Channel: Yasir Qadhi
Series: Yasir Qadhi - Ask Shaykh YQ
Meetings Where Alcoholic Drinks Are Present
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What is the verdict on attending gatherings or meetings or office parties where there is alcohol
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the consumption of alcohol is something that we all know is completely forbidden in our religion. Our Prophet sallallahu Sallam has called it the mother of all evil or the source of all evil. And it is a tool of shavon. We all know that, in this country, one of the leading causes of liver cancer, heart disease, even other types of cancer. In fact, almost 100,000 deaths in North America alone is because directly of alcohol and it is one of the leading causes of preventable death in this country. By the way, one of the leading causes of preventable death is the consumption of alcohol his harms are well known. And it is because of this that the Sharia has not just forbidden drinking
alcohol. The Shetty has also forbidden anything related to it, such as transporting, buying, selling, witnessing the transaction, these are all called preventative measures set desserty. When something is held on a large zoa gel makes the things leading to it how long as well. Obviously the level of Hillerman of the things leading to it is not the same as the level of itself, you understand this point. And that's what we're going to come to now, when something is how long the avenues that lead to it also become how long but those avenues are not as sinful as the harem itself, obviously. And this is called the shediac said do thorough air, cutting off the doors to
this to this avenue. And one of those prohibitions when it comes to alcohol is to sit at a table where alcohol is served. Hadeeth isn't Mr. De Mohamad, it is hesson which is acceptable, it's not so high. It's not the if it is a hazard Hadith, that the Prophet sallallahu Sallam said, Whoever believes in Allah in the last day should not sit at a table where alcohol is passed around you doubt la hellhammer. Okay, so one should not sit at a table where alcohol is being passed around. This is a Hadeeth in mustard, Mr. Mohammed. And this is the default position that a person should avoid sitting at a table where alcohol is served. And once you try to get out of this as much as possible
now, this is the default.
The problem is that this default becomes very difficult or at times logistically impossible in the world that we live in. And I have asked over a dozen mentors and teachers of mine and peers of mine, this particular issue, these are one of the questions that are on my mind, and I asked many people, and I'll just mention some names here. But the opinion I will give you ascribe it to me. But I'm telling you just because understandably, I know I never claimed to be a scholar. I'm a student of knowledge. I'm not a scholar. I'm a student of knowledge. So understandably, people say Who are you to say things and that's a valid concern. But I try to quote positions that have basis and that have
precedents. I never ever tried to bring an opinion that is unprecedented. I don't feel myself qualified to do that. But I tried to find precedents. And when it comes to this issue, I have asked over a dozen people whom I look up to, including people extra Sala Hawsawi, Dr. Hatem, Alhaji of usofa judicial called Koba, we others have asked all of these specific questions specifically, I've asked them about this Hadith, in light of modern times, and in light of corporate America. And by the way, FYI, I have worked in corporate America for a period of my life. And for 15 years, I was in academia, which is a different type of corporate America, I had to meet many people, politicians,
business interviews, presidents of universities, presenting papers that at Harvard and Princeton, I've been in that environment. So I understand what it is like to be the only Muslim in a room full of people that are coming together for another cause they're not coming together to get drunk, you're not going to a pub to socialize, you're going for a conference, you're going for a job issue, you're going because your boss's boss, or the company's president has thrown a big party, and you're a member of that audience. And once again, with my utmost respect, many of our scholars and teachers have never been in that situation. And so they give fatawa that they are there and hardly anybody
can follow them. Because those fatawa cannot be applied by the average person working in a corporate environment. And that's why the one who knows knows the one who is there understands and that's why I myself have been very eager to ask
Many of my mentors and teachers, pretty much all of them who live in these lands, or at least are well aware of the situation of our lands because they get what you need to realize, when you ask a person or a share, that has never been in these lands there too. So what is very different of reality, they can give a fatwa. And they don't understand that it was impossible to apply. Always go to people who live in your lands, for your scholarship, especially for these minutia issues. And as I said, I've asked over a dozen, to be brutally honest, I think it might be two dozen, because I've been talking about this for these are some of the issues have always discussed with my peers and my
mentors. And every single one of them, without exception, has given caveats and exceptions to this Hadeeth. None of them unconditionally said, it is always how long and you have to stand up and leave every time there's alcohol within five feet of you. None of them have said this, because they understand that you cannot be that strict. This Hadith is not meant to be used as an elastic band and applied to every scenario. That Hadith is a general ruling. Let's keep that as the default. Let's not become comfortable. But there are always going to be difficult scenarios. And by the way, this isn't without precedents. Again, there are minor precedents. of them is the issue of the Muslim
man married to the Christian lady. And we find a number of explicit narrations, even from the very strict rule Emma, like a mama who didn't humble somebody came to him and said that a man is married to a Christian lady, can he force her to not drink alcohol? Now remember, it's her right as a Christian, and then maybe even some in Hershey, it is allowed, and maybe even in your rituals is what she does. If she's a Catholic, she's even gonna drink it right. And Imam Ahmed said, he does not have the right to forbid her from drinking her alcohol. He doesn't have that right. So this is someone I came up Mohamad, and the context is in a Muslim land, and it's in the person's household.
