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The Reason Muhammad Prohibited Intoxicants

According to the Quran, intoxicants are a creation of Satan which is why Muslims are to shun it completely:

O ye who believe! wine (al-khamru) and the game of chance and idols and divining arrows are only the abomination of Satan’s handiwork (amali). So shun each one of them that you may prosper. Satan seeks only to create enmity and hatred among you by means of wine (al-khamri) and the game of chance, and to keep you back from the remembrance of ALLAH and from Prayer. Then will you keep back? S. 5:90-91 Sher Ali

What makes this rather troubling is that the readers may be unaware that Muhammad didn’t come right out and ban the drinking of wine or strong intoxicants, but permitted his followers to actually consume them for a period of time. This means that Muhammad allowed the Muslims to consume a drink created by Satan!

Ironically, Muslims view this gradual process of forbidding the consumption of intoxicants as a sign of Allah showing kindness and bestowing honor upon Muhammad’s community!

“Some commentators say that there is no honour or kindness which Allah failed to bestow on this Community. Part of His generosity and kindness was that He did not impose laws on them all at once, but little by little. This was the case with the prohibition of wine. This is the first ayat revealed about it, and then after it comes 4:43, then 5:91 and finally 5:90 as will be explained in those places, Allah willing.” (Tafsir Al-Qurtubi: Classical Commentary of the Holy Qur’an, translated by Aisha Bewley [Dar Al-Taqwa Ltd., 2003], Volume 1, p. 552)

In other words, these Muslims want us to actually believe that it was a kind and honorable act for Allah to allow Muslims to drink something which Satan produced for the sole purpose of causing hatred and division among mankind!

When we consult the so-called authentic Islamic sources we come to realize that Allah forbade the drinking of all kinds of intoxicants solely because Muslims were getting drunk and making fools of themselves.

Here we will quote at length what the renowned Sunni exegete Ibn Kathir wrote concerning this issue:

Causes of Its Revelation

Ibn Abi Hatim has recorded some reports about the incident of its revelation: Sa`d said, “Four Ayat were revealed concerning me. A man from the Ansar once made some food and invited some Muhajirin and Ansar men to it, and we ate and drank until we became intoxicated. We then boasted about our status. Then a man held a camel’s bone AND INJURED SA’D’S NOSE, WHICH WAS SCARRED EVER SINCE. This occurred BEFORE Al-Khamr was prohibited, and Allah later revealed…

(O you who believe! Approach not As-Salat (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state). Muslim recorded this Hadith, and the collectors of the Sunan recorded it, with the exception of Ibn Majah.

Another Reason

Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that `Ali bin Abi Talib said, “Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf made some food to which he invited us and served some alcohol to drink. When we became intoxicated, and the time for prayer came, they asked someone to lead us in prayer. He recited `Say, “O disbelievers! I do not worship that which you worship, BUT WE WORSHIP THAT WHICH YOU WORSHIP [refer to the correct wording of the Surah: 109].”’ Allah then revealed…

(O you who believe! Do not approach Salah when you are in a drunken state until you know what you are saying).” This is the narration collected by Ibn Abi Hatim and At-Tirmidhi, who said “Hasan [GharibSahih.” Allah’s statement…

(until you know what you are saying) is the best description for when one is intoxicated, that is, when he does not know the meaning of what he is saying. When a person is drunk, he makes obvious mistakes in the recitation and will not be able to be humble during the prayer. Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah said…

(If one feels sleepy while he is praying, let him sleep for a while so that he knows the meaning of what he is saying.) This was also recorded by Al-Bukhari and An-Nasa’i. In some of the narrations of this Hadith, the Messenger said…

(… For he might want to ask for forgiveness, but instead curses himself!)… (Q. 4:43 http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/4/43; capital emphasis mine)

And:

Hadiths that Prohibit Khamr (Intoxicants)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “There were three stages to prohibiting Khamr (intoxicants). When the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, THE PEOPLE WERE CONSUMING ALCOHOL AND GAMBLING, so they asked the Messenger of Allah about these things, Allah revealed…

(They ask you about alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men.”)[2:219], until the end of the Ayah. The people said, `They (intoxicants and gambling) WERE NOT PROHIBITED FOR US. Allah only said…

(In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men.)‘ SO THEY WENT ON DRINKING Khamr until one day, one of the emigrants lead his companions in the Maghrib prayer and mixed up the Ayat in his recitation. Thereafter, Allah sent down a tougher statement…

(O you who believe! Approach not the Salah (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning of) what you utter.)[4:43] Then, THE PEOPLE WOULD DRINK BEFORE THE TIME OF THE PRAYER so that they would attend the prayer while sober. A firmer Ayah was later revealed…

(O you who believe! Khamr, Maysir, Ansab, and Azlam are an abomination of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful.)[5:90-91] So they said, `We abstained, O Lord!’ Later, some people said, `O Allah’s Messenger! Some people died in the cause of Allah, while some others died in their beds, but they used to drink alcohol and indulge in gambling, WHICH ALLAH HAS MADE A Rijs OF THE WORK OF Shaytan.’ So Allah sent down…

(Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate…) [5:93], until the end of the Ayah. The Prophet said…

(Had they been made impermissible for them, they would have abandoned them as you have abandoned them.) Ahmad recorded this Hadith. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “O Allah! Explain the verdict about Khamr to us clearly.” The Ayah in Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed…

(They ask you about alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin.”)[2:219] `Umar was summoned and this Ayah was recited to him, but he still said, “O Allah! Make the verdict of Khamr clear to us.” Then the Ayah in Surat An-Nisa’ was revealed…

(O you who believe! Do not approach the Salah when you are in a drunken state.) [4:43] Thereafter, the Prophet had someone herald when it was time to pray, “Those in a drunken state are not to approach the prayer.” `Umar was again summoned and the Ayah was recited to him, but he still said, “O Allah! Make the verdict concerning Khamr clear to us.” Then, the Ayah in Surat Al-Ma’idah [5:91] was revealed, and `Umar was summoned and it was recited to him. When he reached the part of the Ayah that reads…

(So, will you not then abstain) [5:91], `Umar said, “We abstained, we abstained.”… (Q. 5:90-93 http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/5/90; capital emphasis mine)

Again:

Another Hadith

Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi recorded that Sa`d said, “There were four Ayat revealed about Khamr…” He then said, “A man from Al-Ansar made some food and invited us. We drank Khamr before it was prohibited and became intoxicated, AND THUS STARTED TO BOAST ABOUT OUR STATUS. The Ansar said that they were better, while Quraysh (the Muhajirin) said that they were better. So a man from the Ansar took a bone AND STRUCK SA’D’S NOSE WITH IT and made a flesh wound on it. Ever since that happened, SA’D’S NOSE HAD A SCAR FROM THAT WOUND. The Ayah

(Intoxicants, gambling,) until…

(So, will you not then abstain) was later revealed.” Muslim recorded this Hadith. (Ibid.; capital emphasis mine)

Finally:

Another Hadith

Ash-Shafi`i narrated that Malik narrated that Nafi` said that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said…

(Whoever drinks Khamr in the life of this world and does not repent from it, will be deprived of it in the Hereafter.) Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this Hadith. Muslim recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said…

(Every intoxicant is Khamr, and every intoxicant is unlawful. Whoever drinks Khamr and dies while addicted to it, without repenting from drinking it, will not drink it in the Hereafter.) `Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Harith bin Hisham said that he heard `Uthman bin `Affan saying, “Avoid Khamr, FOR IT IS THE MOTHER OF ALL SINS [Note- And yet Allah allowed Muslims to consume the mother of all sins for many years before prohibiting it!]. There was a man before your time who used to worship Allah secluded from the people. Later, an evil woman loved him and sent her female servant to him saying that they wanted him to witness something. So he went with the servant. Whenever they went through the door, she locked it behind them, until he reached a beautiful woman with a young servant boy and some alcohol. She said to him, `By Allah! I did not invite you to be a witness for anything, but called you to have sex with me, kill this boy or drink this alcohol.’ So she gave him some alcohol, and he kept asking for more until he [became intoxicated and] had sex with her and killed the boy. Therefore, avoid Khamr, because it is never combined with faith, but one of them is bound to expel the other (from the heart).” This was recorded by Al-Bayhaqi. This statement has an authentic chain of narration. Abu Bakr bin Abi Ad-Dunya recorded this statement in his book on the prohibition of intoxicants, but he related it from the Prophet. Relating it from `Uthman is more authentic, and Allah knows best. Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “When Khamr was prohibited, some people said, `O Allah’s Messenger! What about our brethren who died while still drinking Khamr?‘ Allah sent down the Ayah

(Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate,) until the end of the Ayah… (Ibid.; capital emphasis mine)

The following perfectly exemplifies the Quran’s statements that Satan created wine for the sole purpose of causing people to hate one another. Here we have Muslims physically and verbally abusing each other, as well as messing up the words of the surahs during their prayers.

It even got so bad that Muhammad’s uncle and foster-brother Hamza killed his nephew Ali’s camels and ridiculed Muhammad himself!

Narrated Ali:
I got a she-camel in my share of the war booty on the day (of the battle) of Badr, and the Prophet had given me a she-camel from the Khumus. When I intended to marry Fatima, the daughter of Allah’s Apostle, I had an appointment with a goldsmith from the tribe of Bani Qainuqa’ to go with me to bring Idhkhir (i.e. grass of pleasant smell) and sell it to the goldsmiths and spend its price on my wedding party. I was collecting for my she-camels equipment of saddles, sacks and ropes while my two she-camels were kneeling down beside the room of an Ansari man. I returned after collecting whatever I collected, to see the humps of my two she-camels cut off and their flanks cut open and some portion of their livers was taken out. When I saw that state of my two she-camels, I could not help weeping. I asked, “Who has done this?” The people replied, “Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib who is staying with some ANSARI DRUNKS in this house.” I went away till I reached the Prophet and Zaid bin Haritha was with him. The Prophet noticed on my face the effect of what I had suffered, so the Prophet asked, “What is wrong with you?” I replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! I have never seen such a day as today. Hamza attacked my two she-camels, cut off their humps, and ripped open their flanks, and he is sitting there in a house in the company of SOME DRUNKS.” The Prophet then asked for his covering sheet, put it on, and set out walking followed by me and Zaid bin Haritha till he came to the house where Hamza was. He asked permission to enter, and they allowed him, and they were drunk. Allah’s Apostle started rebuking Hamza for what he had done, but Hamza was drunk and his eyes were red. Hamza looked at Allah’s Apostle and then he raised his eyes, looking at his knees, then he raised up his eyes looking at his umbilicus, and again he raised up his eyes looking at his face. Hamza then said, “Aren’t you but the slaves of my father?” Allah’s Apostle realized that he was drunk, so Allah’s Apostle retreated, and we went out with him. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 53, Number 324)

