Liquor (Wine) – The Process of Halaalization
(Maulana A S Desai)
Is Coke as Haraam Just as Cider, Beer and Whisky are Haraam?
(Maulana A S Desai)
Gelatine – Haraam or Halaal?
(Maulana A S Desai)
FATWASQ. Please view the lengthy fatwa on the permissibility of ethanol alcohol. Is ethanol alcohol permissible?
A. The fatwa of jawaaz (permissibility) of alcohol is a lot of rigmarole which is in conflict with all four Math-habs. The fatwa of the Hanafi Math-hab since the very beginning is on the view of Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullah alayh), and this is also the view and fatwa of the other three Math-habs. In terms of this consensus, all kinds of alcohol are haraam and najis. However, due to Umoom Balwah, we say that products containing non-khamr alcohol will not render the garments and body impure. But, for consumption it remains haraam. If no halaal medicine is available, then a haraam medicine may be used. This is the fatwa position, not the Taqwa demand. The many pages which have been written on this simple, straightforward issue are superfluous. The ruling of all Four Math-habs are applicable to day just as it was valid and applicable thirteen centuries ago.
Q. Chemical tests have established that even in vinegar there is a miniscule residue of alcohol. But despite this, vinegar is halaal. During the process of manufacturing the chemical processes of evaporation and oxidation eliminate the ethanol, leaving also a miniscule residue in soft drinks, etc. This miniscule quantity is almost the same as the quantity in vinegar. On this basis anything which contains a miniscule residue of ethanol should be halaal.
A. Islam was sent by Allah Ta’ala for all mankind. It is not a Deen exclusively for scientists, technologists, philosophers and those versed in mundane sciences and branches of knowledge. Islam applies equally to the scientists and the billions who are ignorant of the sciences. Islam is equally for the philosophers and for the village dwellers, the Bedouins, the jungle dwellers, the rural farmers and the sophisticated intelligentsia. In fact, the vast majority of Muslims belongs to the unschooled segment of mankind. In this regard
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) stated with pride: “We are an unlettered (illiterate – Ummi) Ummah. We neither write nor calculate. The month is so much and so much, and so much. (With his mubaarak fingers, he indicated 29 days and sometimes 30 days.)” (Bukhaari Shareef) The Ahkaam of the Shariah are simple and are not dependent on intricate scientific and mathematical formulae and calculations. The rural people have to practise the Deen in the same way as the philosophers and the scientists, i.e. if they are Muslims. For determining the Ahkaam, there is no need for scientific knowledge. We are not reliant on chemical combinations and formulae for making any Shar’i determinations For understanding and determining the Shariah’s ruling we are not in need of the expositions of chemistry and physics. The processes of oxidation and evaporation are of no significance for the determination of a fatwa.
To establish whether Tabdeelul Maahiyat occurs, there is no need to make reference to the chemical intricacies involved in the process. We have to only establish if a total transformation has occurred for the production of a new/ different substance. Thus, when wine is transformed into vinegar without the addition of any najaasat or haraam ingredient, such vinegar will be halaal regardless of any alcohol residue which the chemical tests of the experts establish. It is quite obvious that during the age of the Sahaabah, the vinegar which was manufactured from wine, must have had a miniscule residue of alcohol.
They were not obliged by the Shariah to ascertain in some way whether there is an alcohol residue in the vinegar. So even today, we are not required to test the vinegar for ascertaining the presence of an alcohol residue. It is moronic to determine the alcohol residue in vinegar, then to present it as a basis for proclaiming soft drinks, for example, permissible in view of a similar miniscule alcohol content in the latter.
The difference is palpable. While alcohol was not added to the vinegar to give it its alcohol residue, it is added as an ingredient in soft drink manufacture. The evaporation argument in this context is baseless. The alcoholic beverage added to the huge tank of pure sugar water exercises its powerful effect on all the water in the huge room-sized tanks. A few litres of an intoxicant, e.g. orange flavour, overwhelm all the pure sugar water in the tank by asserting its properties on the water. It transforms the entire tank of water into an orange flavoured soft drink, e.g. Fanta.
When the properties of the intoxicating liquid overwhelm the properties of the water to eliminate water from its natural state (Maa-e-Mutlaq), then the resultant beverage is najis and haraam. The argument of Tabdeel-e-Maahiyat here is baseless. The najaasat/ intoxicant simply overwhelms the water with its properties Thus, regardless of the miniscule alcohol residue, the final product will still be haraam, and may not be halaalized on the basis of the miniscule alcohol residue in vinegar since alcohol was not added to vinegar.
Alcohol is transformed into vinegar which the Sahaabah consumed, hence its permissibility. Miniscule alcohol content which is present naturally does not affect the permissibility of the item nor is it a basis for pronouncing halaal products to which alcohol is added. Consider fruit. Chemical analysis will establish a miniscule alcohol content in even some fruit, especially if overripe. Since alcohol is not added to fruit to give it its miniscule residue, the fruit remains halaal.
But if one drop of khamr is added to the fruit, it becomes haraam regardless of the miniscule quantity. Soft drinks which may contain the same percentage of residual alcohol as vinegar will not be permissible on the basis of ‘miniscule residue. Miniscule residue of alcohol is not a basis (asal) for the employment of Shar’i Qiyaas. Soft drinks, despite the miniscule alcohol content, is in fact the product of alcohol which has exercised all its properties on the water.
If pure water is overwhelmed by the properties of an impurity, such water will be najis regardless of there being no alcohol residue in it. In soft drink manufacture, a couple of litres of extremely strong alcoholic concentrates (about 60% alcohol) are added to a room-sized tank of pure sugar water. The alcoholic concentrate then imposes all of its properties on the water whose colour and taste completely change. Such coloured water now called Fanta, Sparletta, Coke, etc. is therefore not permissible even if the alcohol residue is miniscule or even if there is no alcohol residue.
