Question

There is a Donut shop in Canada popularly known as Tim Hortons. This shop sells donuts, pastries, coffee, tea and a variety of other foods and hot beverages. Recently, some Muslim brothers had seen me drinking one of their hot beverages; a type of flavored coffee/cappuccino popularly known as a “French Vanilla”. The brothers approached me and told me that there is an alcohol product in this drink and advised me not to purchase this drink again due to the fact that there was alcohol in it. At first I was skeptical, but then I thought I should call Tim Horton’s head office to verify whether this claim was true or not. Upon speaking to a representative at Tim Horton’s head office that specifically deals with ingredients in their products I found out the following, as directly stated by the representative without any hesitation:

1. All of their hot beverages except regular coffee and tea products contain ethyl alcohol which is an ingredient within the artificial ingredients section of these drinks. They further stated that there is a high probability that the ethyl alcohol in these drinks is not evaporated and that one who drinks them is likely consuming the ethyl alcohol.

2. All of their pastries including muffins, strudels, croissants, turnovers etc… contain ethyl alcohol as an ingredient within the artificial ingredients section of these products. They further stated that most if not all of the ethyl alcohol in these pastries is evaporated as a result of the baking process

3. All of the fillings in their donuts contain ethyl alcohol as part of the artificial ingredients section of these filling. They further stated that  the ethyl alcohol in the fillings is definitely present upon consumption because no baking or heating occurs to the filling since they are injected into the donuts after the donuts have been baked.

The following is a list of questions I had:

1.Is Ethyl Alcohol permissible or impermissable to consume?

2. In the situation where ethyl alcohol is not permissible to consume – does it make a difference regarding how much of this alcohol is in the product (i.e. if it is in very small amounts in the product can one still consume the product). If small amounts are permissible how much is considered a “small amount” (i.e. after what amount does it become impermissible to consume this product).

3. In the situation where ethyl alcohol is not permissible to consume – does is make a difference if it has evaporated from the product or not? If one knows for certain that it has evaporated can one consume the product it was originally put in. What if one is not certain if “all” of the alcohol has been evaporated and there is a chance that there may be some trace amounts in the product – can we consume this product at this point?

4. As a general question: is it permissible to consume any of these products based on the ingredients and the conditions of the state of the ingredients listed above?


Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

According to the principles of Hanafi Madhab, the prohibition of Khamr is restricted to the alcohol derived from grapes [and dates].1 Those alcohols derived from non date and grape sources are permissible for consumption provided that:

  1. It is not used for intoxication.
  2. It is not used in vain for futility.
  3. It is not used to such a level which intoxicates.

The alcohol (ethanol) used in most of commercial products in our times is not derived from dates and grapes. Hence consumption of such non-khamr alcohol is permissible when used within the bounds of above conditions.2

With the above guidelines in mind, your question refers:

Ethyl Alcohol (ethanol) is the base intoxicating chemical. It can be derived either through fermentation of grapes, dates or other glucose rich sources. It can even be made synthetically. The ruling of ethyl alcohol will depend on its source. If it is derived from grapes or dates, then its consumption will be strictly haram (prohibited). While, if it is derived from non grapes or non date source, then it’s consumption will be permissible as long as the conditions are met.

The above will apply to all the products of Tim Hortons.

Since Tim Hortons facilities also provide other products which are from haram sources, I would also caution you to keep a lookout for cross contamination in these stores.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Faisal bin Abdul Hameed al-Mahmudi
Darul Iftaa wal Irshaad, Montreal

www.fatwa.ca

 

1 أَمَّا الْخَمْرُ فَهُوَ اسْمٌ لِلنِّيءِ مِنْ مَاءِ الْعِنَبِ إذَا غَلَى وَاشْتَدَّ وَقَذَفَ بِالزَّبَدِ، وَهَذَا عِنْدَ أَبِي حَنِيفَةَ عَلَيْهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَعِنْدَ أَبِي يُوسُفَ وَمُحَمَّدٍ عَلَيْهِمَا الرَّحْمَةُ مَاءُ الْعِنَبِ إذَا غَلَى وَاشْتَدَّ فَقَدْ صَارَ خَمْرًا وَتَرَتَّبَ عَلَيْهِ أَحْكَامُ الْخَمْرِ قَذَفَ بِالزَّبَدِ أَوْ لَمْ يَقْذِفْ بِهِ (وَجْهُ) قَوْلِهِمَا أَنَّ الرُّكْنَ فِيهَا مَعْنَى الْإِسْكَارِ وَذَا يَحْصُلُ بِدُونِ الْقَذْفِ بِالزَّبَدِ (وَجْهُ) قَوْلِ أَبِي حَنِيفَةَ رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ أَنَّ مَعْنَى الْإِسْكَارِ لَا يَتَكَامَلُ إلَّا بِالْقَذْفِ بِالزَّبَدِ فَلَا يَصِيرُ خَمْرًا بِدُونِهِ (بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (5/ 112))

الْخَمْرُ، وَهِيَ عَصِيرُ الْعِنَبِ إذَا غُلِيَ وَاشْتَدَّ (العناية شرح الهداية (10/ 89))

2 وبهذا يتبين حكم الكحول المسكرة التى عمت بها البلوى اليوم ، فإنها تستعمل فى كثير من الأدوية والعطور ، والمركبات الأجرى ، فإنها إن اتخذت من العنب أو التمر فلا سبيل إلى حلتها أو طهارتها ، وإن اتخذت من غيرهما فالأمر فيها سهل على مذهب أبى حنيفة رحمه الله تعالى ، ولا يحرم استعمالها للتداوى أو لأغراض مباحة أخرى ما لم تبلغ حد الإسكار ، لأنها إنما تستعمل مركبة مع المواد الأخرى ، ولا يحكم بنجاستها أخذا بقول أبى حنيفة رحمه الله . وأن معظم الكحول التى تستعمل اليوم فى الأدوية والعطور وغيرها لا تتخذ من العنب أو التمر ، إنما تتخذ من الحبوب أو القشور أو البترول وغيره ، كما ذكرنا فى باب بيع الخمر من كتاب البيوع ، وحينئذ هناك فسحة فى الأخذ بقول أبى حنيفة عند عموم البلوى ، والله سبحانه أعلم (تكملة فتح الملهم بشرح صحيح الامام مسلم 3/506)