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    Bundaberg Ginger Beer: Lawful or not? 
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    _________________________ Ibn Yusuf's Avatar
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    Bismillah walhamdulillah wassalaatu wassalaam 'alaa RasoolAllah

    Assalaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

    About 8 or 9 months back, my brother (may Allah preserve him) was advised that he should no longer consume Bundaberg Ginger Beer. Subsequently, he sent me an email containing correspondence between his friend and a staff member from Bundaberg Customer Support which cited the reasons for the advice my brother received. The email read as follows:

    Email Reply from Bundaberg Customer Support:

    Thank you for your email in relation to the alcohol content in our brewed products.

    All Bundaberg Brewed Drinks naturally brewed products contain minute residual traces of alcohol. Our manufacturing process uses natural yeast which feed on sugars and ferments the “brew” to be used as a base for our beverages. Alcohol is a by-product of this fermentation process. Before we fill the product into bottles we heat the brew to above 70 degrees C. to kill the yeast, halt the fermentation process, and remove the alcohol. After this heating process our Lemon Lime Bitters “contains on average 0.07% alcohol” and our Ginger Beer has a ”residual average alcohol level of 0.2%”. It is this manufacturing process, and the natural brew component in our beverages which adds the flavour profile unique to our products.

    The legal level allowable in a soft drink for it to be labelled as a non alcoholic beverage is 0.5% - well above the level contained in our products. We promote all of our beverages as a soft drink which is an acceptable alternative to intoxicating beverages. For further confirmation you may find information regarding Non Alcoholic Beverages in Food Standard 2.6.2 on www.FZANZ.com and at www.anzfa.gov.au

    Bundaberg Brewed Drinks welcomes all enquiries from our consumers, as it is only through our valued customers that we understand how our products are perceived.

    Once again we thank you for your enquiry. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us again.


    Yours faithfully
    BUNDABERG BREWED DRINKS PTY LTD

    So how should we view Bundaberg Ginger Beer? Is it an intoxicant or not? Is it lawful or unlawful?

    To begin, let us point out that all intoxicants are prohibited, as the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Every intoxicating substance is unlawful." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]

    However, we also need to realise that according to Islamic Law, a substance is classified as an intoxicant if the substance itself (as a whole) has the ability to intoxicate when consumed and not merely on whether there is a percentage of alcohol in it.

    In light of the above, to clarify whether or not Bundaberg Ginger Beer is an intoxicant (which would make it unlawful) we would need to clarify whether Bundaberg Ginger Beer, if consumed in any quantity has the ability to intoxicate.

    We would not clarify whether or not Bundaberg Ginger Beer is an intoxicant based on the fact that it may or may not have a percentage of alcohol in it. Rather we would clarify whether or not Bundaberg Ginger Beer is an intoxicant based on the characteristics of Bundaberg Ginger Beer itself.

    With that said, let’s look at the characteristics of Bundaberg Ginger Beer in further detail.

    It seems quite clear that consuming Bundaberg Ginger Beer according to normal consumption levels (i.e. the standard serving sizes or less) is not likely to intoxicate anyone. If it did, it would clearly be labelled as such by Government Bodies or the like and children/drivers/people operating machinery/etc would not be allowed to consume it.

    However, the Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, then a small quantity of it is forbidden." [Related by al-Tirmidhî, Abű Dawűd, al-Nasâ'î, Ibn Mâjah, al-Dâraqutnî, and Ahmad with an authentic chain of transmission]

    From this we learn that if high levels of consumption of a substance (in this case Bundaberg Ginger Beer) lead to intoxication, then it is unlawful to consume even a small quantity of that substance.

    Given the above, it is essential that we also consider whether high consumption levels of Bundaberg Ginger Beer would intoxicate.

    With this in mind, let’s ask ourselves the following:

    If a person consumes a ridiculously large quantity of Bundaberg Ginger Beer (e.g. the maximum consumption humanly possible), would they get intoxicated?

    If the person is intoxicated by this very high level of consumption, then we’d know that Bundaberg Ginger Beer is an intoxicant and as such unlawful. If the person does not suffer from intoxication from this very high level of consumption, then we’d know that Bundaberg Ginger Beer is not classified as an intoxicant.

