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Note: This post is intended to provide a canonical answer for a common class of questions


The forbiddance of drinking khamr is is well-known in Sunni Islam, based primarily on the following Qur'anic ayah:

[Al-Ma'idah 90] O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants (khamr), gambling, stone altars, and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.

In addition, two common ahadith are used to elaborate on this, as follows:

Every intoxicant is wine (khamr) and every intoxicant is forbidden.

and

Whatever intoxicates in large amounts, a small amount of it is unlawful.

Whereas the forbiddance on drinking alcoholic beverages in general is, to the best of my knowledge, unanimously held, there is some dispute between the scholars as to how far the prohibition against foods that contain alcohol — even trace amounts — is to be taken.

While I'm sure there are many others I'm missing, off the top of my head some of the points of contention would include issues such as "Is the alcohol from wine (i.e. grapes) or some other source," "Does the final product contain enough alcohol to be detected or to have an intoxicating effect," "Was the alcohol added intentionally, or did it generate naturally (e.g. leavened bread, fermented fruit juice)," and "Does the rule of necessity apply (e.g. alcohol in medicine)?"

In order to prevent opinion-based voting, please refrain from posting answers that only cover a single point of view: What I am looking for in an answer here is a single post summarizing the major points of contention and predominant opinions of each of the Sunni madhahib, ideally with a brief explanation of why that opinion is held if it is fundamentally different from the others or seems to go against clear evidences. Including significant opinions outside of those dominantly held by the major madhahib would also be welcome, as long as they're clearly marked as such.

In the interest of keeping this from getting too broad (if it isn't already), I am limiting this question to alcohol that is clearly meant for human consumption (i.e. food, beverages or oral medication); the issue of alcohol being used in things like perfume or topical treatments is irrelevant here.

  • At least for the question: "Is the alcohol from wine (i.e. grapes) or some other source". The ruling is (I am assuming universal) that alcohol can be made from anything based on this hadith: sunnah.com/abudawud/27/8. – The Z May 12 '18 at 0:55
  • @TheZ According to the majority of the scholars Khamr is the name of every drink that intoxicates. However it is narrated about one of the Tabieen, and a group from the Kufis and some of the Hanafis do not consider alcoholic drinks derived from other than grape and dates to be Khamr, because of various narrations such as this one. They would allow for their consumption when the amount consumed is not enough to cause intoxication provided that it is for a specific purpose (like medication) and not for leisurely drinking. – UmH May 14 '18 at 12:58
  • This question requires an actual scholar who studied all madhabs of sunni islam; I'm not sure you can find an answer easily here so I advise you to visit your nearest mosque or islamic center. As far as I know, I always prefer to avoid anything that has confusion about it. If Allah allowed it, you wouldn't have sinned by avoiding it, and if Allah prohibited, you wouldn't have "mistakenly" done it; it's closer to taqwa. I also want you to emphasize and stress on the 2nd hadith you mentioned to consider that alcohol in food, even if in small amounts, is haram, but, Allah Knows Best. – Ahmad Tn May 18 '18 at 17:39
  • @goldPseudo: It seems that the Hanbali view is harder to find an answer for. The three other madhabs have a clear view on that matter. So I'll dig a little deeper to got to the answer you seek. And note which Sunni madhabs do you consider to exist? Only maliki, shafi, hanafi and hanbali, right? Or also Zahiri? – user24306 Jul 27 '18 at 10:01
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I could not find the exact source but in some Translations of the mentioned verse of the Holy Quran, the word "small amount" has been written as "a drop". So it's better just to avoid anything that is clearly told to be Haram, without questioning about it's permissible quantity. Of course, the rule does not apply if it was consumed unknowingly, accidentally or to save one's life.

Furthermore, during the process of baking or vinegar making, alcohol is definitely made, but evaporates completely because of the heat. So it is Halal to consume such fermented foods. Allah 'aelam

  • This doesn't give even the hint of an answer. As the question goes far beyond what you've been explaining. The matter is how "small" an amount of alcohol must be to be accepted based on the views of the different schools of fiqh. – Sassir Mar 6 at 8:07
  • @Sassir What I meant to say was that not even a drop of alcohol is allowed until the need is crucial. – Bella Swan Mar 7 at 4:52

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