Have you ever been interested in trying non-alcoholic beverages but felt completely oblivious to whether it is permitted or not in your religion? 

If you are a follower of the Islamic faith – in which consumption of alcohol isn’t allowed – and are interested in trying something that tastes very similar to it, we attempt to answer most common questions that you may have on this subject. 

We will discuss different categories of non-alcoholic drinks, how they are made, their side effects and Islamic rulings on their permissibility for its adherents.

Why Exactly is Alcohol Haram (forbidden) in Islam?

You are probably aware of the fact that alcohol is Haram (forbidden) in the religion of Islam, but many people are still clueless as to why this is the case. 

In Islamic law, all kinds of intoxicants are forbidden primarily because of the negative effects they have on people. Nowadays, alcohol is not the only intoxicant to be mindful of, there are in fact a variety of options in the industry of intoxicants. 

One particular research tells us that just alcohol alone is a cause for 60 different adverse health conditions.

Another research, done in the United States tells us that more than 95,000 people die each year from excessive drinking of alcohol; that’s around 260 deaths per day! Furthermore, in the Quran it mentions that wine (a form of intoxicant) and gambling are a cause for hatred between people and that it is a way of distracting one from the remembrance of God.

“Indeed, Satan desires to incur enmity and hatred between you through intoxicants and gambling, and he desires to prevent you from God’s remembrance and prayer, yet will you, then give [them] up?” (Quran, 5: 91)

In addition, the Quran, talks about alcohol in another place where it mentions the point that despite the benefit wine can have, the sin is far greater:

“They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin, and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.”(Quran 2 : 219)

Just those two verses from the Holy Quran show that drinking is considered an evil habit in Islam and therefore forbidden.

What is the difference between Non Alcoholic, Low Alcoholic and Zero Alcoholic Drinks?

Most people who drink beer regularly, probably know about the 3 categories of alcoholic drinks. Those are: Non-alcoholic beers, Low alcoholic beers and Zero alcoholic beers.

The terminology used to describe low alcoholic drinks is unnecessarily complex. However, we have written about the differences between low alcohol, non alcoholic and zero alcoholic drinks previously.

For those that drink once in a while, or for those who are Muslim and don’t drink at all, let’s talk about the principal points of what makes the three categories of Beer different from each other.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

In essence, a drink which is non-alcoholic (also referred to as ‘alcohol-free drinks’) is a beer that contains less than 0.05% ABV (Alcohol by Volume).

A drink containing 0.05% ABV is an extremely low amount; in fact, an average alcoholic beer contains ~4.5% ABV, which is ninety-times more than an alcohol-free drink contains. In most cases, non-alcoholic drinks are made by removing the alcohol from the beer.

Low-Alcoholic Drinks

A low-alcohol beer in simple terms, is an alcohol with a reduced ABV, typically containing somewhere between 0.5 and 1.2% ABV. Even though it is 10 times more than the non-alcoholic beverage, it is still a really small amount considering that it is nine times less than the average 4.5% beverage of alcohol.

Zero Alcoholic Drinks

Last on this list is the ‘Zero Alcoholic beer,’ which is essentially a way of making alcohol taste exactly like the original, except that the alcohol is removed from the beer and blended by brewmakers to ultimately come out with an appealing fruity flavor similar to the original.

Despite the statement: “The alcohol is removed from the beer,” multiple studies show that not 100% of the alcohol is removed from the beer.

The Differences Between these 3 categories of Drinks

Whilst non-alcoholic beer and zero alcoholic drinks both contain minimal amounts of alcohol, one may argue that their names are, to some extent, misleading since none of them are really 100% free of alcohol.

A typical example of the dilemma that alcohol labelling can cause was made apparent by the recent launch of Heineken 0.0 in Malaysia, where the brand had to clarify that its drink was non-halal.

Having said that, the ‘low alcohol’ beverage however is a lot easier to analyse; they have a small amount of alcohol, usually no more than 1.2% ABV. Whilst these drinks have less alcohol than their counterparts, they still advertise the fact they have more than trace levels of alcohol.

Non Alcoholic Beers – Halal or Haram?

As far as the Islamic ruling is concerned, anything with even a drop of an impure substance is considered impermissible to eat or drink. In addition, one specific incident, in the time of Prophet Muhammad shows us that one should avoid even drinking from a cup which once contained wine in it let alone to drink wine. The incident was reported in a Hadith by Abu Dawood in Hadith number 3839.

Furthermore, research shows that based on the saying of the Prophet Muhammad:

“whatever is haram in large amounts is also haram in small amounts”

Most of the Muslim scholars have unanimously concluded by saying that something that contains even the smallest amount of impurity (alcohol, pork meat, usury, etc) is not at all allowed for a Muslim to consume or deal in; therefore, non-alcoholic beers are not allowed for Muslims to drink despite the massive reduction in the amount of alcohol they contain.

Are all Non-Alcoholic Beers Haram?

Unless there is no alcohol inside the beer, all non-alcoholic drinks are without a doubt Haram or forbidden for Muslims to drink. Some Muslims try to stay on the safe side by avoiding everything related to alcohol; for example, the consumption of products that are manufactured inside the same place as where alcohol is being manufactured, or using perfumes which contain alcohol.

In the above example, where Heineken launched their zero alcohol beer, for Muslims this is also impermissible as no-one is sure whether all of the alcohol is 100% removed; therefore, this drink is also Haram.

Non Alcoholic Beers – Halal vs Haram FAQs

Can Muslims have non-alcoholic beer?

The ruling of Islam does not allow its followers to eat or drink anything with even a drop of an impure substance. Impure substances in Islam include: alcohol, swine, dead animals that were not ritually slaughtered, blood, excrements, and the milk of animals whose meat Muslims are not allowed.

Can Muslims drink non-alcoholic wines, champagnes, or spirits?

Non-alcoholic spirits, champagnes and wines are not allowed at all in Islam and are strictly prohibited if alcohol has been removed from them during the production process. Because it is often uncertain to know about the production method used, Muslims typically avoid these drinks altogether.

Are any beers completely free of alcohol?

By the definition of alcohol-free, meaning that the alcohol contains less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), there are many alcohol-free beers on the market that have less than 0.5% alcohol by volume. However, if you are looking for beers with absolutely 0.00% alcohol, then you’re out of luck.

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