Vinegar is not a basis for halaalizing soft drinks or any other product to which alcohol is added as an ingredient. Thus, to determine the Shar’i ruling, evaporation, oxidation or any other chemical processes are of no significance. Issues should be viewed simply. If najaasat or alcohol or any haraam ingredient has been added, the final product will be haraam and najis. Scientific formulae play no role in the simple Shar’i process. Nullification of the intoxicating property (iskaar) does not automatically legalize the product.
Add a tablespoon of khamr to a bucket of water. No one will become drunk with this water. Nevertheless, the water will be najis and haraam. Whisky, vodka, sherry and a host of, in fact most liquors, are of the non-khamr kind. Add a miniscule quantity to a glass of water. Will the water be halaal? Despite the nullification of iskaar, the water will be najis/haraam.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that even a little of what intoxicates in a big quantity is also haraam. This is the fatwa of all four Mathhabs. The view of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh has been set aside by the Hanafi Fuqaha and our Fatwa is on the view of Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullah alayh) which is also the Fatwa of the other three Math-habs.
The contention: “What was najis becomes tahir, and what was haraam to consume becomes halaal.”, is erroneous. The substance which is halaal and taahir is entirely a different substance. It is not the original liquor or the dead animal or the pig bone. It is the vinegar, the salt and the ash which are taahir and halaal. The statement is therefore incorrect. But, the chocolate coated with ethanol-shellac remains najis and haraam since it is simply a product to which impure and haraam ingredients are added.
Q. Is malt vinegar halaal?
A. We are not aware of the process of making vinegar with malt. If any haraam ingredient, e.g. alcohol, is added to the malt to produce vinegar, then such vinegar will not be permissible. If no haraam ingredient is added, the vinegar will be halaal.
Q. I used to frequently consume Lucozade as SANHA (a ‘halaal’ certifying agency) maintains that it is halaal. However, I have now learnt that it contains ethanol like coke and pepsi. What is the Shariah’s view in this regard?
A. The Shariah’s view is that Lucozade is Haraam just as all other soft drinks are haraam. As far as SANHA is concerned, its pronouncements are haraam rubbish. A mercenary clique cannot be trusted with matters pertaining to halaal and haraam in the same way as kuffaar are not to be trusted in this respect. They all are birds of a feather.
Q. On the question of soft drinks containing alcohol, some Ulama are of the view that alcohol which is not grape extract is permissible. The Ulama who hold this view contend that: (1) If the alcohol is neither from dates nor grapes it is permissible. (2) Imaam Muhammad’s view of prohibition does not apply to soft drinks because the factors found in intoxicants are not in soft drinks. The claim that non-grape and non-date alcohols are permissible has come as a great surprise to many who have read the fatwa issued by the Ulama who hold that soft drinks are permissible. The categorical fatwa proclaiming non-grape and non-date alcohol permissible has far reaching consequences and repercussions which I as a layman can foresee. Whiskey, vodka, champagne, all beers and most varieties of wines and liquors contain ethanol or non-grape and non-date alcohol. On the basis of the fatwa of permissibility of ethanol, it follows that all forms of wines if taken in small quantities which do not intoxicate will be permissible. Please comment and clarify the confusion caused by this fatwa of permissibility of ethanol.
A. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that as Qiyaamah draws near, liquor will be made lawful by dubbing it with fancy names. The initial stage for such legalization of liquor has already commenced. And this process, sad to say, has been initiated by the Ulama of this time. Whereas in former times Ulama closed the slightest avenue from which haraam and corruption could enter, in these times in proximity to Qiyaamah, some Ulama have adopted a diametrically opposite stand. Instead of closing avenues of haraam and corruption, they not only open such avenues, but actively foster and defend such processes which constitute the introductory steps to haraam.
Every Muslim with a little intelligence will understand the purport of the following Hadith: “Every intoxicant is haraam.” And, every clear-thinking Muslim who has no vested interest or axe to grind or who has no allegience to an organisation other that the Shariah or who is unbiased will readily understand the meaning of the following Hadith: “Whatever of a great quantity intoxicates, a lesser quantity of that substance is (also) haraam.”
Ethanol (the non-grape and non-date alcohol) is the intoxicating agent in all liquors which contain this substance. Take away the alcohol, and the whiskey, champagne, etc. will cease to be liquor. All contain ethanol. All these drinks have been converted into wine/liquor by ethanol. On the basis of the ‘fatwa’ of permissibility it will follow that a few drops of whisky added to a glass of water or any other lawful drink will not render that drink haraam because the whisky contains ethanol, not grape alcohol and not date alcohol.
Some beers contain the same minute percentage of ethanol alcohol as soft drinks, yet thus far none of those who say ethanol is permissible has ventured to say that beer is halaal although that time is not far off when beer and wines will be openly declared ‘halaal’ based on the ethanol permissibility fatwa. If a few drops of beer or vodka or whisky will render water or any syrup or drink haraam, there is no logical reason for claiming that any drink besides known beers, which contain ethyl alcohol is halaal. By the same token if a soft drink with a small quantity of ethyl alcohol can be halaal then a beer with a small quantity of ethyl alcohol will also be halaal.
The issue is not whether soft drinks intoxicate or not. Beer like Barbican and others do not intoxicate and cannot intoxicate on account of the minute quantity of ethanol it contains. Regardless of the quantity, intoxicants are haraam. Whether the intoxicant is in beer or soft drinks (Barbican too is a soft drink) it is haraam and will render the drink haraam.
The claim regarding Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullah alayh) is very misleading. The illustrious Hanafi Fuqahaa of the past 13 centuries were all aware of all the arguments of Imaam Abu Hanifa, Imaam Abu Yusuf and Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullah alayhim). Inspite of their thorough knowledge of the arguments of these Fuqahaa, the fatwa of the Hanafi Math-hab for the past 13 hundred years has been on the ruling of Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullah alayh). Why do these Ulama in this belated age seek to override the Fatwa or the 13 century old Fatwa of the Hanafi Math-hab for the sake of Coke? And, in the process of trying to abrogate this Fatwa they are opening a wide door of fitnah and corruption by providing ‘proofs’ for the permissibility of alcohol ‘ liquor and beer.
