Drinks Containing Ethanol


Is it permissible to drink Pepsi, Coke, Lucozade etc?


Any alcohol that is derived from grapes, dates and raisins is totally forbidden. All A’immah agree that alcohol derived from the above three sources are Najis (impure) and Haraam. A single drop of this alcohol may not be consumed, even though it does not intoxicate one.

However, the A’immah have a difference of opinion regarding alcohol that is derived from other sources (other than the three forbidden types mentioned above), such as ethanol. According to Imaam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullahi Alaihi and Imaam Abu Yusuf Rahmatullahi Alaihi, this type of alcohol will be permissible if it does not reach an intoxicating level. However, if it is used in products that are consumed for pleasure only, then all A’immah agree that such a product will be forbidden.

There are many products that are available on the market that include alcohol (which is derived from other than the three forbidden sources), and therefore there is some sort of permissibility for the usage of such products according to the view of Imaan Abu Hanifah and Imaam Abu Yusuf Ramatullahi Alaihima. However, Imaam Muhammad Rahmatullahi Alaihi holds the view that all types of alcohol are totally forbidden, irrespective of the source, even though it may be utilized in such a small quantity that it does not cause intoxication. (Shaami vol.5 pg.292). 

Mufti Rasheed Saheb rahmatullahi alaih has written in Ahsanul Fataawa (considering certain principles of fatwa), that the view of Imaam Abu Hanifah and Imaam Abu Yusuf Rahmatullahi Alaihima should be given preference if there is Umoom-e-Balwa and some necessity (such as usage in medicines). However, in the classical texts of Fiqh, the Fatwaa has been given on the view of Imaam Muhammad Rahmatullahi Alaihi, due to the fact that if the Fatwaa is given on permissibility, then many doors of evil will be opened. Hence, due to necessity and Umoom-e-Balwa (the general masses needing and being involved in products containing alcohol, such as medicines), the Fatwa can be given on the original Madhab which is the view of Imaam Abu Hanifah and Imaam Abu Yusuf Rahmatullahi Alaihima. In the absence of necessity and Umume-Balwa, the Fatwa cannot be given on this view.

In our view, there is no such necessity found for the consumption of beverages that contain ethanol (even though there may be Umoom-e-Balwa). Both factors (necessity and Umoom-e-Balwa) have to be present in order to declare permissibility and these two factors are found in medicines but not in beverages and other products that are consumed merely for pleasure. Therefore, it is best for one to abstain from drinks that contain ethanol such as coke, pepsi and lucozade etc., as one should avoid consuming ethanol without a valid reason.
(Daarul Iftaa Archives)

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