What is the Ruling on Using Solid Intoxicants as Flavor Ingredients in Foods?
Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan
Question: I believe there is an agreement between the schools that solid intoxicants are not considered impure if found in solid form. Many cultures utilize wine and beer as flavor ingredients in preparation of food. Far East Asian cultures in particular use wine for flavor when preparing quality meals. One of these ingredients is “dried sherry”, which I assume is the powder left behind when the liquid of sherry wine is removed. If the remaining substance, as a powder is indeed no longer considered najasa, would it be permissible to use this as a flavoring spice if it is not being used with any nefarious intentions?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.
In general, any filthy substance in solid form would still be impure.
In terms of using alcohol as a flavor ingredient, it would be unlawful and filthy if the source is wine (i.e., alcohol derived from grapes. This would also apply if derived from dates or raisins).
If the source of the flavor ingredient is alcohol derived from grains (non-wine alcohol), then it would be permissible and not filthy ONLY if:
(a) it is not used as an intoxicant,
(b) it is not used in an amount that intoxicates,
(c) it is not used as intoxicants are used (i.e., for alcoholic consumption, even if a little)
(d) it is not used in vain (lahw) or as done by the religiously corrupt (fussaq).
One would have to be careful to fulfill all of these conditions, as otherwise it would be filthy and sinful to consume.
[Mawsili, Ikhtiyar; Maydani, Lubab]
For more details, please see the following:
Can We Use Deodorants, Creams, and Perfumes That Contain Alcohol?
Did Imam Abu Hanifa Distinguish Between the Legal Rulings for Wine and Beer?
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani