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According to Daily Mail:

"Coca-Cola and Pepsi contain minute traces of alcohol, scientific research published in France has revealed."

"They suggest that the alcohol levels are as low as 10mg in every litre, and this works out at around 0.001 per cent alcohol."

If it indeed contain 0.001 per cent alcohol - would that still count as Haraam?

  • 5
    If I'm not mistaken, "intoxicants" is haraam, not alcohol itself. Traces of alcohol won't make it an intoxicant, and you'll die of diabetes long before you get drunk. But I don't know Arabic that well, so I dare not say if it's intoxicants or alcohol. – Muz Oct 12 '12 at 8:04
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    Anything that has sugar in its ingredients will have minute traces of alcohol. Even bread has tiny amounts of alcohol in it. Fermenting is the natural process of certain bacteria feeding on sugar and creating alcohol as a byproduct, the only difference is that in intoxicants the fermenting is further encouraged by the brewing process. – System Down Oct 13 '12 at 0:21
  • On a side note, you don't need Coke to live a full/healthy life, and it will be no sin on you to give it up. So why not give it up? – nami Oct 15 '12 at 8:46
  • @nami - I'm not a fan of this approach, as it is akin to making what is halal into haram. Something we have been warned against doing. – System Down Oct 15 '12 at 20:46
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    It also steps near the line of bid'ah to say that something may be forbidden when it's actually not. In a similar manner, almost every juice contains 0.1% traces of alcohol: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_by_volume – Muz Oct 19 '12 at 14:24
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As you would expect, alcohol is haram, and this is clearly established by the Qur'an and Sunnah.

As for what percentage, there is a hadith that says "what is haram in large quantities is haram in small quantities" But what about really, really small quantities?

Another hadith often used in tahara states that:

If the colour, smell, or taste changes, the purity changes.

This hadith is da'eef; however, by ijmaa, all of the scholars agree to the principle outlined in this hadith.

Based on this, many scholars say that, with food, some quanity of impurity is allowed, without changing the ruling on the food. How small a quantity?

One of my teachers said "I asked shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen this question, and he told me: shari'ah doesn't come with numbers."

You can read this long explanation about the halality of Doritos, which explains this issue in excruciating detail (among other issues). The shaykh suggests a number like 0.0001% of haram will not affect the final purity.

Source: Weekend class on fiqh of food and clothing

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    I believe the hadith states what intoxicates in large quantities is forbidden in small quantities - by that reasoning, since large amounts of Coke do not intoxicate, small amounts are not impermissible. However that doesn't rule out other reasons it may be impermissible. – Ansari Dec 14 '12 at 4:09
  • I see that "purity" is dependent on observable chemical changes. – Double U Sep 8 '13 at 19:52
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I don't want to make fatwa, but as I've read in this fatwa, the Hadith by Prophet Mohammad is:"That what its many makes you drunk, its few is forbidden."

This fatwa is by IslamWeb, and they said due to the preceding Hadith, then any thing containing alcohol is forbidden even it was in a very low amount and it doesn't make you drunk. Unless due to the chemical mixture its material is changed and no more alcohol (Which is not the case in the Coke, I believe).

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The impracticality of totally eliminating alcohol consumption

Alcohol occurs naturally in the food we eat and the drinks we drink:

Ethanol production has also been observed under natural conditions in such tissues as germinating seeds, fruits, and root tips. -- Cossins and Beevers, Ethanol Metabolism in Plant Tissues, Plant Physiol. 1963 (link)

...ethyl alcohol contents of different kinds of beverages, vinegars, vegetables and fruits collected from Turkish markets were investigated ... the ethanol contents of fruits, vinegars and beverages were found to vary between 0.32x10-4-0.35% (w/w), apple vinegar and concentrated orange syrup were determined to contain as high as 0.44 and 0.68 % (w/w) ethanol, respectively. -- Gunduz, Yilmaz and Goren, Halal Food and Metrology: Ethyl Alcohol Contents of Beverages, J. Chem. Metrol, 2013 (pdf)

Consequently, this discussion is not limited to Coke, etc., but foods and beverages as a whole. We are forced to accept some level of alcohol consumption (barring some ultra-restrictive diet). Thus, we are forced to either accept (a) some level of permissibility of alcohol consumption, or (b) sinning in the form of alcohol consumption being unavoidable.

