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Monday, 14 November 2011

Alcohol is Pure or Impure.

Q; Bro I need to know whether Alcohol is najis'th (Filthy) or not. If some one got drop of alcohol on his body or cloths , does he/she have to wash it ???

A; All-Praise is due to Allah,
The Scholars differed to whether Alcohol is a Impure or pure substance and both forwarded evidences to sport their ruling.

The majority of the Scholar from the four Imams to Ibn Taymiyah and some of the contemporary Scholars of our time such as Ibn Baz and Mohammed Al-Mukhtaar Ash-Shanqiti state that alcohol is impure (Najis). Thus they proved their statement through the verse in Soorat Al-Ma'idah no: 90, in which Allah The-Exalted said,

"O you who believe! Khamr (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al­-Ansaab, and Al­-Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are Rijs of Shaitaan's (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful."

The word Rijis here means impure so these Scholars derived this ruling through the literal meaning of this verse. Also they proved this through the Hadith of Abu Tha`laba al-Khushani in Al-Bukhari and Muslim-

"O Messenger of Allah, we live in the land of the People of the Book: should we eat in their vessels?..." The Prophet replied: "If you find other than their vessels then don't eat in them, but if you don't find, then wash them and eat from them."

and Abu Dawud's narration from Abu Tha`laba has:

"O Messenger of Allah, we live in the vicinity of the People of the Book, and they cook swine in their pots and drink alcoholic potion in their vessels." The Prophet replied: "If you found other pots and vessels use them to eat and drink in, and if not, then rinse out theirs with water, and eat and drink in them."

Nawawi said in Sharh Sahih Muslim (al-Mays ed. 13/14:86): "The meaning is that it is forbidden to eat in their ustensils in which they cooked swine-meat and drank alcoholic potion, as explicited in Abu Dawud's narration... because they are considered unclean and habitually in contact with impurity."

Shawkani in the "chapters on vessels" of his "Nayl al-awtar" (1:71) said: "Washing them is solely because of their being soiled with swine-meat and alcoholic potion." That is: the latter are impure.

Ibn Hajar in "Fath al-Bari" (1989 ed. 9:777) said: "The ustensils in which the Zoroastrians cook their meats have been tainted with contact with carrion, and similarly the People of the Book do not task themselves with the avoidance of impurity, and they cook swine-meat in their ustensils and place alcoholic beverage in them and other than that."

As for the second opinion that alcohol is pure (Taahir) is stated by the majority of the contemporary Scholars such as Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen, Muhammed Saalih Al-Munajid and others.

They replied to the others in regards to the verse in Soorat Al-Ma'idah in which it states,

"...are Rijs of Shaitaan's (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all)"

Sayyid Sabiq said, This is not labelled as impure in a definite, sensory way. Allah says:

"Stay away from the filth ('rijs') of idols." (22:30)

Idols are impure in the abstract sense, and they are not considered impure if one touches them. The explanation of the preceding verse is that they are a tool of Satan, for they cause enmity and hatred and keep people away from the remembrance of Allah and prayer.

In 'Subul as-Salaam' it says, "Their origin is pure, and their being prohibited does not mean that the object itself is impure. For example, hashish is prohibited but it is pure. But, something impure is not necessarily prohibited. Every impure thing is prohibited, but not vice-versa. That is because of the ruling that something impure cannot be touched under any circumstances. If a ruling says that something is impure, it is also prohibited. This differs from a ruling that something is prohibited. For example, it is forbidden to wear silk and gold, but they are absolutely pure by consensus." If one understands that, then the prohibition of alcohol does not necessarily entail its also being considered impure: it needs some other evidence to prove that it is impure. If not, then we are left with the original position that it is pure. If one claims other than that, he must substantiate it." [End of text from Sayyid Sabiq.]

Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-`Uthaymeen said in regards to the verse in Soorat A-Ma'idah no: 90;
Additional evidence is the fact that gambling, Al-Ansab and Al-Azlam are not physically unclean, and the description (Rijs) here is all four: alcoholic drinks, gambling Al-Ansab and Al-Azlam… and if the description applies to all four of these things, then the ruling on all of them is the same.