    So ask yourself, will this extremely high level of consumption intoxicate?

    I highly doubt that it will. wAllahu 'alam

    Nonetheless, given that Bundaberg Ginger Beer bottles do look a lot like a regular beer bottle, if you do drink it, I would recommend that you avoid doing so in public or straight from the bottle. I'm sure nobody wants others getting the wrong idea.

    Furthermore, if people are drinking Bundaberg Ginger Beer to immitate drinkers of alcohol, know that this immitation is not lawful or befitting a muslim. Remember, the Prophet (salAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever imitates a people is of them" [Abi Dawood, Ahmed]

    In concluding, it is vital to recognise that declaring things unlawful is something that should not be taken lightly. After all, Allah says (which means):

    O you who believe! Make not unlawful the Taiyibat (all that is good as regards foods, things, deeds, beliefs, persons, etc.) which Allah has made lawful to you, and transgress not. Verily, Allah does not like the transgressors.
    And eat of the things which Allah has provided for you, lawful and good, and fear Allah in Whom you believe
    [Surah Maaidah, ayah 87 – 88]


    SubhanAllah walhamdulillah, may Allah grant us that which is best in this life and the next, wassalaatu wassalaam ‘alaa RasoolAllah

    And Allah knows best

    Wassalaamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh
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    #2
    Umm Musa
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    My in-laws introduced me to bundaberg ginger beer, I've been drinking it for over 4 years now!
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    #3
    Umm Musa
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    Trust me no matter how much you drank you couldn't get intoxicated....you would get sick from the excessive amount of sugar & acidity though
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    Salams yes I'd daresay that you will get affected by the sugar much sooner than you would to get to the intoxicated level
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    So, to just be clear....its ok to drink it, but we should be sensitive to the general public seeing us drinking it in case they mistake it for beer.

    What about selling it?
    When Allah tests you, it is never intended to destroy you.
    When He removes something in your possession,
    it is only in order to empty your hands for an even greater gift."
    Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah
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    Assalaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

    What about selling it?
    Anas ibn Maalik (radiyAllah anh) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (salAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) cursed ten types of people with regard to wine: the one who presses (the grapes), the one for whom it is pressed, the one who drinks it, the one who carries it, the one to whom it is carried, the one who pours it, the one who sells it and consumes its price, the one who buys it and the one for whom it is bought.”
    [Collected by Tirmidhi, rahimahullah, and Abi Dawood, rahimahullah]


    The Prophet (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) also said: "When Allah forbids a thing, he also forbids it's price (i.e. it is forbidden to sell the unlawful)"
    [Collected by Abi Dawood and classed as Sahih by al-Albaani, rahimahullah, in Sahih al-Jaami]


    In light of the above, it's clear that we are not allowed to sell intoxicants - regardless of whether the intoxicant is wine, beer, spirits, marijuana, cocaine, etc.

    However, in saying this, let's remember that we classify something as an intoxicant based on whether the substance itself can intoxicate if consumed in either large or small quantities.

    Seeing as Bundaberg Ginger Beer does not seem to intoxicate when you consume a small amount or the largest amount humanly possible, it does not seem to be something we can classify as an intoxicant. As such, I can't see why there'd be a problem selling it.

    wAllahu 'alam
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    Salam, sorry if this is a change of subject, but can this methodology also be applied in the use of wine in cooking, where it is claimed that the majority of alcohol is evaporated and not enough to intoxicate?
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    Bismillah walhamdulillah wassalaatu wassalaam 'alaa RAsoolAllah

    ASsalaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

    Salam, sorry if this is a change of subject, but can this methodology also be applied in the use of wine in cooking, where it is claimed that the majority of alcohol is evaporated and not enough to intoxicate?
    To answer this, let's look at a real world example.

    Let's say a non-muslim neighbour comes over and gives you a bowl full of pasta. The pasta has no unlawful products therein, with the exception of a little wine that was added to the pasta sauce during cooking and burnt away while on the stove.

