Surah Al-Ma’idah Ayat 90 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 90
O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.
O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan’s handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.
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.
O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitan’s (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.
O ye who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed.
O you who have believed, surely wine and games of chance, and altars (for idols) and divining (i.e., divination by arrows or in any other way) are only an abomination of Ash-Shaytan’s (The allvicious, the Devil) doing, so avoid it, that possibly you would prosper.
You who believe, intoxicants and gambling, idolatrous practices, and [divining with] arrows are repugnant acts- Satan’s doing- shun them so that you may prosper.
Quran 5 Verse 90 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-Ma’idah ayat 90, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(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.
108.For ‘altars’ and divination by arrows see (nn.12 )and 14 )above. For games of chance see (n. 14) above.
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 Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. I,( Surah 2: 219, n. 235 )and (Surah 5: 3, n. 14 above). Two injunctions had already been revealed concerning the prohibition of intoxicants See (Surahs 2: 219 )and( 4: 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.
90. O you who believe! Khamr, Maysir, Ansab, and Azlam are a Rijs of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful. 91. Shaytan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with Khamr and Maysir, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the Salah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain 92. And obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and beware. Then if you turn away, you should know that it is Our Messenger’s duty to convey in the clearest way. 93. Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate, if they have Taqwa and believe and do righteous good deeds, and they (again) have Taqwa and believe, and then (once again) have Taqwa and perform good. And Allah loves the good-doers.
Allah forbids His believing servants from consuming Khamr and Maysir which is gambling. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Ali bin Abi Talib, the Leader of the Faithful, said that chess is a type of gambling. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Ata’, Mujahid and Tawus, or , two of them, said that every type of gambling, including children’s playing with (a certain type of) nuts, is Maysir. Ibn `Umar said that Al-Maysir means gambling, and this is the same statement that Ad-Dahhak reported from Ibn `Abbas, who added, “They used to gamble during the time of Jahiliyyah, until Islam came. Allah then forbade them from this evil behavior.”
Al-Ansab were altar stones, in whose vicinity sacrifices were offered (during the time of Jahiliyyah), according to Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ata’, Sa`id bin Jubayr and Al-Hasan. They also said that Al-Azlam were arrows that they used for lotteries to make decisions, as Ibn Abi Hatim narrated. Allah said,
(A Rijs of Shaytan’s handiwork) meaning, abomination of Shaytan’s handiwork, according to `Ali bin Abi Talhah who reported it from Ibn `Abbas. Sa`id bin Jubayr said that Rijs means `sin’ while Zayd bin Aslam said; “An evil handiwork of Shaytan.”
(So avoid that) avoid all of these abominations,
(in order that you may be successful.) and this is a statement of encouragement. Allah said next,
(Shaytan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with Khamr (intoxicants) and Maysir (gambling), and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the Salah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain) This is a threat and a warning.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “There were three stages to prohibiting Khamr (intoxicants). When the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, the people were consuming alcohol and gambling, so they asked the Messenger of Allah about these things, Allah revealed,
(They ask you about alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men.”)﴿2:219﴾, until the end of the Ayah. The people said, `They (intoxicants and gambling) were not prohibited for us. Allah only said,
(In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men.)’ So they went on drinking Khamr until one day, one of the emigrants lead his companions in the Maghrib prayer and mixed up the Ayat in his recitation. Thereafter, Allah sent down a tougher statement,
