Wine: Good or bad? Strong drink and … are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork

Wine: Good or bad? Strong drink and … are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


According to the Christian missionaries:

Wine is forbidden for a Muslim here on earth:

O you who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divine arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside that you may succeed. — Sura 5:90

See also Sura 2:219.

On the other hand in Paradise are rivers of wine:

A similitude of the Garden which those who keep their duty (to Allah) are promised: Therein are rivers of water unpolluted … and rivers of wine delicious to the drinkers. — Sura 47:15

Surely the pious will be in bliss … their thirst will be slaked with pure wine sealed. — Sura 83:22,25

Is wine good or bad? Is us forbidden on earth something that is truly good? Or is in Paradise not only allowed but provided in overflowing measures (rivers of…) something that is so bad that it is even called “Satan’s handiwork”?


As far as the contradiction is concerned, it is not stated clearly. We have to assume that the Christian missionaries are confused whether the wine is good or bad.

It would not take a rocket scientist to know what the earthly wine has done to the wild West. It has not only created alcoholics but also broken down homes (not to mention hearts!). A person who got drunk does not remember what happened to him when he was drunk and Allah in His Divine wisdom says:

O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan’s handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper. Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain? [Qur’ân 5:90-91]

Further He mentions:

They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: “In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit.” They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: “What is beyond your needs.” Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider. [Qur’ân 2:219]

So, the earthly wine has a character of not only intoxicating the person but also to make him stop remembering Allah who has created him to worship Him alone.

What does the wine in Paradise do? Does it intoxicate the people who drink it?

In gardens of felicity, facing each other on thrones, round will be passed a cup from a clear flowing fountain, crystal white, of a taste delicious to those who drink thereof, Free from headiness; Nor will they suffer intoxication therefrom. [Qur’ân 37:43-47]

So, it is pretty clear if we compare the verses

Their thirst will be slaked with Pure Wine sealed [Qur’ân 83:25]

(Here is) a Parable of the Garden which the righteous are promised: in it are rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine, a joy to those who drink; and rivers of honey pure and clear. In it there are for them all kinds of fruits; and Grace from their Lord. [Qur’ân 47:15]

with the ones in 37:43-47 (as mentioned above), it is clear that the drink of Paradise is not like the earthly drink. It is free from headiness and intoxication.

Here we have used the traditional method of Qur’ânic exegesis involving Context & Internal Relationships, i.e., al-Qur’ân yufassiru bacduhu bacdan (different parts of the Qur’ân explain each other). What is given in a general way in one place is discussed in detail in some other place in the Qur’ân. What is dealt with briefly at one place is expanded in some other place.

As far as ‘Satan’s Handiwork’ is concerned, it is clear that he would be nowhere around in Paradise to trouble its inhabitants. His dwelling place would be in Hell.

And Allah knows best!