(2:219) They ask you about wine and games of chance. Say: “In both these there is great evil, even though there is some benefit for people, but their evil is greater than their benefit.”
They ask: “What should we spend in the Way of Allah?” Say: “Whatever you can spare.” In this way Allah clearly expounds His injunctions to you that you may reflect upon them,
235. This is the first injunction concerning intoxicating drinks and gambling, and here the matter has been left merely as an expression of disapproval. This was a preliminary step designed to prepare the minds of people for the acceptance of their prohibition. The injunction prohibiting the performance of Prayer when in a state of intoxication came later, and ultimately alcohol, gambling and the like were categorically prohibited see (Surah An-Nisa, ayat 43) and (Surah Al-Maidah, ayat 90).
(4:43) Believers! Do not draw near to the Prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying nor while you are defiled – save when you are travelling – until you have washed yourselves. If you are either ill or travelling or have satisfied a want of nature or have had contact with women and can find no water, then betake yourselves to pure earth, passing with it lightly over your face and your hands.70 Surely Allah is All-Relenting, All-Forgiving.
65. This is the second in the chronological sequence of injunctions concerning intoxicants. We came across the first injunction in (Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 219). In that verse God merely indicated that drinking wine was a great sin, making it clear that it was reprehensible in His sight. This was quite enough to make some Muslims give up liquor altogether, though many others still took intoxicating drinks: they sometimes stood up to pray while still under the influence of alcohol, so that they even made mistakes in their recitations. This second injunction was probably revealed at the beginning of 4 A.H., making it forbidden, thenceforth, to pray in a state of intoxication. This led people to alter their drinking times. They drank only at those hours when there was no fear of their remaining under the influence of intoxicants when the time for Prayer came. The injunction embodying unconditional prohibition of intoxicants was revealed not long afterwards. See (Surah Al-Maidah, ayat 90-91).
It should also be borne in mind that the word used in the verse is derived from sukr, which embraces not merely intoxicating liquors but everything which causes intoxication. The injunction contained in the verse is valid even now, for though the use of intoxicants as such has been completely prohibited, praying in a state of intoxication is a graver sin.
66. It is on this basis that the Prophet (peace be on him) directed anyone who is under the influence of sleep, and dozes off again and again during the Prayer, to stop praying and go to bed. (Ibn Kathir, vol. 4, p. 494-Ed.) Some people argue, on the basis of this verse, that the Prayer of one who does not understand the Arabic text of the Qur’an will not be accepted. Apart from taking things too far such a conclusion is not supported by the words in the text. The expression used by the Qur’an is neither ( ) nor even ( ). On the contrary, the expression is ( ) (i.e. until you know what you are saying, rather than until you understand’ what you are saying). What is required is that while praying one should at least be conscious enough to know what one is uttering in the Prayer.
67. The term janabah denotes the state of major ritual impurity, and is derived from the root meaning: ‘to ward off’. The word ajnabi, meaning foreigner or stranger, is also derived from the same root. In Islamic terminology, janabah denotes the state of ritual impurity (in both male and female) which results from the act of intercourse or from seminal emission (either from sexual stimulation or from a wet dream).
68. One group of jurists and Qur’anic commentators interpret this verse to mean that one should not enter a mosque in the state of major ritual impurity (janabah), unless out of necessity. This is the opinion of ‘Abd Allah b. Mas’ud, Anas b. Malik, Hasan al-Basri, Ibrahim al-Nakha’i and others. Another group thinks that the reference here is to travel. In the opinion of this group, if a traveller is in the state of major ritual impurity he may resort to tayammum (i.e. symbolic ablution attained through wiping the hands and face with clean earth). See (Surah Al-Maidah, ayat 6) and (Surah Al-Maidah, ayat 42) note 70 below – Ed. This group considers it permissible to stay in the mosque in this state provided one has performed ablution. This is the view of ‘Ali, Ibn ‘Abbas, Sa’id b. Jubayr and some other authorities. The opinion that a traveller in the state of major impurity may perform ablution if he is unable to take a bath is supported by consensus, but while some authorities infer it from traditions others base it on the Qur’anic verse mentioned above. (See Jassas, vol. 2, pp. 201-6; and Ibn Kathir’s commentary on this verse – Ed.)
