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Does Alcohol in Food Flavouring or Extracts Need To Be of a Certain Percentage To Be Consumable?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

Answered by: Maulana Mohammed Dilwar Hussain


Salam. Can you please tell me whether alcohol in food flavouring or extracts needs to be of a certain percentage to be consumable? I am aware any product which has alcohol as an added ingredient would be haraam but the article on the Halal Food Guide UK, a very reliable source says that items like icecreams might contain a slightly higher percentage than 0.5% in the finished product but implies permissibility to the best of my comprehension. Is it allowed to consume such a product? I read at a place that it ought to be 0.5% it’s haram. It’s becoming a great source of worry for me. Please help. Living in the US there are barely any avenues that provide the Halal Haram list, we severely have to rely on Kosher signs to ensure that it’s free of animal by-products. Many times, when I contact companies about alcohol flavouring they don’t even reply or don’t have a clear answer to the question. Please advice. Also, is ethyl alcohol permissible in perfumes, lotions, and makeup? I would deeply appreciate it if you can respond. So sorry for the trouble.

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


Nowadays, there are various types of alcohol that are used for cooking and in foods.

The prohibition found in the Hadith of the Prophet ﷺ, “Every intoxicant is Khamr and every intoxicant is forbidden.” [Sahih Al-Muslim; Hadith 2003] [1]

Alcohol has been broken down into two categories; Khamr alcohol (i.e., derived from grapes and dates) and non-Khamr alcohol which can be derived from other sources including synthetic alcohols as well.

The Khamr which is derived from dates and grapes is strictly Haraam in small and large quantities alike.

In regards to the non-Khamr alcohol, there are differing views within the Hanafi School of jurisprudence. The first view is that it holds the same ruling as that of Khamr alcohol (i.e., that is Haraam as well).

Whereas, the second view is that it would be permissible to consume it in non-intoxicating amounts abiding by the following conditions; it is not used as an intoxicant, or in a similar manner, nor in an amount which causes intoxication and it is not used in vain. [Bādā’i’ As-Sanā’i’; volume 5, page 116 and Al-Bahru Al-Rāi’q; volume 8, page 247] [2] [3]

This is the basis on which the legal ruling has been passed (i.e., the second view).

Halal Food Guide is very good in regards to food. If you have a particular query about a specific item then you can contact them directly on their website and request them to look into specific items. As they are an organisation, food production companies are more likely to take them seriously than individuals who contact them.

Only Allāh Ta’ālā knows best.

Written by Maulana Mohammed Dilwar Hussain

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

[1] وَحَدَّثَنَا إِسْحَاقُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، وَأَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ إِسْحَاقَ كِلاَهُمَا عَنْ رَوْحِ بْنِ عُبَادَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ جُرَيْجٍ، أَخْبَرَنِي مُوسَى بْنُ عُقْبَةَ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ كُلُّ مُسْكِرٍ خَمْرٌ وَكُلُّ مُسْكِرٍ حَرَامٌ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

[2]واما المثلث فنقول: لا خلاف في انه ما دام حلوا لا يسكر يحل شربه. واما المعتق المسكر فيحل شربه للتداوي واستمراء الطعام والتّقوّي على الطاعة عند أبي حنيفة وأبو يوسف رحمهما الله ورواه محمد رحمه الله انه لا يحل، وهو قول الشافعي رحمه الله وأجمعوا على انه لا يحل شربه للهو والطرب. 

[3]قال رحمه الله (الشراب ما يسكر) هذا في اصطلاح الفقهاء لقوله عليه الصلاة والسلام: “كل مسكر حرام” وهذا معناه. قال رحمه الله (والمحرم منها أربعة: الخمر وهي النيء من ماء العنب إذا غلى واشتد وقذف بالزبد وحرم قليلها وكثيرها) وقال بعضهم كل مسكر خمر لقوله عليه الصلاة والسلام “كل مسكر خمر” رواه مسلم و لقوله عليه الصلاة والسلام “الخمر من هاتين النخلة ولا العنبة” رواه مسلم، وابو داود ولانها سميت خمرا لمخامرة العقل وكل مسكر يخامر العقل ولنا إجماع اهل اللغة على حقيقته في النيء من ما العنب وتسمية غيرها بالخمر مجازا.

البحر الرائق 8/247

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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