natural vanilla extract

Discussion in 'General Topics' started by Inwardreflection, Mar 20, 2017.

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  1. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

  2. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

  3. Inwardreflection

    Inwardreflection Well-Known Member

    vanilla extract contains 35% ethanol content. I think you can deduce what you need to from that. It's probably akin to drinking a strong alcoholic spirit like vodka. There's a story as to why it's not placed in the same bracket as alcoholic beverages which goes back many decades to the US. It relates to pressure on the US government to exempt it from being classed as an alcoholic beverage because its use in the food industry was deemed so important by them and they felt it would cause huge problems. That's why it's always away from the alcohol shelf in supermarkets and under food products in small bottles.
    Juwayni likes this.
  4. Juwayni

    Juwayni Active Member

    Muslim Consumer Group consults with a Sunni Mufti in Chicago (Mufti Mohsin Mekki) and according to the site vanilla extract that uses ethanol as a solvent (often labelled as 'natural vanilla extract) is ḥarām.
  5. 786-12

    786-12 New Member

    Has anyone found out the ruling of natural vanilla extract or any rulings from sunni muftis
  6. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    They're devs so obviously we need Sunni muftis' opinions.

    This is Walkers' list.

    Attached Files:

  7. Haqbahu

    Haqbahu Veteran

    So what is the ruling regarding natural vanilla extract?
    Unbeknown likes this.
  8. 786-12

    786-12 New Member

    Alcohol in Flavourings

    Most food products nowadays contain some type of flavouring - natural, artificial, or a combination of both. Many of these flavourings contain alcohol, which is used as a carrier or solvent for the flavouring. The actual amount of alcohol in the finished food product may vary, but it is usually around 1% or less, as the alcohol evaporates during the production process. Items such as drinks and ice creams can contain a bit more, since no evaporation takes place. Such a small amount of alcohol is not required to be declared on the ingredients declaration on the packaging of the product.

    The Foodguide follows the opinion of major contemporary Hanafi scholars including the venerable Mufti Yusuf Sacha of the UK (highly acclaimed foods expert) and Mufti Ashraf Usmani of Pakistan. The fatwa in our times is that synthetic alcohols (and all alcohol not sourced from dates and grapes) in foods and otherwise is pure (tahir), and permitted to use and consume on the conditions that:

    (a) it is not used as an intoxicant;
    (b) it is not used as intoxicants as 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).
    Courtesy: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

    This is the view propounded by the Foodguide service and rest assured that it is of sound Hanafi scholarship. Nevertheless, if you are a follower of a Maz-hab (school of thought) apart from the Hanafi School or you prefer to refrain from such products then that is fine too. We will try to facilitate such persons by indicating which products are affected on this web-site as far as possible.

    Mufti Yusuf Sacha/Mufti Abdullah Patel/Shaykh Faraz
    Halal Food Guide

    Found the above on the internet so does that mean that if there is alcohol in the flavourings and does not intoxicate it is allowed, or do you have to email the manufactuer each time you buy a product asking if the flavourings contain alcohol

    Also does anyone know if the muftis who have written the above are sunni
  9. Juwayni

    Juwayni Active Member

    The point is many times I gave those conversation, everyone it confuses on what they meaning by 'alcohol'.
  10. Mohamed shaksi

    Mohamed shaksi New Member

    What is Mansus is the prohibition of Khamr. What this is and how produced is known. You can't change its definition to "anything what contains OH group".

    Any OH group is labelled as "alcoholic" by scientists, but to claim it is khamr according to Fuqahaa and then claim its haram, this is incorrect and people can differ in this rather they would have to show it from Fiqh books, and this would mean to change the definition of Khamr to OH groups.

    But even if you accept it as such it would fall under the Hukm of nabeez e tamr.

    But if you feel so strong about it you should evade any particle which contains OH group even the ones you breath in daily.

    Fact is you can drink as much vanilla as you want you will never ever get drunk. It doesn't contain Khamr as we know it, it contains OH group which people call alcohol. Yes it is also found in Khamr but Khamr isn't prohibited because of OH group its prohibited as it is together with all other substances in it. And its illah to other substances is what makes other Haram if found.

    You can't just leave out everything else of Khamr and change its definition to only the OH group.

    Of course I could be wrong.
  11. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    i am still unable to understand the purpose of the physical chemistry lesson.
  12. IslamIsTheTruth

    IslamIsTheTruth Active Member

    Try contacting the person in charge of the following website, he is a expert food scientist and has a panel of Sunni ulama helping him.

    From the above mentioned website:

    The Question about Alcohol in any Flavor

    The question about alcohol in flavor is a tricky one because it is a hidden ingredient of the flavor. If you ask alcohol question to non technical consumer department person of a food company, first they look at the ingredients list of the food product and will find no alcohol is mentioned. Then they will say we do not use alcohol in our products because they do not know the alcohol is a hidden ingredient of the flavor. We request Muslim consumers to use the following phrase when asking or writing the question to consumer department of any food company regarding the presence or absence of alcohol in the flavor of a food product.

