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Is Propylene Glycol Permitted to Use and Consume?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

Is propylene glycol permitted to use and consume?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

While the drinking of alcohol as an intoxicant is clearly impermissible, Imam Abu Hanifa (may Allah be pleased with him) held that non-wine alcohol— i.e. that from other than grapes, dates or raisins— is permitted to use and consume with the following criteria:

(a) it is not used as an intoxicant;
(b) it is not used as intoxicants are used (i.e. for alcoholic consumption, even a little);
(c) it is not used in an amount that intoxicates; and
(d) it is not used in vain (lahw).

The reasoning is that such alcohol is not considered to be unlawful wine (khamr), and is thus permitted to use with the aforementioned conditions. This position is a great mercy in a time when synthetic alcohols and the like are prevalent in numerous food items and cosmetics.

Please also see the following links for details: Using Perfumes, Deodorants, After Shave With Alchohol and: Did Imam Abu Hanifa Distinguish Between the Legal Rulings for Wine and Beer? and: Can We Use Deodorants, Creams, and Perfumes That Contain Alcohol?

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

As a Student in Naturopathy Can I Taste Alcohol Fluid Extracts?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalamualaikum

I am taking a Bachelor of Naturopathy, and in my Herbal Medicine class we are often given alcohol fluid extracts to taste. Is it permissible for me to taste the alcohol tinctures and fluid extracts in class?

Am I allowed to prescribe alcohol medication to non-Muslim clients? Or even my Muslim clients if I feel that the alcohol medication is the best option?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

If you are referring to non-wine alcohol, namely that which is not derived from grapes, dates or raisins, then tasting such extracts would appear to be permissible.

In general, it is permitted to use and consume non-wine alcohol as long as: (1) it is not used as an intoxicant, (2) it is not used as intoxicants are used, (3) it is not used in an amount which intoxicates, and (4) it is not used in vain.

What you have described does not seem to fall under any of these prohibiting conditions, and is thus permitted to use.

As for prescribing such medicines for Muslims, you should first look to alternatives in order to avoid the difference of opinion on the issue. Consult other religious practitioners and see what they do.

Please also see: Can We Use Deodorants, Creams, and Perfumes That Contain Alcohol? and: Alcoholic Content in Soft Drinks

And Allah alone gives success.

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can I Eat Haram Meat When I Am in a Non-Muslim Country?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Salam,

When a Muslim lives in a non-Muslim country and does not find any halal food nearby, can he eat non-halal food like chicken, beef or sheep? And if lard may have been used as cooking oil for seafood or fish what I should do?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

No, it is not permitted to eat unlawful food.

As such, you should seek out some Muslims (or organizations) who can assist you in finding reliable sources of food.

In the meantime, you should ask for clarity from the restaurant before proceeding to eat therein.

Pray the Prayer of Need (salat al-hajah). [see: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?]

See also: Should I Eat at Restaurants With Food Cross-Contamination Problems?

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Does Accidentaly Consuming Alcohol Invalidate Ritual Ablution (wudu’)?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: Assalam ‘aleykum,
What happens if you accidentally consume alcohol? Do you have to renew your wudu?
Answer: walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.
Consuming the haram–such as alcoholic beverages–does not invalidate one’s ritual ablution (wudu’). If done deliberately or in negligence, remorse and repentance is needed. One must rinse out one’s mouth, though, as wine is filthy (najis).
[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ala’ al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya]
Please see also: Reader on Repentance (tawba) and: Could You Please List All the Nullifiers of Ablution According to the Hanafi school?
And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
Walaikum assalam,
Faraz Rabbani