Also, those who say that alcohol is not physically unclean have another proof from the Sunnah, which is that when the prohibition of alcoholic drinks was revealed, the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wassalam) did not order the vessel to be washed clean of it. Likewise, the Companions emptied them out in the markets, and if it was unclean, they would not have emptied them out in the markets, because that would necessitate pollution being spread throughout them.

Secondly: Since it is clear that the Khamr is not physically unclean - and that is the most authoritative saying in my opinion – then alcohol is not physically impure, but spiritually impure, because the alcohol which inebriates is Khamr, according to the words of the Prohpet (pace be upon him):

“Everything which inebriates is Khamr.”

And if it is Khamr, then its useas a beverage or a food , by being mixed with certain food to give flavour to it is clearly forbidden by the Book and agreement of the Scholars. But as for use for other things, such as cleansing bacteria and the like, it is a matter of opinion, and whoever avoids it is more prudent… but I cannot say that it is forbidden, though I do not use it myself, except when necessary, such as sterilising wounds and such likes. End of quote.

(See Fatawa Islamiyah, Vol. 2, p26-28, DARUSSALAM.)

It was also stated in a Fatwa;
Raw materials are basically pure, and impurity is not a pre-condition for making something unlawful because impurity itself is a legal ruling which requires an independent evidence. So, everything that is impure is forbidden but the opposite is not true. The rule that a material is impure is also a rule that it is forbidden. But the rule that something is forbidden does not necessarily mean that it is impure. For example, wearing silk and gold is forbidden for men but silk and gold themselves are pure. The evidence that the majority of scholars used to prove that alcohol is impure is the verse: (O! you who believe, intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks) gambling, alansab (animals slaughtered for idols) and al-Azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Satan handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful). [5:90]. So, most of the scholars took the meaning of abomination as impurity. But Rabia, Al-Leith Ibn Saad, Al-Muzni, some contemporary Baghdadi and Qarawi scholars believe that alcohol is pure and that what is forbidden is only drinking it. Said Ibn Al-Haddad Al Qarawi gave evidence for its purity the fact that it was poured in the streets of Al-Medina. He said if Alcohol was impure, the companions of the Prophet (Blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would not have poured it in the streets of Al-Medina. Allah also has enumerated Alcohol along with Al-Azlam, Al-Meisir and Al-Ansab, which are all pure materials from the opinion of all the scholars of Islam. The meaning of "Rijs" (abomination) would be that it is a sin that the Satan has beautified doing it for the people. If this is established, it is then clear that what is forbidden is drinking it and that alcohol itself is not impure. We say, then, that alcoholic perfumes are made of water, the perfuming matter and alcohol which constitutes the highest percentage as compared to the other components of these perfumes. If, the purity is established, so there is no harm in founding such factory for making perfumes, though it is better to invest in other fields to stay far from the disagreement of the scholars. End of quote.

(See Islamweb Fatwa: 82097)

In conclusion it is fare to say that both opinions hold a strong basis and without a doubt bring forth their evidences to prove the ruling in regards to this matter. It is safe to say that the opinion that is held by our contemporary Scholars leans to be the more revised in accordance to their evidences and words of wisdom, and that is Alcohol is pure and must have a more firmer proof to prove other wise.

Bare in mind that there is a slight confusion between many people in regards to if one touches alcohol it nullifies there Wudoo. This is incorrect and what the Scholars say is that if one has alcohol (or any form of substance thats considered impure) spilt on there clothes they must clean it in order for there Prayer to be correct and expected. This is in regards to those whom are on the opinion of alcohol is Impure (Najis) because having something najis on ones clothes while Praying invalids ones Prayer due to the fact that uplifting impurities from the body, clothes and surface in which one prays on is a condition of Prayer. Thus if one does not meet this condition then this nullifies their Prayer not their Wudoo.

And Allah knows best...

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