The Fatwa of the Hanafi Math-hab remains valid and in full force even today and so it will remain until the end of earthly time. No one has the authority to override this 13 hundred year old Fatwa by attempting to water it down with the assertion that it is Imaam Muhammad’s ruling/view in conflict with the view of Imaam Abu Hanifah. People of Ilm should understand the operation of the principles of the Math-hab. They should not attempt to detract from the gravity and importance of the Fatwa of the hurmat (prohibition) of all types of alcohol by simply attributing the prohibition to Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullah alayh). In so doing they are rendering a great disservice to the Deen and are unconsciously constituting the category of men who come within the scope of the Hadith which predicts the legalization of liquor.
It should be noted that the scope for the permissibility of using non-grape and non-date alcohol applies to medicines and non-edibles. In view of the difference of opinion among the Fuqahaa regarding the types of alcohol, the latitude in its use is restricted to essentials. The permissibility cannot be extended to non-essential consumables which in fact are harmful for the health.
There is thus no scope whatever for proclaiming soft drinks permissible on the basis of the ikhtilaaf (difference) of opinion. It is indeed the height of folly, to say the least, to upset the Fatwa of the Hanafi Math-hab, viz. Imaam Muhammand’s view for a physically ruinous substance such as coke. It is extremely irresponsible to reject the 13 century Fatwa of the Hanafi Math-hab and open a wide doorway for future ‘legalization’ of liquor purely for the sake of consuming a drinks which wrecks the physical health. One small bottle of soft drink contains 12 teaspoons of sugar. Wisdom and responsibility demand that in so far as coke and soft drinks in general are concerned, only the view of Imaam Muhammad be entertained.
Q. Commenting on the recent alcohol content of Coke, SANHA in a statement says: “Coke bottling plants however, exclusively bottle Coke products and do not bottle any alcoholic beverages. This was confirmed by our personal visit to a Coke-Bottling Plant.” Sanha also assured that “Coke do not add any liquor in the manufacture of Coke products”. What does The Majlis say on this issue?
A. The Majlis had spoken on this issue about 25 years ago and thereafter, again, on several occasions. We have also published a booklet explaining the alcohol-content of almost all soft drinks, not only Coke. Sanha speaks drivel. These incompetent men are not rendering any service to the Deen with their accursed ‘halaal’ certification. On the contrary, they are a disaster for the Imaan and Akhlaaq of Muslims. The statement of Sanha clearly displays a brief and a bias for Coke. In fact, Sanha is acting as a spokesman for Coke Bottling Plant.
When Coke says that they do not add ‘liquor’ or ‘alcohol’ to their soft drinks during the process of manufacture, they have in mind the meaning of ‘liquor’ in their culture. Thus, to them ‘liquor’ is what is sold in the bottle stores—the wines which people purchase to get drunk—whisky, sherry, vodka, gin and all the other rot which derange the minds of men. But in the Shariah every intoxicating liquid is liquor/alcohol regardless of the small quantity. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“Every intoxicant is haraam.” “Whatever in great quantity intoxicates, a little quantity too is haraam.”
Sanha’s defence of the Coke Bottling Plant does not negate the alcohol-content of its soft drinks notwithstanding the claim that ‘liquor’ is not added. Coke and most soft drinks do contain alcohol. Only a thoroughly dumb man or a man who has a rabidly prejudiced in favour of these drinks, will try to deny this truth which the non-Muslim laboratories confirm. In fact, the manufacturers of the concentrates/essence used by the soft drink makers, also confirm that these concentrates contain a very high percentage of alcohol even if it is not called ‘liquor’. The alcohol-content of the flavours used to produces the drinks is anything up to 95%.
While Sanha prides itself with its system of ‘inspection’, it is still wet behind the ears. It lacks proper expertise in this field. This is amply born out by its statement: “This was confirmed by our personal visit to a Coke Bottling Plant.” While Sanha’s amateurish inspection can ‘confirm’ that Coke does not bottle conventional liquor, it is utterly baseless for it to say that Coke does “not bottle any alcoholic beverages.” It can only venture this fallacy if it discards Islam’s meaning of ‘alcoholic beverages’. And, this it has done by accepting the western meaning of ‘alcoholic beverages’.
We categorically claim with confidence that Coke does add alcohol as an ingredient to its soft drinks. When we had made this claim and published it in The Majlis more than 20 years ago, a Coke executive director from Johannesburg came to interview us. He was confident that he would be able to disprove our contention, get an apology, and a retraction published.
During the discussion when he realised that we had cornered him, he pleaded ignorance of the alcoholic concentrates which were being added to produce the variety of flavours. He promised to investigate. He never came back to us. In fact, we told him that the Coke Co. should sue us if they can prove our claim to be false. He never came back to us because he understood that we were fully apprized of the alcoholic concentrates which are vital constituents of soft drinks. Minus the alcoholic concentrates, you have only a mixture of water and sugar.
During our inspection of the P.E. Coke Plant, while everything was shown to us, the ‘dark’ room was kept locked. When we insisted to inspect it, they very reluctantly unlocked the door. All the bottles of ‘liquor’ (liquor in Islamic terminology and meaning) were stacked in the dark room. Imagine them denying awareness of the alcohol-content of the concentrates in the dark room when we pointed this out to them.
So, Sanha should desist from speaking nonsense and not think that those who understand can be bamboozled by its defective visiting to the manufacturing plants. We reiterate that Coke, Sparletta and other soft drinks all are made by adding heavily laced alcohol—the concentrates—to syrup-water. Let Sanha now deny this.
Q. The Mufti of a radio station arguing that coke and all soft drinks are halaal, said: (1) In over a hundred years no one got drunk drinking soft drinks. (2) 99.9% of the Ulama say that these drinks are halaal. It was encouraging Muslims to consume soft drinks. Please comment on this view of the Mufti.
