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The Clear Rulings on Alcohol According to Hanafi Fiqh | Imam Zia Shiekh

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By Imam Zia Sheikh

Is Beer Halal According to the Hanafi Fiqh?

You might be forgiven for thinking so if you believed the recent viral posting of an Egyptian Shaykh (link) declaring that to be the case, which has now been determined to be fake. Before you rush out to your local convenience store to celebrate, it is better to get the complete picture of the religious ruling, and that is the purpose of this article.

First of all, there are clear ahadith that suggest that all intoxicants are haram, regardless of how they are made: “All intoxicants are khamr, and all khamr is prohibited” (Agreed upon), and “whenever a large amount of an object intoxicates, a small amount of it is also prohibited.” (Tirmidhi)

So then, how would a Shaykh come to the conclusion about the ruling in Hanafi fiqh?

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According to Hanafi fiqh, the legal definition of khamr is the juice of grapes or date syrup (nabeedh) that has been fermented to a point that the sugar turned to alcohol, thereby making it into an intoxicant.

Where did this definition come from?

The proof of this is in the decisive, unequivocal texts of the Qu’ran (see 5:90) and Noble Sunnah, as the narrations of the prohibition of khamr together comprise multiple-chain transmission (tawatur). Its prohibition is also confirmed by scholarly consensus. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also said, “Intoxicants are from these two trees,” while pointing to grapevines and date-palms. [Sahih Muslim]. There is also a consensus of the companions regarding this type of alcohol.

What this means is, that any other form of intoxicant that is not included in the above definitions (grapes and dates) cannot legally be called khamr,  and therefore the ruling would have to be based on scholarly legal judgments, known as ijtihaad,   or by analogy, which is known as qiyaas. Therefore, any type of intoxicating drink made of barley, honey, figs, or anything other than those things that are clearly mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah, requires some detail, and is subject to a difference of opinion.

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Because of this seeming ambiguity, the ruling on this category of intoxicant is divided:

1- The majority of the Ulemaa of the Hijaz and the Muhadditheen have said that all of these types of alcohol are prohibited, whether in small or large amounts.

2- The Scholars of Iraq, Ibrahim Nakhi from the Tabieen , Sufyan Althawri, Ibn Abi Layla, Ibn Shubrumah, Imam Abu Haneefa, and the rest of the scholars of Kufa, and the majority of the scholars of Basra say that the prohibition in these products is the intoxication in the product, not the product itself. This is based upon the seemingly ambiguous and contradictory texts regarding the ruling of these products.

However, prominent scholars from the Hanafi school, like Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan Shaybaani have declared the above opinion to be incorrect, as mentioned in prominent Hanafi books like Ad-Durr-Ul-Mukhtar, “And Muhammad (Shaybaani) has declared the drinks extracted from honey, figs etc to be haram.”

It is mentioned in Al-Mowsooatul Fiqhiyah  “As for the nabeedh of honey, figs, barley, and wheat, it is permissible according to Imams Abu Haneefa and Abu Yusuf, with the condition that it is not drunk with the intention of merry-making and mischief, and Imam Muhammad has opposed them in this opinion. The fatwa is given according to the opinion of Imam Muhammad in the Hanafi school of thought.”

The last line is the key in all of this discussion. Despite differences of opinion, the religious ruling (or the mufta-bihi qowl) is derived from the opinion of Imam Muhammad, and not the other Hanafi scholars.

In summary:

  • All intoxicants are prohibited in Hanafi fiqh
  • The leniency of the ruling according to some Hanafi scholars can be benefitted from in areas of extreme need, like alcohol in some medications.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Meg

    February 17, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    Baloney all of it. The Quran is quite clear in one and only one ayat, gambling and intoxicants (anything and all things which cause intoxication and interference with one’s judgement) are the equivalent of the Shaitan himself. Without exception.

    Medications obviously…to relieve pain are not included, nor are those used for other purposes in the cure of diseases and that is just pure common sense. They have risks all the same but one must assume that ‘intoxication’ is meant to be ‘the recreational’ use of a chemical.

  2. Avatar

    Tenzin

    February 22, 2017 at 10:58 AM

    I came reading this thinking “I wonder why someone would feel the need to clarify this.” My lack of participation in social media sometimes saves me from having to read inane garbage.

    And after reading this, I am more confused. I feel like the article could use a bit more elaboration.

    Few questions for the author:
    1) So this is talking about the hanafi fiqh. What is the implication on the other madhahib?

    2) So all those times me and my friends joked about “Bro it’s okay to drink as long as you don’t get drunk”, is somehow true in certain madhabs? If the drink is intoxicating, but is not from grapes or date trees, it’s okay to drink it according to some fatawa, as long as it’s not with the intention of merry-making or mischief?

    Forgive me for any misunderstanding. I was always under the impression that any intoxicating substances (ANY alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, etc) are absolutely, a thousand percent, unconditionally, considered unlawful to consume. The obvious exceptions being for life-threatening situations.

    • Avatar

      greywolf

      February 23, 2017 at 9:13 AM

      All you need to know is “whenever a large amount of an object intoxicates, a small amount of it is also prohibited.” (Tirmidhi).

      End of discussion. Full stop.

    • Avatar

      Marcus

      June 17, 2017 at 9:04 AM

      When the prophet (saw) prohibits the alcohol made from palmdates and grapes two ijtihad was deducted from the event.

      1. The scholars who took it litterally and resulted in alcohol based on date and grapes are sinful only. Making other kind of alcohol halal.

