In a Nutshell: The Hanafi jurists unanimously agreed intoxicants made from grape and dates are prohibited. Intoxicants made from honey, fig, wheat, barley, etc are only forbidden when the last cup leads to intoxication according to Abu Hanifah and Abu Yusuf, (providing it is not part of a wanton pastime). Background
However, the standard position of the Hanafi school of thought is Muhammad al-Shaybani's view and that of the majority of Muslim jurists, namely all intoxicants are prohibited whether in small or large quantities.
In general, scholars agree khamr was prohibited after the battle of Uhud according to the historians. (Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya 2:190–191; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, 3:127–128)
However, they differed about the exact time of the battle, and most of them said it was in the third year after the Hijra.
By examining the historical development of the issue of khamr in Islam, there are three rules relating to khamr: drinking it as a lawful drink, prohibition of a state of intoxication when praying and a general prohibition in the third year of Hijrah.
While there was an early historic consensus regarding the prohibition of an intoxicating drink derived from grapes, disagreements persisted regarding intoxicants obtained from non-grape sources.
Whilst Malikis used arguments rooted in the Qur'an for their positions, Shafi'is focusing on Prophetic hadiths and sayings of the companions, Hanafis considered all the evidences including those narrated from the companions arguing the prohibition was limited to a single drink, khamr, other drinks forbidden only if consumed beyond the point of intoxication.
Ibn Qutayba (d. 276/889), a Kufan jurist, hadith scholar and an early pre-eminent authority also took a similar view to the Hanafis:
"That which inebriates in large quantities is disliked (makruh) in small quantities; the Prophet (saw) warned against it as a disciplinary measure.Therefore, it is laudable and rewardable if one avoids it; if however one drinks it, there is no blame on him, God willing." (Kitab al-Ashriba, p. 128)
Later Hanafis, beginning in the twelfth century, abandoned this position and endorsed prohibition by reinterpreting the views of an early founder, Muhammad al-Shaybani (d. 189/806) with the claim he had favoured general prohibition. The Hanafi jurist Abd al-Rashid bin Abi Hanifa al-Walwalijiuyya (d. 540/1145) whilst permitting consumption of alcoholic muthallath argued al-Shaybani was an opponent of all intoxicants. Al-Kasani (d.587/1191) also allowed muthallath upto the point of intoxication arguing muskir was the last cup that intoxicates. Ubayd Allah bin Masud al-Mahbubi (747/1346) was amongst the first Hanafi jurists to issue a blanket prohibition, arguing the ruling of his time agreed with Shaybani's rule that all intoxicants were prohibited. Definition of Khamr
Linguistically khamr is that which intoxicates pressed from grapes or any intoxicating thing. The general usage is more accurate because khamr was forbidden in Medinah where there was no khamr from grapes, beverages prepared from dates (or busr,
full-grown but unripe dates). (Al-Firuzabadi, Al-Qamus al-Muhit, "khamr") The Hanafis' Definition of Khamr
Hanafi scholars disagreed on the definition of khamr. Although Abu Hanifah, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani (the two most prominent companions and students of Abu Hanifah and co-founders of the Hanafi madhab) agreed that khamr refers to any intoxicant from grape juice when it ferments, they disagreed on an additional condition, i.e., whether it froths or not.
Whilst Abu Hanifah alone stipulated it should froth after it has fermented, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani maintained khamr refers to any intoxicant obtained from grape juice when it ferments, whether it has froth or not. This then is dominant position of the madhab according to al-Shirnablani. (Ibn Abidin, Hashiyat Ibn Abidin: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, Vol. 6, p. 448) Unlawful Drinks according to Hanafis
According to Abu Hanifah, four types of nabeedh are prohibited.
