Muhammad Drank and Performed Ablution with Wine

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PLEASE NOTE: This page has been reviewed and the original claim removed

The original writer or writers of this page had attempted to use some hadiths and a verse from the Qur'an to make a case that Muhammad drank and performed ablution with fermented date wine. The claim was not in fact justified by the evidence they provided, and other evidence, which they ommitted, refuted their claim. Hence, the claim has been removed and the problems with the claim briefly described below so that those who revisit the page will see, and so that others do not repeat the mistake. All internal links to this page have been removed.

The original article included classical Arabic dictionary definitions of nabidh, khamr, and sakaran (the 3rd one appears in Quran 16:67). These definitions have been retained at the end of this article for reference.

The most important problem with the article is that it omitted highly relevant hadiths that show that Muhammad said only to drink nabidh (a drink consisting of dates / raisens mixed with water) that was not intoxicant (i.e. had not fermented).

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ فُضَيْلٍ، قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ عَنْ أَبِي سِنَانٍ، وَقَالَ ابْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، عَنْ ضِرَارِ بْنِ مُرَّةَ، عَنْ مُحَارِبٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ بُرَيْدَةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، ح

وَحَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ نُمَيْرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ فُضَيْلٍ، حَدَّثَنَا ضِرَارُ بْنُ مُرَّةَ، أَبُو سِنَانٍ عَنْ مُحَارِبِ بْنِ دِثَارٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ بُرَيْدَةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ نَهَيْتُكُمْ عَنِ النَّبِيذِ إِلاَّ فِي سِقَاءٍ فَاشْرَبُوا فِي الأَسْقِيَةِ كُلِّهَا وَلاَ تَشْرَبُوا مُسْكِرًا ‏"

'Abdullah b. Buraida, on the authority of his father, reported Allah's Messenger (pbuh) as saying:

I had forbidden you from the preparation of Nabidh except in a waterskin. But now you may drink in all vessels, but do not drink what is intoxicant.

The word translated 'intoxicant' is muskiran (from the same root as sakaran). The next two hadiths in Sahih Muslim are very similar (Sahih Muslim 23:4953,Sahih Muslim 23:4954), as also is Sahih Muslim 22:4866. Very similar versions of the hadith appear also in Sunan ibn Majah (Sunan ibn Majah, English, Volume 4, Book 30, Hadith 3401 and Volume 4, Book 30, Hadith 3405)

Other problems with the original article

The other article problems included:

  • They cited a hadith in which Muhammad drank 'wine' and another one in which he performed ablution with wine. In both cases the word they translate as 'wine' is nabidh in the Arabic. As they even explained later using a definition from Lisan al-Arab, an important classical arabic dictionary, nabidh is a date wine (or drink), but can be intoxicant or not intoxicant (i.e. fermented or not fermented).
  • With the 1st hadith, Muhammad asks if the nabidh had been covered with a twig before drinking. Another hadith sheds light on the meaning here, that the twig is supposed to keep devils from loosening the covering of the container Sahih Muslim 23:4991. In light of the hadiths above which they omitted from the original article, this was likely unfermented nabidh.
  • The 2nd hadith about ablution is graded weak in all of the major collections in which it appears.
  • A 3rd hadith from Sahih Muslim was cited in which Muhammad drank freshly prepared nabidh from the evening of one day until the afternoon of the next, and then if any was left, he gave it to his servant or disposed of it. Again, this very likely supports the case that he only drank nabidh until it might have started to ferment.
  • This 4th hadith cited is the same as the 3rd, but a slightly different version from Abu Dawud's collection, in which Muhammad drinks the freshly prepared nabidh for 3 days, but like the other version, anything left is then given away or disposing of. This is much the same as the 3 hadiths in Sahih Muslim that follow after the one they cited in the 3rd hadith. As with the 3rd hadith, it actually supports the case that Muhammad only drank nabidh until it might have started to ferment.
  • At the end of the article, a 5th hadith is cited in which Muhammad poured water into nabidh when he was thirsty. It was suggested that this showed Muhammad allowed himself to drink fermented nabidh, but so long as he diluted it to avoid becoming intoxicated. This is a possible interpretation, but the evidence is so vague as to allow little more than speculation. More importantly perhaps, they did not mention that the hadith is graded as weak.
  • They claimed that they will show Muhammad not only drank nabidh, but also khamru (strong drink). They fail to do so, and only cite Quran 16:67, which only says that the listeners of the Qur'an verse drink intoxicating beverage (sakaru), but does not say that Muhammad did so.

