Is Ethanol or Ethyl Alcohol halal in Islam?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

You have mentioned in a number of responses that Ethanol is permissible as it is not an intoxicant. However from the sources I have come across, they all seem to indicate that it is? Could you confirm whether all Ethanol is allowed in all cases.

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh

Regarding your query, it seems to be based on a misconception. i.e.” if something taken in a large quantity is an intoxicant then it is Haram even in a small quantity”. While this is the opinion of some Ulama, the illustrious Fuqaha of the Hanafi Mazhab don’t hold this view.

According to the Hanafi Mazhab, alcohols are divided into 2 groups Khamr and non Khamr. Khamr can be said to be alcohol derived from dates and grapes while non-khamr is alcohol not derived from any of these two . Now according to the Hanafi school of Fiqh, the ruling regarding Khamr is that even the most minuscule amount of it is haraam, regardless of whether it intoxicates or not, while the ruling considering other alcohols is that only that amount is haraam which intoxicates.

A small amount which doesn’t cause intoxication is not haraam. The only condition is that it must not be drunk for amusement and pastime in a manner resembling that of the fussaaq (major sinners). If it is drank to gain strength, to digest the food, for medical reasons etc then it is permissible as long as it does not intoxicate. The point you mentioned ie. .” if something taken in a large quantity is an intoxicant then it is Haram even in a small quantity” this is taken to apply only to Khamr, while all other alcohols would only be haraam in an amount that could intoxicate.

Thus if you see the answers we give, we clearly state that alcohols made from things other than dates and grapes are permissible as long as they are in such a small amount that couldn’t intoxicate eg. most softdrinks contain minuscule amounts of ethanol, however this is classified as permissible as even if one drinks so much of a particular softdrink that he cannot possibly drink a sip more, even the person with the lowest alcohol tolerance would not become intoxicated. (See Al-hidayah Vol.2 Pg.497, Ahkaamul Quraan liljassaas Vol.2 Pg.5, Bahrur Raaiq Vol.8 Pg.247,Shaami Vol.6 Pg.452-H.M.Saeed, Mabsoot Vol.24 Pg.15, Bada’i Vol.5 Pg.113, Tabyeen Vol.6 Pg.46, Tuhfatul Fuqaha Vol.3 Pg.325, Alamgiri Vol.5 Pg.412, Shilbi alat Tabyeen Vol.6 Pg.47, Ahsanul Fatawa Vol.8 Pg.488)

We hope that this has clarified the matter for you.

In case any further clarity is needed feel free to contact us.

and Allah Ta’ala Knows

Wassalam

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah
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