Here are the three verses for reference:
For verses 2:219 and 5:90, the "case" for abrogation is that"O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, stone alters (a sacrificial ritual to idols), and divining arrows (a wagering ritual) are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful."
where 'intoxicants' is a translation of khamr
which is mainly alcoholic beverages (the linguistic derivation of the word khamr
comes from 'messing with the mind'), abrogates"They ask you about intoxicants and gambling. Say: In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefits for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit..."
(part of 2:219),
the idea being that verse 5:90 is describing intoxicants and gambling as pure evil while verse 2:219 is describing them as a mixed bag.
I see absolutely
no case for abrogation here. Verse 2:219 is a statement of fact, not a command. Facts cannot be abrogated. The only reason I can see people invoking abrogation here is that they perceive that there is a contradiction between the two statements and they want to resolve it.
There is no contradiction at all. Intoxicants and gambling are indeed a mixed bag. They are great sins in spite of having some benefits. Their sin happens to outweigh their benefit. This type of mixed bag is exactly what Satan flourishes in
. He will try to sell us intoxicants and gambling by pushing their benefits, never mind that their great sin outweighs those benefits. It is only befitting that God is warning us in verse 5:90 that intoxicants and gambling are "defilement from the work of Satan." This is a logical complement, not an abrogation.
The case that verse 4:43 was abrogated by verse 5:90 is more interesting. Here is a translation of the verses:"O you who have believed, do not approach the prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying..."
(part of 4:43)"O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, stone alters (a sacrificial ritual to idols), and divining arrows (a wagering ritual) are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful."
Unlike 2:219 which I argued was not abrogated, verse 4:43 does have a command
related to drinking and therefore could in principle be abrogated. Verse 2:219 was only a statement of fact. The basis for the abrogation case of 4:43 is that its command not to approach the prayer while drunk was eliminated by the stronger command in 5:90 not to drink in the first place.
There is no question that drinking was prohibited altogether in 5:90. There is no question that even if you avoid praying while drunk, the drinking itself is not allowed. However, this is not the point. The point is whether there is a contradiction between the two commands "don't pray while drunk"
and "don't drink at all
" that can only be resolved by eliminating the command "don't pray while drunk"
through abrogating 4:43. The answer is that there is no such contradiction. There may be redundancy, but not contradiction. These two commands can be both valid.
It is not just a philosophical point that if you don't drink, then not praying while drunk is a moot point so there is no need to abrogate it. I actually believe that the "don't pray while drunk"
command is still applicable until this very day. Here are my reasons. There are Moslems today who drink, right? They may not be good Moslems, but they exist
. If someone is drunk at this very moment, can they pray? I know the answer to this question. They can't, because of the ruling in 4:43. If you believe 4:43 is abrogated, how would you answer this specific
This is not meant to encourage people to drink. This is not meant to give excuses to those who drink. This is only meant to answer the question: Was verse 4:43 abrogated?
One final point. Drinking is not allowed, and skipping prayers is not allowed. If someone violates the first rule and drinks, this does not give them license to violate the second rule and skip prayers. IMHO, this fact gives the ruling in 4:43 the same weaning benefit that it had at the time the verse was revealed. Those who don't have the willpower to immediately stop drinking altogether, may have enough willpower to at least schedule their drinking with respect to the prayer times. Hopefully, this will get them closer to mustering enough resolve to quit drinking altogether.
That's just my humble opinion. I expect that people may disagree with my reasoning here. If you feel there is a flaw in my argument that verse 4:43 is not abrogated, please point it out.