In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
O ye who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed. (90) Satan seeketh only to cast among you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink and games of chance, and to turn you from remembrance of Allah and from (His) worship. Will ye then have done? (91) Obey Allah and obey the messenger, and beware! But if ye turn away, then know that the duty of Our messenger is only plain conveyance (of the message). (92)
Surah Al-Maeda– verse 90-92
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنْصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ ﴿5:90﴾
(5:90) Believers! Intoxicants, games of chance, idolatrous sacrifices at altars, and divining arrows *108 are all abominations, the handiwork of Satan. So turn wholly away from it that you may attain to true success. *109
*108.For ‘altars’ and divination by arrows see nn. 12 and 14 above. For games of chance see n. 14 above. While divination by arrow-shooting essentially constitutes a game of chance there is nevertheless a certain difference between the two, since divination by arrow-shooting, in addition to being a game of chance, is also tainted with polytheistic beliefs and superstitions. As for games of chance, this expression is applied to those games and acts in which accidental factors are considered the criteria for acquisition, fortune-making and the division of goods and property. *109. In this verse four things are categorically prohibited: (1) intoxicants; (2) games of chance; (3) places consecrated for the worship of anyone else besides God, and altars for either sacrifices or offerings in the name of others than God; and (4) polytheistic divination by arrow-shooting. The last three items have already been explained. (See Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. I, Surah 2: 219, n. 235 and Surah 5: 3, n. 14 above). Two injunctions had already been revealed concerning the prohibition of intoxicants (See Surahs 2: 219 and 4: 43). Before the revelation of the last injunction, the Prophet (peace be on him) had warned the people that intoxicants were highly displeasing to God. Hinting at the possibility of their being prohibited, he advised people to dispose of intoxicants if they had any. A little later on the present verse was revealed and the Prophet (peace be on him) then proclaimed that those who had intoxicants should neither consume nor sell them, but rather destroy them. Intoxicating liquors were poured into the streets of Madina. When asked if such liquor might be offered to the Jews as a gift the Prophet (peace be on him) replied in the negative and said: ‘He Who has prohibited it has also required it not to be given away as a gift.’ Some people inquired whether it was permitted to make vinegar out of such liquor. The Prophet (peace be on him) told them not to do so, but to throw it away instead. Another person asked insistently whether or not an intoxicant could be used as medicine. The Prophet (peace be on him) replied that far from being a remedy for any malady it was in itself a malady. Others sought permission to consume intoxicating liquor on the plea that they lived in a very cold region and had to work very hard, and that the people of that region habitually drank intoxicants to combat exhaustion and cold. The Prophet (peace be on him) inquired if the drink concerned did cause intoxication. On being told that it did, he said that they should abstain from it. They pointed out that the people of their region would not accept this, to which the Prophet (peace be on him) replied that they should fight them. It is reported by ‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet (peace be on him) said: ‘God has cursed khamr (wine) and him who drinks it, him who provides it to others and him who buys or sells it, him who squeezes (the grapes) into wine and him who causes others to squeeze grapes (in order to make wine), him who carries it and him to whom it is carried.’ (See Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, p. 97; vol. 1, p. 316; Abu Da’ud, ‘Ashribah’, 2 – Ed.) According to another tradition the Prophet (peace be on him) instructed not to eat at the table where intoxicating drinks were being taken. In the beginning the Prophet (peace be on him) even forbade the use of vessels in which intoxicating drinks had either been made or served. Later on, when the prohibition of drinks was completely observed the Prophet (peace be on him) withdrew the interdiction regarding the use of these vessels. (See Abu Da’ud, ‘At’imah’, 18; Tirmidhi, ‘Adab’, 43; Darimi, ‘Ashribah’, 15; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 1, p. 20; vol. 3, p. 339 – Ed.) Though the word khamr in Arabic means literally ‘the drink made from grapes’, it was also used figuratively for intoxicating liquors made from wheat, barley, raisins, dates and honey. The Prophet (peace be on him) applied the prohibition of wine to all intoxicants. In this regard we find categorical statements from the Prophet (peace be on him) embodied in traditions: ‘Every intoxicant is khamr, and every intoxicant is prohibited.’ ‘Every drink which causes intoxication is prohibited.’ ‘I forbid everything which intoxicates.’ In a Friday sermon ‘Umar defined khamr in the following manner: ‘Whatever takes hold of the mind is khamr.’ (See Bukhari, ‘Wudu”, 71; ‘Maghazi’, 60, ‘Ashribah’, 4,10, ‘Adab’, 8, ‘Ahkam’, 22; Muslim, ‘Ashribah’, 67-9; Abu Da’ud, ‘Ashribah’, 5, 71; Ibn Majah, ‘Ashribah’, 9, 13, 14; Darimi, ‘Ashribah’, 8, 9; Muwatta’, ‘Dahaya’, 8; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 1, pp. 274, 289, 350; vol. 2, pp. 16, 158, 171, 185, 429, 501; vol. 3, pp. 63, 66, 112, 119, 361; vol. 4, pp. 41, 416; vol. 6, pp. 36, 71, 72, 97, 131, 190 and 226 – Ed.) The Prophet (peace be on him) also enunciated the following principle: ‘If anything causes intoxication when used in large quantity, even a small quantity of it is prohibited.’ ‘If a large quantity of something causes intoxication, to drink even a palmful of it is prohibited.’ (See Abu Da’ud, ‘Ashribah’, 5; Ibn Majah, ‘Ashribah’, 10; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, pp. 167, 179 and vol. 3, p. 343 – Ed.) In the time of the Prophet (peace be on him) no specific punishment had been laid down for drinking. A person caught drunk would be struck with shoes, fists, and whips made of twisted cloth and palm sticks. The maximum number of lashes to which any culprit was subjected was forty. In the time of Abu Bakr the punishment continued to be forty lashes. In the time of ‘Umar the punishment initially remained at forty lashes also, but when he saw people persist in drinking he fixed the punishment at eighty lashes after consulting the Companions. This was considered the prescribed legal punishment for drinking by Malik and Abu Hanifah, and even by Shafi’i according to one tradition. But Ahmad b. Hanbal, and, according to a variant tradition, Shafi’i, considered the punishment to consist of forty lashes, and ‘Ali is reported to have preferred this opinion. According to Islamic Law, it is the bounden duty of an Islamic government to enforce this prohibition. In the time of ‘Umar the shop of a member of the Thaqif tribe, by the name of Ruwayshid, was burnt down because he carried on the sale of liquor. On another occasion a whole hamlet was set on fire because it had become a center of illegal traffic in liquor.
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ فِي الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَعَنِ الصَّلَاةِ فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُنْتَهُونَ ﴿5:91﴾
(5:91) By intoxicants and games of chance Satan only desires to create enmity and hatred between you, and to turn you away from the remembrance of Allah and from Prayer. Will you, then, desist?
وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَاحْذَرُوا فَإِنْ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا عَلَى رَسُولِنَا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ ﴿5:92﴾
(5:92) Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and beware. But if you turn away, then know well that Our Messenger had merely to deliver the message clearly.