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Nabīdh (Arabic: نبيذ [naˈbiːð]) is a drink traditionally made from raisins/grapes or dates steeped in water. Nabidh is non-intoxicating, but if left to steep over 96 hours, it can turn mildly intoxicating, or heavily intoxicating depending on the level of fermentation.
Non-fermented (non-intoxicaing) Nabidh was one of the favorite drinks of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. He never steeped it for more than 96 hours as steeping over 96 hours ferments the drink, making it alcoholic. Alcohol is forbidden in Islam.
Abu Hurayrah narrates of the fermented version of the drink which was refused by Muhammad:
I knew that the Apostle of Allah used to keep fast. I waited for the day when he did not fast to present him the drink (nabidh) which I made in a pumpkin. I then brought it to him while it fermented. He said: Throw it by this wall, for this is a drink of the one who does not believe in Allah and the Last Day.
Nabidh is known to start turning alcoholic after two to three days, depending on the surrounding conditions. Non-fermented Nabidh is permissible to drink and a sunnah. According to the hadith collection by Imam Malik Ibn Anas, it is forbidden to "prepare nabidh in a gourd or in a jug smeared with pitch."
Rufus of Ephesus (fl. 100 AD) wrote a tract on the beverage nabīdh, which Qusta ibn Luqa in his times translated into Arabic by the name Risālah fī al-Nabīdh. In 2007, after collecting and collating copies of this manuscript from different libraries across the world, Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman again reintroduced and published this rare work in Urdu and Arabic.
Arab writer Ibn Fadlan describes an encounter on the Volga with a people he calls "Rūsiyyah," who may have been either Russians or Vikings. He relates how the Rusiyyah would drink an alcoholic drink he refers to by the name "nabidh". It is not clear what drink it actually was, but from context it is clear that it was intoxicating.
- Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 26, Number 3707
- Risâlah fī al-Nabidh of Qustâ bin Lûqâ, introduced by Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman, Supplement to 'Studies in the History of Medicine and Science' (SHMS), Jamia Hamdard, Vol. IX (1985), pp. 185-201
- Risâlah fī al-Nabidh by Qustâ bin Lûqâ, Tajdid-i Ṭibb (Volume 1), Department of Kulliyat, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, March 1988, page 55-70
- Risâlah fī al-Nabidh, (Arabic translation of Qusta ibn Luqa by Rufus. Edited with translation and commentary by Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman, Ibn Sina Academy of Medieval Medicine and Sciences, Aligarh, 2007 (ISBN 978-81-901362-7-3)
- Ibn Faḍlān and the Rūsiyyah, James E. Montgomery, Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 3 (2000). https://www.library.cornell.edu/colldev/mideast/montgo1.pdf
- "نبيذ". Almaany English-Arabic Dictionary. Almaany.com. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
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