A. The Mujlisul Ulama of South Africa has published a booklet explaining in detail the prohibition of consuming drinks, which are harmful both spiritually and physically. While many people, including learned ones, have much to say, they only blurt out drivel, childish and emotional talk devoid of sense. Not one of our detractors and critics has ever answered even one fact or one bit of proof, which appears in our booklet. The reaction is always emotional, never intelligent.
THE NEW ‘PROOFS’
In his answer over the radio, according to the one who has posed the question, two new ‘daleels’ (proof) for the permissibility of soft drinks have been advanced by the honorable Mufti Saheb. These are:
(1) 99% of the Ulama say that soft drinks are halaal.
(2) In a hundred years of the drink’s existence, no one has ever become drunk drinking it.
It is indeed painful when a Mufti presents such emotional talk, which may convince only those who are bereft of intelligence or those who are hooked onto Coke and are desperate to continue the addiction at all costs. In the Shariah a 99% or majority view is not a daleel (proof) for formulating a fatwa or Shari’s verdict. A fatwa is based on Shari dala-il (evidences of the Shariah). Emotionalism and majority opinion do not feature in this sphere whose scope extends very restrictively to only Four dalai (Qur’aan, Sunnah, Ijma’ and Qiyaas-e-Shar’I)-not personal opinion.
A majority opinion, be it of the Ulama, is not a Shari daleel merely because it happens to be the view of the majority. This has greater emphasis in our time when the majority of learned men are Ulama in name or in certificate, but who are unable to distinguish between right and left. Furthermore when the 99% had not even remotely investigated the issue of soft drinks, then their view in opposition to the fatwa of such Ulama who had made a thorough investigation, is of no worth whatsoever. In this instance their view is no better than the emotional desire of a layman addicted to soft drinks.
It is indeed lamentable for the respected Mufti Saheb to have introduced such a frivolous argument which we must say has been calculated to impress the masses. A Mufti should restrict himself to Shari dalaa-il and even if he thinks that the opposite view is merely based on taqwa, he should make this bold and not descend to minimize the value of taqwa. He should not speak in such a manner, which derogates taqwa, or to convey the impression that the well-established opposite view is entirely baseless and is to be ignored. Such Istikhfaaf with the taqwa dimension is reprehensible and fraught with peril to one’s Imaan.
When 99% of the Ulama had not even investigated this issue, then it is a grievous injustice rendered to the Shariah and the Ummah to lump them into an argument tendered as Shari daleel. The impression, which this statement of the Mufti Saheb conveys to ordinary men unacquainted with the operation of Shari’s daleel, is that 99% of the Ulama had made a thorough investigation and had found soft drinks to be perfectly halaal and tayyib. But, perhaps only one percent of the 99% or perhaps less than 1% had made any investigation whatsoever. And, of the possible 1% who had made any investigation perhaps only 1% (i.e. 1% of the 1%) had made an investigation worthwhile of consideration.
Furthermore, a study or research of a question will be imperfect and defective if the arguments and dalaa-il of the opposite view are not answered. Ulama who have understood what they have pursued at the Madaaris should call to mind that when a Faqeeh negates the view. But, he elaborately and conclusively presents arguments to explain away or refute the dalaa-il of his adversary. If he is unable to do so, then he has no right to challenge his adversary because emotionalism and statements such as “in my opinion” have absolutely no validity in the domain of Shari argument.
This is precisely the defect, which exists in the 99% view on the soft drinks issue. Everyone simply relishes drinking coke, so by hook or crook, soft drinks must be made ‘halaal’. While some arguments are one legged and defective, this particular argument of the 99% view is entirely legless. It does not even have one leg to stand on. It has therefore to be dismissed as utterly fallacious.
Not having got drunk or intoxicated in a century is also a legless and an emotional argument. The Shariah has not stipulated intoxicated as a daleel for prohibition. The stipulation is ‘being an intoxicant. Hence Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whatever in a big quantity intoxicates, a little quantity of it is also haraam.” Whether one drinks a bottle of whisky, gin, vodka, etc. or one drop of it, the confounded beverage of shaitaan remains haraam. If no one got drunk in a century drinking coke, then by the same token no one will get drunk in a millennium drinking water in which a couple of drops of gin or sherry have been added. But will ‘not getting drunk by drinking this mixture make it halaal? Even laymen unschooled in the intricacies of Shari dalaa-il will understand the fatwa without the need to ponder.
In fact innumerable kuffaar drink tots of liquor with their food like we drink water and they do not get drunk. If anyone adds a couple drops of gin or vodka or ship sherry to a bottle of coke, what will be the fatwa of the honorable Mufti Saheb? It should be remembered that the couple of drops added would not make the consumer drunk. It should also be remembered that the whisky and vodka are not of the khamr category to warrant application of the clear Qur’aanic prohibited to whisky, why should he not do so for the alcohol in soft drinks? Both alcohols are ethanol, not of the khamr classification.
HOW TO ANSWER
A Mufti should have answered the question as follows:
“There are two views on this matter. Some Ulama say that soft drinks are halaal and others say haraam. Since both groups of Ulama have their respective dalaa-il the drink fall into the mushtabah category. Regarding mushtabah products, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) strongly advised abstention, saying that those who indulge in mushtabah, will finally fall into haraam. Taqwa therefore, demands abstention while the fatwa in my view is of permissibility.”
If the Mufti Saheb had answered in this way like an Aalim of the Deen; he would have acquitted himself honorably. It then only remained for him to present a rational and a Shari’s refutation of all our dalaa-il for the opposite view. Anyone may read these arguments in our booklets on soft drinks, available from the Y.M.M.A. of Actionville.
Q. Is vanilla halaal? It contains denatured alcohol.
A. Denatured alcohol is not an intoxicant, hence a substance containing it will be permissible. However, vanilla is now lately also manufactured from cow dung. There is a world-wide shortage of vanilla. The demand far exceeds the supply of natural vanilla. A Hindu scientist in India has recently discovered how to produce vanilla from cow dung. We therefore abstain from products containing vanilla. Furthermore, the cow dung vanilla is much cheaper than the plant vanilla, hence it is more economical for the manufacturers to acquire this impure substance. If it could be ascertained that a product does not contain cow dung vanilla, then such product will be permissible.