69. There is disagreement as to what is meant here by the verb lamastum, which literally means ‘you touched’. ‘Ali, Ibn ‘Abbas, Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, Ubayy b. Ka’b, Sa’id b. Jubayr, Hasan al-Basri and several other leading jurists are of the opinion that it signifies sexual intercourse. Abu Hanifah and his school, and Sufyan al-Thawri follow this view. But ‘Abd Allah b. Mas’ud and Abd Allah b. ‘Umar hold that it signifies the act of touching, the mere placing of one’s hand on a woman’s body. This is the opinion adopted by Shafi’i. Other jurists take an intermediate position. Malik, for instance, is of the opinion that if a man and a woman touch each other with sexual desire, their ablution is nullified, and if they want to perform the Prayer they are obliged to renew their ablution. He sees nothing objectionable, however, in the mere fact of a man touching a woman’s body, or vice versa, provided the act is not motivated by sexual desire. (See Ibn Kathir’s commentary on this verse – Ed.-)
70. The detailed rules of tayammum are as follows: A man who either needs to perform ablution or take a bath to attain the state of purity for ritual Prayer may resort to tayammum provided water is not available to him. Only then may he perform the Prayer. Permission to resort to tayammum, rather than make ablution with water or take a bath, is also extended to invalids whose health is likely to be harmed by the use of water. We have tried to convey both shades of meaning in the translation of the verse by using the expression ‘have had contact with’ instead of ‘touched’ – Ed.
Tayammum literally means ‘to turn to, to aim at, to head for, to intend’. The relevance of the term in the Islamic religious context is that when water is either not available or when its use is likely to cause harm one should ‘turn to’ clean earth.
There is some disagreement among jurists about the manner of performing tayammum. According to some, one should strike one’s palms on the clean earth, then gently wipe one’s face, then strike one’s hands again and gently wipe one’s hands and arms up to the elbows. This is the view of Abu Hanifah, Shafi’i, Malik and the majority of jurists. Among the Companions and Successors, ‘Ali, ‘Abd Allah b. Umar, Hasan al-Basri, Sha’bi, Salim b. ‘Abd Allah and many others are of the same opinion. Other jurists are of the view that it is sufficient to strike one’s palms once on the clean earth, then wipe one’s face and one’s hands up to the wrist; it is not necessary to wipe the arms between the wrist and the elbow. This is the opinion of ‘Ata’, Makhul, Awza’i, and Ahmad b. Hanbal, and is generally followed by the Ahl al-Hadith. (Cf. Qurtubi, Ahkam al-Qur’an, vol. 5, pp. 239-41.)
Tayammum is not necessarily performed by striking one’s palms on earth proper. It is sufficient to strike the palms on anything which either has dust over it or anything consisting of the dry elements of the earth. It may be asked how one attains purity by striking one’s palms on the earth and then wiping one’s hands and face with them. In fact tayammum is a useful psychological device to keep the sense of ritual purity and the sanctity of Prayer alive in man’s mind even when water – the principal agent of purification – is not available. The value of tayammum is that even if a man is unable to use water – and no one knows how long this situation may persist – his sensitivity to cleanliness and purity will endure. He will continue to observe the regulation laid down by the Law in respect of cleanliness and purity, and the distinction between the states in which one may and may not perform the Prayer will not be erased.
(5:90) Believers! Intoxicants, games of chance, idolatrous sacrifices at altars, and divining arrows are all abominations, the handiwork of Satan. So turn wholly away from it that you may attain to true success.