(O you who believe! Approach not the Salah (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning of) what you utter.)﴿4:43﴾ xThen, the people would drink before the time of the prayer so that they would attend the prayer while sober. A firmer Ayah was later revealed,
(O you who believe! Khamr, Maysir, Ansab, and Azlam are an abomination of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful.)﴿5:90-91﴾ So they said, `We abstained, O Lord!’ Later, some people said, `O Allah’s Messenger! Some people died in the cause of Allah, while some others died in their beds, but they used to drink alcohol and indulge in gambling, which Allah has made a Rijs of the work of Shaytan.’ So Allah sent down,
(Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate…) ﴿5:93﴾, until the end of the Ayah. The Prophet said,
(Had they been made impermissible for them, they would have abandoned them as you have abandoned them.) Ahmad recorded this Hadith. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “O Allah! Explain the verdict about Khamr to us clearly.” The Ayah in Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed,
(They ask you about alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin.”)﴿2:219﴾ `Umar was summoned and this Ayah was recited to him, but he still said, “O Allah! Make the verdict of Khamr clear to us.” Then the Ayah in Surat An-Nisa’ was revealed,
(O you who believe! Do not approach the Salah when you are in a drunken state.)﴿4:43﴾ Thereafter, the Prophet had someone herald when it was time to pray, “Those in a drunken state are not to approach the prayer.” `Umar was again summoned and the Ayah was recited to him, but he still said, “O Allah! Make the verdict concerning Khamr clear to us.” Then, the Ayah in Surat Al-Ma’idah ﴿5:91﴾ was revealed, and `Umar was summoned and it was recited to him. When he reached the part of the Ayah that reads,
(So, will you not then abstain)﴿5:91﴾, `Umar said, “We abstained, we abstained.” Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, and An-Nasa’i recorded this Hadith. `Ali bin Al-Madini and At-Tirmidhi graded it Sahih. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs, that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said in a speech; while standing on the Minbar of the Messenger of Allah (in the Prophet’s Masjid in Al-Madinah) “O people! The prohibition of Khamr was revealed; and Khamr was extracted from five things: From grapes, dates, honey, wheat and barley. Khamr is what intoxicates the mind.” Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Umar said, “The prohibition of Khamr was revealed when there were five kinds of intoxicants in Al-Madinah, besides what was produced from grapes.”
Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said, “I once was giving an alcoholic beverage to Abu `Ubaydah bin Al-Jarrah, `Ubayy bin Ka`b, Suhayl bin Bayda’ and several of their friends meeting at Abu Talhah’s house. When they were almost intoxicated, some Muslims came and said, `Did you not know that Khamr has been prohibited’ They said, `We’ll wait and ask.’ They then said, `O Anas! Spill the remaining alcohol out of your container.’ By Allah! They never drank it again, and their Khamr at that time was made from unripe and normal dates.”’ This is also recorded in the Two Sahihs. In another narration by Anas, “I was the butler of the people in the house of Abu Talhah when Khamr was prohibited, and in those days alcohol was made from unripe and normal dates. A caller then heralded, and Abu Talhah ordered me to see what it was about. So I found that a person was announcing that alcoholic drinks had been prohibited. Abu Talhah ordered me to go out and spill the wine. I went out and spilled it, and it flowed in the streets of Al-Madinah. Some people said, `Some people were killed and wine was still in their stomachs.’ Later on, Allah’s revelation came,
(Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate…)﴿5:93﴾.” Ibn Jarir recorded that Anas bin Malik said, “I was serving Abu Talhah, Abu `Ubaydah bin Al-Jarrah, Abu Dujanah, Mu`adh bin Jabal and Suhayl bin Bayda’, until they became intoxicated from an alcoholic drink made of mixed unripe and normal dates. Then I heard someone herald, `Khamr has been made illegal.’ So no one went in or out until we spilled the alcohol and broke its barrels. Some of us then performed ablution and others took a shower, and we wore some perfume. We then went out to the Masjid while the Messenger of Allah was reciting,
(O you who believe! Khamr, Maysir, Ansab, and Azlam are only an abomination of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid that…)﴿5:90﴾, until,
(So, will you not then abstain)﴿5:91﴾. A man asked, `O Allah’s Messenger! What about those who died drinking it’ Allah sent down the verse,
(Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate.)﴿5:93﴾.”
Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Ten matters related to Khamr were cursed. Khamr itself was cursed, whoever drinks it, its server, seller, buyer, brewer, who asks for it to be brewed, whoever carries it, whomever it is carried to and whoever consumes its price.) Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith. Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Umar said, “Once, the Messenger of Allah went out and I went out with him. I walked to his right, but Abu Bakr came along and I gave way to him, and Abu Bakr was walking on the Prophet’s right, while I was walking on his left. Then `Umar came along and he was walking on the Prophet’s left, since I gave way to him. The Messenger of Allah then found a leather skin hanging containing alcohol, so he asked for a knife and ordered that the skin be cut open. He then said,
(Khamr was cursed, and so are those who drink it, serve it, sell it, buy it, carry it, have it carried to them, brew it, have it brewed and consume its price.)”
Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi recorded that Sa`d said, “There were four Ayat revealed about Khamr…” He then said, “A man from Al-Ansar made some food and invited us. We drank Khamr before it was prohibited and became intoxicated, and thus started to boast about our status. The Ansar said that they were better, while Quraysh (the Muhajirin) said that they were better. So a man from the Ansar took a bone and struck Sa`d’s nose with it and made a flesh wound on it. Ever since that happened, Sa`d’s nose had a scar from that wound. The Ayah,
(Intoxicants, gambling,) until,
(So, will you not then abstain) was later revealed.” Muslim recorded this Hadith.
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Abdullah bin `Amr said, “This Ayah in the Qur’an,
(O you who believe! Khamr, Maysir, Ansab, and Azlam are only an abomination of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful.)﴿5:90﴾, was also in the Tawrah; `Allah has sent down truth to eradicate falsehood, joyful play, flute or wind instruments, Zafan (dances) and Kibarat (refering to cabarets using the lute and bagpipe), tambourine, guitar, harp and lyric and love poetry. And Khamr is bitter for those who taste it. Allah has vowed by His grace and power, `Whoever drinks it after I prohibited it, I will make him thirsty on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever abandons it after I prohibited it, I will let him taste it in the residence of Grace (Paradise).”’ Its chain of narration is Sahih
Ash-Shafi`i narrated that Malik narrated that Nafi` said that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Whoever drinks Khamr in the life of this world and does not repent from it, will be deprived of it in the Hereafter.) Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this Hadith. Muslim recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Every intoxicant is Khamr, and every intoxicant is unlawful. Whoever drinks Khamr and dies while addicted to it, without repenting from drinking it, will not drink it in the Hereafter.) `Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Harith bin Hisham said that he heard `Uthman bin `Affan saying, “Avoid Khamr, for it is the mother of all sins. There was a man before your time who used to worship Allah secluded from the people. Later, an evil woman loved him and sent her female servant to him saying that they wanted him to witness something. So he went with the servant. Whenever they went through the door, she locked it behind them, until he reached a beautiful woman with a young servant boy and some alcohol. She said to him, `By Allah! I did not invite you to be a witness for anything, but called you to have sex with me, kill this boy or drink this alcohol.’ So she gave him some alcohol, and he kept asking for more until he ﴿became intoxicated and﴾ had sex with her and killed the boy. Therefore, avoid Khamr, because it is never combined with faith, but one of them is bound to expel the other (from the heart).” This was recorded by Al-Bayhaqi. This statement has an authentic chain of narration. Abu Bakr bin Abi Ad-Dunya recorded this statement in his book on the prohibition of intoxicants, but he related it from the Prophet. Relating it from `Uthman is more authentic, and Allah knows best. Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “When Khamr was prohibited, some people said, `O Allah’s Messenger! What about our brethren who died while still drinking Khamr’ Allah sent down the Ayah
(Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate,) until the end of the Ayah. When the Qiblah (direction of the prayer) was changed (from Jerusalem to Makkah), some people asked, `O Allah’s Messenger! What about our brethren who died while still praying toward Jerusalem’ Allah sent down,
(And Allah would never make your faith to be lost.)”﴿2:143﴾ `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said that the Prophet said when the Ayah,
(Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate, if they have Taqwa, and believe…) was revealed,
(I was told, that you are among them.) This is the narration that Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i collected.
if they have Taqwa and believe and do righteous good deeds, and they (again) have Taqwa and believe, and then (once again) have Taqwa and perform good. And Allah loves the good-doers.
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