The permissibility of consuming products that have alcohol used as solvents
Is it permissible to consume products that have alcohol used as solvents and such?
The legal ruling on this issue and its like is based on two matters—istihlak and istihala and on their effect on removing a substance's najasa [impurity], rendering it permissible for consumption.
Istihala means the [chemical] transformation of the properties of a substance resulting in the removal of its impure nature. Scholars have unanimously agreed that intoxicating liquids are deemed pure if they spontaneously transform into vinegar.
The majority of Hanafi and Maliki scholars and Imam Ahmed in one of his opinions have given their formal legal opinion that istihala renders any impure substance pure. As mentioned above, there is no scholarly contention on the purity of an intoxicant that has spontaneously turned into vinegar. These scholars based their opinion on the following:
- Istihala transforms and completely changes the properties of a substance;
- Islamic law bases the description of impurity on the presence of certain properties.
- The description of impurity no longer applies to the substance due to the transformation in its essence.
-In analogy to the purity of an intoxicant when it is converted into vinegar.
-In analogy to the purity of deer blood when it is converted into musk and the purity of a blood clot when it is converted into a piece of flesh [during gestation].
Istihlak means that the percentage of alcohol in a certain substance is so negligible that it does not lead to intoxication even if a person drinks large amounts of it. A drink on the other hand is deemed prohibited for consumption if the percentage of alcohol in it leads to intoxication whether a person drinks little or large amounts of it. This meaning corresponds with the hadith narrated by Jabir (may God be pleased with him) and recorded by recorded by Abu Dawud and Al-Nisa`i. The hadith records the Prophet as saying: "Any drink that intoxicates when taken in large quantities is unlawful both in small and large quantities."
This means that it is forbidden to drink any beverage that intoxicates even if one drinks small amounts of it because drinking small amounts that do not intoxicate may lead to drinking large amounts that do. However, it is lawful to drink beverages that have been mixed with minute quantities of an intoxicating substance and which do not intoxicate even if drunk in large amounts. This does not come under the ruling in this hadith and its like.
And God Almighty knows best.