    Now we know that we can't eat intoxicants (refer to the hadith we quoted earlier). So, to clarify if the pasta is considered something that Islamic Law considers an intoxicant, we would consider whether:

    1. Consuming the pasta in small quantities would intoxicate (e.g. Considering whether a bite size portion of this pasta could intoxicate)
    2. Consuming the pasta in large quantities would intoxicate (e.g. Considering whether consuming the largest quantity of this pasta humanly possible could intoxicate)

    If you can be intoxicated by either eating a small or large quantity of this pasta, then you would consider the pasta to be an intoxicant and therefore unlawful.

    So to answer the question, this principle applies to wine in cooking as well.

    wAllahu 'alam
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    #9
    Zamboangueńa BintMuhammad's Avatar
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    So we can order pasta that has small amount of alcohol in it? Whatabout make our own pasta and buy wine and mix a small amount to the pasta?
    http://www.aussiemuslims.com/forums/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=2979&dateline=1347038  468
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    #10
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    Assalaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

    Masha-Allah! Good questions! May Allah reward you amply

    So we can order pasta that has small amount of alcohol in it?
    As explained earlier, if the substance as a whole doesn't intoxicate in large or small quantities, then it is not considered an intoxicant in Islamic Law, and subsequently lawful to consume (provided that it doesn't contain any other unlawful ingredients, like pork, etc.). Apply this to the pasta.

    Importantly, let's remember that care needs to be taken, as many dishes may still get you intoxicated even after cooking - particularly when eating large quantities. Let's also be wise with the way we deal with this (especially since many people do not understand this issue)

    Furthermore, let's keep in mind that the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

    "That which is lawful is plain and that which is unlawful is plain and between the two of them are doubtful matters about which not many people know. Thus he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor, but he who falls into doubtful matters falls into that which is unlawful, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Truly every king has a sanctuary, and truly Allah's sanctuary is His prohibitions. Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be whole, all the body is whole and which, if it be diseased, all of it is diseased. Truly it is the heart." [Related by Bukhari and Muslim]

    Whatabout make our own pasta and buy wine and mix a small amount to the pasta?
    It is unlawful to buy wine to put into our own meals which we prepare at home. I say this as wine on its own is a known intoxicant (which intoxicates in large and small volumes alike), and we are forbidden from buying intoxicants

    Remember, Anas ibn Maalik (radiyAllah anh) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (salAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) cursed ten types of people with regard to wine: the one who presses (the grapes), the one for whom it is pressed, the one who drinks it, the one who carries it, the one to whom it is carried, the one who pours it, the one who sells it and consumes its price, the one who buys it and the one for whom it is bought.”
    [Collected by Tirmidhi, rahimahullah, and Abi Dawood, rahimahullah]


    wAllahu 'alam
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    #11
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    id be more worried about imitation of a well known haraam item seeing as you wouldnt be able to tell the difference without a close look and possible perception of those around you. the Prophet (saas) was always mindful of the perceptions of those around him as we saw in the hadeeth when the two men saw him walking with his wife one night. would it be ok to say eat a product made to look and taste like bacon?. what about men wearing items that look like gold? can women dye their eyebrows to make them look thinner? to be honest i dont know ..but sounds like walking a fine line
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    #12
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    id be more worried about imitation of a well known haraam item seeing as you wouldnt be able to tell the difference without a close look and possible perception of those around you. the Prophet (saas) was always mindful of the perceptions of those around him as we saw in the hadeeth when the two men saw him walking with his wife one night. would it be ok to say eat a product made to look and taste like bacon?. what about men wearing items that look like gold? can women dye their eyebrows to make them look thinner? to be honest i dont know ..but sounds like walking a fine line
    May Allah reward you!

    Our brother, Abdraheim (may Allah reward him), has highlighted many of the reasons why I recommend that people who are going to drink Bundaberg Ginger Beer do so away from public eyes, etc.