These are the hadiths cited in the original article and mentioned in the list of article problems above:

في شرب النبيذ وتخمير الإناء الأشربة صحيح مسلم

حدثنا ‏ ‏أبو بكر بن أبي شيبة ‏ ‏وأبو كريب ‏ ‏واللفظ ‏ ‏لأبي كريب ‏ ‏قالا حدثنا ‏ ‏أبو معاوية ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏الأعمش ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي صالح ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏جابر بن عبد الله ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏كنا مع رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏فاستسقى فقال رجل يا رسول الله ألا ‏ ‏نسقيك ‏ ‏نبيذا ‏ ‏فقال بلى قال فخرج الرجل ‏ ‏يسعى فجاء ‏ ‏بقدح ‏ ‏فيه ‏ ‏نبيذ ‏ ‏فقال رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏ألا ‏ ‏خمرته ‏ ‏ولو ‏ ‏تعرض عليه عودا ‏ ‏قال فشرب ‏

Narrated by Gaber bin Abdullah:

We were with the messenger of Allah, PBUH and he asked for a drink. One of his men said: "Oh Messenger of Allah, Can we offer you wine to drink?" He said Yes. He (Gaber) went out looking for the drink and came back with a cup of wine. The messenger (Peace Be Upon him) asked, “Have you covered it with a twig in a transverse manner” He (Gaber) said, “Yes” and he (Muhammad) drank.

حدثنا ‏ ‏يحيى بن إسحاق ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏ابن لهيعة ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏قيس بن الحجاج ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏حنش الصنعاني ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏ابن عباس ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عبد الله بن مسعود ‏ ‏رضي الله عنهما ‏ ‏أنه كان مع رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏ليلة الجن فقال له النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏يا ‏ ‏عبد الله ‏ ‏أمعك ماء قال معي ‏ ‏نبيذ ‏ ‏في ‏ ‏إداوة ‏ ‏فقال اصبب علي فتوضأ قال فقال النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏يا ‏ ‏عبد الله بن مسعود ‏ ‏شراب وطهور ‏

Narrated by Abdullah bin Masoud (May God be pleased with him):

He was with the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him on the night of the jinn when he asked him if he had water. He answered that he had wine in a pot. Mohammed said: Pour me some to do ablution and he did. [The] Prophet peace be upon him [said]: "O Abdullah bin Masood it is a drink and a purifier."

Ibn 'Abbas reported that Nabidh was prepared for Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) in the waterskin, Shu'ba said: It was the night of Monday. He drank it on Monday and on Tuesday up to the afternoon, and If anything was left out of it he gave it to his servant or poured it out.

Here is the Abu Dawud version of the same hadith which they also cited and in which Muhammad drank the nabidh for three days:

حدثنا ‏ ‏مخلد بن خالد ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏أبو معاوية ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏الأعمش ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي عمر يحيى البهراني ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏ابن عباس ‏ ‏قال ‏

‏كان ‏ ‏ينبذ ‏ ‏للنبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏الزبيب فيشربه اليوم والغد وبعد الغد إلى مساء الثالثة ثم يأمر به ‏ ‏فيسقى الخدم أو ‏ ‏يهراق

Translation: Raisin was younbaz (prepared to be nabeez) and he drank it, the same day, the following day and the day after till the evening of the third day. Then he commanded that the servants would drink from it or to be poured down.

عن أبي مسعود قال : عطش النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو يطوف فأتي بنبيذ من السقاية فقطب , فقيل : أحرام هو ؟ قال لا : علي بذنوب من ماء زمزم , فصب عليه وشرب "

Translation: Narrated by Abi Masoud, he said: The prophet PBUH got thirsty while he was doing tawaf (walking around the Black Stone), so he was given some nabeez from the al-Sekaa (pot made from skin) but he frowned and was asked: was it prohibited (haram)? He said No, fetch some zamzam water and he poured on it and drank.