Q. If a minute quantity of alcohol in a drink makes it haraam, then what will be the ruling of over-ripe fruit which also contains a minute amount of alcohol? Even vinegar retains a minute amount of alcohol. Where do we draw the line?
A. When alcohol is added as an ingredient, the product becomes haraam regardless of the small quantity. In fruit, alcohol is not added from outside as an ingredient. The fruit is in its natural state. As long as it has not deteriorated to the degree of an intoxicant, it will remain permissible regardless if chemical testing determine a presence of traces of alcohol. It will suffice that it is not an intoxicant, and alcohol was not added to it. If alcohol is added to the vinegar during production, then such vinegar will be haraam.
We do not know of the process by which vinegar is made nowadays. If the minute amount of alcohol in vinegar is not due to alcohol added as an ingredient, but is the remnant after the natural process of transformation, then the vinegar will be halaal. However, as far as the Shaafi’ Math-hab is concerned, all vinegar made nowadays and all soap are haraam.
Q. Soya sauce is made by a process if fermentation. The end product contains 3% alcohol. But the sauce does not intoxicate. This kind of alcohol does not intoxicate. Is Soya sauce halaal?
A. Regardless of the sauce not intoxicating, it is haraam. A substance which is not intoxicating will not be alcohol. A fundamental property of all alcohols is the intoxicating attribute. However, due to the small quantity the sauce will not be intoxicating nevertheless, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has prohibited even a small quantity of a substances which intoxicates when consumed in a large quantity notwithstanding the non-intoxicating effect of a small quantity.
Q. The under mentioned excerpt was taken from an Islamic site’s definition of what constitutes ‘Halaal’: “With specific reference to ethanol, it would be Haraam (unlawful) if taken as an intoxicant. However, where such alcohols are used as manufacturing aids as solvents, carriers, etc. in miniscule quantities, this would be condoned due to public predicament. There is no fixed ‘permissible trace level’. However, for operational purposes, Halaal certifying organisations have set acceptable trace levels of 0,5%.” Can you please clarify what is meant by this, and what could constitute ‘public predicament’?
A. Ethanol is used in almost all manufactured items today. There is hardly anything which is free from this substance. The ‘excerpt’ is basically correct. Provided that the alcohol is not derived from grapes or dates, the items contaminated with ethanol could be used externally, not for consumption.
Coke, soft drinks and other edibles which contain ethanol are not permissible regardless of the miniscule quantity. There is no Shariah substantiation for the .05% level. Since the items, will be used for external application, the quantity is irrelevant. Those who have fixed this limit are devious and dishonest. The reason why they selected this limit without any Shar’i evidence, is because the quantity of ethanol in soft drinks such as coke, etc. is always less than 0.05%. Since they love to consume these drinks, they are trading the laws of Allah Ta’ala for a miserable price.
Also, if no halaal medicine is available, then medicine containing the ethanol may be used. “Public predicament” in this context means extensive and intensive prevalence and utilization by the masses coupled with the provision that no 100% halaal substitute is available. For example, if all the water entering our homes is contaminated, and we have no other water except this contaminated water, then in the circumstances it will constitute ‘public predicament’ which renders the water permissible.
Q. A Mufti says that alcohol which is not derived from grapes is permissible as long as the quantity is small and it does not intoxicate. This is very surprising. Is his fatwa correct?
A. The Fatwa of the Mufti is dangerously baatil and incorrect. This mufti appears to be the materialization of Rasulullah’s prediction that towards the approach of Qiyaamah Muslims will legalize liquor by changing the names of the wine. The mufti is opening the door for halaalization of liquor. His ‘fatwa’ is encouragement for consumption of liquor and drunkenness.
All kinds of alcohol are haraam according to all four Math-habs regardless of the small quantity. The permissibility fatwa opens the avenue for the legalization (halaalization) of liquor which will still take place on a big and flagrant scale because Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had predicted that Muslims will halaalize liquor by giving it different names.
On the basis of the permissibility fatwa, whisky, gin, vodka and most kinds of liquor should be ‘halaal’ if taken in small quantities which do not intoxicate. The ethanol in these liquors is not derived from grapes. To issue Fatwa, a mufti requires farsightedness, depth and taqwa. If he lacks these qualities, he will be a mudhil (one who leads people to Jahannum). Textual knowledge is not sufficient. This type of corrupt fatwa destroys the morals of Muslims.
The primary obligation of a Mufti is to strengthen the bond of Muslims with Allah Ta’ala. But this mufti with his corrupt concoction based on an obscure technicality is misleading Muslims and taking them far from Allah Ta’ala. As we come closer to Qiyaamah there will be a glut of muftis issuing a glut of corrupt, baatil, haraam ‘fatwas’. They come within the purview of the Hadith: “They are astray and they lead (others) astray.”
Q. According to the Hadith, the duas of a person who consumes liquor is not accepted for 40 days. Does this also apply to a person who smokes marijuana and consumes haraam meat? Does it mean that he should abstain from making any dua for 40 days?
A. All intoxicants are haraam. Whilst in the state of intoxication duas are not accepted. However, if one repents, then the duas will be accepted. Even if haraam meat is consumed, duas will be accepted if one regrets and repents. The duas will not be accepted if one does not repent and continues to consume haraam. The 40 days will apply if one does not repent and continues with the ingestion of haraam meat and consumption of liquor, etc. When sober, the person should not abstain from dua. He does not know if he will live for 40 days. His Maut may claim him a day after having consumed the haraam. Hence, he should not abstain from Dua and Istighfaar the moment he has sobered up.
Q. Please advise on the importance of keeping the stomach empty.
A. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) advised that the stomach should be filled with one third food, one third liquids and one third should be left empty for air circulation. The extreme weakness of Imaan and excessive greed and gluttony of people have compelled the Auliya (the spiritual physicians of the Ummah) to advise a simpler method.
