Ruling on treatment with Khamr (intoxicants)
What is the ruling on drinking Khamr (intoxicants) in case of necessity, i.e. Being advised by the doctor to do so?
According to the opinion of the Jumhur (dominant majority of scholars), treatment with Khamr is forbidden, along with any other bad substance that Allah forbade. Proof for the foregoing is the Hadith narrated by Wa’il ibn Hajar who said: “Tariq ibn Suwayd Al-Ju’fy asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about Khamr. He (peace be upon him) forbade him from it or expressed his disapproval of preparing it. Tariq said, ‘I only prepare it as a medicine.’ He (peace be upon him) said, ‘It is not medicine; it is an ailment.’” (Related by Imam Ahmad and Muslim)
It is also reported on the authority of Abu Al-Darda’ (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Allah has sent down both the disease and the cure, and He has appointed a cure for every disease, so seek treatment, but use nothing unlawful.” (Related by Abu Dawud)
It is reported that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) forbade detrimental medicine (i.e. Prohibited or filthy).” According to another wording: “namely, poison.” (Related by Ahmad, Al-Tirmidhy, and Ibn Majah)
Moreover, Al-Bukhari reported in his Sahih (authentic) Book of Hadith on the authority of Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: “Verily, Allah does not make your cure in what He has prohibited to you.” This Hadith is also reported by Abu Hatim and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih as Marfu’ (a Hadith narrated from the Prophet with a connected or disconnected chain of narration).
All the previously mentioned Hadiths clearly prohibit using bad things as a form of treatment, and explicitly state the prohibition of Khamr as a treatment. This is because Khamr is the mother of all evil and the source of sin. Some scholars of Kufah considered treatment with Khamr permissible by Qiyas (analogy) with the permissibility of eating the flesh of dead animals or drinking blood for someone compelled by necessity to do so. Such an opinion is weak, not only because it goes against the texts mentioned above, but also because it is based on unsuitable Qiyas. Eating carrion or drinking blood eliminates the necessity and saves the person’s life, and has been prescribed as a solution in such a situation, while drinking Khamr for treatment does not necessarily remove the disease. Rather, it is in itself a disease and not a medicine as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said. It cannot be prescribed as a remedy.
May Allah be merciful to a Muslim who only seeks treatment through the good things that Allah (Exalted be He) made lawful and dispenses with any of those He prohibited.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.
Date: Muharram 15, 1442 AH
Source: Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Da'imah no. 3163-2
Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz
Shaykh Abdul-Razzaq al-Afify
Shaykh Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan
Shaykh Abdullah ibn Qa'ud