The ruling regarding alcohol

Reference: al-Ikhtiyaaraat al-Fiqhiyyah lil-Albaanee – Pages 38-39

According to the majority of the scholars, the ruling regarding alcohol is that it is impure; this is based upon His (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala) saying:

{…indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allaah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Shaytaan}, soorah al-Maa.idah, aayah 90

And a group [of scholars] are of the opinion that it is pure; from amongst them is Rabee’ah ibn Abee ‘Abdir-Rahmaan – and he is the teacher of Imaam Maalik. And [likewise] from amongst them is al-Layth ibn Sa’d al-Misree – the faqeeh, about whom Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee said:

al-Layth has a greater understanding [of fiqh matters] than [Imaam] Maalik, except that his companions do not share his opinion [regarding the purity of alcohol].

And [likewise] from amongst them is Ismaa’eel ibn Yahya al-Muzanee, the companion of Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee.

And other than these, there are many from the scholars of the past – from the Baghdaadiyoon and the Qarawiyoon – who are all of the opinion that alcohol is pure, and that which is prohibited is [merely] drinking it, just as al-Qurtubee has mentioned in Volume 6, Page 88 of his tafseer. And it is the preponderant opinion, based upon the principle which has been cited [that all things are pure until their impurity has been established], and [the fact that] there is no opposing evidence [indicating otherwise].

And this is what the author of Subul as-Salaam [- Imaam ash-Showkaanee] has inclined toward, saying:

And what is correct is the base principle regarding all things is purity, and that prohibition does not necessitate impurity; Certainly, hashish is prohibited, yet it is pure; as for impurity, then it does not necessitate a prohibition.

And Shaykh Sayyid Saabiq preponders this [opinion] in Fiqh as-Sunnah. [And] the Prophet ﷺ said:

«Indeed Allaah has prohibited alcohol, so whoever this aayah reaches – and has some of it, then he mustn’t drink [it] nor sell [it]»

And there is an important point of benefit in this hadeeth, and it is a [strong] indication that alcohol is pure despite it being prohibited, otherwise the companions would not have spilt it in their thoroughfares and pathways, instead they would have spilt it far away – just as is the case with all [known] impurities, as indicated in his ﷺ satatement:

«Beware of the two things that bring curses»

…and they asked: ‘What are the two things that bring curses?’ And he ﷺ responded:

«When a person relieves himself in the pathway where people walk or in the place where they seek shade» – transmitted by Muslim and others.

He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2004. He currently resides in Birmingham, UK.

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