Dictionary definitions of nabidh, khamr, and sakaran (retained from original article)

These dictionary definitions, translations, and comments (some comments have been removed) are from the original article. Notice in the 2nd quote from Lisan al-Arab that it says nabidh can be "intoxicant or without intoxicant" (the word 'intoxicant' is musakrin, from the same root as sakaran defined further below).

نبذ) لسان العرب)

وإِنما سمي نبيذاً لأَن الذي يتخذه يأْخذ تمراً أَو زبيباً فينبذه في وعاء أَو سقاء عليه الماء ويتركه حتى يفور فيصير مسكراً.

Translation: "It is called nabeezen because whoever takes it, he takes dates or raisin and yanbuzu (the act ) in a pot or something like that (sekaa) and adds water to them and leaves them till they ferment يفور and they become intoxicant."

From the above definition we can understand that nabeez can be intoxicant and causes intoxication. In the same dictionary (Lesan Al-Arab) لسان العرب we read that:

وانتبذته: اتخذته نبيذاً وسواء كان مسكراً أَو غير مسكر فإِنه يقال له نبيذ، ويقال للخمر المعتصَرة من العنب: نبيذ، كما يقال للنبيذ خمر.

(Lesan Al-Arab) لسان العرب

Translation: “Entabaztuhu (the past tense from entabaza) …… taken as nabeezen whether it is intoxicant or not, it is called nabeezen and alkhamr (strong drink) squeezed from vine is called nabeez and the nabeez is called khamr (strong drink)”

Now let us see what the dictionary say about the word khamr (strong drink).

خمر) لسان العرب)

والخَمْرُ ما أَسْكَرَ من عصير العنب لأَنها خامرت العقل.

وقال أَبو حنيفة: قد تكون الخَمْرُ من الحبوب فجعل الخمر من الحبوب؛ قال ابن سيده: وأَظنه تَسَمُّحاً منه لأَن حقيقة الخمر إِنما هي العنب دون سائر الأَشياء،

Translation: Alkhamr (the strong drink) what has become intoxicant from the juice of vine because it has affected the mind.

On the same page, Abu Haneefa أبو حنيفة said Al-Khamr could be from grains …. Ibn Sayadahu ابن سيده said that he allowed that as in fact al khamr is made only from wine and not from any other thing.

خمر) لسان العرب)

والعرب تسمي العنب خمراً؛ قال: وأَظن ذلك لكونها منه؛ حكاها أَبو حنيفة قال: وهي لغة يمانية.

وقال في قوله تعالى: إِني أَراني أَعْصِرُ خَمْراً؛ إِن الخمر هنا العنب

Translation: The Arabs call vine khamren ; he said : I think so because it is made from it. Abu Haneefa said so and it is a language from Yemen. It is said in the Koran 12:36 “I see myself (in a dream ) pressing wine [Abdullah Yusuf Ali Translation]. Alkhamr here is the wine. (Vine-grapes)

الخَمْرُ) القاموس المحيط)

الخَمْرُ: ما أسْكَرَ من عَصيرِ العِنَبِ، أو عامٌّ،

Al-Khamru (Almoheet dictionary)

Translation: Al-khmru: what has become intoxicant from pressing wine or general

خمر) الصّحّاح في اللغة) قال ابن الأعرابيّ: سمِّيت الخَمْرُ خَمْراً لأنَّها تُرِكَتْ فاختمرت،

ويقال: سُمِّيَتْ بذلك لمُخامرتِها العَقْل.

Khamru (Al-sahah fe Allogha dictionary)

Translation: Ibn Al-Arabi ابن الاعرابى said: Al-Khamru was called Khamren as it was left and it became fermented (intoxicant) and it is said so as it affects the mind.

As we can see from the above two definitions, Al-khamr and Al-nabeez are both left to be prepared in a liquid form but al-nabeez can be intoxicant or not depending on the number of days while al-khamr is always intoxicant.

Another point is that Abu Haneefa considers that Al khamr is made only from pressing wine (vine) and any other thing is not considered khamren. In other words, any other thing is considered nabeez as it is not made from vine (wine or grapes) even if it is intoxicant.

