Alcohol: Its kinds, usage and Rulings

ethyl-alcohol

 If alcohol is derived from grapes or dates, it will be haram and impure. If it is from anything else besides dates and grapes and it does not intoxicate directly or through a mixture, then it is permissible.


Definition of Alcohol

Shaykh (Mufti) Ebrahim Desai (HA)

Question: 

1 When a question is submitted to you regarding alcohol, what is the exact definition of alcohol that you use when formulating a response? For example, would methanol or isopropyl alcohol (a main component in some rubbing alcohols) be haram?

 

2 In Fatwa # 12532 you state that chocolate liquor is an alcoholic beverages and is therefore haram (You do correctly mention that chocolate liqueur is an alcoholic beverage or rather contains some sort of an alcoholic beverage and therefore haraam)

However, chocolate liquor is simply made by grinding cocoa beans into a liquid form and contains no alcohol. The following three links confirm this (Inshallah I will try to find a journal article or two as well)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate_liquor

http://www.chocolateusa.org/Story-of-Chocolate/Making-Sense-of-Cacao.asp

http://coffeetea.about.com/library/blchocolate.htm

3 Most alcoholic beverages contain ethanol which provides the drink with an intoxicating effect. However many food products on the market use ethanol as a carrier during a certain step(s) in the production. This ethanol is usually synthesized using some sort of industrial process. However, in terms of having an intoxicating effect, the product if consumed in a sufficiently large quantities would kill a person before it could intoxicate. Would that food product become haram for us to consume? A good example of this is many soft drink beverages in North America and ice cream.

4 How much change (on a chemical and physical level) is required for something that was originally haram to become halal. For example: Most over the counter painkillers (Tylenol, Aspirin, Advil etc.) and many other vitamins,supplements etc. contain animal by-products that can be derived from bovine, pork, fish sources. Would these be halal or haram?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

If alcohol is derived from grapes or dates, it will be haram and impure. If it is from anything else besides dates and grapes and it does not intoxicate directly or through a mixture, then it is permissible. Our ruling in chocolate liquor was based on the information we had. If your information on chocolate liquor is correct, then it will not be prohibited.

And Allah Knows Best

[Mufti] Ebrahim Desai

Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In'aamiyyah


Hand Sanitizers with Alcohol

Shaykh (Mufti) Ebrahim Desai (HA)

Question:  In hospitals , restauarants , hotels , catering companies we always use a kind of hand sanitizers which contains  ALCOHOL , is it halaal or haramm ?

thank you please answer to my e mail address , alsalam alykoum
?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

The alcohol used in sanitizers and other chemical related products is not the normal alcohol which is consumed. Therefore, it is permissible to used such products.

 

And Allah Knows Best

Muhammed Zakariyya Desai,

Assistant Mufti

Checked and Approved by,

[Mufti] Ebrahim Desai

Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In'aamiyyah


Topical Flouride with Alcohol

Shaykh (Mufti) Ebrahim Desai (HA)

Question:  My child's dentist has recommended an application of Topical Fluoride. This is a preventative treatment to help reduce the risk of tooth decay. The Topical Fluoride application contains a trace of alcohol (Ethanol).The fluoride is painted on to the teeth and is easily removed using toothbrush.

Is the above mentioned dental treatment permissible?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

According to Hanafi Madhab, the prohibition of Khamr is restricted to the alcohol derived from grapes [and dates]. [1] The alcohol (ethanol) used in these medication is derived from non khamr sources. Consumption of non-khamr alcohol is permissible when used for the purpose of medication as long as it does not intoxicate.[2] Hence the use of Topical Fluoride Therapy will be permissible.

 

[1]دائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (5/ 112)  أَمَّا الْخَمْرُ فَهُوَ اسْمٌ لِلنِّيءِ مِنْ مَاءِ الْعِنَبِ إذَا غَلَى وَاشْتَدَّ وَقَذَفَ بِالزَّبَدِ، وَهَذَا عِنْدَ أَبِي حَنِيفَةَ عَلَيْهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَعِنْدَ أَبِي يُوسُفَ وَمُحَمَّدٍ عَلَيْهِمَا الرَّحْمَةُ مَاءُ الْعِنَبِ إذَا غَلَى وَاشْتَدَّ فَقَدْ صَارَ خَمْرًا وَتَرَتَّبَ عَلَيْهِ أَحْكَامُ الْخَمْرِ قَذَفَ بِالزَّبَدِ أَوْ لَمْ يَقْذِفْ بِهِ (وَجْهُ) قَوْلِهِمَا أَنَّ الرُّكْنَ فِيهَا مَعْنَى الْإِسْكَارِ وَذَا يَحْصُلُ بِدُونِ الْقَذْفِ بِالزَّبَدِ (وَجْهُ) قَوْلِ أَبِي حَنِيفَةَ - رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ - أَنَّ مَعْنَى الْإِسْكَارِ لَا يَتَكَامَلُ إلَّا بِالْقَذْفِ بِالزَّبَدِ فَلَا يَصِيرُ خَمْرًا بِدُونِهِ
العناية شرح الهداية (10/ 89) الْخَمْرُ، وَهِيَ عَصِيرُ الْعِنَبِ إذَا غُلِيَ وَاشْتَدَّ