Those who are unable to adopt the austere method of eating exhorted in the Hadith, should at least not overeat. As soon as the stomach is about to be filled, one should exercise restraint and stop eating. Overcome the crave for stuffing down another couple of morsels.
The Mashaaikh say: “The stomach is the headquarters of disease, and affection (love) is the root of cure.” A husband displaying love and affection for his sick wife, especially when she is pregnant, goes a long way in the curing process and in the healthy development of the foetus. Most diseases generate from a corrupt stomach.
Overindulgence in even halaal tayyib food is extremely harmful physically and spiritually. And, if the food is ‘halaal’ certified carrion, muck and rot, then the destruction is almost irreparable. The effects are disastrous for physical and spiritual health. A non-Muslim medical expert said: “Your body’s worst enemy is your stomach. Suffering from asthma? It’s your stomach. Are you losing your memory? It’s your stomach. Are your arteries diseased? It’s your stomach.”
Hadhrat Zunnun Misri (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Hikmah (divine wisdom) does not reside in a person whose stomach is full of food., for verily, much eating hardens and darkens the heart . Lethargy of the limbs develop in the wake of satiation, disinclining one from ibaadat., and it increases ghaflat (obliviousness). With hunger man attains Hikmat which creates delight in ibaadat” Hadhrat Sahl Bin Abdullah (rahmatullah alayh) said: “When Allah Ta’ala created the world, He instilled sin and ignorance in satiation (a full stomach), and Ilm (Deeni knowledge) and Hikmat (spiritual wisdom) in hunger.”
Q. In a Jumuah bayaan, an Aalim tried to prove from the Qur’aan that one should not be too conscious of the food one eats. He says you will never find 100% halaal. He says that according to the Qur’aan we should eat the ‘best food’, and this does not mean that it should be 100% halaal. He said that we should be moderate, and that we should trust the organization which supervises the abattoir? Please comment.
A. The molvi sahib spoke drivel. He does not know whether he is going forward or backward, hence the nonsensical disgorgement. It is clear that he is a SANHA lackey hence the stupid and flabby arguments to justify the consumption of carrion. His concept of ‘moderation’ has been fabricated for legalizing the consumption of halaalized carrion – halaalized by the vile ‘haalaal’ certificate bodies who have fed Muslims with even halaalized pork.
The Qur’aan in many places emphasises not only halaal, but halaal-tayyib food. The ‘best food’ is halaal-tayyib food which is 100% halaal. The lifestyle of the Akaabireen and former Muslims confirms that they abstained from food which according to us is not even doubtful. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) commanded abstention from even mushtabah (doubtful) food.
Food which is not 100% halaal is haraam. A food cannot be 99% ‘halaal’ and 1% haraam. The 1% haraam renders the whole pot 100% haraam. One drop of urine in a 20 litre bucket of water renders the whole bucket of water haraam. The water is not 99.99% ‘halaal’ and .01%. When a man consumes halaalized carrion then his brains become carrionized and ‘stupidized’, hence the molvi has acquitted himself so stupidly in his Jumuah bayaan. Carrion has deranged his intelligence, hence he disgorged his gutha to make a fool of himself.
The Ambiya (alayhimus salaam), everyone is aware, were meticulous in observing the laws of the Shariah. No one can surpass them in any sphere of Taqwa. Despite the exceptional caution they exercised in their food, etc., Allah Ta’ala specifically commanding the Ambiya, says in the Qur’aan Majeed: “O Rusul (Messengers)! Eat Tayyibaat (100% halaal, pure and wholesome food), and practise virtuous deeds.”
One of the fundamental basis for the ability (taufeeq) to render A’maal-e-Saalihah, is to consume 100% halaal-tayyib food. A person who is careless regarding his food, is an animal or he conducts himself like a savage who devours any rot gluttonously like an animal. The examples of abstention from even mushtabah, leave alone haraam, food are numerous. We shall cite just one such incident for your benefit.
Imaam Ahmad Bin Hambal (rahmatullah alayh) never ate bread which was baked in Baghdad where he used to live. The flour for his bread would come from the city of Mosul. He was extremely meticulous in observing this rule. The reason for his abstention was that Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) had declared the whole of Baghdad to be Waqf for the Mujaahideen. Thus according to the Shariah to this day Baghdad is Waqf land. Hence, Imaam Hambal regarded the flour and whatever grew there to be haraam since these were the products of usurpation.
One day when the bread was brought to Imaam Hambal, his firaasat (spiritual insight) indicated that there was something amiss with the bread. He questioned the cook about the ingredients in the bread. The cook said that the flour was from Mosul, but the yeast was from his (Imam Ahmad’s) son, Shaikh Abdullah who was also a Wali. Imaam Hambal abstained from eating the bread because the ‘emulsifier’ (the yeast) according to him was mashkook (doubtful). The bread was afterwards dumped into the river.
There are innumerable such examples among the Sahaabah and all the Auliya throughout Islam’s history. A person who does not make sure what he eats, will ultimately follow in the footsteps of shaitaan as mentioned in the Qur’aan. If it is known that a person is feeding others slow poison, will the molvi advise them to eat if they have trust in him? But as far as roohaani (spiritual) poison is concerned, the molvi sahib has no qualms in advising Muslims to consume the rotten, diseased, haraam carrion which the shayaateen halaalize.
Q. Comment on the use of medicines containing Haraam and abhorrent ingredients.
A. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Allah has not created the shifa’ (cure) of my Ummah in substances which have been made haraam for them.” Najaasat (filth/impurity) is a natural attribute of kufr. Imaan repels najaasat since it is the very antithesis of all Imaani attributes of excellence. It is the natural affinity between najaasat and kufr which draws the western medical establishment irresistibly towards experimentation with filth and impurities.
In fact, they savour a coprophilic concept of medical efficacy in impure and filthy substances. It is therefore not at all surprising that despite the existence of millions of varieties of pure and beneficial substances in the plant and stone kingdoms, western medical scientists almost always incline to experiment with filth – blood, urine, faeces, human after-birth substances, diseased cells, and many other items of najaasat.