While divination by arrow-shooting essentially constitutes a game of chance there is nevertheless a certain difference between the two, since divination by arrow-shooting, in addition to being a game of chance, is also tainted with polytheistic beliefs and superstitions. As for games of chance, this expression is applied to those games and acts in which accidental factors are considered the criteria for acquisition, fortune-making and the division of goods and property.
109. In this verse four things are categorically prohibited:
(2) games of chance;
(3) places consecrated for the worship of anyone else besides God, and altars for either sacrifices or offerings in the name of others than God; and
(4) polytheistic divination by arrow-shooting.
The last three items have already been explained. See (Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 219) note 235 and (Surah Al-Maidah, ayat 3) note 14. Two injunctions had already been revealed concerning the prohibition of intoxicants See (Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 219) and (Surah An-Nisa, ayat 43). Before the revelation of the last injunction, the Prophet (peace be on him) had warned the people that intoxicants were highly displeasing to God. Hinting at the possibility of their being prohibited, he advised people to dispose of intoxicants if they had any. A little later on the present verse was revealed and the Prophet (peace be on him) then proclaimed that those who had intoxicants should neither consume nor sell them, but rather destroy them. Intoxicating liquors were poured into the streets of Madina. When asked if such liquor might be offered to the Jews as a gift the Prophet (peace be on him) replied in the negative and said: ‘He Who has prohibited it has also required it not to be given away as a gift.’ Some people inquired whether it was permitted to make vinegar out of such liquor. The Prophet (peace be on him) told them not to do so, but to throw it away instead. Another person asked insistently whether or not an intoxicant could be used as medicine. The Prophet (peace be on him) replied that far from being a remedy for any malady it was in itself a malady. Others sought permission to consume intoxicating liquor on the plea that they lived in a very cold region and had to work very hard, and that the people of that region habitually drank intoxicants to combat exhaustion and cold. The Prophet (peace be on him) inquired if the drink concerned did cause intoxication. On being told that it did, he said that they should abstain from it. They pointed out that the people of their region would not accept this, to which the Prophet (peace be on him) replied that they should fight them.
It is reported by ‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet (peace be on him) said: God has cursed khamr (wine) and him who drinks it, him who provides it to others and him who buys or sells it, him who squeezes (the grapes) into wine and him who causes others to squeeze grapes (in order to make wine), him who carries it and him to whom it is carried.’ (See Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, p. 97; vol. 1, p. 316; Abu Da’ud, ‘Ashribah’, 2 – Ed.)
According to another tradition the Prophet (peace be on him) instructed not to eat at the table where intoxicating drinks were being taken. In the beginning the Prophet (peace be on him) even forbade the use of vessels in which intoxicating drinks had either been made or served. Later on, when the prohibition of drinks was completely observed the Prophet (peace be on him) withdrew the interdiction regarding the use of these vessels. (See Abu Da’ud, ‘At’imah’, 18; Tirmidhi, Adab’, 43; Darimi, ‘Ashribah’, 15; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 1, p. 20; vol. 3, p. 339 – Ed.) Though the word khamr in Arabic means literally ‘the drink made from grapes’, it was also used figuratively for intoxicating liquors made from wheat, barley, raisins, dates and honey. The Prophet (peace be on him) applied the prohibition of wine to all intoxicants. In this regard we find categorical statements from the Prophet (peace be on him) embodied in traditions: ‘Every intoxicant is khamr, and every intoxicant is prohibited.’
Every drink which causes intoxication is prohibited.’ ‘I forbid everything which intoxicates.’ In a Friday sermon ‘Umar defined khamr in the following manner: ‘Whatever takes hold of the mind is khamr.’ (See Bukhari, ‘Wudu”, 71; Maghazi’, 60, ‘Ashribah’, 4,10, ‘Adab’, 8, ‘Ahkam’, 22; Muslim, ‘Ashribah’, 67-9; Abu Da’ud, ‘Ashribah’, 5, 71; Ibn Majah, ‘Ashribah’, 9, 13, 14; Darimi, Ashribah’, 8, 9; Muwatta’, ‘Dahaya’, 8; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 1, pp. 274, 289, 350; vol. 2, pp. 16, 158, 171, 185, 429, 501; vol. 3, pp. 63, 66, 112, 119, 361; vol. 4, pp. 41, 416; vol. 6, pp. 36, 71, 72, 97, 131, 190 and 226 – Ed.)