[2]  لانّ الاشربة المتخذة من غير العنب و التمر تحلّ عند ابى حنيفة و ابى يوسف بقصد التقوى او لتداوى ما لم تبلغ حد الاسكار ... فان كانت الكحول المستعملة فى الادوية متخذة من غير العنب و التمر فان تناولها جائز فى مذهب ابى حنيفة و ابى يوسف رحمهما الله ما لم تبلغ حد الاسكار و يمكن ان يؤخذ بقولهما لحاجة التداوى ( بحوث في قضايا فقهية معاصرة   ج 1  ص 340)

 

And Allah Knows Best

Mawlana Faisal bin Abdul Hameed

Student, Darul Iftaa

Canada

[Mufti] Ebrahim Desai

Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In'aamiyyah


Alcohol based Perfumes, Deodrants and Creams

Shaykh (Mufti) Ibn Adam (HA)

Question: I was wondering if alcohol in detergents and creams etc. is permissible to use?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

In principle, it should be remembered that, alcohol extracted from grapes, dates and barley is decisively unlawful (haram), both its oral intake as well as application, for it is considered to be impure (najis). This type of alcohol is known as Khamr (wine), and it will be unlawful to even consume one drop of such alcohol according to all the classical scholars.

Allah Most High says:

"O you who believe! Alcohol (khamr), gambling, dedication of stones, and divination by arrows are an abomination (impure) of Shaytan's handiwork. So abstain from such (abomination) that you may prosper." (al-An'am, 90)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: "Khamr (wine) is from these two trees, dates and grapes." (Sahih Muslim, no. 1985)

However, if the alcohol is extracted and derived from other than grapes, dates and barley, then there is a difference of opinion between the scholars with regards to its ruling. Imam Abu Hanifa & Imam Abu Yusuf (Allah have mercy on them both) from the Hanafi school are of the view that it will be permissible to consume such alcohol for medication purposes or to gain energy (and not for pleasure and enjoyment) as long as it does not intoxicate.

They base their view on the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) stated above. Also, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace is reported to have said: "Khamr (derived from grapes, dates and barley) is in itself unlawful (and impure), and also all the other beverages that reach the level of intoxication." (See: al-Zayla'i, Nasb al-Raya, 4/306)

However, the other three schools of thought, i.e. Shafi'i, Maliki and Hanbali and also Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani (Allah have mercy on him) from the Hanafi school are of the view that all types of beverages are prohibited whether less or more, and whether consumed to the level of intoxication or otherwise. They base their argument on the following two Hadiths:

Sayyiduna Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: "Every intoxicant is Khamr and every intoxicant is Unlawful (haram)..." (Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawud, No. 3671, Sunan Timidhi and others)

Sayyiduna Jabir ibn Abd Allah (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: "Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, then a small quantity of it is also forbidden." (Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 3673, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Nasa'i and others)

Thus, according two these scholars, all forms of alcohol beverages will be considered unlawful (haram) and impure (najis). Once it is established that a given beverage intoxicates, it will be unlawful to consume even a small serving of that beverage.

The late Hanafi scholars also gave Fatwa on this position of the student of Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan due to widespread Fitna.

Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:

"Imam Muhammad considered the various beverages, such as those made from honey, fig, etc to be categorically unlawful (haram), whether it is less in quantity or more, and the Fatwa is given on his position."

Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) explains the above:

"Fatwa is given on the view of Imam Muhammad and this is also the position held by the other three Imams (i.e. Shafi'i, Malik & Ahmad), due to the Hadith "Every intoxicant is Khamr and every intoxicant is unlawful (haram)" (recorded by Imam Muslim), and also the Hadith: "Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, then a small quantity of it is also forbidden" (recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Majah & al-Darqutni and he classed it as authentic.....The (hanafi) scholars have stated that the Fatwa of prohibition given in our times is due to widespread Fitna....meaning, due to the fact that most people now consume these beverages for the purpose of pleasure and not to gain strength for worship, they have been forbidden altogether." (Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 6/454-455)

The upshot of all of the foregoing is that, now all the four Sunni schools of Islamic law are unanimous on the fact that all types of alcohols and beverages are unlawful (haram) and impure (najis), even in small quantities. Any beverage that intoxicates in a large amount, even a drop of it will be considered unlawful (haram).

