Can you tell me more about Alcohol Flavourings if they are Halal or Haram?
Alcohol in Flavourings
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 0.5% 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 Halal or Haram Team 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 are 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 applies to alcoholic flavourings only (based on need and necessity and common predicament) and not where alcohol is added as an ingredient in a product. In that case, regardless what the source of the alcohol is, it is not permissible.
The verdict of many contemporary ‘Ulama is based on sources of Hadith which infer that alcohol from dates and grapes are regarded as Khamr (intoxicants categorically mentioned in the Qur’aan), and that other alcohols will not be termed as ‘khamr’ in the technical sense and thus 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 Halal or Haram Team and rest assured that it is of sound Hanafi scholarship.
Nevertheless, if you are a follower of a Maz-hab (school of thought) other than the Hanafi School or you prefer to refrain from such products on the basis of Taqwa, then that will be praiseworthy.
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.
Answered By: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani