In contemporary Muslim world, wine and its condemnation have acquired a particular importance in the processes of re-Islamisation. Compared to the classical period, the referential value – in terms of Muslim identity and belonging to the Islamic community – of the term ḫamr has taken a restrictive meaning. This article deals with the intellectual production related to the Islamic interdiction of wine. Firstly, it examines the evidence in the Qurʾān, its exegesis, and the canonical traditions, and then in Sunni and Shiite traditions. It privileges a permanent form of normative reference to the sense of revelation, found as much in the classical period as in the modern one. It is within this permanence, and with a sort of “sampling technique”, that this study aims at evaluating the cultural change at the turn of the contemporary period. It examines the works of authors such as al-Ṭabarī, Rašīd Riḍà, Sayyid Quṭb, al-Buḫārī, al-Kulaynī, Ibn Taymiyyah, Muḥammad Šalṭūṭ and ʿAbd al-Wahhāb ʿAbd al-Salām Ṭawīlah.
The history of Khaldunian readings in the twentieth century reveals an analytical capacity of non-Orientalists definitely greater than that demonstrated by the Orientalists. The latter, at least until the 1950s, prove to be prisoners of that syndrome denounced by Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978), which projected on Islamic historical development a specificity and an alterity, which make it an exception in world history. Orientalist scholarship has often wanted to see in Ibn Khaldūn’s critical attitude to the philosophy of al-Fārābī and Averroes only the confirmation of the primacy of the sharīʿa over Platonic nomos. This article seeks to highlight some aspects of Ibn Khaldūn’s critique of classical political thought of Islamic philosophy. His critique focuses on the importance given to the juridical dimension of social becoming, and to the role of the political body of the jurists in the making of the City. Those aspects witness Ibn Khaldūn’s effort to interpret change and fractures as factors which make sense of history and decadence.