However, due to the initial difference of opinion regarding alcohol and given that Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah have mercy on him) himself is of the view that alcohol from other than grapes, dates, and barley is not forbidden if consumed for gaining strength, contemporary scholars have ruled that the prevalent perfumes, deodorants and creams may be used, for normally the alcohol used in them is from other than grapes, dates and barley (or synthetic alcohol), and these types of alcohols will be although unlawful (haram) to consume, but not impure for external application. In other words, the view of Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Abu Yusuf (Allah have mercy on them both) may be used for external application of these alcohols but not for oral intake.

In our times, because of the widespread use of alcohol in all sorts of things, it has become very difficult to avoid it. This is why great Hanafi scholars of our times have given the abovementioned fatwa, in that the external use of this type of alcohol is not Haram. However, its oral intake is still impermissible except in cases of necessary medication.

Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) states in his monumental Arabic work Takmila Fath al-Mulhim:

"With the above (explanation given by Shaykh Taqi on the different types of alcohol), the ruling with regards to the various types of alcohol, the usage of which has become widespread and they are used in many medicines and perfumes, becomes known, in that if the alcohol is extracted from grapes or dates, then there is no question of it being permissible or pure. However, if the alcohol is derived from other than grapes or dates, then there is no problem according to the view of Imam Abu Hanifa, in that it will not be unlawful to use such alcohol (m, and perfumes and medicines made thereof) for medical or other lawful purposes as long as the alcohol does not reach the level of intoxication.... And normally the alcohol used in medicines, perfumes, etc is not extracted from grapes and dates, rather it is derived from seeds, honey, chemicals, petrol, etc. (Takmila Fath al-Mulhim Sharh Sahih Muslim, 3/608)

To summarise, it would be permitted to use the various types of perfumes, deodorants and creams that contain alcohol due to the fact that the alcohol contained in them is from other than grapes, dates and barley or it is a synthetic alcohol (formulated from chemical substances) and not the khamr (wine) that is absolutely impermissible and filthy.

However, it is more religiously precautionary to avoid using such perfumes and deodorants, whenever reasonably possible, because of the differences of opinion regarding it.

But it should be remembered that, occasionally certain deodorants, perfumes, etc contain alcohol that is derived from grapes, dates, etc, such as synthetic ethyl alcohol, thus making the perfume or cream impure and unlawful to use.

And Allah Knows Best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa

Leicester , UK


Alcohol based Flavourings

Shaykh (Mufti) Abdullah Patel (HA)

Most food products nowadays contain some type of flavouring - natural, artificial, or a combination of both. Many of these flavourings contain alcohol, which is used as a carrier or solvent for the flavouring.

The actual amount of alcohol in the finished food product may vary, but it is usually around 1% or less, as the alcohol evaporates during the production process. Items such as drinks and ice creams can contain a bit more, since no evaporation takes place. Such a small amount of alcohol is not required to be declared on the ingredients declaration on the packaging of the product.

The Foodguide follows the opinion of major contemporary Hanafi scholars including the venerable Mufti Yusuf Sacha of the UK (highly acclaimed foods expert) and Mufti Ashraf Usmani of Pakistan. The fatwa in our times is that synthetic alcohols (and all alcohol not sourced from dates and grapes) in foods and otherwise is pure (tahir), and permitted to use and consume on the conditions that:

 

a it is not used as an intoxicant;

 

b it is not used as intoxicants as used (i.e. for alcoholic consumption, even a little);

 

c it is not used in an amount that intoxicates;

 

d it is not used in vain (lahw).

Courtesy: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

This verdict is for alcoholic flavourings, and not where alcohol is added as an ingredient in a product. In that case, regardless what the souce of the alcohol is, it is not permissible.

The verdict of many contemporary 'Ulama is based on sources of Hadith which infers that alcohol from dates and grapes are regarded as Khamr (intoxicants catagorically mentioned in the Qur'aan), and that other alcohols are not impure.

The Hadith from Sahih Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmizi, Nasai, Ibn Majah says that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam said:

Khamr is from these two trees: dates and grapes". (I'laus sunan Vol.18 Pg.26)

This is the view propounded by the Foodguide service and rest assured that it is of sound Hanafi scholarship.

Nevertheless, if you are a follower of a Maz-hab (school of thought) apart from the Hanafi School or you prefer to refrain from such products then that is fine too. We will try to facilitate such persons by indicating which products are affected on this web-site as far as possible. You should contact the company before consuming as alcohol flavouring is a common process.

Flavourings from dates and grapes?

Alhumdulillah, to date from over 15 years of experience in the field, we have yet to come across flavourings sourced from dates and grapes in the UK market.

We dont issues fatwas at the drop of the hat, but pertinent information is necessary for a decison. Furthermore, we do not charge the companies or consumers for this service, it is totally a Lillah service.