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Soft Drinks Containing Alcohol: Permissible?

Question and answer details
Khan
Soft Drinks Containing Alcohol: Permissible?
2004-09-26
As-Salamu `alaykum. Dear scholars. Thanks a lot for your wonderful service and up-to-date answers to modern tricky issues. Could you please furnish me with a fatwa regarding the use of alcohol in soft drinks such as Coca-Cola? Your earliest response will be very much appreciated. Jazakum Allah Khairan.
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Answer
Wa`alaykum As-Salaamu Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


Dear questioner, thanks for your question and we ask Allah to guide us to the best achievement in this world and the best reward in the Hereafter.

Some soft drinks contain a tiny amount of alcohol which help add flavors that are considered part of what is known as the trade secrets. According to the rules of eating and drinking in the Islamic legal law, such tiny amount of alcohol that is added doesn’t render the food or the soft drink prohibited.

In an attempt to answer your question, we would like to furnish you with a Fatwa issued by the Fiqh Council of North America, which goes as follows:

It is well known that some soft drinks, such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, contain among their ingredients a tiny amount of alcohol, which is used to dissolve some constituents of the drinks such as color, flavor, etc.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola, for example, contain different types of flavors, considered to be part of the trade secrets; these flavors dissolve in alcohol, which is no more than two to three parts in one thousand (0.03-0.02 %) in these drinks.

Such soft drinks are considered to be permissible or halal from the Islamic point of view, according to the rules of eating and drinking in the Islamic legal law.

To anchor this basic concept, we would like to say that if a small amount of a prohibited substance X is mixed with a dominant permissible substance Y till substance X loses all its attributes such as taste, color, and smell, substance X loses the qualifications of being impure and prohibited by having being dissolved in substance Y.

This conclusion is supported by a ruling by Imam Ibn Taymmiah in his book Al-Fatawa (21/502), and by the recommendations of the Ninth Medical Fiqh Seminar of the Islamic Medical Science Organization, which met in Ad-Dar Al-Bayda’ in Morocco in June 1997.

Moreover, The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America adds:

In the food industry, alcohol is the second common solvent after water. Some of the flavors like vanilla cannot be made without alcohol. One cannot imagine foods and drinks like ice cream, cakes and cookies, soft drinks, etc. without the use of alcohol, to the extent that this has become an unavoidable impurity in the food systems. Muslim countries, which import food products, accept foods containing small quantities of alcohol.

We have established two levels of control points for
alcohol in foods and ingredients:

Less than 0.1 per cent in the food items.
Less than 0.5 per cent in food ingredients.

At the above levels, one can not detect the presence of alcohol by taste, smell or sight.

These guidelines are for the food industry to make halal certified products. However, where should one draw the line is up to the individual Muslim consumer, based on "the available knowledge and his or her own commitment.

The above quotation is excerpted, with slight modifications, from www.fiqhcouncil.org

You can also read:

Islam Prohibits Alcohol and Drugs

Food Cooked in Wine

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to write back!

May Allah guide you to the straight path, and guide you to that which pleases Him, Amen.

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