Almighty Allah says: “O ye who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed. Satan seeketh only to cast among you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink and games of chance, and to turn you from remembrance of Allah and from (His) worship. Will ye then have done?” (Surat Al-Ma’idah: 90-91).
In these two verses, Allah strictly prohibits wine and gambling, linking them to idols and seeking omens by means of divining arrows, and declares them to be rijs (abominable or filthy), a term which the Qur’an reserves for extremely indecent and evil things.
In the Holy Qur’an the word Khamr has been used for alcoholic drinks. During the days of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the sources of alcoholic beverages were grapes, dates, wheat, barley and honey.
Although alcohol may be prepared nowadays from any other source, it is still considered to be forbidden as long as it intoxicates people. Islam emphasizes the effects of alcohol on people and not the origin or form of alcohol.
The Qur’an didn’t ban alcohol from the beginning. This is considered to be a wise approach by Muslims, who believe that Allah did so in His wisdom and knowledge of human nature — quitting cold turkey would be difficult as it was so ingrained in society at the time. Thus, the Qur’an took several initial steps towards steering people away from the consumption of alcohol.