    " is ethanol or ethyl alcohol used as a solvent in flavor; ethanol or ethyl alcohol is a hidden ingredient or processing aid ingredient of a flavor, it will not appear in the ingredients statement. The knowledge of presence or absence of ethanol or ethyl alcohol in flavor is only known to your QA or Technical service department because they have access to the specification of flavors. In the specification of flavor, your flavor supplier has written the name of solvent or carrier used in that particular flavor. So please request your QA or Technical service department to find out whether ethanol or ethyl alcohol was used or not in the flavor as a solvent".

    How to ask question about presence or absence of alcohol in natural or artificial flavor before spray drying the food products:

    " Do you use alcohol in natural or artificial flavor in dried food products such as non dairy coffee creamer or dry ingredients mixes or dry seasoning mixes or cake mixes before spry drying or processing those products. We know in most spray dried food product even if alcohol was used before spray drying then alcohol will evaporate or dried out after spray drying or processing."
  13. abu nibras

    abu nibras Staff Member

    What is the ruling on using medicines & sprays that contain alcohol?


    There are four types of Alcohol, they are as followed:

    1) Khamar – It is the grape juice which is fermented for so long that it becomes strong and clear after leaving the froth.

    2) Aseer- It is the grape juice which has been boiled or put in sunlight for a period that only 1/3rd of the original quantity remains.

    3) Naqee-ut-tamar – It is prepared by putting wet dates in water for such a long period that the water becomes strong and leaves the froth.

    4) Naqee-uz-Zabeeb – It is prepared by putting wet currant raisins in water for such a long period that the water becomes strong and leaves the froth.

    Now, there is difference in ruling for these types of alcohol.

    Prohibition of Khamar is proved from Nass-e-Qata’i (clearly from the Qur’an & Ahadith), anyone who deems it to be allowed is a Kaafir (out of the folds of Islam). A person who drinks even a drop of Khamar will be prosecuted as per the Islamic law for drinking wine.

    Whereas the prohibition of other three liquors are not Qata’i but are Dhanni (not clearly proved from Nass). A person whom deems them to be permissible is not regarded as a Kaafir. These are haraam only when consumed to the level of intoxication.

    However, irrespective of the above differences, Scholars have agreed that they are all prohibited and unclean.

    Now coming to the use of these liquors in medicines and sprays. We can clearly see that no medicine/syrups (especially Homeopathic medicines) and sprays/deodorants are free from Alcohol. No person and no house is exempt from this; not only the general public but even Scholars are using these substances due to need and requirement.

    A condition, in which all the people, general public and Scholars, are together involved in something due to valid needs and reasons is called ‘Umoom-e-Balwa’. This condition leads to dilution of the Islamic Law.

    Hence in today’s generation, using alcoholic medicines and sprays will be allowed due to ‘Umoom-e-Balwa’. However, we would still request the people to avoid them, if possible.

    Apex Islamic Law Board of India – Majlis-e-Sharai (Jamia Ashrafia) in its 1st seminar held on 16 Jan 1994 gave the fatwa on the permissibility of using English medicines with alcohol.

    [Excerpts from Sahifa Fiqh Islam - volume 1]

    Allah knows best.

    Answered by Mufti Mohammed Kashif
  14. Juwayni

    Juwayni Active Member

    Before I reply, I'd like to explain some terms so that those reading can get the full picture.
    Atom: a unit of matter composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons. The number of protons differentiates the one element from another.

    Example: the differentiating factor between gold (Au) and platinum (Pt) is that gold has one more proton (as indicated by the atomic number 79 above the Au). So that means if we were to add one more proton to an atom of platinum, it would be defined as gold.

    Charge: Unless otherwise specified with a superscript + or - on the right hand side of the atomic symbol (H, Li, Au, ...), atoms uncharged, meaning the number of negatively charged electrons is the same as the number of positively charged protons.

    If there is one more proton (or one less electron), we say that it is positively charged, and if there is one more electron (or one less proton), then it is negatively charged. When an atom is charged we say that it is ionized. A charged atom is known as an ion.​

    Molecule: a group of atoms of either the same element or a mixture of different elements bound together by their electrons. Example: H2O is H-O-H, meaning 2 hydrogens bound to a single oxygen. We can say that a molecule is also known as a compound. Molecules can also be positively or negatively charged.

    Hydroxyl group: a molecule that is composed of O-H, whereby the oxygen (in addition to being bonded to the hydrogen) is also bonded to another molecule.

    Organic compound
    : a class of molecules that contain carbon (C).

    Alcohol: an organic compound in which one of the carbons is bonded to a hydroxyl group.
    Example: C-C-C-O-H (propanol), C-C-O-H (ethanol), C-OH (methanol).

    Ethanol and ethyl alcohol are two names for the same compound.

