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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

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

Why is Caffeine Not Haram?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I have heard many times that the Quran itself prohibits Muslims from consuming ANY type of intoxicant.  If this is the case, then why do people not view caffeine, which is a known intoxicant to not be haram.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

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

What is prohibited is khamr (wine) or anything with its effects of inebriation (taskir).

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Every intoxicant is unlawful.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

He (peace and blessings be upon him) also once explained the basis of why khamr is unlawful when he said, “Khamr is that which covers [or clouds] the intellect.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

So what is meant by intoxicant in this context is that which “covers the intellect,” i.e., causes inebriation or drunkenness like beer, or euphoria such as cocaine or amphetamines. These are all unlawful.

Caffeine is not an intoxicant in that sense, but rather only a mild stimulant and hence permissible.

And Allah knows best.

wassalam

Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Using Nutmeg in Food or Medicine

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: I have been reading on the permissibility of using nutmeg, (جوزة الطيب), in food or as a traditional medicine. It seems the majority of the scholars of the four mathaahab declared it haram. But I have read that many contemporary scholars have given fatwa that using nutmeg in small non-intoxicating amounts with the purpose of flavoring food is permissible. Can you report what contemporary reliable scholars have reported regarding this, especially as nutmeg is in many foods.

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Nutmeg is permitted in the Hanafi school as food or medicine, as long as it isn’t in intoxicating amounts. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah] There are similar positions in the Shafi`i school.

wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

رد المحتار – (4 / 208)
وأن البنج ونحوه من الجامدات إنما يحرم إذا أراد به السكر وهو الكثير منه دون القليل المراد به التداوي ونحوه، كالتطبب بالعنبر وجوزة الطيب، ونظير ذلك ما كان سميا قتالا كالمحمودة وهي السقمونيا ونحوها من الادوية السمية، فإن استعمال القليل منها جائز، بخلاف القدر المضر فإنه يحرم، فافهم واغتنم هذا التحرير.

حاشية الطحاوي على المراقي – (2 / 279)
وصرح ابن حجر المكي بتحريم جوزة الطيب بإجماع الأئمة الأربعة اه ولعل حكاية الإجماع محمولة على حالة السكر

الدرر المباحة  للنحلاوي – (1 / 282)
ومثلُ الحشيشة – في الحرمة – جوزةُ الطِّيب، وكذا العنبر، والزّعفران، ومثله: زهر القطن، فإنه قويُّ التفريح، يبلغ الإسكار، فهذا كلُّه، ونظائرُه، يَحْرم استعمالُ القدر المسكر منه، دون القليل

تحفة المحتاج في شرح المنهاج  – (3 / 250)
أَقُولُ وَمِمَّا يَدُلُّ عَلَى حِلِّهِ عِبَارَةُ الشَّارِحِ فِي شَرْحِ بَافَضْلٍ أَمَّا الْجَامِدُ فَطَاهِرٌ وَمِنْهُ الْحَشِيشَةُ وَالْأَفْيُونُ وَجَوْزَةُ الطِّيبِ وَالْعَنْبَرُ وَالزَّعْفَرَانُ فَيَحْرُمُ تَنَاوُلُ الْقَدْرِ الْمُسْكِرِ مِنْ كُلِّ مَا ذَكَرَ كَمَا صَرَّحُوا بِهِ ا هـ

Using Perfumes, Deodorants, After Shave With Alchohol

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question : What is your opinion on using perfumes/deodorants/after shave with alcohol content in it?

Answer: In the Hanafi school:

1. Wine is filth (najis) and unconditionally impermissible to consume or use.

2. Other alcohol is impermissible if used for intoxication; or in an amount that intoxicates; or as intoxicants are used; or for vain purposes.

3. Thus, external uses of non-wine alcohol are permitted, and so is the incidental presence of non-wine alcohol in food ingredients (such as in vanilla, which is often extracted using alcohol; or soy sauce, which incidentally contains alcohol)–when not used for intoxication, nor in an amount that intoxicates, nor used as intoxicants are used, nor for some other reprehensible purpose.

[ref: Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Imam Muhammad Bakhit al-Muti`i; Mufti Mahmoud Ashraf Usmani; Mufti Taqi Usmani, Qadaya Fiqhiyya Mu`asira]

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani