Is It Impermissible to Boil Fruits Such as Dates and Grapes for Recipes?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question

Sheikh Weltch answered about alcohol in fruits and said Grape juice, when cooked down till less than two-thirds remains, is haram. Why? [Ibid.] What about concentrated grape juice cartons? Muslims use grape juice or apple juice to replace alcohol in recipes, and it’s simmered down. Also, he said, dates and grapes are cooked down slightly till they become intoxicating. [Ibid.]

You cook the chopped dates in date recipes with a bit of orange juice or water to soften them for cakes and flapjacks. Is this ok? my mum makes chicken in cream sauce with whole grapes warmed in it, is this allowed? Please explain, as this is not alcohol. Also if it is in our school is there a difference of opinion available? What about fruit in pies and raisins in cakes?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Billing down fruits such as dates and grapes for recipes is permissible as long as they do not ferment and become intoxicating. [Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]

For fruits to become toxicating they would have to be boiled down to a great extent.

Such an extent is not reached in essential food recipes like grape juice or puree’s. Furthermore, a large amount of water is generally used to boil grapes down to the extent that they would ferment, as opposed to general cooking recipes that require less water and/or time than want fermenting would require.

Difference Between Grape Juice and Wine

To make grape juice or the like, grapes are boiled only to the extent that removes the yeast so that the grapes can be crushed and remain sweet. In wine on the other hand grapes are boiled down to a greater extent such that the sugar can mix with the yeast and natural bacteria according to the fermentation process.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
Yusuf Weltch

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.