I was wondering whether you could comment on the authenticity of the following hadiths: The problem I have with them is that they seem to be instituting forced religion, since this punishment is not mentioned in the Qur’an, nor is a directive given to punish in this regard.
Volume 8, Book 81, Number 771: Narrated ‘Omar bin Al-Khattab:
During the lifetime of the Prophet there was a man called ‘Abdullah whose nickname was Donkey, and he used to make Allah’s Apostle laugh. The Prophet lashed him because of drinking (alcohol). And one-day he was brought to the Prophet on the same charge and was lashed. On that, a man among the people said, “O Allah, curse him ! How frequently he has been brought (to the Prophet on such a charge)!” The Prophet said, “Do not curse him, for by Allah, I know for he loves Allah and His Apostle.”
Volume 8, Book 81, Number 772: Narrated Abu Huraira:
A drunk was brought to the Prophet and he ordered him to be beaten (lashed). Some of us beat him with our hands, and some with their shoes, and some with their garments (twisted in the form of a lash). When that drunk had left, a man said, “What is wrong with him? May Allah disgrace him!” Allah’s Apostle said, “Do not help Satan against your (Muslim) brother.”
Could you comment…
The fact that the Qur’an does not mention a punishment for drinking and neither does the Prophet’s Sunnah institute a punishment for it, clearly tells us that the Shari`ah has not stipulated a punishment for drinking. This point is further substantiated by the fact that during the times of the first Caliph – Abu Bakr (ra) – a person guilty of drinking was usually administered forty lashes. Then during the times of the second Caliph – Omar (ra) – the punishment was raised to eighty lashes. Obviously, had the Shari`ah stipulated a punishment for drinking, the Prophet (pbuh) and the two caliphs following him would have instituted that particular punishment.
Thus, the Islamic Shari`ah does not stipulate a punishment for drinking. This means that if drinking is considered to be a crime in an Islamic state, a punishment may be instituted for it through Ijtihad.
In the cited narratives, it seems that the Prophet (pbuh), in consideration of the fact that the recently converted Muslims would face some difficulty in correcting their habits, did not institute a regular punishment for drinking. Anyone guilty of such a crime was lightly reprimanded and admonished against his action. Later on, as the society became more organized, on the one hand and the people given adequate time to correct their habits on the other, a regular punishment was instituted by the second caliph, after due consultation with other companions of the Prophet (pbuh).
12th May 2000