The Prophet (peace be on him) also enunciated the following principle: ‘If anything causes intoxication when used in large quantity, even a small quantity of it is prohibited.’ ‘If a large quantity of something causes intoxication, to drink even a palmful of it is prohibited.’ (See Abu Da’ud, ‘Ashribah’, 5; Ibn Majah, Ashribah’, 10; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, pp. 167, 179 and vol. 3, p. 343 – Ed.)
In the time of the Prophet (peace be on him) no specific punishment had been laid down for drinking. A person caught drunk would be struck with shoes, fists, and whips made of twisted cloth and palm sticks. The maximum number of lashes to which any culprit was subjected was forty. In the time of Abu Bakr the punishment continued to be forty lashes. In the time of ‘Umar the punishment initially remained at forty lashes also, but when he saw people persist in drinking he fixed the punishment at eighty lashes after consulting the Companions. This was considered the prescribed legal punishment for drinking by Malik and Abu Hanifah, and even by Shafi’i according to one tradition. But Ahmad b. Hanbal, and, according to a variant tradition, Shafi’i, considered the punishment to consist of forty lashes, and ‘Ali is reported to have preferred this opinion.
According to Islamic Law, it is the bounden duty of an Islamic government to enforce this prohibition. In the time of ‘Umar the shop of a member of the Thaqif tribe, by the name of Ruwayshid, was burnt down because he carried on the sale of liquor. On another occasion a whole hamlet was set on fire because it had become a center of illegal traffic in liquor.
(5:91) By intoxicants and games of chance Satan only desires to create enmity and hatred between you, and to turn you away from the remembrance of Allah and from Prayer. Will you, then, desist?
There is no commentary by Abul Maududi available for this verse.
(12:36) And with Joseph two other slaves entered the prison. One of them said: “I saw myself pressing wine in a dream”; and the other said: I saw myself carrying bread on my head of which the birds were eating. Both said: “Tell us what is its interpretation; for we consider you to be one of those who do good.”
31. At the time when Prophet Joseph was sent to prison, he probably was about twenty years old. This has been inferred from two statements in the Quran and the Talmud. The Quran (Surah Yusuf, Ayat 42) says that….he remained in the prison for a decade or so and the Talmud says that …Joseph was thirty years old when he was elevated to his honorable and trustworthy position.
32. One of the two prisoners, according to the Bible, was the chief of the butlers of the king of Egypt, and the other the chief of the bakers. And according to the Talmud, they were condemned to the prison because during a feast stone grits were found in the bread and a fly in the wine.
33. The fact that two prisoners attested his righteousness shows that Prophet Joseph was held in high esteem in the prison. Otherwise there was no reason why the two should have requested him alone to interpret the dreams and paid their homage like this: We have seen that you are a righteous man. It clearly means that the events narrated in the preceding verses had reached all and sundry and the people, inside the prison and outside it, knew that he had not been guilty of any crime or sin. On the other hand, he had proved himself to be a noble soul who had come out successful in the hardest test of his piety. So much so that there was not the like of him in piety, not even among their own religious leaders in the whole country. That is why not only the prisoners but also the officers and officials of the prison looked upon him as an honorable man and had full confidence in him. The Bible confirms this: And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his hand. (Gen. 39: 22-23).
(12:41) Fellow-prisoners! (This is the interpretation of your dreams): one of you will serve wine to his lord (the king of Egypt).As for the other, he will be crucified and birds will eat of his head. The question concerning what you asked has thus been decided.”
