EXPLAINER: Islam’s ban on alcohol and the way it’s utilized

EXPLAINER: Islam’s ban on alcohol and the way it’s utilized

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Simply two days earlier than the World Cup opener, host nation Qatar banned the sale of beer at stadiums in a sudden U-turn that was criticized by some and welcomed by others.

Qatari officers have lengthy stated they have been desirous to welcome soccer followers from around the globe to the match however that guests must also respect their tradition and traditions. Alcohol consumption, impermissible in Islam, is likely one of the areas the place the nation has been making an attempt to strike a fragile steadiness.

Right here’s a take a look at a few of the points associated to alcohol and Muslim beliefs.


Consuming alcohol is taken into account haram, or forbidden, in Islam. As proof of the prohibition, Islamic students and Muslim non secular authorities usually level to a verse within the Quran, the Muslim holy guide, that calls intoxicants “the work of Devil” and tells believers to keep away from them. Moreover, they cite sayings of Prophet Muhammad and the unfavorable results that alcohol can have.

Past abstaining from consuming, some Muslims additionally search non secular edicts on a wide range of associated day-to-day questions or dilemmas. These embody whether or not or to not eat meals blended with alcohol; if it’s thought-about a sin to work at a restaurant that serves alcohol in a Western nation; if perfumes containing alcohol are allowed; and whether or not to attend ceremonies or occasions the place booze is served.


Whereas the prohibition on alcohol in Islam is believed to be broadly heeded, not all Muslims abstain from consuming. Some drink, whether or not privately or publicly. In a Pew Analysis Middle survey of Muslims across the globe, most individuals surveyed stated that consuming alcohol was morally incorrect. Greater than half in all nations the place Muslims have been surveyed held this view, together with greater than nine-in-ten in Thailand, Ghana, Malaysia, the Palestinian territories, Indonesia, Niger and Pakistan, in response to the Pew report, which was revealed in 2013 and included 38,000 interviews. Nonetheless, in 11 of the 37 nations the place this query was requested, at the very least one-in-ten stated that consuming alcohol is morally acceptable and in some nations, sizable percentages stated consuming alcohol is just not an ethical challenge, the report added.


Alcohol is on the market in some Islamic nations although laws range broadly and there will be intricate guidelines and restrictions on its sale or the place it may be consumed. Some nations, like Saudi Arabia, outlaw alcohol altogether. Consuming there will be punished by flogging, fines, imprisonment and, for foreigners, deportation. The dominion has lately been opening up leisure choices, which has spurred hypothesis about whether or not exceptions for alcohol consumption could also be made sooner or later.

Different locations have a extra relaxed strategy, corresponding to Dubai, a prime journey vacation spot within the United Arab Emirates that’s recognized to many for its glitz and love for superlatives. Dubai boasts a wide range of bars, nightclubs and lounges that appeal to many guests and well-to-do expatriate residents. Lately, town has additionally been more and more loosening legal guidelines governing alcohol gross sales and possession of liquor. As in another locations, alcohol gross sales there present a profitable tax income supply.

Alcohol is bought freely in liquor shops in Jordan and served in bars and eating places all through the capital of Amman. It is usually out there in Muslim-majority Egypt, which is historically well-liked with vacationers and is residence to a Christian minority. There, the younger and wealthy can sip on cocktails or wines in seashore golf equipment or bars, many with overseas names, whereas swaying to music. Wine, beer and spirits may also be ordered on-line amongst different choices. Nonetheless, consuming is rejected by most; within the Pew research, 79% of surveyed Muslims in Egypt stated they seen alcohol as morally incorrect.


In dry nations, some have gone to nice lengths to acquire alcohol, at occasions risking arrest, or worse. In Saudi Arabia, residence to Islam’s holiest websites, there have been stories of efforts to skirt the ban, together with liquor runs by some to neighboring Bahrain. Makes an attempt to sneak booze into the dominion have over time included bottles of whisky hidden in socks and cans of beer disguised as Pepsi. Some endeavors, nonetheless, finish in tragedy. In 2002, 19 individuals in Saudi Arabia died and others have been hospitalized after consuming cologne containing methanol. In Iran, some have additionally died from methanol poisoning after they drank poisonous do-it-yourself brews.


Qatar, which like Saudi Arabia follows an ultraconservative model of Islam generally known as Wahhabism, has strict limits on the acquisition and consumption of alcohol, although its sale has been permitted in resort bars for years. Through the World Cup, beer was initially presupposed to be bought additionally at stadiums and at fan zones within the evenings. That modified Friday when it was introduced that solely non-alcoholic beer could be out there on the stadiums, apart from within the luxurious hospitality areas the place champagne, wine, whiskey and different alcohol is served. The overwhelming majority of ticket holders don’t have entry to these areas.

The World Cup in Qatar is just not the primary to spur debate over whether or not alcohol gross sales must be allowed in matches. For the 2014 match, Brazil was compelled to vary a regulation to permit alcohol gross sales in stadiums — however the identical cultural points weren’t at play. Brazil had banned alcohol gross sales at soccer matches in a bid to curb fan violence. A few of those that have been pushing for the ban’s lifting stated on the time that in-stadium beer gross sales have been a key a part of World Cup custom.


Related Press faith protection receives help by way of the AP’s collaboration with The Dialog US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely answerable for this content material.

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