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Muslimah refuses to handle alcohol Print

Marks & Spencer has apologised after a Muslim member of staff refused to serve a customer trying to buy alcohol.

The retailer said it usually tried to assign "suitable roles" to staff who could not handle certain items because of their religious beliefs.

It said this policy had not been followed in a case highlighted by the Telegraph.

Consuming alcohol is forbidden in Islam, and some Muslims refuse to handle it at all.

An unnamed customer told the newspaper they had tried to buy a bottle of champagne from an M&S store in London, but the member of staff "was very apologetic but said she could not serve me" and asked the customer to use another till.

A spokesperson for M&S said: "Where we have an employee whose religious beliefs restrict food or drink they can handle, we work closely with our member of staff to place them in suitable role, such as in our clothing department or bakery in foods.

"As a secular business we have an inclusive policy that welcomes all religious beliefs, whether across our customer or employee base... We apologise that this policy was not followed in the case reported."

But Khola Hasan, an Islamic law consultant, told Radio 4's Today programme she thought the M&S employee's refusal to serve the customer was "ridiculous".

"I don't think the Islamic ruling is being so difficult that Muslims cannot cope in society,"


SANHA comments:
We would strongly advise the BBC to refrain from uninformed comments and incorrect depictions of Islam. The statement that some Muslims refuse to handle alcohol creates an impression that that is their personal conservative choice rather than the reality that it is the injunction of Islam. We would advise Khola to refer to the words of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam before making such erroneous pronouncements on Islam. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (salutations and peace be upon him) said:

:" ????? ????? ???? : ?? ???? ?? ???? ??? ????? ? ??????? ? ???????? ? ???????? ??????? ? ????????? ???? ? ??????? ? ???????? ? ??????? ? ??????? "

[The Archangel] Jibreel came to me and said, ?O Muhammad! Allah has cursed wine and its squeezer and for whom it is squeezed; its drinker; its carrier and whom it is carried; its seller and its buyer; its pourer and for whom it is poured.? [al-Hakim]
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