والأصل الذي يجمع مذهب أبي حنيفة في ذلك: ما رواه ابن رستم عن محمد قال: قال أبو حنيفة: الأنبذة كلها حلال إلا أربعة أشياء: الخمر، والمطبوخ إذا لم يذهب ثلثاه ويبقي ثلثه - قال أبو بكر: يعني مطبوخ العنب -، ونقيع التمر- فإنه سكر-، ونقيع الزبيب. (الجصاص، شرح مختصر الطحاوي 6/359)
The key principle of the Hanafi madhab on this issue is based on what has been reported by ibn Rustum on the authority of Muhammad (al-Shaybani) that Abu Hanifah said: All nabeedh drinks (a general term for intoxicating drinks obtained from fermented grape, barley, dates, honey, raisins, etc) are lawful except for: khamr, the cooked grape juice unless two thirds of which had already been evaporated, naqi al-tamr (the infusion of dried dates, called sakar), and naqi al-zabib (the infusion of raisin). (al-Jassas, Sharh Mukhtasar al-Tahawi fi al-Fiqh al-Hanafi Vol. 6, p. 359)
The different views of the madhab on defining unlawful drinks comprises:
Drinks not from Grape or Dates
- Liquors made from grapes, namely khamr; drinks made from uncooked/raw grape juice fermented until it becomes strong. This is the opinion of Abu Yusuf and Muhammad, while Abu Hanifah stipulated the existence of froth; and the drinks made from raisins, which are of two types: naqi al-zabib (the infusion of raisins) made by soaking raisins in water until water acquires their sweetness, until it grows strong, ferments and casts forth its froth according to Abu Hanifah and Abu Yusuf whilst Muhammad did not restrict the existence of froth; and nabidh made from raisins when they are cooked and ferment and grow strong.
- Intoxicants made from dates or ripe dates.
- Intoxicants, not made from grape or dates, like honey, figs, wheat, millet, barley etc. are lawful even if they have not been boiled, according to Abu Hanifah and Abu Yusuf, providing they are not drunk for enjoyment (lahw) and stimulation (tarab), as this is how the fussaq drink them. But Muhammad al-Shaybani viewed these drinks as unlawful and his position is the preponderant one of the madhab. (Al-Mausu'ah al-Fiqhiyah al-Kuwaitiyah, Vol. 5, pp. 13-14)
The fatwah of the Hanafi madhab on this issue is the view of al-Shaybani. He took a position similar to the view of the majority of Muslim jurists. The author of al-Durr al-Muhktar stated:
وَحُرِّمَهَا مُحَمَّدً أَيُّ الْأَشْرِبَةِ الْمُتَّخَذَةَ مِنَ الْعَسَلِ وَالتّينَ وَنَحْوَهُمَا ، قَالَهُ الْمُصَنِّفُ مُطْلَقَا قَلِيلُهَا وَكَثِيرُهَا ، وَبِهِ يَفْتَى ، ذَكَرَهُ الزَّيْلَعِيُّ وَغَيْرِهِ وَاِخْتَارَهُ شَارِحً الوهبانية وَذَكَرً أَنَّه مروُي عَنِ الْكَلِّ - حاشية ابن عابدين 6/455
Muhammad (Al-Shaybani) said these drinks (intoxicants not made form grape or dates e.g. made from honey, figs, wheat, millet, barley) are prohibited to drink whether in small or large quantities. The fatwa of the madhab is this view, this is mentioned by al-Zayla'i and others. The interpreter of matn al-Wahbanyia (ibn Al-Shahnah) mentioned this is reported by all. (Ibn Abidin, Hashiyat Ibn Abidin: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, Vol. 6, p. 455)
Ibn Abidin, in his Hashiyat
(Annotation) on al-Durr al-Muhktar, also stated:
وَالْقَدْحُ الْأَخِيرُ الْمُسْكِرُ هُوَ الْمُحَرَّمُ أَيْ عَلَى قَوْلِ الْإمَامِ دُونَ مَا قِبَلُهُ وَإِنَّ كَانَ المفتى بِهِ قَوْلُ مُحَمَّدٌ أَنَّ مَا أَسْكَرَ كَثِيرُهُ فَقَلِيلُهُ حَرامِ - مصدر سابق 6/455 Abu Hanifah's Evidences
