Is it permissible to eat in a restaurant that serves alcohol?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

Yes if there is no alcohol on your table, but it is best avoided.

There is no doubt that it is better for a person to select a restaurant that does not serve alcohol. It is important for Muslims to support businesses that observe the Law of Allah (Most High).

وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْأِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ

Help one another in righteousness and piety. And do not help one another in sin and transgression. (Surah al-Maidah, 2).

However, it is not prohibited (although best avoided) to eat in a restaurant that serves alcohol, on condition that the alcohol is not on your table.

عَنْ سَالِمٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، قَالَ: ” نَهَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنْ مَطْعَمَيْنِ: الْجُلُوسُ عَلَى مَائِدَةٍ يُشْرَبُ عَلَيْهَا الْخَمْرُ أَوْ يَأْكُلُ الرَّجُلُ وَهُوَ مُنْبَطِحٌ عَلَى بَطْنِهِ  هَذَا حَدِيثٌ صَحِيحٌ عَلَى شَرْطِ مُسْلِمٍ وَلَمْ يُخَرِّجَاهُ “
[التعليق – من تلخيص الذهبي] على شرط مسلم

Salim narrated from his father that the Prophet prohibited two states of eating, sitting at a table where alcohol is consumed, and eating whilst lying on one’s stomach. (Mustadrak al-Hakim 7367, Sahih). 

Imam Hakim considered this Hadith to be authentic according to the conditions of Imam Muslim, and Imam al-Dhahabi agreed.

In the above Hadith we find the prohibition relates to sitting at a table where alcohol is consumed, so as long as that is avoided there is no sin. However such places are best avoided. It is important to note that this ruling relates to a restaurant and other similar places, as for a pub or a bar the ruling is stricter because they are places of sin.

وَيُكْرَهُ لِلرَّجُلِ أَنْ يَأْكُلَ عَلَى مَائِدَةٍ يُشْرَبُ عَلَيْهَا الْخَمْرُ هَكَذَا نُقِلَ «عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – أَنَّهُ نَهَى أَنْ يَأْكُلَ الْمُسْلِمُ عَلَى مَائِدَةٍ يُشْرَبُ عَلَيْهَا الْخَمْرُ»؛ وَلِأَنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ تَكْثِيرُ جَمْعِ الْفَسَقَةِ، وَإِظْهَارُ الرِّضَا بِصَنِيعِهِمْ، وَذَلِكَ لَا يَحِلُّ لِلْمُسْلِمِ

And it is disliked for a man to eat at a table where wine is being drunk, as has been narrated from the Messenger of Allah that he forbade Muslims to eat at a table where wine is being drunk. Another reason is that (sitting at a table where alcohol is consumed) increases the gathering of sinful people. And it shows acceptance of what they are doing, and that is not permissible for the Muslim. (Imam al-Sarakhsi, al-Mabsoot).

Answered by Shaykh Noor ud-deen (04.01.2021)