Why Muslims Don’t Drink Alcohol

alcohol muslims drink haram halal wine

It is a well known fact that Muslims don’t drink alcohol. It is haraam, forbidden. They don’t eat foods with ethanol, they don’t wear perfumes containing alcoholic ingredients and they stay away from all forms of intoxicating substances. This abstinence is a command from God, the law maker for Muslims’ health and environment. But why else is alcohol haraam in Islam? Let’s take a look.

Alcohol in Islam
Linguistically, khamr (خمر) Arabic 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.

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, as explained on Islamic site Seekers Guidance.

At first, a general warning 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 Muslims avoid alcohol in any form, even small amounts that are sometimes used in cooking.

Why Muslims Don’t Drink Alcohol

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. On that note, fins local halal restaurants with Zabiha.com’s world halal guide.

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.” – Dr. Abdullah bin Bayyah (Suhaibwebb.com)

  • 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.
  • Alcohol can lead to criminality. 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).

Muslims Don’t Do Dope
All intoxicants were made haraam in Islam’s religious scripture at different times over a period of years. Over the years, the list of intoxicating substances has come to include more modern street drugs and the like.

Islam prohibits the use of narcotics noting that “every intoxicant is haraam (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).

Nonetheless, this drug abuse is also haram, not to mention encouraging illegal drug trade and addiction.

Halal Wine?
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 a 2003 study on Wine Pros, 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.

But did you know halal wine exists too?

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).

Some great entrepreneurs took this 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, even fuel containing ethanol is getting the haraam 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
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.

More on eco health:
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)

35 thoughts on “Why Muslims Don’t Drink Alcohol

  1. tabou

    You know someone said all is good in Balance.
    The thing is where is our balance? I m worried about mother nature. And we are talking about such bullshit as alcohol. We should talk about -what leads to alcohol- ! This is trumendously more interesting!

    Religion isn’t a book. It’s a philosophy of life. Religion : the meaning of this word means /Read, bind, connect and to respect what is sacred/. Tell me, what is sacred? Where do we link each other? With internet? Where is the eyes connection? A webcam? No. Nothing. Life starts where there is life. Internet and rooters give Death! (try to grow plants or bees next to you rooter ;) )
    And this article just is so small and restrictive… What is sacred? Tell me. In our evolved western civilisation what is sacred? we forget everything, we consume everything, we run… Time/ money/ is sacred? But that is far away from what is truly sacred! Aborignans communities know what is sacred. Ho yes, they are almost all dead but who cares, let’s talk about alcohol or another entertainment full of shit while the sacred of the world dissapear for…. what for? A crazy machinery.
    Wake up people… THIS text is a call to religion, the real Religion! The one that thinks about life and love! =/

  2. manjit singh

    Hahaha….. then i guess only 10% of muslims are muslim and countries like pakistan and afganistan doesnt have any muslim because they all have are terrorists….. and islam best religion…. plese hear osho rajnesh on islam… and yes i dont think i need to read ypur qouran because your teachings can be seen thro ugh your action…. to kniw about hinduism and spirituallity in it read books of hindus, buddihst, jains… you will know… today millons of people are understanding its spiritality through yoga and ayurveda….

  3. Tota Toti

    I really wonder How non muslims can drink wine ? Although all the disadvantages of it they insist to drink it !

    wine makes people come out of their senses , isn’t it ?? !!!!!!!!! they become like someone have no mind

    they cause harm to their selves and the other people too when they are drunk

    they can do all crimes in this case !!

    You must know a thing .. ISLAM didn’t forbid a thing like this

    every thing is not good for society and people is forbidden ” haram ” in ISLAM

    please , don’t judge muslims by persons who are muslims only with name !