And oh, by the way, think about the technicalities. whose money is she typically going to use to go buy the alcohol? Think about the technicalities? Where will that alcohol be stored in whose house? Think about these technicalities right before you make these blanket statements of how long? How long? How long? think things through? And that's why film is very different than just quoting Hadith. And then extrapolating, my dear brothers and sisters, extremism typically occurs with people who don't understand. They just take a verse or a Hadith, and they become folk, aha, overnight. Actual folk Aha, are always much more understanding much more reasonable. As I said, more than a
dozen scholars, I asked personally, this question more than a dozen, every one of them, they gave slightly different, but every one of them is giving caveats if this if that. So the position I'm going to present is coming from me, don't ascribe it to them. But I will tell you, all of them have given caveats and exceptions to this hadith. So based on this, I form an educated Etihad, if I'm right, it is from Allah, it is wrong than it is from myself. And I ask Allah as refuge what I say is as follows. This is my advice.
The Muslim working in corporate America should never make it the norm, to feel comfortable around alcohol. This Muslim should make it known to his or her close colleagues, that they don't like alcohol and the presence of alcohol, it should be something that is known that they feel uncomfortable around the presence of alcohol, it should not just become overlooked, not a green light. Anytime there's alcohol, let it be. Occasionally, such a Muslim might find himself or herself in a situation where it's just the battle is not worth fighting. For example, the annual meeting, for example, the CEO comes in, and the whole staff is there. For example, the ceremony that's going
to take place around this time when the raises are given and announcements are made right before Christmas and your presence and your your point is a part of being with the community of your corporation, you need to be there because that's what everybody is doing. So on those exceptional scenarios, try your best to avoid being in the direct vicinity. So if the alcohol table is there, you go on another side and you intermingle with the people over there. And if you are forced to sit down, try your best to get a few people that you know will not be drinking and sit. One of my teachers actually said this, I'm not going to mention it with respect to him as the one of my
teachers actually said, there's a large table, get three, four or five people sit next to them and in your mind, draw an imaginary line. This is my table. There's no alcohol on it. point is you have to work your way. What are you going to do if there's 50 people at a corporate meeting and you're sitting at a table and they're drinking
Alcohol over there. What are you going to do?
I mean, if you really thought it's necessary to stand up and leave, that's your business. And I'm not saying don't do that. But I'm saying, now you can leave low enough son illa usaha. How unreasonable is it for you to stand up and leave because somebody else's drinking your boss's boss's drinking alcohol, the you will not be able to function in corporate America this way. You cannot function in a regular, you're going to a job interview, for example, right? That stage, you're going to tell other people Hey, you got you can drink By the way, huh? You're going to get that job or not?
is a law requiring you to be that unreasonable? I don't think so. Well, I I do not think so at all, and is the position that many of my teachers have as well, you're going to a job interview, you're going to the annual corporate event or whatnot. Now is not the time to enforce it on other people.