    Alkene: an organic compound in which one of the carbons is doubled bonded to another carbon.

    Note that you can have an alkene that's also an alcohol, example (the = denotes a double bond): C=C-OH is known as etheneol.​

    Use hydrogen peroxide. I see it often in doctor's offices. If you work in a medical environment you'll find it, look out for a brown bottle that can sometimes be opaque (hydrogen peroxide breaks down when light hits it).

    Yes, ethanol inebriates. I know ethanol (additionally when mixed with other substances) in the form of date and grape wine is impure and is known as khamr. I've also been told that many ʿUlama consider any ethanol to be impure.

    What I want to know is that if you have a bottle of ethanol that is produced from synthetic processes (such as ethylene hydration) is it still labelled khamr?

    Okay so are you saying that any bacterial fermentation in which a sugary liquid is transformed into an intoxicating liquid (often a mixture of ethanol and other compounds) is thus defined as khamr?


    A: potato starch, grape juice, date juice ---bacteria, time--> [ethanol + other compounds]*

    Ethanol gets you drunk, other compounds - not sure on their intoxicating effects. But the whole thing is harām.

    B: ethylene + H3O+ --> ethylene+ + H2O --> ethylene-H2O + H2O --> ethanol + H3O

    (Reaction mechanism here, note that here they're using a ringed alkene but the principle holds for other alkenes).

    Again, ethanol gets you drunk. But is this defined as khamr?

    More accurate example would be propylene glycol (used in halāl vanilla extracts( as a (chemically defined) alcohol that is not harām. Here's a paper on isopropanol (also known as isopropyl alcohol) toxicology, go to the abstract's conclusions:

    "Severe isopropanol poisoning results in CNS and respiratory depression and circulatory collapse. Treatment primarily consists of symptom-directed supportive care. Although hemodialysis increases the elimination of isopropanol and acetone substantially, it should only be considered in severe life-threatening poisonings. Patients usually make a full recovery provided they receive prompt supportive care."
    Additionally from healthline:

    "Ingestion may be accidental or deliberate. IPA causes rapid intoxication, so people sometimes drink it to get drunk. Other people use it to attempt suicide. IPA absorbed through the skin can also cause poisoning."
    There have been cases of homeless people getting drunk from isopropyl alcohol. So it would be harām.

    Allāh knows best

    In summary here are my questions:

    How do we define Khamr?

    Would the ethanol produced from ethylene hydrolysis be considered khamr?
  15. kaydani1

    kaydani1 Active Member

    How about people who work in a hospital or clinic where using hand sanitizers is a must? They usually contain alcohol.
  16. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    are you saying that it is ethanol that is Haram and najis; not just khamr?

    see, in as much as it can inebriate - it is Haram; but as far as its being unclean, it is moot. because, it is khamr that is najis not the chemical compound per se - though khamr is anywhere from 40% to 60% or more ethanol.

    ethanol is produced either by biological process, that is fermentation (which is the standard method of producing wine, beer and all other alcoholic beverages. which classify as khamr) or industrial production by hydration of ethene (or ethylene).

    other alcohols such as isopropyl alcohol etc. are not haram, which we all agree.

    Allah ta'ala knows best.
    some quick links:
    http://www.inclusive-science-engine...tion-method-to-produce-ethanol-from-ethylene/ (download the PDF - click the blue button on top right) [key statistic: in 2010, synthetic ethanol is only 7% of total ethanol production; and it is slowly increasing as it is more economical].
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  17. Juwayni

    Juwayni Active Member

    Regarding deodorants, many companies make vegan alcohol free deodorant.
  18. Juwayni

    Juwayni Active Member

    Ethanol is ethanol whether from dates, grain, corn, or grapes. H₃C-CH₂-O-H
  19. abu nibras

    abu nibras Staff Member

    Oh, ethyl alcohol, I thought we were the people of "khamr as in from dates and grapes"
  20. sherkhan

    sherkhan Veteran

    I was stating a common sense rule rather than a fiqhi rule.

    As Juwayni pointed out, 99.9% of vanilla used in "western" products for natural flavouring has alcohol as solvent (I tend to agree with that stat). So if the ingredients list vanilla as flavouring, wouldn't it be "common sense" to avoid the product (in the absence of specific clarification from the manufacturer)?

    Firstly, there is no dire need to consume that product (so much so that one may starve to death without it!). Secondly it is commonly known fact that vanilla (and similar such questionable ingredients) is not halal. Then why assume that it is not proven haram?

    There is a route of taqwa and safety, which is safer than "blindly" applying general principle of fiqh. I have seen a rather "silly" ruling along these lines on seekerspath fatwa section where it was ruled that alcohol-based perfumes could be used if non-alcohol-based ones are not available. Is using perfume in such circumstances of doubt and non-availability even necessary? Is it not safer to abstain?

    I am not trying to manufacture a rule, but I think the rule that you stated needs to be applied judiciously.

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