    A real muslim ; don’t kill , don’t be jealous , Don’t abuse others even if they are not muslims

    if you read more about islam , and if read Quraan , you’ll know that islam is the best religion in the world

  4. manjit singh

    Thogh drinking alcohol is haram for muslim in india and pakistan 95% of them drink…. has ur religuon said to carry out with crimes like rapes, murder, theft, dacoity…. because in all over the world whenever a crime is done… after many surveys it was found that in 90% of the crimes muslims are involved…. is this permissible in ur religion or permitted by the quran plz tell…

    • Y usuf Saliym

      Alcohol or any intoxicants are forbidden in Islam. If 95% of India drinks what does that have to do with Islam? Religiously, it is forbidden. The people just disobeyed. The Quran tells the muslim that it is a great sin to kill an innocent person, and anyone who does so will suffer great torment in the hereafter: …So We decreed for the tribe of Israel that if someone kills another person – unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth – it is as if he had murdered all mankind. And if anyone gives life to another person, it is as if he had given life to all mankind. Our Messengers came to them with Clear Signs but even after that many of them committed outrages in the earth. (Qur’an 5: 32)
      People who do otherwise has disobeyed. Many people blame the religion for what it’s followers do instead of what the religion itself teaches. The religion is perfect. People are not.

      • manjit

        I think u dindt undersatand my question completly…. i said…. in naximam criminal cases a muslim is involved…. in maximum cases…. which means either their religion or there spritual girus like maulwis are teaching them to do this things…. and i think u cannot deny the fact… becausr this happening all around the globe…

        • AM

          I don’t think you understood his answer completely. The first step to understand anything is to remove your personal bias and prejudice and to consider it objectively, so I ask you do as such.

          Done? OK, first of all, those numbers are wrong. I don’t know much about Pakistan but I can tell you for a fact that the majority of Muslims do not drink in India. I’ve been to various Arab countries (Saudi included) and while those countries are devoted to Islam, I’ve noticed that Muslims in India are stronger in faith than even those in the middle east.

          What the brother above me said is correct, Islam does not permit either drinking or killing. Islam does not teach to give harm to other, in fact it asks you to treat each other (be they Muslim or not) with utmost respect, as if they were your brothers and sisters. So, no, it is definitely not the religion which is teaching people to do these things. Do not judge a religion by the people who follow it, judge it by something more authentic such as the Quran and you will find that it is pure and perfect in all regards. As for the whoever is teaching people to commit those crimes, well, its honestly a lack of education and a good quality of life. Muslims have had it bad for a very long time, a lot of us are uneducated and therefore unable to think critically and are easily brainwashed into doing these crimes. Others are often fueled with hatred and revenge (both forbidden in Islam) and commit crimes in the names of Islam even though they have their own personal intents. Regardless the reason, don’t blame the religion for what they do, blame the people themselves. It is kind of like saying the spoon is making you fat, whereas it is really you shoving all those sweets down your throat; don’t blame the spoon, blame yourself.

          It is stated several time in the Quran that us humans are created with free will and we can choose to do the right thing or the wrong, that is up to us. The purpose of the Quran is to guide us through this lifetime so that we can face the hereafter without regrets. For you see, you will be accounted for everything good or bad you do in this lifetime at the day of judgement and be rewarded or punished as such.

          I generalized a lot of things as I just cannot source everything or say it in detail but then again, you are a bigger culprit of that. So ya, please pick up the Quran or Google some translation and try to understand the religion before you ask us not to “deny the facts” because I just denied them.

          Also, learn to type properly.

      • Andrew Berzins

        Seriously. It’s bad to drink beer but it’s okay – as a certain important man in his 50s did – to marry and have sexual intercourse with a child? Sure, it’s great that he didn’t try it when she was six, and waited until she was nine at least. But – wow – those 5% beers are the problem.

  5. Yusuf

    Not allowed to use parfum with alcohol? that’s just bullshit, only consumption is not allowed…you cant consume a parfum, never seen anyone do that, maybe on youtube who loves to get alot of views…

  6. Bajram Curri

    Why is alcohol forbidden in ISLAM?
    Intoxicants were forbidden in the Qur’an through several separate verses revealed at different times over a period of years. At first, it was forbidden for Muslims to attend to prayers while intoxicated (4:43). Then a later verse was revealed which said that alcohol contains some good and some evil, but the evil is greater than the good (2:219). This was the next step in turning people away from consumption of it. Finally, “intoxicants and games of chance” were called “abominations of Satan’s handiwork,” intended to turn people away from God and forget about prayer, and Muslims were ordered to abstain (5:90-91). (Note – the Qur’an is not arranged chronologically, so later verses of the book were not necessarily revealed after earlier verses.)

  7. Hui V Rot

    Yalalallalalalalala BOOOM!!! All alcohol in islam is forbidden unless used in a bomb to kill innocent people. It is only haram to drink alcohol. Killing is A-OK.