Only the last cup that leads to intoxication is the prohibited one according to Abu Hanifah's position. However, the fatwa of the Hanafi madhab is the view of al-Shaybani i.e., what intoxicates in large quantities, a small quantity is also unlawful. (Ibid, Vol. 6, p. 455)
The evidences for Abu Hanifah's view are discussed in great detail in many works, including Sharh Ma'ani al-Athar of al-Tahawi, Sharh Mukhtasar al-Tahawi of al-Jassas, al-Tajrid of al-Quduri and al-Mabsut of al-Sarakhsi.Qur'an
وَإِنَّ لَكُمْ فِي الْأَنْعَامِ لَعِبْرَةً ۖ نُّسْقِيكُم مِّمَّا فِي بُطُونِهِ مِن بَيْنِ فَرْثٍ وَدَمٍ لَّبَنًا خَالِصًا سَائِغًا لِّلشَّارِبِينَ - وَمِن ثَمَرَاتِ النَّخِيلِ وَالْأَعْنَابِ تَتَّخِذُونَ مِنْهُ سَكَرًا وَرِزْقًا حَسَنًا ۗ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ (سورة النحل 66-67)
And there is certainly a lesson for you in cattle: We give you to drink of what is in their bellies, from between digested food and blood: pure milk, pleasant to drink. And from the fruits of palm trees and grapevines, you derive intoxicants as well as wholesome provision. Surely in this is a sign for those who understand. (An-Nahl, 66-67)
The apparent meaning deduced from the verse is the permissibility of these drinks, but there are textual evidences that demonstrate the impermissibility of khamr, and naqi al-tamr in particular. Therefore, they only excluded these two drinks from the general ruling implied in the verse.
وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا - سورة الأعراف 31
And eat and drink, but be not excessive. (Al-A'raf 31)
The apparent meaning of the verse implies the permissibility of all drinks.Sunnah
By the definition given by the Prophet (saw), khamr is what is extracted specifically from grapes and dates. Abu Hurayrah narrated the Prophet (saw) said:
الْخَمْرُ مِنْ هَاتَيْنِ الشَّجَرَتَيْنِ النَّخْلَةِ وَالْعِنَبَةِ - مسلم 36/16
Wine is prepared from the (fruit) of these two trees-date-palm and vine. (Muslim 36:16)
Ibn Umar (ra) also narrated the Prophet (saw) said:
كُلُّ مُسْكِرٍ حَرَامٌ وَكُلُّ مُسْكِرٍ خَمْرٌ - النسائي 51/48
Every intoxicant is unlawful and every intoxicant is Khamr. (Nasa'i 51:48)
Abu Burdah bin Niyar (ra) narrated the Prophet (saw) said:
اشْرَبُوا فِي الظُّرُوفِ وَلاَ تَسْكَرُوا Sahabah
Drink from vessels but do not become intoxicated. (Nasa'i 51:139)
عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رضي الله عنه، قَالَ حُرِّمَتِ الْخَمْرُ بِعَيْنِهَا قَلِيلُهَا وَكَثِيرُهَا وَالسُّكْرُ مِنْ كُلِّ شَرَابٍ .
Ibn Abbas (ra) said: Khamr was forbidden in and of itself (bi-ayni-ha) in small or large amounts, as was every kind of intoxicating drink. (Nasa'i, 51:146; Al-Tahawi, Sharh Ma'ani al-Athar, 4:214)
Reported by Abu Hanifa, Sulayman al-Shaybani reports that Ibn Ziyad (governor of Kufa during the reigns of Mu'awiya I and Yazid) once told him about an occasion when he was at Ibn Umar's home. The two had been fasting and the time for breaking the fast had come. Ibn Umar offered Ibn Ziyad an alcoholic drink to break his fast with, which his guest duly accepted. Ibn Ziyad became significantly inebriated (akhadha fihi). The following morning, having almost not made it back to his home the night before because of the strength of the brew, Ibn Ziyad returned to Ibn Umar to enquire as to the nature of the drink served to him the night before. Ibn Umar explained that he had given his guest no more than dates and raisins. (Al-Shaybani, Kitab al-Athar, pp. 699–700).
