George Sale, The Koran, commonly called the Alcoran of Mohammed, translated into English immediately from the original Arabic; with Explanatory Notes, taken from the most approved Commentators. To which is prefixed A Preliminary Discource (1734)
more places than one 1. Some indeed have imagined that excess therein is only forbidden, and that the moderate use of wine is allowed by two passages in the same book 2: but the more received opinion is, that to drink any strong liquors, either in a lesser quantity, or in a greater, is absolutely unlawful; and though libertines indulge themselves in the contrary practice 3, yet the more conscientious are so strict, especially if they have performed the pilgrimage to Mecca 4, that they hold it unlawful not only to taste wine, but to press grapes for the making of it, to buy or to sell it, or even to maintain themselves with the money arising by the sale of that liquor. The Persians, however, as well as the Turks, are very fond of wine; and if one asks them how it comes to pass that they venture to drink it, when it is so directly forbidden by their religion, they answer, that it is with them as with the Christians, whose religion prohibits drunkenness and whoredom as great sins, and who glory, notwithstanding, some in debauching girls and married women, and others in drinking to excess 5.
Weather coffee, tobacco, and opium be lawful.
It has been a question whether coffee comes not under the above-mentioned prohibition 6, because the fumes of it have some effect on the imagination. This drink, which was first publickly used at Aden, in Arabia felix, about the middle of the ninth century of the Hejra, and thence gradually introduced into Mecca, Medina, Egypt, Syria, and other parts of the Levant, has been the occasion of great disputes and disorders, having been sometimes publickly condemned and forbidden, and again declared lawful and allowed 7. At present the use of coffee is generally tolerated, if not granted, as is that of tobacco, though the more religious make a scruple of taking the latter, not only because it inebriates, but also out of respect to a traditional saying of their prophet, (which, if it could be made out to be his, would prove him a prophet indeed,) That in the latter days there should be men who should bear the name of Moslems, but should not be really such; and that they should smoke a certain weed, which should be called tobacco: however, the eastern nations are generally so addicted to both, that they say, a dish of coffee and a pipe of tobacco are a complete entertainment; and the
3 V. Smith, de morib, & instit. Turcar. Ep. 2. p. 28, &c.
4 V. Chardin, ubi supra, p. 212.
5 Chardin, ubi fup. p. 344.
6 Abd’alkâder Mohammed al Ansâri has written a treatise concerning Coffee, wherein he argues for its lawfulness. V. D’Herbel. Art. Cahvah.
7 V. Le Traité historique de l’origine & du progres du Café, à la fin du Voy. de l’ Arabie heur. de la Roque.