Let us now see what is sakaran, because the translation of Abdullah Yusuf Ali for Quran 16:67 says:

وَمِنْ ثَمَرَاتِ النَّخِيلِ وَالْأَعْنَابِ تَتَّخِذُونَ مِنْهُ سَكَرًا وَرِزْقًا حَسَنًا
[16:67] And from the fruit of the date-palm and the vine, ye get out wholesome drink and food: behold, in this also is a sign for those who are wise.
Quran 16:67, translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali

This translation is not correct at all and is even misleading.

والسَّكَرُ: الخمر نفسها.

والسَّكَرُ: شراب يتخذ من التمر والكَشُوثِ والآسِ، وهو محرّم كتحريم الخمر

وقال أَبو حنيفة: السَّكَرُ يتخذ من التمر والكُشُوث يطرحان سافاً سافاً ويصب عليه الماء. قال: وزعم زاعم أَنه ربما خلط به الآس فزاده شدّة……… الفراء في قوله: تتخذون منه سَكَراً ورزقاً حسناً، قال: هو الخمر قبل أَن يحرم والرزق الحسن الزبيب والتمر وما أَشبهها. وقال أَبو عبيد: السَّكَرُ نقيع التمر الذي لم تمسه النار، وكان إِبراهيم والشعبي وأَبو رزين يقولون: السَّكَرُ خَمْرٌ.

وروي عن ابن عمر أَنه قال: السَّكَرُ من التمر، وروى الأَزهري عن ابن عباس في هذه الآية قال: السَّكَرُ ما حُرِّمَ من ثَمَرَتها، والرزق ما أُحِلَّ من ثمرتها. ابن الأَعرابي: السَّكَرُ الغَضَبُ؛ والسَّكَرُ الامتلاء، والسَّكَرُ الخمر، والسَّكَرُ النبيذ؛

وفي الحديث: حرمت الخمرُ بعينها والسَّكَرُ من كل شراب؛ السَّكَر، بفتح السين والكاف: الخمر المُعْتَصَرُ من العنب؛ قال ابن الأَثير: هكذا رواه الأَثبات، ومنهم من يرويه بضم السين وسكون الكاف، يريد حالة السَّكْرَانِ فيجعلون التحريم للسُّكْرِ لا لنفس المُسْكِرِ فيبيحون قليله الذي لا يسكر، والمشهور الأَول، وقيل: السكر، بالتحريك، الطعام؛ وأَنكر أَهل اللغة هذا والعرب لا تعرفه.

والسَّكَّار: النَّبَّاذُ

Lesan Al-Arab dictionary, for Sakar

Translation of the above:

Alsakaru: Alkhamr itself {The strong drink itself}

Alsakaru : a drink taken from dates and Alkashouth and alas{kinds of trees} and it is prohibited as Al-Khamr is. Abu Haneefa said: Alsakaru is taken from dates and Alkashouth laid in lines and water is poured on them. He said: Somebody claimed that perhaps Alas was added to it to make it stronger.

Al Faraa explains “whence ye derive strong drink and (also) good nourishment.”

Translation of this Qur'anic verse by Mamaduke Pickthall or Arthur J. Arberry says “you take there from an intoxicant and a provision fair.”.


Saying (I mean Al Faraa) that it is Al-Khamr (strong drink) before it became prohibited and the good substance is the raisins, the dates and so like.

Abu Abeed said: Alsakaru is the infusion of dates that fire did not touch and Ibrahim , ElShoabee and Abu Razeen say : Alsakaru Khamr (strong drink)

Narrated by Ibn Omar saying that Alsakaru from dates.

AlAzhari narrated from Ibn Abas in this verse that Alsakaru what was prohibited from its fruits …… Alsakaru (he continues) is satisfaction , khamr (strong drink) and Alsakru AlNabeez.

And in Alhadith: Alkhamru itself and Alsakaru from any drink …….: Alkhamru (the strong drink) pressed from wine . Ibn alatheer said ……. It is meant the act of getting drunk so they make (he continues) what is prohibited is the act itself of getting into a state of drunkenness and not the drink itself, so they allow what is little of it which does not cause drunkenness, and what is famous is the first one …..

Alsakar: the person who makes Nabeez.

See Also

  • Alcohol - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Alcohol

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