Sunday, December 4, 2022 - 10 Jumada al-Ula 1444

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Sitting with friends at a table where alcoholic drinks are served

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

Answer

 

The prohibition of alcoholic drinks is one of those matters that are widely known and emphatically emphasized in Islamic law. Proof of the prohibition of alcohol is found in the Quran when God says: “O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone altars [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 Almighty says: “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 and does not denounce it, shares in the sin. Consequently, whoever cannot denounce a sinful action that is committed in their presence 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. Imam Ahmad recorded 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.’” Being in the company of another who is performing a sin may cause one to become accustomed to the sin and one’s aversion to it will gradually decline, undermining any resolve not to commit them.
In short, your mere presence at the table where alcohol is served implies your approval and this is blameworthy in Islamic law.

 

And God Almighty knows best.