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The Real Criterion in Prohibition of Drinks
Hadith & Sunnah
Moiz Amjad


روي أنه قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إني كنت نهيتكم أن لا تنتبذوا في الظروف الدباء والمزفت والنقير والحنتم. انتبذوا فيما رأيتم، واجتنبوا كل مسكر.

It is narrated that the Prophet (sws) said: “I had directed you to refrain from fermenting drinks in Dubbā, Muzaffat, Naqīr and Hantam. Now I permit you to ferment drinks in whichever utensils you have, but refrain from all kinds of intoxicants.”1


General Notes

1. The stated prohibition of these utensils was, in fact, because of the reason that these utensils were generally used for the preparation of liquor. It was primarily to check and discourage the preparation of liquor that the use of these utensils was discouraged. The actual prohibition, even at that time, was that of the liquor prepared in them, rather than of the utensils themselves. Thus, at a later time, when people had generally started refraining from preparing and drinking liquor, the use of the stated utensils was expressly allowed.


Notes on the Text of the Narrative

This narrative or a part of it, with some variations, has been reported in Nasā’ī (narrative nos. 2033, 4429, 5651, 5653), Abū Dā’ūd (narrative nos. 3700, 3701), Ahmad ibn Hanbal (narrative nos. 1235, 4319, 6979, 13512, 13640, 23053, 23055, 23065, 23066, 23067, 23088), Ibn Hibbān (narrative nos. 3168, 5400, 5409), Nasā’ī’s al-Sunan al-Kubrā (narrative no. 2160, 4519, 5161 and 5162) Bayhaqī (narrative nos. 6988, 6989, 17187, 17261, 17265) ‘Abd al-Razzāq (narrative no. 16949) Ibn Abī Shaybah (narrative nos. 25339, 25340, 25341), Abū Ya‘lā (narrative nos. 3705 and 5299). The preferred text has been reported in Nasā’ī, narrative no. 2033.

In some variants, the words انتبذوا فيما رأيتم واجتنبوا كل مسكر (I permit you to ferment drinks in which ever utensils you have, but refrain from all kinds of intoxicants) are replaced by وأمرتكم بظروف وإن الوعاء لا يحل شيئا ولا يحرمه فاجتنبوا كل مسكر (I directed you to refrain from certain utensils. The fact is that a utensil does not affect the prohibition or the permissibility of anything. You should refrain from all kinds of intoxicants), as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal, narrative no. 23088. A similar meaning is also implied by the words: فقال أعرابي: إنه لا ظروف لنا فقال اشربوا ما حل واجتنبوا ما أسكر (A Bedouin said: We do not have any other utensils [besides these]. The Prophet (sws) replied: “Drink all that is lawful and refrain from all that intoxicates),” as reported in Abū Dā’ūd, narrative nos. 3700 and 3701. All those other narratives in which the Prophet (sws) is reported to have permitted the use of the utensils specified in previous narratives should also be grouped with this narrative. For instance:


روي أنه بعث رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إلى القوم فدعاهم فقال في أي شيء تنتبذون قالوا ننتبذ في النقير والدباء وليس لنا ظروف فقال لا تشربوا إلا فيما أوكيتم عليه قال فلبث بذلك ما شاء الله أن يلبث ثم رجع عليهم فإذا هم قد أصابهم وباء واصفروا قال ما لي أراكم قد هلكتم قالوا يا نبي الله أرضنا وبيئة وحرمت علينا إلا ما أوكينا عليه قال اشربوا وكل مسكر حرام

It is narrated that the Prophet (sws) sent for a people. When they arrived, he asked them: “Which of the utensils do you use to ferment your drinks?” They replied: “We ferment our drinks in Naqīr and Dubbā. We do not have any other utensils.” The Prophet (sws) said: “Do not drink any fermented drink, except that which is prepared in something whose lid is kept tightly closed.” After some time, the Prophet (sws) saw these people again. He found them to have become pale with an infection. He asked them: “Why do I see you in such a bad state of health?” They replied: “O Prophet of God! our land is prone to infections [and we used our fermented drinks as a shield against these infections] but you directed us to refrain from all kinds of fermented drinks, except those prepared with a tight cover.” The Prophet (sws) said: “You may drink all kinds of drinks, but remember that you must refrain from all kinds of intoxicants.”


This narrative has been reported by Nasā’ī, narrative no. 5655. Similar narratives include Nasā’ī, narrative no. 5656 and Bayhaqī, narrative nos. 17205 and 17206.

While in a narrative reported by Bukhārī (narrative no. 5271), it is reported that:


لما نهى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عن الأسقية قيل للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ليس كل الناس يجد سقاء فرخص لهم في الجر غير المزفت

It is narrated that when the Prophet (sws) directed the people to refrain from using utensils [which were generally used for preparing liquor], people requested him that everyone did not have separate drinking utensils [and, therefore, were left with no alternative]. At this, the Prophet allowed them to use all these utensils, except Muzaffat.


This narrative, with minor variations, has been reported in Bukhārī (narrative no. 5271), Muslim (narrative no. 2000), Nasā’ī (narrative no. 5650), Abū Dā’ūd (narrative no. 3700), Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (narrative no. 6497) Nasā’ī’s al-Sunan al-Kubrā (narrative no. 5160, 6841) Bayhaqī (narrative no. 17257, 17258), ‘Abd al-Razzāq (narrative no. 16961) Humaydī (narrative no 582). Except where otherwise specified, this text has been reported in Bukhārī, narrative no. 5271. The exception relating to the fermented drinks prepared in Muzaffat, as reported in this narrative, may be construed as a mistake of the narrators of this text or as one step towards the ultimate permission granted by the Prophet (sws), with reference to these utensils. In case of the latter, it shall be assumed that after the initial directive of prohibition, the Prophet (sws) allowed the use of some of these utensils, while maintaining the initial directive for others – like, for instance, Muzaffat. This could be because of the reason that Muzaffat may have been more commonly used for the preparation of liquor. Nevertheless, as the main narrative implies, the Prophet (sws) ultimately allowed the use of all of these utensils and clarified that the real prohibition is not for any particular form of utensils, but for intoxicants which were generally prepared in these utensils.





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