts. Among drinkers, Chad and a number of other Muslim-majority countries top the global ranking for alcohol consumption.

What does God say about alcohol? ›

Galatians 5:19–21: "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: ... drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." Ephesians 5:18: "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.

Is alcohol allowed in Hinduism? ›

Hinduism. Hinduism does not have a central authority which is followed by all Hindus, though religious texts forbid the use or consumption of alcohol.

Are cigarettes haram? ›

The findings from the review showed that the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah clearly prohibiting the use of tobacco by the Muslims. Jumhur Ulama had also made a stand that the use of tobacco by the Muslim is prohibited. Hence smoking and all other form of tobacco use are prohibited in Islam.

Can Muslims get tattoos? ›

For those who aren't aware, tattoos are considered haram (forbidden) in Islam. There is no specific Islamic verse outlining this point but many people believe wudu (the purification ritual) cannot be completed if you have a tattoo on your body.

Which religion came first in the world? ›

Hinduism is the world's oldest religion, according to many scholars, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years. Today, with about 900 million followers, Hinduism is the third-largest religion behind Christianity and Islam. Roughly 95 percent of the world's Hindus live in India.

Is alcohol allowed in Christianity? ›

They held that both the Bible and Christian tradition taught that alcohol is a gift from God that makes life more joyous, but that over-indulgence leading to drunkenness is sinful.

Do Sikhs drink alcohol? ›

Drinking alcohol is often associated with the Punjabi culture, but is prohibited in Sikhism. Baptised Sikhs are forbidden from drinking but some non-baptised Sikhs do consume alcohol. Whilst the vast majority of those who do drink have no problem, a small number of Punjabi Sikh women are affected.

Why can't Muslims wear gold? ›

It is this fat layer which guards against the penetration of harmful rays of gold into women's bodies. As such, one of the harmful effects of using gold by men is its the negative effect on their blood cells.

Is it haram to have a girlfriend in Islam? ›

Dating is still linked to its Western origins, which implies underlying expectations of sexual interactions — if not an outright premarital sexual relationship — which Islamic texts prohibit. But Islam does not forbid love.

Why do Muslims wear hijabs? ›

For some Muslim women today, wearing a hijab can be a religious act – a way of demonstrating their submission to God. The Quran instructs both men and women to observe modesty in their dress and behavior.

What does the Quran say about drinking and smoking? ›

The Qur'ān, does not specifically prohibit or denounce smoking, but gives behavioral guidance: “Don't throw yourself into danger by your own hands...” (Al Baqarah 2:195) “You may eat, drink, but not waste” (Al-A'râf 7:31) "Do not kill yourselves for God Almighty is most merciful to you" (An-Nisa 4:29)

Can Muslims drink beer? ›

Muslims do not drink alcohol, as is widely known. There is no way to do it, it is haram. Islam forbids alcohol consumption as a result of the prohibitions enshrined in the Qur'an, which Muslims believe is God's word revealed to Muhammad.

Is wine prohibited in Islam? ›

How- ever, it has been established that the prohibition of wine came through Islam (Wensinck 1978: 994-997). written by Abu Ishăq al-Kătib al-Qairawanď, who is known as ar- RaqTq an-Nadlm (GAL, Supplement I: 252).

Is it haram to drink without getting drunk? ›

If the same alcoholic drink was consumed by one person without getting drunk, it is not haram, while being consumed by another person to drunkenness makes it haram [for this person],” the sheikh said, highlighting the difference between drinking liquor and getting drunk.

Can I pray if I drink alcohol? ›

The presence of alcohol in the same room does not affect the prayer, according to Islamic scholars, but anyone who drinks alcohol cannot pray for a month, unless he or she repents.

Why can't Muslims touch dogs? ›

Traditionally, dogs are considered haram, or forbidden, in Islam as they are thought of as dirty. But while conservatives advocate complete avoidance, moderates simply say Muslims should not touch the animal's mucous membranes — such as the nose or mouth — which are considered especially impure.

What Quran says about alcohol? ›

There are many verses in the Qur'an that order Muslim to avoid drinking alcohol such as Surah Al Maaida which says: “O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, idolatry, and divining arrows are an abomination of Satan's handiwork. So avoid that so that you may be successful.

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