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I live in China, where we have lots of Hui Muslims. The level of devoutness among this group of Muslims varies considerably, with many who are not all that up tight about following (or are even aware of) the prohibition on alcohol (see: Qur'an 2:219; 4:43; 5:90). F. Yang and J. B. Tamney, Confucianism and Spiritual Traditions in Modern China and Beyond, 2012, p. 208, writes:

One of the most significant customs of the Chinese Muslims, including the Hui and other groups, is the taboo against eating pork. In the Koran, drinking alcohol is consdered a more serious sin than eating pork, yet many Chinese Muslims drink alcohol while remaining very sensitive about pork.

Thus, it's possible I might end up in a situation in which a Muslim friend drinks alcohol in my presence.

Question: If a Muslim friend started drinking alcohol in front of me, how can I appropriately react?

I wouldn't know how to react appropriately in this situation.

  • I could condemn their actions, but this seems like an overreaction as it's not my decision to make. And it's hardly like I condemn non-Muslims for drinking alcohol.

  • I could ignore it totally, but this seems improper also.

  • If you are in an area dominated by this sect of Muslims.. you should try to see things from their perspective. Perhaps your definition of 'devout' is different from theirs. – Boose Holton Jun 6 '17 at 3:51
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Advise. The first step is to advise the person that drinking alcohol is not permissible. It may be, as you mentioned in your question, that they are unaware of this. In any case, we are commanded to enjoin in what is right, and forbid what is wrong through multiple verses in the Qur'an and hadiths. Doing so will almost always result in some consequence to the advisor that he or she are well advised to be patient about. As Luqman is advising his son to forbid what is wrong, he also couples this with an advise to have patience:

يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا أَصَابَكَ ۖ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ

O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination.

Luqman 31:17

Having said that, you have to be gentle in your advice, while reminding them that a drinker is not a believer at the time of drinking, that they run the risk of Allah not accepting their prayers for forty days in this life, with potentially a greater punishment of being denied Allah's mercy, i.e., being cursed in this life and the hereafter.

Leave their company. If they insist on drinking alcohol in your presence, you have to leave at the time when they start drinking. The Prophet ﷺ taught us not to sit with those who are drinking wine (or alcohol at large):

عَنْ جَابِرٍ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ ﷺ قَالَ: مَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ فَلَا يَجْلِسْ عَلَى مَائِدَةٍ يُدَارُ عَلَيْهَا بِالْخَمْرِ

Narrated Jabir that the Prophet ﷺ said: "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then he is not to sit at a spread in which wine is circulated."

Jami' at-Tirmidhi » Chapters on Manners 5/2801» Hadith

While again this may feel rather awkward, remember that Allah informs us that mankind is in loss, except those who advise the truth and patience (truth and patience are almost always coupled).

Supplicate for them. Supplicate that Allah shields you and them from such sins. Supplication for other Muslims, in their absence, is highly-valued in Islam.

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