No wonder the Quran and tafsir literature call wine a work of Satan and the mother of all sins! And yet, despite such negative and harmful affects Allah still has the audacity to actually allow his followers to consume Satan’s handiwork and the most heinous of evils for a period of time!

Satan’s Work As A Heavenly Pleasure for Muslims?  

If this wasn’t embarrassing enough, the Quran teaches that Allah will actually reward his followers by allowing them to consume Satan’s creation in paradise forever and ever!

The description of Paradise which the Muttaqun (pious – see V. 2:2) have been promised is that in it are rivers of water the taste and smell of which are not changed; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine (khamrin) delicious to those who drink; and rivers of clarified honey (clear and pure) therein for them is every kind of fruit; and forgiveness from their Lord. (Are these) like those who shall dwell for ever in the Fire, and be given, to drink, boiling water, so that it cuts up their bowels? S. 47:15 Hilali-Khan

This wine is said to be a pure drink that is sealed:

Verily, Al-Abrar (the pious who fear Allah and avoid evil) will be in delight (Paradise). On thrones, looking (at all things). You will recognise in their faces the brightness of delight. They will be given to drink pure sealed wine (raheeqin makhtoomin). The last thereof (that wine) will be the smell of musk, and for this let (all) those strive who want to strive (i.e. hasten earnestly to the obedience of Allah). It (that wine) will be mixed with Tasnim. A spring whereof drink those nearest to Allah. S. 83:22-28 Hilali-Khan

The hadiths make it quite clear that this is the same kind of wine that is consumed on earth:

Ibn ‘Umar reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: He who drank (wine) in this world would be deprived of IT in the Hereafter. (Sahih Muslim, Book 023, Number 4967)

Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi from Abdullah ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah said “Whoever drinks wine in this world and does not turn from it in tawba, IT is haram for him in the Next World.”  (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 42, Number 42.4.11)

Notice that Muhammad expressly says that anyone who drinks wine on earth without repenting from doing so, will not be allowed to drink from it in the hereafter. This clearly presupposes a connection between the wine that is consumed on earth from that which is found in paradise.

What makes this so ironic is that the very drink which the Quran says happens to be the work of Satan himself, the very act which the ahadith teach may result in a person being killed:

Narrated Mu’awiyah ibn AbuSufyan: The Prophet said: If they (the people) drink wine, flog them, again if they drink it, flog them. Again if they drink it, kill them. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4467)

Narrated AbuHurayrah: The Prophet said: If he is intoxicated, flog him; again if he is intoxicated, flog him; again if he is intoxicated, flog him; if he does it again a fourth time, kill him. AbuDawud said: And there is a similar tradition of Umar ibn AbuSalamah, from his father, on the authority of AbuHurayrah, from the Prophet: If he drinks wine, flog him if he does it so again, a fourth time, kill him. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4469)

Narrated Qabisah ibn Dhuwayb: The Prophet said: If anyone drinks wine, flog him; if he repeats it, flog him, and if he repeats it, flog him. If he does it again a third or a fourth time, kill him. A man who had drunk wine was brought (to him) and he gave him lashes. He was again brought to him, and he flogged him. He was again brought to him and he flogged him. He was again brought to him and he flogged him. The punishment of killing (for drinking) was repealed, and a concession was allowed. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4470)

Shall now be happily consumed in paradise itself!

It seems that Allah is in the business of taking the very things which were evil and shameful on earth, and making them righteous and good for people in paradise.

Concluding Remarks

Let us briefly summarize the contradictions and problems raised by the Quran and Islamic sources in regards to the creation and consumption of wine and other intoxicants:

Intoxicants are the work of Satan and the mother of all sins.

Yet for a certain period of time, Allah permitted Muslims to drink something produced by Satan himself.

To make matters worse, there will actually be rivers of Satan’s own work flowing forever in paradise, which Muslims will be allowed to consume for all eternity!

With the foregoing in view, isn’t it rather convenient that Muslim debaters fail to inform folks that their prophet initially allowed his followers to consume a drink created by Satan? And isn’t it ironic that these Islamic polemicists do not bother mentioning the reason why Muhammad only slowly and gradually prohibited the consumption of wine?

It is obvious that these Muslims are too embarrassed to mention the real reason why intoxicants are forbidden and their true origin.

So much for the Quran’s assertion that it is a consistent scripture, which is free from all contradictions and/or satanic influence.

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