Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 14 Safar 1440

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Can I sit with my friends at a table where alcoholic drinks are served?

Can I sit with my friends at a table where alcoholic drinks are served?


The prohibition of alcoholic drinks is one of the matters that is widely known and emphatically emphasized in Islamic law. Proof of its prohibition is found in the Quran when God says: “O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than God], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful” (Quran 5: 90).

This means that if alcoholic drinks are prohibited, then sitting in a place where they are served is likewise prohibited. It is similarly prohibited for one to be in the company of another who is drinking even if one does not do the same. This is because God the Almighty says in the Quran: “And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of God [recited], they are denied [by them] and ridiculed; so do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation. Indeed, you would then be like them. Indeed God will gather the hypocrites and disbelievers in Hell all together” (Quran 4: 140).

Imam Al-Qurtubi in his Quranic exegesis said that the words “then you are like them” indicates the necessity of avoiding the company of others who are doing something unlawful, because not doing so would mean an implicit approval of what they are doing. Based on this, whoever is in a place where a sin is committed without denouncing it shares in the sin. Consequently, whoever cannot denounce a sinful action that is committed before him should leave the place.

Condoning a sin is a sin in itself. Both the person who commits the sin and the one who condones it are blameworthy. It was reported by Imam Ahmad that Umar Ibn Al-Khattab said: “O people! I have heard the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) say, ‘Whoever believes in God and the Last Day should not sit at a table where [alcoholic] drinks are served even if he does not drink with them as this is tantamount to a tacit approval.’” A person who is in the company of another while he is performing a sin, may become accustomed to the sin and his aversion to it will gradually decline; this may ultimately weaken his resolve not to commit them.

As for your question on associating with those who drink and imitating their rituals, this is not permissible because it was reported through Ibn Umar that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people, is one of them.” Imam Al-Iraqi wrote in his book Tarh Al- Tathrib: “If someone drinks water while knowing it is water, yet drinks it in an unlawful manner such as from a glass used for drinking alcohol or in a setting which is similar to that where alcohol is served, it becomes prohibited due to its association with a prohibited drink.”

Imam Al-Nawawi said that it is blameworthy to serve water in the same fashion as alcoholic drinks and that a person who does this is worthy punishment. Imam Al-Bahuti said in Kashaf Al-Qina: “It is prohibited to imitate those who drink alcohol and that whoever does so deserves punishment even if he does not drink anything unlawful. This means that it is prohibited for a group of people to gather in a place, drink tea from glasses that are normally used for drinking alcohol, hire a waiter to serve it and act as if they are drinking alcohol because they would be imitating those who commit corruption.”

In short, your mere presence at the table where alcohol is served implies your approval and this is blameworthy in Islamic law.
And God the Almighty knows best.


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