The Prayer of One Who Drinks Alcohol
How could I understand the Prophet’s hadith regarding the prayer of one who drinks alcohol?
In the name of Allah, we praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright.
Ibn Ad-Dailami said: “I entered upon him and said: ‘O `Abdullah ibn `Amr, did you hear the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say anything concerning Khamr (alcohol)?’ He said: ‘Yes, I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: If a man among my Ummah drinks Khamr (alcohol ), Allah will not accept his Prayer for forty days.'” (An-Nasa’i)
It was also narrated from `Abdullah ibn `Amr that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever drinks alcohol and gets drunk, his prayer will not be accepted for forty days, and if he dies he will enter Hell, but if he repents, Allah will accept his repentance. If he drinks alcohol again and gets drunk, his prayer will not be accepted for forty days, and if he dies he will enter Hell, but if he repents, Allah will accept his repentance…” (Ibn Majah)
It must be noted that drinking alcohol or other intoxicants is a major sin. In order for one to eradicate the sin, one engages in a sincere repentance.
The fact that one’s prayers are not accepted does not mean that they are not valid, or that he should give up praying, rather it means that he will not be rewarded for them. In addition, one does not have to make up the prayers performed if the prayers were valid. “Not accepted” in the hadith means that the prayers are not accepted in terms of reward.
For more information about such ruling, watch this short talk with Dr. Muhammad Salah.