34. This discourse, which is the soul of this story, and is one of the best on the doctrine of Tauhid in the Quran itself, finds no place at all in the Bible and the Talmud. This is because they regard him merely as a wise and pious man and not as a Prophet. That is why Rev. Rodwell has, in regard to this passage, accused Muhammad (peace be upon him) of putting his own doctrine and conviction into the mouth of Joseph (peace be upon him). But the Quran not only puts forward and presents these two aspects of his life in a much better and clearer way but also presents him as a Prophet, who had started propagating the message even in the prison.
As this discourse suggests several very important things, it will be worthwhile to consider these one by one:
(1) This is the first occasion on which Prophet Joseph appears to have begun the preaching of the true faith. For before this, the Quran reveals him in the different stages of his life as a man of high morality but does not say anything to show that he conveyed the message also. From this it is clear that those stages were of a preparatory nature and the mission of Prophethood was entrusted to him at the stage of his imprisonment and this was his first discourse as a Prophet.
(2) Moreover, this was the first occasion when he revealed his identity to others. Before this, we find him bearing patiently everything that happened to him without revealing anything about his relationships with Prophet Abraham and others. He kept silent when the caravan made him a slave and carried him to Egypt, when Al-Aziz bought him and when he was sent to prison. As Prophet Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (peace be upon them all) were quite well known, he might have used their names to his advantage. The members of the caravan, both the Ishmaelites and the Midianites, were closely related to his family, and the Egyptians were, at least, familiar with the name of Prophet Abraham. Nay, the way in which Prophet Joseph mentioned their names in this discourse, shows that the fame of his father, grandfather and great grandfather had reached Egypt. But in spite of this, Prophet Joseph did not use their names on any of the critical occasions to save himself from the plight in which he was placed. This shows that probably he himself knew that these things were inevitable for his training for the mission for which Allah had chosen him. Now it was absolutely necessary for him, for the sake of his mission, to reveal this fact in order to show that he was not presenting any new faith but the same faith that was preached by Prophets Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (peace be upon them all). This was necessary because the message demanded that it should not be presented with the claim that it was a new and novel thing but that it was the same universal and eternal truth that has always been presented by its bearers.
(3) This teaches us that one can, like Prophet Joseph, carve out a way for the propagation of the message, if one has the intention and the required wisdom. The two men pay their homage to him and request him to interpret their dreams. In answer to this he says: I will tell their interpretations but let me first inform you about the source of my knowledge that enables me to understand dreams. Thus he takes advantage of their request and preaches his own faith to them. We learn from this that if a person is imbued with the true and strong desire for propagating the truth, he can very gracefully turn the direction of the conversation towards the message he desires to convey. On the contrary, if a person has no strong desire for the propagation of the message, he never finds any opportunity for it, even though hundred and one such opportunities might have come his way which could have been utilized for this purpose. But one must be on his guard to discriminate between the right use of an opportunity by a wise man from the crude propagation of a foolish and uncultured person, who tries to thrust the message into the ears of unwilling hearers and succeeds only in creating aversion for it in their minds because of his crude way of presentation.
(4) This also teaches the right procedure that should be followed in presenting the message. Prophet Joseph does not present, at the very start, the details of the creed and regulations of the faith but the most fundamental thing that distinguishes a believer from a non-believer, that is, the distinction between Tauhid and shirk. Then he presents it in such a rational manner as cannot fail to convince any man of common sense. And his argument must have impressed deeply on the minds of the two slaves. Which is better, various gods or One Omnipotent Allah? They knew it from their personal experience that it was much better to serve one master than a number of them. Therefore it was far better to serve the Lord of the universe than His servants. Moreover, he does not invite them directly to accept his faith and discard their own faith, but he very wisely draws their attention to this fact; This is Allah’s bounty upon us and upon all mankind that He has not made us the servants of any other than Himself, yet most of the people are not grateful to Him. Instead of serving Him alone, they invent gods for themselves and worship them. Then it is also noteworthy that his criterion of the faith of his addressees is based on wisdom and has no tinge of bitterness in it. He says: The gods whom you call, the god of wealth or the god of health or the god of prosperity or the god of rain etc. are mere names you have given them without any reality behind them. The real Owner of everything is the Supreme Allah Whom you also acknowledge as the Creator and the Lord of the whole universe. He has sent no authority and given no sanction to anyone for Godhead and worship, but has reserved all the powers, all the rights and all the authorities for Himself, and commanded, “Serve and worship none but Me.”
