Islamic Culture

Q&A: The Divine Reason (‘Illa) of Alcohol (Khamr) and its Prohibition

“Things are permitted in origin unless there is an evidence of prohibition”. Money is a thing, there is no mention of evidence that prohibits it, and therefore, it remains in its original state of being permitted. For example: someone steals money, the ruling on the action of stealing is prohibition and the sin lies with the one who committed the action and all that follows in terms of the punishment. As for the money in terms of money, it remains as its origin which is permitted and must be returned back to its owner. This is the ruling on anything stolen regardless of the fact that it was transferred (from one place to another) or not, the money generally remains permitted regardless of the action connected to it as long as there is no restriction by evidences. There is no issue for the person if the money is taken from him as a gift or present, or nafaqa (money he is obliged to spend) because the prohibited action is not connected to the one who undertook the action only …and Allah knows best.

«حُرِّمَتِ الْخَمْرُ بِعَيْنِهَا» “khamr was prohibited for its origin”, the ‘ain of khamr (alcohol) is its origin, i.e. it is prohibited because it is khamr, i.e. its prohibition is because of its origin and the rules the rules related to it e.g. its seller, drinker…etc, but how is the prohibition of money, the transferred and that which is not transferred linked with the Khamr and its sale? Are the Khamr and its prohibition a divine reason (‘illa) for the prohibition of the money? If so, then by Qiyas (analogy) it would not be permissible to use the glass after using it for Khamr, or the truck that carried the Khamr because they share the same ‘illa?

Please clarify and shed some light on the issue, Barak Allahu Feek.

Fahmi Barkous


Yes, “Things are permitted in origin unless there is an evidence of prohibition”. As for your question on ‘Illa of Khamr (alcohol) and its prohibition and about the truck that transfers it and the glass which was filled with Khamr, the issue is as following:

«مَا أَسْكَرَ كَثِيرُهُ، فَقَلِيلُهُ حَرَامٌ»

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said from what Abu Dawoud extracted from Jabir bin Abdullah: “What intoxicates in a large amount, it small amount is prohibited.”

What is clear from this hadeeth is the absence of ‘illa (cause), intoxication is not ‘illa, the evidence for this is that if a small amount is consumed it does not lead to intoxication of the drinker but it is still regarded as prohibited and he is deserving of the punishment. The hadeeth prohibits the small amount if the large amount leads to the state of intoxication; drinking a small amount therefore is prohibited.

Also there is no mention of the ‘ila regarding the ten categories:

«لَعَنَ اللَّهُ الْخَمْرَ، وَلَعَنَ سَاقِيهَا، وَشَارِبَهَا، وَعَاصِرَهَا، وَمُعْتَصِرَهَا، وَحَامِلَهَا، وَالْمَحْمُولَةَ إِلَيْهِ، وَبَايِعِهَا وَمُبْتَاعَهَا، وَآكِلَ ثَمَنِهَا»

In the Mustadrak, Hakim extracted from the two Sahih from Abdullah Bin Ummar, from his father that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Allah has cursed Khamr (alcohol), its server, its drinker, its presser, the one for whom it is pressed, the one who conveys it, and the one to whom it is conveyed, its seller, its buyer, the one who enjoys profit from its price.”

What is clear from the hadeeth is that there is no mention of ‘illa, therefore Qiyas (analogy) is not applicable between this and other issues.

Based on this, any drink that leads to intoxication is khamr; they are equal in prohibition whether in small or large amounts. The ten categories mentioned in the hadeeth are prohibited without ‘illa. But this ruling applies to the Mukalaf (accountable), so it is implemented on the truck driver but not on the truck used to transfer the alcohol, nor on the glass that was filled with it. The rule related to khamr is not the same as the truck or the glass. Al-Tabarani extracted in Al-Kabeer from Abi Tha’laba Al-Khushani that he said:

قَالَ: أَتَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ: … وَأَنَا فِي أَرْضِ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَهُمْ يَأْكُلُونَ فِي آنِيَتِهِمْ الْخِنْزِيرَ وَيَشْرَبُونَ فِيهَا الْخَمْرَ فَآكُلُ فِيهَا وَأَشْرَبُ…؟ ثُمَّ قَالَ صلى الله عليه وسلم: «…وَإِنْ وَجَدْتَ عَنْ آنِيَةِ الْكُفَّارِ غِنًى فَلَا تَأْكُلْ فِيهَا، وَإِنْ لَم تَجِدْ غِنًى فَارْحَضْهَا بِالْمَاءِ رَحْضًا شَدِيدًا ثُمَّ كُلْ فِيهَا»

“I came to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and said: “O Messenger of Allah… and I am in the land of the people of the book and they eat pork with their utensils and drink khamr, can I drink and eat from them?” The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

«…وَإِنْ وَجَدْتَ عَنْ آنِيَةِ الْكُفَّارِ غِنًى فَلَا تَأْكُلْ فِيهَا، وَإِنْ لَم تَجِدْ غِنًى فَارْحَضْهَا بِالْمَاءِ رَحْضًا شَدِيدًا ثُمَّ كُلْ فِيهَا»

“if you can spare yourself from eating from the utensils of the Kufar then do so, if you cannot, then wash them vigorously with water, then eat from them.”

I.e. if you were in need for them and could not find other utensils, then wash them very well.

Your brother,

Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al- Rashtah

11 Rajab 1434 AH

21 May 2013 CE

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