    • Hussaini

      ya, that’s really brilliant of you to write that you idiot, why even bother replying to a forum to which mostly educated people can discuss issues…??
      everyone has a right to make their own decisions and pay for them whether in a good or bad way later on–what comes around goes around. I have never heard of such a thing that most staunch Muslims don’t use perfumes or ethanol, that’s a load of hooey. And yes, please for goodness sake, learn to type and spell properly!!

    • Allison

      Wow, you are so ignorant that it’s embarrassing. If you learned even the slightest bit about Islam you’d realize that your stereotype is completely false. The actions of a few extremists do not determine an entire religion’s beliefs.

  8. someguy

    When using any alcohol in cooking, all of the alcohol evaporates during cooking so really it should be allowed in cooking.

  9. Jethro Tull

    “Muslim faith is founded on the intellect, rational thought and good judgement.” That’s the biggest joke I have heard in years. No religion is founded on rational thought or intellect. It’s founded on one clever leader and a flock of sheep that will follow and bow to his every word.

    • Utau

      This is just my guesstimate…I really might be wrong so please tell me if I am..
      It might be because the alcohol that is part of THIS world may have humans do all of these bad things like get addicted or do something really bad just because they are intoxicated. Also because of the children, they don’t need to have people like that around while they are still growing up. However for the suicide bombers, I’m thinking since they are not part of THIS world anymore, they can indulge in things like that since it theoredically do the same thing as if he/she were still alive….

      Hope it helped :) but if it didnt please tell me so I can correct myself!
      Thanks bunches

  10. Rita

    I’m muslim and I respect my religion.Can somebody tell why should we don’t drink alcohol and why we don’t look the other side.We use alcohol in medicine for different disease and some consider as disinfectant.If alcohol and drugs are prohibited why people should drink tea or caffe or cigarette,they all are narcotic substances,but some of us use caffe or tea because they don’t wanna have problems withe their heart.Caffe and tea are good for other things in our body,but if you drink to much than you would have problem,maybe you can die.So I think that we shouln’t tell DON’T DRINK ALCOHOl,but DON’T DRINK TO MUCH,because everything that is to much it’s not healthy,for example chocolates are so good,but when you eat to much you don’t feel good and they can make problems in blood or when you eat to much you can have stomach ache.So everything excessive is not good.

    • khti

      @”Rita” You don’t know anything about your religion if you think Alcohol isn’t forbidden. Even the most ignorant Muslims know any intoxican is haram. Anyone who has read the Qur’an knows that alcohol is in the fire and the people who drink it along with it. La hawla wa la quwwata illah billah

  11. Amine

    Why do you think Allah even permits eating pork when it is the only resort or drink alcohol if it will save your life and there is no water around. Allah (God in Arabic) is the one in control of all. The day when we start judging others and be suspicious on what they serve you will be the day when we think we are self-sufficient and God’s rules are not to listen to. Allah says eat and honor the people of the book and that is what we should all do. You do the right thing with the right intentions to forbid from haraam and let Allah take care of the rest. Yes you can ask not to be given pork nor alcohol in a salad but some Muslims really miss the point. I have had meat from Sam’s club that I used to buy from a Muslim store saying Halal meat ( I found out later) , so I was cheated , but not really thanks God, because that meat from the people of the book is also Halal.

  12. Amine

    We Muslims are given the ok by God to honor the people of the book (the Christians and the Jews). It is allowed to eat their food as long as it contains no pork. Now, do Muslims have to investigate how the food was cooked ? and the answer is NO. All we Muslims can do is ask a non-Muslim when served food is where the dish that contains pork is to avoid it because we don’t eat pork. If it is cooked food then you know for sure that even if alcohol was used in the cooking that alcohol is gone period. And here is the proof that many Muslims don’t even want to consider unfortunately and it is in the Quran (certainly a commandment that should be honored which shows the greatness and fairness of God the almighty): {This day we have made lawful to you all types of good (food) and the food (slaughtered meat) which come to you from the people of the book (Jews & Christians) is lawful for you just like your food is lawful for them}

    So if meat is from a Christian or a Jew (not pork) then you don’t even need to argue. Is it even possible to guarantee that a Muslim who slaughtered the animal from where we eat said the name of God when slaughtering ??? No, and that is where we are ordered to trust in God and have the intention to avoid haraam but then eat from the Christians and the Jews and honor them for the sake of God.

