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Follow-up on Alcohol

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Sidi Mostafa Azzam

  Sorry if I need to be spoon-fed, but regarding alcohol, I guess this means that anything that contains flavorings dissolved in ethanol would be haram.  Also, anything containing vanilla extract would also be haram, I guess?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Let us apply the criteria:

     Ethanol is a liquid intoxicant: it is “a colorless liquid … that is the intoxicating agent in liquors” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed).

     If plain ethanol, being a liquid intoxicant, contacts a liquid, it filthifies the whole thing; if it contacts a solid, if filthifies the contacted part.  If that filthified liquid or solid then contacts something else, it filthifies that something else.  

Flavorings Dissolved in Ethanol

     As for flavorings dissolved in ethanol, the ethanol is added (with the flavoring that is dissolved in it) to the substance in Question.  The insertion of the ethanol into the substance would then filthify it, making it haram to ingest, etc. 

Vanilla Extract

     As for vanilla extract, it needs to first be defined before its ruling can be assessed.  (If anyone knows of a thorough, reliable resource on such food ingredients, please let me know.)  The following is what I found about vanilla extract: “Extract is prepared by macerating beans in alcohol solution” (Lust, John. The Herb Book. Toronto : Bantam Books, 1974. pg. 519).  What is meant by “alcohol” here is ethanol, since that is the primary meaning of “alcohol” and is what is meant when “alcohol” is mentioned without other qualification (see The Concise Oxford and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate).

     So vanilla extract is essentially a mixture of vanilla in a liquid intoxicant (namely, ethanol).  It is therefore filth and forbidden to ingest, etc.  Anything with vanilla extract added to it would be filthified and therefore also haram to ingest.  

And Allah knows best. 

-Mostafa Azzam.


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