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Can one consume vinegar in the Shafi’i school?      

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Is it permissible to consume “store-bought” vinegar in the United States? Please mention any relevance to the various types of vinegar that are identified on labels (such as wine, apple cider, rice, etc.), as well as the typical plain labeling of “vinegar.”

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

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

It says in the Reliance of the Traveler (e14.6):

“Wine that becomes vinegar without anything having been introduced into it is pure, as are the sides of the container it touched when it splashed or boiled. But if anything was introduced into the wine before it became vinegar, then turning to vinegar does not purify it.”

One would have to check whether the vinegar that one is consuming is made by intervention or not, meaning to see whether something was added to it while it was still intoxicating and before it turned into vinegar, i.e. such as a catalyst. The traditional way of making vinegar is fruit juice–>wine–>vinegar. (If something is added while it is still fruit juice, the vinegar is halal and pure).

One who would research into the subject and find out if vinegars are made in the West using a catalyst, would be doing a great service. I know that Saudi Arabia does produce a type of vinegar without intervention, but I am uncertain about the process used in the West. If anything is added into it, while it was intoxicating, the ruling in the Shafi’I school remains; that it is not permissible to consume.

The following questions are useful to answer:

1) Is a catalyst used to produce vinegar in the West? At what point in the process is it introduced?

2) Is the vinegar produced in the West made in such a way that the stage of fermentation (from fruit juice to alcohol) is entirely omitted, therefore the vinegar produced would be artificial?

It is permissible to follow the Hanafi school which holds that vinegars made by intervention are pure and permissible to consume. See the following Hanafi link:

Is spirit vinegar lawful to consume?

And Allah knows best.


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