    Also, let's remember the following:

    if people are drinking Bundaberg Ginger Beer to immitate drinkers of alcohol, know that this immitation is not lawful or befitting a muslim. Remember, the Prophet (salAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever imitates a people is of them" [Abi Dawood, Ahmed]
    Abdraheim,

    JazakAllah khair!
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    #13
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    As explained earlier, if the substance as a whole doesn't intoxicate in large or small quantities, then it is not considered an intoxicant in Islamic Law, and subsequently lawful to consume (provided that it doesn't contain any other unlawful ingredients, like pork, etc.). Apply this to the pasta.
    Ibn Yusuf: Sh. Ahmad ar-Ruhaili answered the same question and said that it is not permissible. So whilst the principle you are saying is correct the implemention in the case of the pasta scenario isn't. wallahu 'alam

    There is also the point that majority of scholars consider alcohol to be najis so it would be haram on more than one level.

    The usual questions regarding alcohol are referring to extremely minute quantities whilst the alcohol that is added to food such as pasta etc is not a minute quantity and also doesn't change it's form and is the type of alcohol that people drink. See:
    http://islam-qa.com/en/ref/1814/ and http://islam-qa.com/en/ref/1938

    The alcohol in pasta is the same alcohol that you drink which is forbidden by Allah subhanah wa ta'ala. So even a small quantity in food is not permissible.

    And Allah knows best.
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    #14
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    Assalaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

    May Allah reward you! Masha-Allah, you've raised some very good points

    Before I begin, let me point out that I merely explained the concept and didn't unequivacly claim that any and all pasta which was made with wine is lawful or unlawful for that matter.

    What I did try to explain is that if a meal, a pasta for example, was made with alcohol and the substance itself (as a whole) doesn't intoxicate in large or small quantities, then it would not be considered an intoxicant. If anyone was mistaken, please re-read what I wrote. JazakAllah khair.

    I am unaware of what our beloved Shaykh Ahmed al-Ruhaily (hafidahullah) has said, however the fatawa from islamqa that our sister (may Allah preserve her) has posted both seem to support what I wrote. From my understanding, the fatawa merely indicated that the alcohol content was significant enough to intoxicate - be it in small or large quantities of consumption. This is not contradicting what I wrote, as I agree that if the pasta from my earlier example intoxicated in large or small quantities it would be an intoxicant and therefore unlawful.

    On another note, many Scholars (may Allah preserve them) do consider alcohol to be impure. However, even if this opinion is followed, it is important to also remember that there is an established principle in Islamic Law, which states that when an extremely small quantity of an impure substance is found in a large quantity of a pure substance, the final substance will not become impure.

    In light of this prinicple, if we, for example, were to pour a bottle of urine into the ocean, the water within the ocean would still be considered pure, as the impurity of the urine in comparison to the purity of the ocean is so low that it can be considered negligible.

    Subsequently, even if we consider alcohol to be an impure substance (which is debatable among Scholars – may Allah preserve them all), if the percentage of alcohol makes up a very minute part of the substance, it might be considered negligible.

    Again, I am merely explaining the concepts and giving people the tools to help them in their choices. I am not stating that each and every pasta that was made using wine is lawful or that alcohol is pure or impure for that matter, etc.

    In concluding, I advise anyone requiring more info to discuss this with a Scholar or Student of Knowledge (may Allah preserve them). I also advise everyone to take the safest options and avoid doubtful matters.

    The Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

    "That which is lawful is plain and that which is unlawful is plain and between the two of them are doubtful matters about which not many people know. Thus he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor, but he who falls into doubtful matters falls into that which is unlawful, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Truly every king has a sanctuary, and truly Allah's sanctuary is His prohibitions. Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be whole, all the body is whole and which, if it be diseased, all of it is diseased. Truly it is the heart."
    [Related by Bukhari and Muslim]


    wAllahu 'alam

    SubhanAllah, may Allah guide me and all of you and protect us from all harm, wassalaatu wassalaam 'alaa RasoolAllah

    Wassalaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh
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    #15
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    assalamu alaikum

    Firstly my fiqh explaining skills are pretty bad so it's best to get a shaykh to explain the issue for further detail.

    Sh. Ahmad was asked the same question that is being mentioned in the topic - is wine is added to food and most of it cooks out so that a large quantity of it wouldn't intoxicate then is it permissible to eat it? The answer was no.

