Wine Grape

Question

I was studying Surah al-Nahl from Maulana Maududi's commentary on the Qur'an. The interpretation of a verse in it by the Maulana does not convince me. Please comment.

Dr Mohsin has translated the verse as follows:

And from the fruits of date-palms and grapes, you derive strong drink and a goodly provision. Verily, therein is indeed a sign for people who have wisdom. (Q. 16:67)

Mr. M. M. Picthal translates the same verse as follows:

And of the fruits of the date-palm, and grapes, whence ye derive strong drink and (also) good nourishment. Lo! therein is indeed a portent for people who have sense. (Q. 16:67)

Maula Maududi however, renders it as follows:

And out of the fruits of date-palms and grapes you derive intoxicants as well as wholesome sustenance. Surely there is a sign for those who use reason.

Maulana Maududi explains that the juice of the fruits of date-palms and vines contains two things. One is that which is pure and wholesome food for man and the other is that which turns into alcohol after it becomes rotten. But it has been left to the choice of man to obtain pure healthy food from this providence or to drink it as intoxicant wine to excite him and make him lose his self-control. This also contains a hint as to the prohibition of wine. The lines preceding and following this verse are as follows so that we know what is the context and in what theme it fits into and what is conveyed here have the same undercurrent i.e. His blessings.

And Allah sends down water (rain) from the sky, then He revives the earth therewith after its death. Verily, in this is a sign (clear proof) for people who listen (obey Allah). And verily! In the cattle, there is a lesson for you. We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, from between excretions and blood, pure milk; palatable to the drinkers. And from the fruits of date-palms and grapes, you derive strong drink and a goodly provision. Verily, therein is indeed a sign for people who have wisdom. And your Lord inspired the bees, saying: "Take you habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect. "Then, eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of your Lord made easy (for you)." There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying colour wherein is healing for men. Verily, in this is indeed a sign for people who think. And Allah has created you and then He will cause you to die, and of you there are some who are sent back to senility, so that they know nothing after having known (much). Truly! Allah is All-Knowing, All-Powerful. (Q. 16:65- 70)

So I understand that since this is a Makkan surah, it shows drinking was allowed at this time. The verse relating to prohibition of drinking was revealed in Medina. The latter verse repealed the previous injunction. But Maulana Maududi here appears to be trying to read in between the lines more than what is there to offer. Correct me if I am wrong. If I can recall the drinking was first discouraged and banned.


Answer

Thank you for the email. I believe that the adjective hasanan (wholesome/good) qualifying the noun rizqan (provision/blessing) leads us to that the speaker/writer expressly attaches approval for this particular rizq. However, there is no indication in the text that shows that sakar (intoxication) was allowed. It just proved that the people, not necessarily all, but humans use this as source of drinks. Now let us move to another verse which gives a judgment regarding drinks. It says: wa ithmuhumaakbaru min naf'ihima (There sin is more than the benefit they bear). This shows that the Qur'an confirms the benefit of drinking but states that it involves sin and that is greater and graver. Since the religion aims purification of the human self it is more concerned with moral purification of the believer than the material good it takes sakar as haraam. This kind of ithm (sin) is always universal. Drinking was never allowed. It was previously tolerated. But whe

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