Their drinking is there but you obviously are not going to drink you will say I don't drink okay? you order your Alka Seltzer water or whatever you want to do, you know is like what you you do whatever you want, but you do not obviously, obviously, drink yourself. And if they're drinking that one are fine, then when you get in, and your colleagues and you should then say you know what, you guys are going there. If it's just a regular chilling event, just evening out, you should not compromise on that type of thing. Why? You know, you guys go ahead and enjoy. You don't have to say even alcohol use that you guys go ahead, I'm a bit tired, make an excuse of I'd rather I'd make a
few phone calls, whatever. But if your presence is important, not the rural life and death because this is not a matter of life and death, it's a matter of reasonable Your job is at line here. Your presence is required for the promotions, you're ambiences there you you being there is going to show the company that you're a part and parcel of the company, in these types of scenarios, be reasonable, and participate, what needs to be done. And then as you all know, as the evening winds down the party reveal their state, and then people who want to leave can leave right up of those who leave as fast as you reasonably can fit to Aloha, Mr. Doctor, Fear Allah subhana wa tada as much as
you can. And even as you are there, in your heart do not like it. Because our Prophet sallallahu Sallam said, Whoever can change Mancha with his hands good. If not, then with this tongue. If not that What?
Don't like it in your heart hated in your heart. I'm being very explicit, don't make it the norm that I'm surrounded by alcohol. No, it should never be the norm. Don't make it lackadaisical, no big deal. It is a big deal. And you should not just be observing people getting drunk. But once in a while.
You cannot enforce 100%. When you need to be as minimal as you need be as discreet as you need to be, do what you need to do. And then make your excuse, and then be away from there. And then ask Allah George's forgiveness. But I do not think it is a sin. When, as we said, when you're pressured into this type of scenario, that you're in the presence where alcohol is, nonetheless, it is not something that is required. And it is simply a pure socialization of pure merriment, in this case, no need for you to compromise. And you can give an excuse, and I give you a classic example, you're going to a meeting or a conference somewhere else, then your office is going to go out for a dinner.
And you know, there's going to be shut off and laughter and merriment, and there's no need for the business has been done. Right? The meeting has been done. Now, we're not talking about a business meeting with a client where you have to be, again, be sensible. You all know the difference when your office colleagues are just going to chill because the company tab is paying for it. Right? No need for you. When you know there's going to be alcohol, you're not going to lose your job. If you don't show up to that thing, no big deal. I give an exclusive here. And you don't have to say because I am a Muslim, I would like to if you want to it's case by case. If you don't have that
authority, they can excuse me, I'm feeling tired. I have to make a few phone calls. I'll see you guys tomorrow. Simple as that. And then be away from there. But if you do need to go for reasons that you know best for your job sake. In my humble opinion, it is not held on and the Hadith will not apply to final point one of my teachers made a very good point one of my mentors, he said a very good point. He said one needs to look at the context of this hadith. What is the context of this hadith?
A group of Muslims sitting and drinking alcohol to for the point of getting drunk you're down to LA harbor means Hammad is being passed around.
Why would you be in such a gathering of Muslims? What excuses there. One of my teachers said this hadith needs to be understood as silent approval of other Muslims getting drunk. You shouldn't be there. You cannot just copy and paste and apply it to a corporate setting where your non Muslim colleagues are drinking a cup or two with their meals. They're not even getting drunk because it's their
not supposed to technic as you know, you know, they're not even doing that it's just what they're doing on this site. So Allah knows best. The first word that I have given based on years of research and asking many of my colleagues and mentors avoided as much as possible, don't make this the norm, your colleagues should know that you feel uncomfortable around alcohol. But when push comes to shove, and you're in a situation where you kind of sort of for the greater good of your job and career, you have to be in there, do the bare minimum, do what needs to do, try your best to take reasonable precautions, try your best that alcohol is not immediately around you if you're able to
do that. And if you're not, for example, a job interview with your boss that's going to hire you, it's you and that boss and you're on one table, what are you going to do? You go to the job interview, tell your bosses your future boss, I'm sorry, you cannot drink, let's be real here, you're not going to get that job. And that we fully understand why. Because you're not somebody that company can work with. If you're going to enforce your policy on other people, that's not going to work right. So
the wise person uses the right time in place. And in my humble opinion, that's not the right time in place in the job interview to to demand that your boss doesn't drink or whatnot. And so if that is the case, and that is happening escalus forgiveness, try your best to be as minimal as possible, do what needs to be done. And then remove yourself from that and ensure that there will not be a sin on you if you hate it in your heart and with that inshallah Allah we conclude for today.