Should I Eat at Restaurants With Food Cross-Contamination Problems?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: In the past I have seen food being contaminated in a restaurant/food selling place that also sells haram food. For this reason I have avoided such places for approximately 3 years. Should I go by these doubts? How did the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his companions go about in such situation? If it is allowed then how about the knife they use to cut sandwiches (if same knife used for vegetarian and haram food)? Are we allowed to eat from the same utensils on which haram food/alcohol has been served (provided it has been washed)?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that this finds you in the best of health and spirits, insha’Allah.
If you are reasonably sure that there are contamination issues, it would be an emphasized sunna to exercise caution in eating from such a place.
And yes, you can eat from utensils that were used for unlawful (haram) substances, but have since been washed.
What is Caution (ihtiyat)?
Linguistically, caution is preservation, protection, or guarding.
And technically, it is defined as “guarding oneself against falling into sin.” [Tahanawi, Kashshaf Istilihat al-Funun, quoting Sayyid Sharif al-Jurjani]
In general, the legal ruling of caution (ihtiyat) is that it is recommended (mustahab).
Caution has differing rulings depending on circumstance:
It is obligatory to be cautious from the clearly unlawful (haram),
(2) Highly emphasised sunna when there is a reasonable possibility of the unlawful,
(3) Praiseworthy and encouraged when there is a reasonable possibility of the disliked,
(4) Disliked when there is no reasonable basis for it, and
(5) Impermissible when without basis, and it leads to a wrong or the unlawful.
Restaurants and the Presence of Sin
The primary purpose of a restaurant is to serve food. Thus it is not sinful in and of itself to sit in and eat from such a place, irrespective of any secondary activity.
However, it is disliked and blameworthy to choose to be in a place wherein sin is taking place, such as the presence of background music or alcohol. This is in the case it is not unavoidable.
Therefore, and according to our aforementioned principles, it would be praiseworthy to exercise caution in even eating from a place in which there is the secondary presence of sin.
Eating at Restaurants & Contamination Issues
If there is a reasonable possibility of contamination— whether due to bad practice of not using exclusive cutlery for vegetables and unlawful meat, or a shared use of oils for deep-frying, for example— then you should ask for details on how they prepare their food before deciding to eat something.
If you are certain that there are contamination issues, it would be obligatory to be cautious.
As an aside, Sheikh Nuh Keller writes, “Restaurants, coffee shops, and fast-food places are showcases of gluttony, nafs, and worldliness. They should only be used in unpremeditated cases that are not for the enjoyment of the self but for others, and not for the love of the fare or socialising but because they are pressing needs.” [Keller, Sea without Shore]
The Way of Taqwa
Mindfulness (taqwa) is an inward restraint that enables one to avoid that which displeases or distances from Allah–and to embrace all that pleases and draws close to Allah. It is a state of the heart, manifest in one’s attitude and actions–in one’s character and conduct. [see: The Book of Certainty: Qur’anic Themes & Reflections ]
When you have the choice, higher spiritual resolve and true Godfearingness (taqwa) would entail being cautious.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt.” [Tirmidhi]
However, when difficult or there are other reasonable considerations, then you should stay within the limits, and you’ll be rewarded as per your intention and not as to what actually happened. This is the mercy of our Religion.
See also: Eating at Restaurants That Play Music  and: A Guide for Consuming Various Meats, Foods, Alcohol, Animal By-Product Ingredients, and Cosmetics
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Consuming Alcohol in Foods in the Maliki School

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: As salaam alaikum,

In relation to the question about alcohol in bread, what is the Maliki opinion on ingredients like spirit, cider and balsamic vinegar and vanilla essence/extract in foods.

I’ve been told that these are liquid intoxicants that affect the intellect (before being added to the food) and so, the entire food becomes impure.

While it is easy to find out if food is vegetarian it is very difficult to find out if food has been prepared with mayonaise, balsamic vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce etc, vanilla etc without being rude to hosts.

Answer: Balsamic vinegar and all other types of vinegar are considered pure in the Maliki madhab as they have lost the intoxicating ability of wine (Khalil, Al Mukhtasar). In terms of flavorings that use alcohol as a preservative, they are not pure according to the Maliki school and would make any food they contact filth. One thing to remember is that food is considered to be pure until proven impure.

In the Hanafi madhab, liquid intoxicants are not impure as long as they are not made from grapes. Thus you will find many Muslims who do not take issue with eating foods with alcohol based flavorings. Because this valid difference of opinion exists, one would not be able to prevent others from eating foods that have alcohol based flavorings in them. You may gently encourage them to leave matters there is a difference about.