    And God knows best

    • Hussaini

      this is kind of treading on dodgy ground–I really don’t like it when people use this ‘People of the Book’ excuse to go ahead and just eat non-halal meat or have a drink of wine or whatever…The fact is, Allah is merciful and forgiving and we Muslims who beleive that know that under the most dire of circumstances, and if it is not available, than only is it acceptable to eat meat which had not been killed in the Islamic way. It doesn’t mean that we should just go ahead and eat any meat (other than pork) unless we absoultely have to. There are so many provisions given in Islam that makes it easy on us, not difficult actually. Simply put, try NOT to drink unless you have to for medicinal purposes or that there is not a drop of water left on the earth except for a few bottles of wine, and try NOT to eat meat if it is not halal unless it is totally unavailable and you don’t have access to eat, or just go vegetarian for a while ;-) the point is, just AVOID as much as possible–the rest is between you and God

  13. Shanjida Chowdhury

    I took a course about the Fiqh of food and clothing with Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, and he stated that alcohol is not najis (or impure). Yes, it is Haraam for us to consume, but it isn’t considered an impurity. the reasoning behind this is that back in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) people would drink all the time. however once the ruling for the prohibition of alcohol came, the people simply dumped all the alcohol on to the streets. this resulted in others walking all over the alcohol. however, they soon prayed afterwards, even with the alcohol on their feet. and their wudhu wasn’t broken.
    so from this scenario, it can be concluded that although alcohol is haram to consume, it isn’t najis, and therefore, there isn’t anything wrong with wearing an ethanol based fragrance

  14. Zaufishan Post author

    @Xoussef – 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.

    It comes down to individual stress on a commandment. Some Muslims are fine with alcoholic ingredients, chewing addictive substances or cooking with wine. That’s their onus. Halal and Haram ultimately come from God, and people choose to accept or reject it.

  15. iSawab

    Good article. A lot of items have been stretched to get into the Halal category due to the size of the burgeoning market. Who’d have thought of Halal wine??

  16. Xoussef

    @Karin: As far as I know, it’s not about who made the food or where, it’s the ingredients. The rule is: No blood, no alcohol and no meat or meat derived stuff like stock or gelatine unless it was slaughtered in Halal fashion. Game and Kosher meat are ok. Milk, cheese, fish and eggs are fine too. Unusual food items might be ok for consumption or not depending of the school of jurisprudence.

    However, many would object to someone drinking alcohol at their table, be in the same room or refuse to eat in an establishment that serves alcohol at all. I find it silly though.

  17. Zaufishan Post author

    Wine in cooking: Since the Quran puts an outright ban on all forms of alcohol, no matter how much, using wines in cooking for things like reduction, sauces, is also ‘haram’ – forbidden for Muslims.

    Some Muslims will use alcohol in cooking though, and many drink it, even though they shouldn’t in Islam. The thing with faith is that although “this is what Islam says”, you’ll find loads of Muslims who can’t or won’t follow the law to precision. It’s always better to look the source to get what the religion says.

    • Karin Kloosterman

      These tips are all good to know for what people should think about when they host Muslims. Religious Jews typically will not eat food in a non-Kosher home or the home of someone who is not observing the Sabbath. How do Muslims decide if they should eat with others or at anothers home? Is there Halal certification for restaurants or rule of thumb rules?

      • Hussaini

        Muslims are not so strict about this kind of thing or about the handling of cutlery like some of my Jewish friends do. However, I certainly do not speak for all or any Muslims, but generally, as long as there is no pork, its not during prayer time and there isn’t any alchohol at the table, it’s all good! There are indeed Halal certifications for restaurants all over the world especially in the US and in Canada but even in the UK and France that I know of. You won’t find it in the subcontinent because it is mostly assumed that the meat that is being served in a Muslim home will be halal. But restaurants that serve halal meat always have a certificate that authenticates the meat as being halal. When I know that I am invited for a meal at a home of a non-Muslim, they either serve vegetarian or fish or go out of there way to buy halal meat, but the handling of the meat doesn’t necessarily have to be by a Muslim. I have in fact encouraged several non-Muslim friends to try the local halal butcher because the meat is very good and fresh and they have and are very happy with it…so really we are not so rigid and conservative about every little detail.


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