(5) It may also be inferred from this discourse that Prophet Joseph must have made full use of this opportunity of a decade for the propagation of the message. Some people think that that was the only time when he extended the invitation to the message. This is wrong for two reasons. First, it is absurd to imagine that a Prophet could have been neglectful of his mission for a long period. Second, it cannot be imagined that the person who availed himself of the opportunity when two men approached him for the interpretation of their dreams, could ever have passed a decade of imprisonment without propagating the message entrusted to him by his Lord.
(16:67) And out of the fruits of date-palms and grapes you derive intoxicants as well as wholesome sustenance. Surely there is a sign for those who use reason.
55. Incidentally it implies that the juice of the fruits of date palms and vines contains two things. One is that which is pure and wholesome food for man and the other is that which turns into alcohol after it becomes rotten. But it has been left to the choice of man to obtain pure healthy food from this providence or to drink it as intoxicant wine to excite him and make him lose his self control. This also contains a hint as to the prohibition of wine.
(47:15) Here is the parable of Paradise which the God-fearing have been promised: in it shall be rivers of incorruptible water, rivers of milk unchanging in taste,and rivers of wine, a delight to those that drink; and rivers of pure honey. In it they will have every kind of fruit as well as forgiveness from their Lord. Can such be like those who will abide in the Fire and will be given a boiling water to drink that will tear their bowels apart?
20. Literally, aasin is the taste and color of water which has changed, or which gives a bad smell. In the world the water of rivers and canals is generally muddy; its taste and color change due to the mixture of sand and dust and of different kinds of vegetation in it, and it also gives off a kind of bad smell. Therefore, the quality of the water of the rivers and canals of Paradise will be such that it will be pure and clear, without any adulteration.
21. In a Hadith directly reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him), it has been explained thus: It will not be the milk squeezed from the milk glands of animals. That is, it will be the milk which Allah will bring out in the form of springs from the earth and cause it to flow into canals of Paradise. About this natural milk it has been said: Its flavor will not change at all; that is, it will not give even the slightest offensive smell that is found in every kind of milk squeezed from the animal milk glands.
22. In another Hadith reported directly from the Prophet (peace be upon him), it has been explained, thus: This wine will not have been distilled from rotten fruit by beating and fermenting, like the wine in the world, but Allah will produce it also in the form of springs and cause it to flow into canals; then its quality will be such that it will be delightful for the drinkers. That is, it will not be bitter and foul-smelling like the wines of the world, which cannot be drunk even by the most habitual drinker without showing some distaste. In Surah As-Saffat, another quality of it has been described: Neither will the drinker be harmed physically thereby nor become drunk. (Surah Muhammad, ayat 47). In Surah Al-Waqiah it has been said: Which will neither cause them giddiness nor affect their sense. (Surah Muhammad, ayat 19). This shows that wine will not intoxicate, but will only give pleasure and delight.
23. In the Hadith it has been explained, thus: The honey will not have been drawn from the bees’ bellies, but it will also come out from springs and flow into canals; therefore, it will not have wax, and pieces of the honey-comb and legs of dead bees mixed in it, but it will be absolutely pure.
24. The mention of forgiveness from Allah after the blessings of Paradise can have two meanings:
(1) That the greatest blessing by far will be that Allah will forgive them.
(2) That the errors and faults that they happened to commit in the world, will not even so much as be mentioned before them, but Allah will cover them up forever so that they are not put to shame in Paradise.