    This fatwa probably explains it better: http://islamqa.com/en/ref/103881

    The issue in the pasta isn't just about small or large quantities. It's about having wine (khamr) added to the food making it impermissible. The quantities of alcohol that are added to food are not insignificant and it is known that all the alcohol does not simply evaporate. And lastly the issue of the najasa of alcohol especially as the quantity of alcohol added is not minute. However the main thing is that it is khamr that is being added to the food.

    I urge everyone to ask a shaykh if they are unclear on the issue. The fatawa online might not be that clear to everyone.

    I'm only emphasising on this because I do believe the impression being given so far (even if that is not the intention) would lead a lot of people to think that eating food with alcohol added is permissible just because if you ate 100 bowls of pasta you wouldn't get intoxicated.

    And Allah knows best.

    wassalamu alaikum
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    Official Fatwa from South African National Halaal Authority

    Muhtaram, Assalâmu 'alaykum w.w.

    Jazâkumullâh Khairan for your query and for the opportunity to be of service to you. We advise as follows:

    The ethyl alcohol used in flavours as extraction agents/ solvents etc are
    condoned when found in miniscule trace levels in end products. Such products
    (vanilla essence, ice creams etc) would be permissible to consume. The
    reason for this is that the ethyl alcohol is not regarded as najis (impure)
    like wine etc
    and its application is not as an intoxicating element, hence
    the Fuqaha have condoned its presence in such instances due to public
    predicament.

    Was-salâm
    Consumer Dept
    0861 786 111
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    #17
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    A Hanafi fatwa from sunnipath:

    Islamic Law regarding Alcohol

    If it is known with certainty that medicine or food contains Alcohol derived from one of the four sources [Ashribah Arba’] raw grape juice, processed grape juice, dried grape (raisins) juice and date juice then such medicine and food are not permissible.

    Medicinal Alcohol

    Regarding medicine if on the authority of a competent doctor, no alternative medication is available, then the usage of such medicine in limitation and necessity will be allowed. In these circumstances Hanafi Fiqh allows Tadawi bil Haraam [medicine from Haraam sources]. If it is known with certainty that alcohol derived other than the four sources have been used as ingredients in medication or food then according to Imaam Abu Hanifa and Imaam Abu Yusuf Rahmatullah Alayhima. It will be permissible to use such medication providing it does not intoxicate.

    Food Alcohol

    However food containing this ingredient will not be permissible to consume whether it intoxicates or not, providing Halaal and pure food is freely available. If Halaal food is not freely available and this food containing alcohol, as one of its ingredient in some form or other, is the only food available and it is extremely difficult to abstain therefrom. Then in such circumstances both, Imaam Abu Hanifa and Imaam Abu Yusuf allow the consumption of such food providing it does not intoxicate. It should be remembered that this second type of alcohol if used as an ingredient in food and medicine is not permissible. The ruling is on the Fatwah of Imaam Muhammad but because of [Umoom Balwa, public predicament it] will be allowed following the ruling of the Shaikhain, Imaam Abu Hanifa and Imaam Abu Yusuf.
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    Assalaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

    To be honest, I still fail to see where any contradiction lies.

    On a side note, remember that online fatawa will often not explain an issue in detail. Furthermore, there are aspects that affect a fatwa (e.g. the prevalent customs of the people, the state of the questioner, the impact the answer may have on others reading it, etc). As such, I recommend, as our sister (may Allah preserve her) has advised, that I and others alike learn these fiqhi issues directly from a Scholar or Student of Knowledge (may Allah preserve them all).

    wAllahu 'alam

    SubhanAllah, may Allah guide me and you all and grant us that which is best in this life and the next, wassalaatu wassalaam 'alaa RAsoolAllah

    Wassalaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh
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    One needs to consider the alcohol when it is first introduced to the food item. If at that point it would be considered an intoxicant then it is najas and haram and anything that it is added to itself becomes najas. Heating the food item after this point, and therefore removing the alcohol content, makes no difference any longer. The item became najas at the point and time of contact.
    Out to lunch...back in 15 years.
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    OK Ghaith explained it a lot better than me in a lot less words masha'Allah jazakallah khair.
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