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In a Nutshell: The Hanafi school of thought does not permit beer or any alcohol to be drunk. The discussion regarding intoxicants and wine is a little more involved and there are differing positions amongst the Hanafi jurists depending on whether the drink is made from grapes and dates or something else.

There are a number of texts, verses and ahadith that prohibit intoxicants regardless of how they are produced:

"All intoxicants are khamr and all khamr is prohibited" (Agreed upon)

"Whenever a large quantity intoxicates, a small quantity is also prohibited." (Tirmidhi)

According to the Hanafis, khamr is grape juice or date syrup (nabeedh), fermented so that sugar turns to alcohol, making it intoxicating.

The Hanafis argue clear Qur'anic texts like 5:90 as well as ahadith prohibit khamr along with scholarly consensus. The Prophet (saw) clarified this when saying intoxicants were from these two trees, pointing to grapevines and date-palms in a hadith compiled by Imam Muslim. The companions formed a consensus (ijma al-sahaba) regarding khamr.

Other intoxicants however are then not khamr so the ruling cannot rely on direct prohibition from these texts so would require scholarly opinion (ijtihad) or analogy (qiyas). Intoxicating beverages comprising barley, honey or figs are then potentially subject to difference of opinion.

  • The majority of Hijaz scholars and muhadditheen have prohibited all types of alcohol, whether they are consumed in small or large quantities.
  • Scholars of Iraq including Abu Hanifa, Ibrahim Nakhi, Sufyan al-Thawri, Ibn Abi Layla and the scholars of Kufa and the Basra prohibit these substances due to their intoxicating nature and not because the substances themselves are prohibited absolutely due to contradictory texts on this matter.

A number of leading Hanafi scholars including Muhammed Shaybani dispute the above opinion as cited in Al-Durr al-Mukhtar,

"And Muhammed (Shaybani) has declared the drinks extracted from honey, figs etc to be prohibited"

whilst al-Mowsoo'atul Fiqh'iyah states

"As for the nabeedh of honey, figs, barley and wheat, it is permissible according to Imams Abu Hanifa and Abu Yusuf, with the condition that it is not drunk with the intention of merry-making and mischief and Imam Muhammed has opposed them in this opinion. The fatwa is given according to the opinion of Imam Muhammed in the Hanafi school of thought."

A more detailed discussion can be found here.


Despite the differing opinions, the Hanafi school of thought position is the same as Muhammed's opinion, namely all intoxicants are prohibited.


al-Mowsoo'atul Fiqh'iyah

Ibn Abideen, Al-Durr al-Mukhtar

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