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Kefir

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Darulifta Azaadville

Question:

Please kindly advise if Kefir is permissible to consume. There are some that are sold retail whilst others are home-made. Please advise on both abovementioned, whether it is halaal for consumption as it has been mentioned that the culture used to product the end product also produces an alcohol or fermentation. 

Answer:

In our understanding, this drink is made by immersing Kefir grain in a quantity of water. Obviously, it would take a considerable amount of time before the fermentation process (that creates intoxication) takes place. This is similar to how Nabeezh-ut-Tamar”/Date-infused water (mention of which comes in the Ahaadeeth) is made. Hence, the ruling of Nabeezh-ut-Tamar would apply in the case of the Kefir drink as well, that as long as it does not ferment, thereby becoming intoxicating, it would be permissible to consume. After it reaches the level of intoxication, it will not be permissible to consume, unless it is used for medical reasons under the advice of a reliable upright Muslim doctor when there is no other alternative for one’s ailment. 

If this drink is home-made, a person can still monitor it and ensure that it is consumed prior to fermentation taking place. If however, it is purchased off the shelf from a retail outlet, there could be a strong doubt that it had reached the intoxicating level before being bottled for the retail market. In that case, we would advise abstention as a Hadeeth tells us that “Discard that which carries doubt for that which does not carry any doubt.

Furthermore, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said, “Whatever causes intoxication when taken in large quantities is also forbidden when taken in small quantities.”  

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

وَعَنْ جَابِرٍ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: «مَا أَسْكَرَ كَثِيرُهُ فَقَلِيلُهُ حَرَامٌ» . رَوَاهُ التِّرْمِذِيُّ وَأَبُو دَاوُدَ وَابْنُ مَاجَهْ

الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (6/ 454)

 (وحرمها محمد) أي الأشربة المتخذة من العسل والتين ونحوهما قاله المصنف (مطلقا) قليلها وكثيرها (وبه يفتى)

(قوله وبه يفتى) أي بقول محمد، وهو قول الأئمة الثلاثة لقوله – عليه الصلاة والسلام – «كل مسكر خمر وكل مسكر حرام» رواه مسلم، وقوله – عليه الصلاة والسلام – ” «ما أسكر كثيره فقليله حرام» رواه أحمد وابن ماجه والدارقطني وصححه

This answer was collected from the official Ifta website of Darul Uloom Azaadville, South Africa. Most of the answers are checked and approved by Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

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