See the following Answers for more on this topic

Alcoholic Content in Soft Drinks

Is Beer Battered Shrimp Halal?

What is the Ruling on Using Solid Intoxicants as Flavor Ingredients in Foods?

Eating Bread With Trace Amounts of Alcohol in the Maliki School

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: As-salāmu ʿalaykum. I just discovered that normal bread, which is leavened, contains alcohol as a by-product. Does this then mean that, according to the Mālikīs, all leavened breads are ḥarām to consume? Also, allegedly unleavened bread also contains trace amounts of alcohol. Would these trace amounts be ignored or are they significant?

Answer: Eating leavened bread would be permissible according to the Maliki school. As for the concern about the content of alcohol, there may be trace amounts produced during the process of the dough rising, but trace amounts of alcohol do not make something impure. There are trace amounts of alcohol in ripe fruit even while it is still on the tree yet there is no doubt about the permissibility of eating fruit.

It is important in this discussion to take into consideration the Maliki definition of intoxicants (muskir) when discussing what it impure (najas). Liquid intoxicants are liquid, impair the intellect but not the body, and cause energy and happiness (Dardir, Sharh al Kabir). If one of these conditions are not present, such as something being solid, then it would not be considered impure.

Leavened bread does not fall under the definition of what a intoxicant would be because it is solid and one cannot be intoxicated by eating it. As for the trace amounts of alcohol, we are not taken to account to look for them nor do we have to avoid them. There are trace amounts of alcohol in many other permissible foods, such as certain yoghurts. If the amount becomes noticeable by one being able to become intoxicated if they were to consume it, then it would be impure. An example of this would be certain fermented milk that can intoxicate a person.

And Allah knows best.

Rami Nsour

Drinking Wine With Good Intention?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: In reference to your statement, “Our scholars said that the one who takes a glass of water to drink from, and then brings to mind that it is wine, it is unlawful for him to drink it,” if I take a glass of wine and then bring to my mind that it is water, then is it lawful for me to drink it?

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits. No, it is not permissible to drink wine–nor do anything else impermissible–with a “good intention.”

Good intentions may make a permitted action worthy of reward; bad intentions may make even a good action worthy of reproach or even sin.

However, good intentions do not make disobedience permissible, as the scholars explain. [Ibn Nujaym/Hamawi, Hashiyat al-Ashbah]

A “good intention” is an intention that is (1) to seek the pleasure of Allah, doing so in (2) a manner pleasing to Allah.

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

Drinking Beverages With Small Traces of Alcohol (Shafi’i School)

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.
Omar

Related Answer (Hanafi):

Alcoholic Content in Soft Drinks

Is Beer Battered Shrimp Halal?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I was reading your response about the Hanafi position on beer versus wine alcohol. Can you clarify what you mean by “(d) it is not used in vain (lahw)”? My example would be beer-battered shrimp. The beer is not used as an intoxicant, nor is that its intention, nor does it contain a sufficient quantity to intoxicate. And it is not used simply to be used, but supposedly because it makes the food taste better. I’m not sure that qualifies as “in vain”. Thank you for your response.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

Beer battered shrimp is unlawful to consume, as is anything with beer in it, no matter how little the amount of beer.

I believe there is some misunderstanding on this issue. The fatwa that you cite is as follows:

“According to the Indian Hanafi scholars, the fatwa in our times is that synthetic alcohol (and all alcohol not considered ‘khamr’) is tahir (pure), and permitted to use and consume AS LONG AS:

(a) it is not used as an intoxicant;
(b) it is not used as intoxicants are used (i.e. for alcoholic consumption, even a little);
(c) it is not used in an amount that intoxicates;
(d) it is not used in vain (lahw).”

So the very first condition mentioned for permissibility is that the alcohol used in the product is not normally used as an intoxicant. Beer, of course, is normally used as an intoxicant. Therefore, its presence in any food or drink would render that food or drink impermissible, however little the amount of beer present.

To clarify the last condition, to use alcohol “in vain” (lahw) means to consume or use alcohol as corrupt people do, for corrupt or sinful purposes. The usage of alcohols as flavoring in various food products is not deemed “in vain.”

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani