Halal Food Guide - Alcohol

Monday, April 14, 2014

Alcohol. Wine, beer, spirits, liqueurs... It's not something I really miss in my life, but sometimes when we celebrate something (birthday, anniversary etc.) and having a nice meal, it would be nice to have something nice to drink too, not just ordinary juice or Coke ;)

I want to dedicate this post to pregnant and breastfeeding girls too, to show how not to feel like you're missing out when all your friends enjoy their booze ;)



image source: http://firstthingsfirst.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/no-alcohol-15.jpg




Why Muslims don't drink alcohol?

Well, that's a matter of argument. Technically, it is not mentioned in the Qur'an as "haraam".

Only flesh of swine, blood and flesh of animals that died not being sacrificed in the name of Allah (One God) are specifically mentioned as forbidden.

But...

Any intoxicants are called Satan's work, made to create enmity between people and push them away from God, therefore they are to be avoided. (5:90-91)

While it is not mentioned as "haraam", it is called sinful:


They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit." (2:219)


Also, God instructs people not to approach prayer while being intoxicated (4:43). As Muslims have an obligation to pray five times a day, that doesn't really leave time for drinking ;)

Basically, there is an agreement that alcohol is considered forbidden, since Allah calls alcohol a sin.


It's often arguable whether even the smallest amounts found in foods are forbidden - like using vanilla extract. To be on the safe side, I avoid foods that have any kind of alcohol on the list of ingredients.

But, as previously, we still find the ways to enjoy ourselves ;)



  • non-alcoholic beer






When I went to the supermarkets to do my research, I was actually surprised how much choice they offer nowadays. All the beers pictured above are 0% alcohol.








Some of the "alcohol-free" products, however, require more caution - most, like the Kopparberg cider above, claim to have "no more than 0.5% alcohol". It's more of "low alcohol" rather than "alcohol-free", therefore it should be avoided.


  • fancy soft drinks



That's in my local Sainsbury's - whole section of fruity non-alcoholic alternatives.





Feel Good range offers some fantastic juice drinks, and now also non alcoholic cocktails.





Shloer has been our favourite for a while now. It's a great alternative to sparkling wine - sparkling grape juice, available in white, rosé and red. During my research I also spotted the "celebration" edition.




  • wine
As for wine, there's only one 100% halal certified wine in the UK market. If you browse the alcohol-free varieties in the major supermarkets, you'll only find that they're actually low-alcohol ("no more than 0.5%", like with the beers above). I came across this product while visiting Halal Food Festival in London last year, and you can find out more on their website: http://www.halalchampwine.com/

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27 comments

  1. This is really interesting. I am pretty much tea total though choice not religion

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  2. I love those non-alco "beers" they do taste like the normal ones sans alcohol! Wish they had Kevser wines in supermarkets!

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  3. Great post, I don't really drink and don't miss it

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  4. Whilst I respect other people's religions and cultures I personally find it difficult to understand how drinking the odd glass of wine could be called "sinful" whilst subjecting women to appalling levels of discrimination in Muslim countries is not? Are men forbidden to drink alcohol too or just women? However education is so important, and I have always been curious about other traditions, I hadn't realised the difference between Halal haraam and forbidden non haraam Halal food and drink so thank you for the explanation :)

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    1. I appreciate your comment :) Everyone is forbidden to drink, men and women equally. I personally gave up alcohol by choice, as my Husband was never drinking and I think it was a matter of me respecting his beliefs. As for discrimination of Muslim women - I completely agree, it should be considered "sinful". I don't feel oppressed ;) but I do realise that in many countries it goes all wrong. I wouldn't want to speak on this topic, as I'm not a scholar, but from what I've learnt they go pretty much against the actual teachings of Islam. Anyway, I just posted this for informative purposes, not only for Muslims but for anyone who chooses not to drink but looks for more variety of fancy drinks :)

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  5. I miss drinking after over 2 years of pregnancy and breastfeeding, but I have also got used to having fun without it!

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  6. I don't really drink throughout the year. I enjoy Baileys at Christmas but apart from that we love Shloer because like you said, it's like having a sparkling wine that the children can enjoy with us :)

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  7. I gave up alcohol in January and found it really tough! Having said that, I think if you give something up for religious reasons then you have a whole different view of it and do it from a different perspective. Hats off to you and thank you for explaining why Muslims don't drink - I never actually knew and felt pretty ignorant about it.

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    1. Thank you x While I'm not trying to convince anyone that they shouldn't drink, I just wanted to write a bit of an informative post.

      I slowly gave up alcohol about three years ago, when things got serious with my (now) Hubby, and I guess it made it a bit less of a shock when it eventually became part of the deal with the religion.

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  8. I like the odd drink but only really on special occasions as I can't handle hangovers anymore! x

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  9. I drank a lot of that Bavaria stuff when I was pregnant...

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  10. The non alcoholic beers are great but I didn't know that Kopperberg did a zero alcohol range, sound lovely :-) x

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  11. I have to admit I don't drink alcohol and haven't for years now I'm a huge fan of Shloer and J20 in it's place :) x

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  12. This is such an informative post, I didn't realise there was so many none alcoholic drinks around. I don't drink due to the medication I am on

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  13. THanks so much for the info - I do have a drink every now and again but I love the non alcoholic versions to drink when I'm at home with the kids x

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  14. i don't drink (well, extremely rarely, once every couple years, if that) but for some reason i just don't see the point in alcohol free beer, haha. most of it doesn't taste that nice alcohol or not! i don't drink fizzy drinks either, but i am rather partial to some lightly carbonated elderflower presse or rose lemonade from time to time.

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  15. A great post, and a really interesting one. I had no idea that there are 0% alcohol beers at all!
    We are not big on drinking, and actually only drink one type of wine, so usually I go for the fancy juice. I love the feel of "having a drink" (you know, the fancy bottle and glass. It feels more special somehow) but without having to actually have a drink so I found it to be a great solution.

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    1. Exactly my point - when you're at a party or even at home celebrating, it's nice to have something a bit fancy. When we feel like having some special meal at home, we usually get a bottle of Shloer and drink from wine glasses ;)

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  16. I hardly drink any alcohol these days and I really do not think I am missing out.
    I totally don't get it why so many people make such a huge deal out of it.

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  17. so interesting blog especially I'm visiting warsaw for two weeks and halal food is really hard to find ,in addition to that the temptation to eat a paczki is huge however I heard that there is alcohol and pork fat in it so my question is: are paczkis halah or not? and thank you for helping.

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    1. Hi there!
      Yeah, eating halal can be a bit hard in Poland, but I think you might get some stuff in Warsaw since they have a mosque there. As for paczki - yeah, the traditional recipes call for a bit of alcohol, because they're deep fried and it helps the dough to absorb slightly less fat. And some people choose to fry them in lard - hence the pork bit. Unfortunately in most cases they won't be halal, unless you can get someone to make them for you avoiding the alcohol and frying in vegetable oil.
      Enjoy your time in Poland! :)

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  18. I think you will find that the Fosters Radler is also 0.05% Alcohol.

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    1. Oh, I must have missed that - will have a better look at it next time!

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  19. Thank you so much this is very helpful

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  20. I enjoyed reading your work. I'll come back for more

    Keep up the good work :) from TheStillery, a stuart bar in Florida

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  21. Hi. Great blog - thanks. Just to let you know Kopparberg "alcohol free" is actually no more than 0.05% vol alcohol, not 0.5% as mentioned above. Thanks.

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    1. Thank you for spotting my mistake, will correct it!

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