These statements show that whilst the smallest drop of khamr is impermissible, drinking from any other intoxicant is only impermissible when it leads to intoxication.
The following companions are known to have drunk the same:
1. Omar b. Khattab [584-644]
2. Ali b. Abi Talib [601-661]
3. Ibn Omar [584-644]
4. Ibn Mas'ud [594-653]
5. Ibn Abbas [619-687]
6. Ammar b. Yasser [570-657]
This is the reason that Imam, Najm al-Din Umar al-Nasafi (1067-1142) stated that considering the infused-wine of raisins and dry-dates permitted-in-the-sharia (halal) is an obligation since it ensures against declaring (the above-mentioned senior Muslim figures) sinners. Therefore, Imam Abu Hanifa had declared: To NOT consider consumption of infused-wine of dry-dates haram is a marker of the People of Sunnah and the community.Majority of Muslim Scholars
The dominant view of the contemporary Hanafi madhab is consistent with the position the majority of Muslim scholars
: the people of Medinah and Hijaz, the people of Hadith, Hanbalis and some Shafi'is who viewed khamr
refers to every intoxicant whether it intoxicates in a large amount, a small amount and whether it is obtained from grapes, dates, wheat or barley etc. Hanafi Typology of Alcoholic Drinks
Drink Source Description/method of production
Khamr Grapes The juice of grapes when fermentation without any intervention (i.e. cooking) and foaming occurs
Badhiq Grapes Cooked grape juice which is reduced to less than two-thirds of its original volume after fermentation; it settles before it reaches boiling point
Tila' (Muthallath) Grapes Grape juice cooked until it is reduced to two-thirds of its original volume; only one-third of it remains and is an intoxicant
Munassaf Grapes Grape juice which is reduced to a half of its original volume
Bukhtuj Grapes Muthallath which has been diluted with water and then allowed to ferment a second time
Jumhuri Grapes A grape-based beverage which has been diluted with water afterhaving been cooked very slightly (the cooking results in itsreduction to two-thirds of its original volume)
Naqi' Raisins/dates Raisins or dates are infused in water until their sweetness is transferred; it is then left to ferment and foam
Nabidh Raisin A raisin infusion which is cooked slightly and left to ferment untilit becomes an intoxicant
Sakar Dates Uncooked date infusion which ferments and foams
Fadikh Dates Uncooked infusion made from unripe dates which ferments and foams
Nabidh Dates A date infusion which is cooked slightly and then left to ferment and foam
(Mustapha Sheikh, Islam, Alcohol and Identity: Towards a Critical Muslim Studies Approach, Reorient: Journal of Critical Muslim Studies, pp. 208-209) Conclusion
Hanafi scholars unanimously agreed that intoxicants made from grape and dates are prohibited.
In respect of intoxicants not made from grape or dates, but made from honey, fig, wheat, barley, etc., the preponderant position of the Hanafi madhab is the view of Muhammad al-Shaybani, that these intoxicants are prohibited to drink whether in small or large quantities.
The Ottoman-era Hanafi judge Ibn Abidin thus cites Abu Hanifa:
"If all the wealth of the world was presented to me, I would still not sign a fatwa declaring liquor from fermenting-vessels haram, because this would necessitate declaring senior-associates of the prophet Muhammad [who indulged in it] depraved-sinners, and if all wealth of the world was presented to me, I would still not drink it because I don't need to."References
Al-Jassas, Sharh Mukhtasar al-Tahawi fi al-Fiqh al-Hanafi
Al-Firuzabadi, Al-Qamus al-Muhit
Al-Mausu'ah Al-Fiqhiyyah Al-Kuwaitiyyah
Al-Tahawi, Sharh Ma'ani al-Athar
Ibn Abidin, Hashiyat Ibn Abidin: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar
Ibn Qutaybah, Kitab al-Ashriba
Mustapha Sheikh, Islam, Alcohol and Identity: Towards a Critical Muslim Studies Approach, Reorient: Journal of Critical Muslim Studies