Is vanilla extract halal? What’s the deal with vanilla extract? What is it and why are some Muslims concerned about it? Vanilla extract is commonly used in cakes and desserts. This causes some people to wonder whether the dessert they’re eating or making is halal or haram.
Continue reading to learn more about this topic and what some Muslim scholars said about vanilla extract.
Is Vanilla Extract Halal?
Yes, vanilla extract is halal. The general consensus is that vanilla extract is halal and permissible as long as the alcohol level is low and not enough to intoxicate the consumer. Consuming vanilla is permissible in Islam even though it was mixed with alcohol during preparation for some reasons.
Is Vanilla Extract With Alcohol Halal?
Yes, vanilla extract with alcohol is halal in Islam. This is because the amount of alcohol in vanilla extract is a very low amount that does not lead to drunkenness, hence drinking it is permissible, not haram.
In terms of eating vanilla, it is hala even if it was mixed with alcohol during preparation for two reasons:
- In a physical sense, alcohol is not najis (impure); rather, it is tahir (pure).
- The alcohol has no effect on vanilla; the person who consumes it does not become intoxicated, and no alcohol effect is observed when eating it. Rather, whatever is attached to the seeds during preparation vanishes, leaving no trace in the seed. Consuming something like this is not haram.
To summarize the situation, there are two scenarios for foods and drinks containing alcohol:
The first is where the alcohol has been completely absorbed into the food or drink and has vanished, so that its essence is no longer present and no trace of it can be detected in the drink (or food) in terms of color, taste, or odor. There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating or drinking such things.
Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
“If alcohol falls into water and is completely absorbed in it, then someone drinks it, he is not regarded as drinking alcohol and the hadd punishment for drinking alcohol is not to be carried out on him, because nothing of its taste, colour or odour remained.”Al-Mustadrak ‘ala Majmu‘ al-Fatawa, 3/12
The second scenario is one in which the essence of the alcohol is still present or traces of it can be detected in the mixture in terms of taste, color, odor, or flavor. In this case, it is forbidden to consume this food or drink because it contains a percentage of alcohol that has not been fully absorbed.
Even if the percentage of alcohol is very low, the presence of alcohol in this food or drink makes it haram.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih al-‘Uthaymin said:
“If this alcohol is mixed with something and is not fully absorbed into what it is mixed with, and does not disappear into it, then that thing becomes haram, because this mixture is affected by it.
But if the alcohol has been fully absorbed into what it has been mixed with, and no trace of it can be detected, then it does not become haram thereby.” (Fatawa Nur ‘ala ad-Darb)
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymin (may Allah have mercy on him) also said:
Do not think that any ratio of alcohol that there may be in a thing makes it haram; rather if the ratio is such that it will have an effect, in the sense that if a person drinks this liquid that is mixed with alcohol he will become intoxicated, then it is haram. But if the ratio is very small and has diminished and left no trace, and it does not have any effect, then it is halal.”
Is McCormick Vanilla Extract Halal?
No, McCormick vanilla extract is not halal. One common point is that vanilla flavouring is not the same as vanilla extract. Vanilla flavouring can contain up to 35% alcohol and not all products with that much alcohol are halal certified. The ingredients of McCormick are vanilla bean extractives in water, alcohol (35%), and corn syrup.
According to the General Authority of Islamic Affairs, some muslim scholars maintain that vanilla extract that has been dipped and mixed with 35% or more of ethyl alcohol are not halal because they deem it to be intoxicating.
Is Vanilla Extract In Chocolate Halal?
It depends, if the contains any alcohol, if it is less than 0.1%, the alcohol did not come from an alcoholic beverage, and all the other ingredients are halal.
Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi in his seminar on Fiqh of Food and Clothing has also stated that it is permissible to consume food items containing vanilla extract in minute quantities.
Some people believe that any trace of alcohol, regardless of whether it intoxicates you or not, is haram. Others believe that it is the intent behind the consumption that is important, and that vanilla extract contains a small amount of alcohol that is used for the processing of a food rather than intoxication.
What is recommended is that you do everything possible to consume alcohol-free vanilla extract as long as this option is available on the market, and avoid vanilla extract mixed with alcohol where the cause of intoxication remains, but if it has been determined with certainty that the cause of intoxication is absent, then there is nothing wrong with consuming it.
Allah knows best.