      2. The other scholar focused on the intoxicant nature behind the prophet’s prohibition and forbid all kinds of alcohol.

      Since both are ijtihads produced by wellknown ulemah both opinions have a place in islam.

      Allah(swt) says that the one who strive (in ijtihad) and landed on the right solution gets 2 hasanat and the one who landed om the wrong solution gets 1 hasanat. Tolerance is the key here. But on the day of judgement there is only one true opinion, but for us in dunya the true answer is not always revealed, hence ijtihad which make room for difference interpretations.

      And please don’t use hadith and ayat to backup your favorite opinion. Do you really think the other scholars opinion is based on thin air without ayat and hadith to back up as well??

      Today there is a mainstream. Just like the evolution of different scholars in different regions. Mainstream today is alchohol is haram. But some scholars have different opinion and that is just as halal if they were sincere in their ijtihad progress. And I believe a man like Abu Hanifa and Abu Yusuf were both mumin with high level of taqwa and truly sincere when they reached their islamic verdict on this issue.

      If Allah told us to consume a coconut without further instructions we would deduce various opinions based on that command. Some would eat the entire coconut, other would crack it eat only the white soft part and other will only drink the juice. As all three variation is defined as “consume”. So which one is right? All of them. But you can only follow one. So pick the one you have most faith in and in which you believe the aleim has the strongest and most robust intellectual capacity.

  3. Avatar

    Marcus

    June 17, 2017 at 9:28 AM

    Here are some basic knowledge about islamic law principles.

    If a devine text is…
    Absolut in meaning/command = no interpretation.

    Ambigous in meaning/command = room for interpretation.

    Although we say shariah is the God’s law and not a manmade set of laws truth is majority of shariah is a collection of law products built upon itjihad.

    Ijtihad, no matter how you cut it, is eventually the man’s ability to define set of rules in a grey zone where crystal clear definitions lack. The devine part is the work is based on devine sources (quran and sunnah).

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#Current Affairs

This Eid And Beyond Boycott Goods Made With Enslaved Labor Of Uyghurs Even If It Is Your Favorite Brand

Bidding farewell to Ramadan, celebrating Eid?

Well, the Muslims of East Turkestan under Chinese occupation had neither Ramadan nor will they have Eid…

Not only that, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) run government has transferred Uyghurs and other ethnic minority citizens from East Turkestan to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Nike, Gap, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Carters and others. Read Uyghurs for Sale for more information

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CCP is also pressuring governments across the world to extradite Uyghurs back to occupied East Turkestan.

Here is what you can do to help them:

Action Items

  1. Keep making dua for the oppressed of East Turkistan and the world.
  2. Boycott Chinese products! Do not be complicit in slave labour. Start with focusing on the companies in the graphic. Share it with #SewnWithtTears, #StopChina, #BoycottChina. Write to them and demand that they do better.
  3. Raise awareness on the plight of Uyghurs and the East Turkistani cause. Learn more at SaveUighur.org
  4. Work towards reducing your country’s economic dependence on China.
  5. Build alliances with all people of conscience to demand a cessation of China’s oppression of all faith groups, be it Muslim Uyghur, Hui; Chinese Christian; or Tibetan Buddhist.
  6. Encourage and promote fairer trade and commerce with Muslims and others rather than China.
  7. Inquire about Uyghur diaspora members in your area. Organize to help out orphans, widows, and students.
  8. Pressure governments to provide legal protection to Uyghur refugees-exiles by granting either citizenship or refugee/asylee status. Stop the “extradition/repatriation” of Uyghurs to China!
  9. Get your universities/endowments to divest from China. Raise awareness about Chinese espionage and hired guns in academia. Demand academic and financial support for Uyghur scholars and students. Request more academic attention and funds for Central Asian, Uyghur, Turkistani studies. 

Read a greater discussion of action items in A Response to Habib Ali Al-Jifri’s Comments on the Uyghurs, which also contains a greater discussion on East Turkistan’s history and its current situation. A condensed Arabic version of the article can be found here

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#Islam

30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 9: A Good Word

Now that we have learnt about the life of this world, let’s talk about a good word.

I want you all to close your eyes and think of a beautiful tree. 

Question: Who can tell me what their tree looks like? Is the tree big and strong? Does it have lots of branches and leaves? Does it have fruit?

Now, I want you to think of a time when someone said something really nice to you.

Question:  What are some of the nice statements you remember people telling you?

Question: How did those statements make you feel?

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Yes, they fill us up with a warm feeling. We may have felt proud of ourselves and we may have felt loved. Do you know that Allah [wt] describes a good word to a good tree? 

In Surah Ibrahim, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرَةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِي السَّمَاءِ 

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تُؤْتِي أُكُلَهَا كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهَا ۗ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ 

Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky? [Surah Ibrahim; 24]

It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. [Surah Ibrahim; 25]

Question: Now, I want you to think of a time when someone said something mean to you. How did that make you feel?

It’s not fun to remember the mean stuff right? Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) continues in Surah Ibrahim and says:

وَمَثَلُ كَلِمَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ كَشَجَرَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ اجْتُثَّتْ مِن فَوْقِ الْأَرْضِ مَا لَهَا مِن قَرَارٍ

And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability. [Surah Ibrahim; 26] 

Question: What do you think are good words we can use to build strong, firmly rooted trees?

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History and Seerah

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We all know that Ramadan is the month of fasting, abstinence and reflection. Ramadan also just happens to be a month of awesome history defining events that shaped the world we live in today.

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