Egyptian cleric Khaled El Gendy, a famous Islamic scholar and member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, recently reminded us of an Islamic school of thought with some controversial views.

In an interview on DMC TV, the cleric quotes the Hanafi school of thought, which says that drinking certain kinds of alcohol is not necessarily haram, so long as the person drinking it does not get drunk.

It's all about interpretation

The cleric affirmed that the Hanafi school believes liquor made from grapes and dates is prohibited, but beer isn't necessarily.

"Beer is not haram, since its not made of grapes or dates. It becomes haram if consumed in quantities that renders a person drunk," he said, citing the specific Islamic school.

The Hanafi school of thought is named after Abū Ḥanīfa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit, a renowned Islamic scholar for sharia lawmaking – often called the Great Imam. 

According to El Gendy, Abū Ḥanīfa said drinking alcohol without getting drunk is not sinful. El Gendy separates his own personal views from that of the Hanafi school.

Watch the video below. 

Gendy isn't the first to talk about this

Sheikh Rashid Mustafa, an Egyptian imam based in Sydney, made similar statements in 2014. 

In a television interview with Egyptian broadcaster Attahrir (liberation), the cleric said that the Holy Quran only prohibits drunkenness, but not alcohol. 

To back up his claims, he used a verse in the Quran that reads, “O you who have believed, do not approach prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying…” Chapter (4) surat l-nisa' (The Women).

Sheikh Rashid is known for having liberal views when it comes to Islamic law, and was once beaten on live TV for saying women don't have to be veiled. 

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article misinterpreted Khaled El Gendy's words in the video.