Aggravating this concept, is their concept of brutality to animals. In the name of medicine they inflict the most horrendous acts of torture and brutality on the dumb creatures of Allah Ta’ala. Muslims who are being reared in western culture and indoctrinated with the concepts propounded by the western atheists are increasingly accepting the institutions of najaasat and zulm of their western masters and tutors.
This evil trend is overwhelming the brains of even the Ulama who search in the avenues of the Shariah for ways to halaalize the filth and brutality of the western medical establishment. The argument of Dhuroorah (dire need) is invariably presented for halaalizing everything which the Shariah has prohibited. The Qur’aan and the Sunnah unambiguously and emphatically prohibit filth and impurity of all kinds. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) unequivocally declared the negation of shifa (cure) for his Ummah in all impure and haraam substances.
Despite such substances possessing medicinal properties and shifa’, the Shariah has decreed its prohibition in the same way has liquor is banned whilst the Qur’aan acknowledges its ‘many benefits’. Since filth is prohibited, it does not behove people of Imaan to incline towards medicine of filth nor to aid the process of entrenching in the Ummah medical treatment with filth and haraam.
The permissibility of Tadaawi bil haraam (medication with haraam substances) is never the norm for Muslims. It is firstly a permissibility which Taqwa rebuffs. Secondly, it applies to exceptional cases, urgencies and emergencies, and if at such times halaal medication is not available. The rule of Tadaawi bil haraam was never intended to be a basis for establishing haraam and filthy medication to be a permanent, acceptable and respectable institution as a valid replacement for halaal and wholesome medication.
But the erosion of Imaan has made najaasat and haraam acceptable and respectable to Muslims. Thus, filth banks storing najaasat are regarded to be perfectly halaal, and blood transfusions have become the norm. The original element, viz., Dhuroorah (dire need), has been forgotten, in fact abrogated. Initially, the permissibility was conditioned with dire need. No longer nowadays.
A Muslim is a being who has or who is supposed to have yaqeen in the Aqaaid of Islam. Beliefs in Islam are not supposed to be limited to verbal profession. They have to permeate our physical and spiritual beings, and be a living force in our life. We believe that every iota that happens in the universe is with the command and direct intervention of Allah Azza Wa Jal. We are under obligation to act within the parameters and boundaries of the Shariah. We are not supposed to think like the kuffaar and atheist doctors and scientists whose minds first and foremost dwell towards najaasat for cure and benefit.
Our Fiqah and Shariah, and our entire life must necessarily be blended and painted with the spirit of the Sunnah and conditioned with the demand of our Aqaaid. There is no need to look at kufr and najaasat for our progress and benefit. When Allah Ta’ala has negated the shifa’ of this Ummah in haraam and najaasat, then it is akin to kufr for Muslims to actively and ardently contrive ways and methods of promoting najis and haraam medicine and medication.
The argument of ‘emergency’ has no validity. When an emergency develops, the bridge will be crossed at that time. Muslims are required to have tawakkul, sabr and yaqeen on Allah Ta’ala. He will see us through the emergencies. He is the Creator of the disease and of its cure. Our obligation is to submit to His Commands as we have pledged, while His obligation is to nourish and sustain us as He has promised.
Q. What if a person consumes Haraam and does not realise it? Will the effects of Haraam affect him?
A. Insha-Allah, one will be absolved of the sin of consuming Haraam if one does not know of its being Haraam. However, the spiritual harm as well as physical harm that follow the consumption of Haraam is unavoidable, for example, the soul darkens and one will be lethargic in performing good deeds.
Q. What are the virtues of hunger?
A. Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Sahl (rahmatullah alayh) said: “When Allah Ta’ala created the world, He instilled in satiation (i.e. a full stomach) ignorance and sin. And in hunger He created knowledge and wisdom.” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said to Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha): “O Aishah! If you desire to link up with me (in Jannat), then let provisions equal to the provisions of a horse-rider (on a journey) suffice for you; beware of cultivating the companionship of the wealthy, and do not regard a garment to be old (and fit to be discarded) as long as you can patch it.”
Although we lack the spiritual stamina to emulate these lofty attributes commanded by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the minimum degree of Waajib Zuhd (compulsory renunciation of the world) is to abstain from haraam, mushtabah (doubtful things), excessive luxury and unlawful adornment. Hunger should be practised by means of Sunnat and Nafl fasting and abstention from over-eating and filling the stomach to capacity.
These abstentions apply to bounties (ni’maat) which are halaal and tayyib. Moderation in the utilization of even halaal and tayyib food is Waajib. What now says your Imaan regarding carrion and filth; haraam and mushtabah ‘food’ which the Shariah says is unfit for even dogs?
Q. My wife is obsessed with her idea of doubtful food. She refuses to eat at the homes of relatives because she believes their food is doubtful (mushtabah). It appears that she has become an extremist in this regard. Is she justified according to the Shariah in having such an extreme attitude?
A. Her attitude will be described as ‘extreme’ if she has no justification for her view on this issue. The carelessness, in fact, indifference which most Muslims today show for halaal and haraam matters, does put a conscious Muslim on guard. Almost all Muslims use haraam and doubtful products in their homes. Alcoholic essences and colouring and doubtful chocolate and caramel are used in baking cakes and biscuits.
Most Muslim butcheries sell doubtful and haraam meat, even the clear-cut haraam imported meat. All the sausage and polony skins, besides, plastic, are haraam. Puddings and jellies used by Muslims are haraam or at least mushtabah. Minerals are all haraam or at least doubtful. All chickens processed commercially are haraam. The vast majority of Muslim devour only such chickens.
Besides the great range of doubtful commercial food products, there are also the spiritually contaminated items which a careful Muslim has to contend with, e.g. battery-produced eggs laid by doomed fowls condemned to torturturous incarceration in horrid condition for the short span of their life, from their birth to their death. Canned vegetables are served in Muslim homes. These are largely processed by factories which handle both vegetables and haraam meat, even pork, on the same premises and utilizing the same pots and urns for cooking the vegetables and meat products.