Moreover, even if we were to somehow avoid consuming alcohol, our bodies ferment it regardless.

The human body constantly produces small amounts of alcohol itself. Normal levels of 0.01 to 0.03 mg of alcohol/100 ml are contained in the blood. -- Alcohol allergy, Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)

Small but definitely measurable quantities of alcohol are normally present in many parts of the human body: in the liver, brain and blood; from bacteria in the large intestine; and in the muscles. -- Ibrahim B. Syed, Alcohol and Islam

Fatawa

Surveying the online fatawa, revealed the following overall theme:

  • If a substance is incapable of intoxicating even in large quantities, then it is not haram (insofar as to being an intoxicant). Some add the caveat that the alcohol in drinks should also not be derived from dates and grapes.

And I think it's safe to say that Coke, etc., is not intoxicating even in large quantities, at least, as far as alcohol is concerned [the sugar, caffeine, and artificial ingredients in it may be another story]. And, as far as I'm aware, is not derived from dates and grapes.

What follows are some pertinent fatawa (there are many others online, so my search was not exhaustive).

  • These specifically address soft drinks:

    The contents and procedure of making the Bundaberg brewed drink as explained by yourself is the same as other soft drinks. The alcohol amount is minute and is from sugar cane and not from grapes or dates. Such soft drinks are permissible -- AskImam.org about Bundaberg ginger beer

    ...since the alcohol in coke is from ethanol which is fermented from sugar cane mollasses and does not intoxicate, it is permissible. -- AskImam.org

    Generally speaking the alcohol which is found in soft drinks is chemically made and not extracted from grapes or dates, thus it will be permissible to consume the soft drink. (Ahsanul Fatawa p.488 v.8) -- DarulIftaBirmingham sourced from IslamQA.org

    ...if the alcohol in the soft drink is made from anything other than grapes and dates, it will be permissible to consume the soft drink. -- Mufti-Online.net

    The above fatwa quotes Muhammad saying "Alcohol itself is prohibited and intoxication in every other beverage." (which I cannot confirm as authentic; so I asked here).

  • Related fatwa in various other contexts:

    "Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, a little of it is haraam" means that if a lot of something will cause intoxication, and a little of it will not cause intoxication, then a lot or a little are both haraam, because you may drink a little that does not cause intoxication, then you may be tempted to drink more and become intoxicated. But if something is mixed with alcohol but the alcohol is a small amount and does not have any effect, then it is halaal and does not come under the ruling of this hadeeth. -- Islam Q&A, 33763, in the context of beer

    ...non-alcoholic beer... though there is a trace amount of alcohol in certain brands... this minute amount does not in any way warrant classifying the drink as an intoxicating beverage. It would be extremely difficult for a person to drink enough of the beer for the alcohol within it to have any affect. -- IslamToday.net

    The incidental presence of alcohol (from non-wine sources) does not make an item haram, as long as it is: [1] Not being used to intoxicate; [2] Not being used in an amount that intoxicates; [3] Not being used as intoxicants are used; [4] Not being used for vain (i.e. useless) purposes. -- Qibla.com, sourced from IslamQA.org, in the context of naturally occurring alcohol in fruit

    Ice creams generally contain such a small percentage of alcohol that could not intoxicate, thus if the alcohol is from corn and is in a minute quantity, then it would be permissible. -- AskImam.org about ice cream

  • However, the above opinion was not unanimous, but far more common. I encountered a single fatwa taking a contrary stance, which specifically addresses soft drinks:

    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. -- Islam.ru

    (NB. I did encounter contrary stances to non-alcoholic beers and vinegar made from wine, which weren't relevant to the Coke discussion.)


