Recently, a brother reached out to me that he was gifted a parcel that contains a bottle of alcoholic drink. He sought to know what to do with it. Here, there are 8 possible things to do:
1. Drink it
2. Sell it
3. Return it
4. Give it to a Muslim that takes alcohol
5. Give it to a non-Muslim that takes alcohol
6. Exchange it for a non-alcoholic drink
7. Throw it away
8. Pour it away
1. Islām forbids consumption of alcohol and all forms of intoxicants, be it in little or large quantity and whether or not it intoxicates the drinker. In Qur’ān 5:90-91, Allāh says:
“O you who believe! intoxicants and games of chance, and alters set up for false deities and divining arrows are only abominations, some of satan’s handiworks, therefore shun each one (of these abominations) so that you may prosper. Shaytān only desires to cause enmity and hatred to spring in your midst by means of intoxicants and games of chance, and to keep you off from the remembrance of Allāh and from prayer. Will you then desist?”
In a Hadīth by Ibn Umar (May Allāh be pleased with them both) the Prophet ﷺ said:
كُلُّ مُسْكِرٍ خَمْرٌ، وَكُلُّ مُسْكِرٍ حَرَامٌ
“Every intoxicant is khamr and every khamr is forbidden.”
It is also the consensus view of the scholars of Islām since the days of the Sahābah that all intoxicants are Harām.
So, drinking it is forbidden.
2. It is equally forbidden in Islām to trade in alcoholic drinks. The evidence is found in the express prohibition contained in the verses cited above. Allāh used the expressions, فاجتنبوه “therefore shun each one (of these abominations)” and فهل أنتم منتهون “Will you then desist?” to emphasise the prohibition of committing these abominations.
Moreso, Imām Ahmad and others narrated from Ibn Umar the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said:
لَعَنَ اللهُ الْخَمْرَ، وَلَعَنَ شَارِبَهَا، وَسَاقِيَهَا، وَعَاصِرَهَا، وَمُعْتَصِرَهَا، وَبَائِعَهَا، وَمُبْتَاعَهَا، وَحَامِلَهَا، وَالْمَحْمُولَةَ إِلَيْهِ، وَآكِلَ ثَمَنِهَا
“Allāh has cursed khamr, the one who drinks it, the one who pours it for others, the one who sells it, the one who buys it, the one who makes it, the one who it is made for, the one who carries it, the one who it is carried to and the one who consumes the money from its sale.”
(The Hadīth is authentic)
So, he cannot sell it.
3. Returning it to the giver is also forbidden for two reasons:
a. It amounts to enabling and aiding a sinful act which is forbidden in Qur’ān 5:2 “and do not help one another in sin and transgression. Fear Allāh. Surely Allāh is severe in retribution.”
b. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Allāh has cursed the one who carries alcohol to another and the one to whom it was carried.” (See the Hadīth above)
Thus, he also cannot return it.
4. For the same reason advanced above, he cannot gift it to a Muslim that commits the sin of taking alcohol
5. See point number 3 and 4
6. Exchanging it for a non-alcoholic drink is also forbidden based on point number 3.
7. Throwing it away is okay, it he is sure that it won’t be found and used by another.
8. Pouring the alcohol away is the best view that is consistent with the practice of the Sahābah after the verses prohibiting khamr were revealed:
عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه قال: (كنت ساقي (الخمر) القوم في منزل أبي طلحة فنزل تحريم الخمر، فأمر منادياً فنادى، فقال أبو طلحة: اخرج فانظر ما هذا الصوت، قال: فخرجت، فقلت: هذا منادٍ ينادي: ألا إن الخمر قد حُرِّمَت، فقال لي: اذهب فأهرقها، قال: فجرت في سكك المدينة
Anas bn Mālik said:
I used to serve khamr to the people in the house of Abū Talha. When the prohibition of khamr was revealed, he (the Prophet ﷺ) ordered a crier to call out to the people. Abū Talha requested that I go and find out what the call was about. So, I came back and informed him that alcohol has been prohibited. He said to me, pour away everything. Anas said, the street of Madīnah was flowing with khamr.
Thus, the first step is to reject the gift of khamr, but if it’s already in one’s possession, pouring it away is the only solution.
Allāh knows best.