Did prophets prior to Muhammad ﷺ prohibit alcohol? If not, why does Quran say all the prophets preached the same message?
Prior to answering the question, allow a short look onto the passages of the Quranic Revelation:
And from the fruits of date-palms and grapevines, you derive sugar and wholesome food. In this is a sign for people who understand.
O you who believe! Do not approach the prayer while you are drunk, so that you know what you say; nor after sexual orgasm—unless you are travelling—until you have bathed. If you are sick, or traveling, or one of you comes from the toilet, or you have had intercourse with women, and cannot find water, find clean sand and wipe your faces and your hands with it. God is Pardoning and Forgiving.
They ask you about intoxicants and gambling. Say, “There is gross sin in them, and some benefits for people, but their sinfulness outweighs their benefit.” And they ask you about what they should give: say, “The surplus.” Thus God explains the revelations to you, so that you may think.
O you who believe! Intoxicants, gambling, idolatry, and divination are abominations of Satan’s doing. Avoid them, so that you may prosper.
Yes, the message is clear: 4 times NO. Only the urgence in the expression is different.
In practice, it does not really matter whether you read from those verses a strict prohibition or a well-meant advice: It is evident from the Quran that you should not drink alcohol.
Now to your question whether this is new:
The answer is: No it isn't.
You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come
parallels exactly (4:43). More general in scope but more specific in time is Deuteronomy 29:6
You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the LORD your God.
A particular prohibition during pregnancy is given in Judges 13:4.7
Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean.(4) But he said to me, ‘You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death. (7)
A wow in Isaiah 5:11-12
Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. They have harps and lyres at their banquets,pipes and timbrels and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of his hands.
This is quite like (5:90). It is repeated by the prophet Isaiah the elder (a.s.) several times (5:22, 24:9, 28:7, 29:9)
If a liar and deceiver comes and says, "I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer, that would be just the prophet for this people!"
John the Prophet (a.s.) avoided to drink alcohol, as referred in Luke 1:15
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
On the other hand, Jesus (p.b.u.h) did not completely refuse to drink wine on certain occasions as reported in John 2:1-10
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, a why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 9and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
and in Matthew 26:27-29 on the last supper on the Seder evening (where drinking four mouthful of wine is part of the Jewish Seder ceremony):
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28This is my blood of the b covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” The influencial early Chritian teacher Paul (who is not recognised a prophet in Islam) also discourages to drink wine, or, at least to avoid to be drunk.
Again Paul, the influencial early Christian teacher, discourages to drink wine.
Also from a scientific and practical point of view, we know that
- consuming alcohol does not immediately lead to a strong addiction, as heroine or metamphetamine do but
- alcoholism is a severe addiction that may destroy your soul, your wealth and your life
- alcohol is particularly nocive for infants if a pregnant woman drinks it.
Yes, the message is clear: "Avoid to drink alcohol because the risk is too high". The message is not new, and it is true.