The IslamToday.net fatwa, in the context of non-alcoholic beers, gives this way of understanding its ruling:

Sheikh Salman al-Oadah astutely observed: "The percentage of alcohol mentioned has no effect on the ruling. The ruling applies to the drink itself taken as a whole and not to its composition."

While even a drop of alcohol may be forbidden, and while Coke, etc., may contain a drop of alcohol, we don't separate the alcohol out and drink it---we drink Coke as a whole.

3

A translated fatwa from my country (Malaysia, Shafi'i):

(I'm not going to translate the word Arak here, as the english word for alcohol is used for the drink as well as the chemical. In context, the word Arak here means a drink that is used as an intoxicant.)

  1. All Arak contains alcohol. Not all alcohol is a component of Arak. Alcohol from the process of Arak creation is haraam and najis, but alcohol that is not from the process of Arak creaion is not najis, but haram to drink.

  2. Drinks that are created from the same process of Arak creation, whether it contains a little alcohol or the alcohol is removed is haraam.

  3. Drinks that are not intended to be Arak or intoxicants and not created in the same method are halal.

  4. Tapai is halal.

  5. Alcohol as a byproduct of food creation is not a najis and can be eaten.

  6. Medicine and perfumes that contain alcohol are permitted.

(Personally disagree with point 2 as other scholars have said that non-alcoholic beer and wine vinegar is halal, but just translating)

Source: http://www.e-fatwa.gov.my/fatwa-kebangsaan/alkohol-menurut-pandangan-islam

Another less formal source on this:

If alcohol is derived from grapes or dates, it will be haram and impure. If it is from anything else besides dates and grapes and it does not intoxicate directly or through a mixture, then it is permissible.

Some research turns up this point of view as a common one in other parts of the world, but this is the most formal version I could find.

Source: http://central-mosque.com/index.php/General-Fiqh/alcohol-its-kinds-usage-and-rulings.html

0

The Prophet Muhammad SAW has said, "Whatever intoxicates in large amounts, a small amount of it is (also) haraam" - Abu Dawud, Volume 4, Hadith Number - 3681

Allah SWT has forbade mankind from alcohol usage. It is the pranks of satan who makes men drink alcohol, which is also in indirect form! Islam's laws are simple and firm. Follow them by the word!

0

My Ulama explained it in simple terms. "If you had a massive pot of curry and one guy put a tiny droplet of urine in it would you eat it? The whole pot becomes impure due to the droplet." In the same way......"If an intoxicating version of alcohol is used and contaminates the drink by even 0.01% it is haraam." I say.... "If in doubt, spit it out! No risk is worth it if the consequence is the wrath of Allah in the hereafter!" Just to clarify, our scholar said if the type of alcohol found is of the same nature as is used in producing some form of intoxicating drink then it is Haraam!

  • If someone poured a bottle of alcohol into a river, is the river impure? – Seeker May 21 '14 at 19:54
  • So if you are wounded you would refuse to use alcohol in order to stop an infection just because you will be impure?? There is a big confusion about the word "impure" and I would not use it everywhere. – Mehdi Jul 1 '14 at 2:34
  • Islam doesnot work on analogies my friend. Let me put a similar analogy against it, if a small drop of urine touch ur cloth and dry your cloth will become unclean while if a same small drop of semen touch ur cloth and dry your cloth will stay clean. Both things are coming out of same origin. So come with reference not with analogies. – NaXir Jul 18 '14 at 5:57
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Simply , you're not getting the picture here , Alcohol is not the haram thing but anything that makes you "drunk" (Losing your own control) is haram , but if drinking a coke doesn't make you losing your own control , so it's halal , the problem is not in Alcohol (as an ingrediant) but in what he does to human mind and body !

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    Really? Alcohol is NOT haram?? can you back your claims with scholarly opinion? or Quran and hadith? – Farhan Dec 15 '13 at 14:14
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    To those who are downvoting, can you please bring any reference where "alcohol" is clearly stated?? As far as I know hadith and Coran only talk about "Maysar" and "Khamr", this answer is not fully wrong, so try to think before you downvote – Mehdi Jul 1 '14 at 2:36

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