Added to the above drawbacks, there may be the income story of some relatives. If their earnings are haraam or doubtful, it will be an aggravating factor to reinforce your wife’s perception of mushtabah food. View your wife’s idea rationally and examine it to see if she has the aforementioned justification for her refusal to eat from relatives. If she has valid reasons for her attitude and refusal to eat the food of relatives, she cannot be labelled an ‘extremist’. In this context, we do not understand this label. Firmness on the Shariah is never extremism. Taqwa is the natural attribute of Imaan, and its cultivation is demanded by the Shariah. The theme of Taqwa runs throughout the Qur’aan and the Sunnah places great emphasis on it. Consumption of mushtabah negates Taqwa.
Q. Are there any worldly benefits in avoiding doubtful food?
A. Most Muslims must have heard the name of the illustrious Saint, Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mubaarak (rahmatullah alayh). His father, Mubaarak, was the slave of the Qaadhi of the City of Ray. The piety of his slave had made an indelible impression on the Qaadhi who was a very wealthy and prominent member of the community. Inspite of high-ranking and elite members of the community proposing marriage for his daughter, the Qaadhi married his daughter to his slave, Mubaarak.
The Qaadhi Saheb too was a pious man, hence he made the decision to have his daughter married to his slave. Taqwa was the criterion for his decision. After the bride was delivered to her husband Mubaarak, the now freed slave, he did not consummate the marriage for forty days. Both he and his wife remained in Ibaadat for this period. Meanwhile Mubaarak ensured that he fed his wife with halaal tayyib food for forty days.
After three days had passed without consummation, his wife complained to her husband. Mubaarak replied: “Undoubtedly, your father is a pious man. However, he is a Qaadhi. I have doubts on the absolute purity of his wealth and what he had fed you. I desire that before consummation of the marriage, any mushtabah food which you may have consumed at your father’s home be worked out of your system so that Allah Ta’ala blesses us with pious offspring.” When the pious lady heard this explanation she understood, was overjoyed and she joined her husband in the 40 day I’tikaaf. Thereafter the illustrious Abdullah Ibn Mubaarak, the Imaam of the Ummah of the time was conceived.
This is the effect of halaal tayyib food. It is precisely for this reason that Allah Ta’ala emphasizes to His Ambiya the importance of consuming halaal tayyib food. In such food there is Noor which brightens the Rooh of the Mu’min. on the other hand, in haraam and mushtabah food there is nothing but zulmat (spiritual darkness) which utterly ruins the spiritual fibre of the Mu’min. Taufeeq for A’maal-e-Saalihah is negated despite the realization of the importance of such deeds and despite the intellectual perception of the necessity of righteous deeds.
But, the weakened Imaan tarnished and damaged by haraam and mushtabah food cannot generate sufficient energy to fight and thwart the commands of the nafs to be spiritually lethargic and perpetually incline towards evil. Muslims should realize that consumption of haraam and mushtabah is not a trivial issue. It is a fatal poison for Imaan.
Q. We are told that haraam food may not be given to even non-Muslims. What should one do if he has some haraam food?
A. If by haraam you mean the food itself is haraam, e.g. haraam meat or food in which haraam ingredients have been added, then such food should be left somewhere. An animal passing by will eat it. However, one should not make a niyyat of feeding it to an animal. It should simply be discarded in some place. If by haraam you mean that the food itself is halaal but was purchased with haraam money, then it should be given to the poor.
Q. Is the food served on planes halaal?
A. Airlines serve even pork, haraam meat and other haraam types of foods. They also serve liquor. All the food is kept in the same place. The food is furthermore served by the same staff who serves haraam food and liquor. It does not behove Muslims who are concious of their Deen to consume such contaminated foods. It is not permissible to eat the airline food. Muslim passengers should take along some light foodstuff for the journey which is usually only a few hours.
ADDENDUM: THE FILTH OF PLANE FOOD
“The biggest safety issue you face while flying could be the food served by the airlines. More than half a billion meals are made by some of the largest airline food kitchens in the United States. A recent analysis of some of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection records found that food preparations in some of these kitchens is a recipe for disaster. Violations include roaches, mice, unsanitary conditions and no place for employees to wash their hands.
“Volume always leads to problems”, said Brian Buckley of the Institute of Cullinary Education. “Obviously there’s not a lot of accountability” … According to food safety experts, the issue is lack of oversight when it comes to cleaning and food preparation, leading to dangerous conditions for diners.” — New York (CBS).
The filth of airline foods has been reported several times in the past. One report had even mentioned contamination with faeces. Add to this filth the haraam carrion which the haraam certificate outfits are halaalizing. When travelling by plane it is necessary Islamically, and safest healthwise, to take with your own food. Plane food is a combination of najaasat and haraam.
Q. If an air hostess pours liquor for a passenger, then pours tea for one, is it permissible to drink the tea?
A. It is not permissible. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) forbade that Muslims eat from the same place where liquor is served. The plane situation comes within the scope of this Hadith of prohibition.
Q. Is it permissible for a Muslim traveller on a plane to eat the vegetarian food served on the plane?
A. All types of haraam food are served on the plane. Pork, liquor, etc. are included in the menu. It is therefore not permissible to eat any of the food served on the plane. Even their vegetarian diet is physically and spiritually contaminated and polluted. Muslims should exercise some patience and a bit of abstinence. They should eat before boarding the plane or take their own light meals with to save them from eating the pollution served on the plane.
Q. Is it permissible to use a cleaned out wine bottle for drinking water?
A. Although an impure bottle/utensil becomes taahir/paak (clean) by thorough washing, a Muslim’s Imaani disposition repels such items. Only a spiritually corroded heart can tolerate drinking water from such a bottle. If you are aware that a bottle was filled with urine or faeces, will you drink water from it after it is cleansed?