Answered by Shaykh Omar Qureshi
Question: According to the Shafi’i madhhab is it permissible to drink a beverage which contains a very minute amount of alcohol (as it is said to be in the soft drinks of today)?
Answer: Assalamu ‘alaikum.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Every intoxicant is considered a type of wine, and all types of wine are unlawful (Ibn Hibban no. 5354).” What is unlawful to consume and are considered to be filth are liquid intoxicants (muskirat). This ruling applies to those that are ethyl and methyl based alcohols. Isopropyl alcohols, the type used when a the nurse wipes the area where one would be getting a shot or extracting blood, is excluded from this ruling. Beer, wine and other consumed alcohols fall under this ruling and are considered filth as well in the Shafi’i school. This unlawfulness applies to even one drop of a liquid intoxicant (see I’ana al-Talibin).
All beverages that contain ethanol based alcohols are unlawful to consume. If a particular soda contains alcohol, then it would be unlawful to consume no matter what the amount. I would, however, strongly advise people to conduct proper and thorough research as to what ingredients go into a particular food item before coming to any conclusion regarding its permissibility. Many people have inaccurate information regarding alcohol being in certain widely consumed soda beverages and have been the cause of confusion for many of our brothers and sisters.
Allah the Exalted knows.
Related Answer (Hanafi):