Ruling on beer with 0.5% alcohol
Fatwa No: 299059

Question

In the United States of America, we have too many stores selling alcoholic beers that contain 5% - 8% alcohol per can or bottle. They also sell non-alcoholic beer such as Walmart and Meijer, but I checked it and it contains 0.5% or less alcohol, but they call it non-alcoholic beer. I asked someone about it (he is doing his PhD in Chemistry). He said, "You will never find a beer without this small percentage of alcohol due to chemical reasons, even those kinds of beer that come from Islamic countries such as KSA, like the Barbican drink, it must contain this small percentage." My question is: is it halal to drink this beer with 0.5% alcohol or not even if they call it non-alcoholic beer? Thanks

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallAllaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

The fact that a given beverage contains an amount of 0.5% or the like of alcohol does not entail deeming its consumption unlawful as long as there is no effect of the alcohol upon consumption of the beverage and it does not intoxicate in large quantities.

Ibn ʻUthaymeen was once asked about the so called (non-alcoholic) beer, given that some brands of non-alcoholic beer have a percentage of alcohol. The following was part of his reply:

“As to percentage, do not think that any percentage of alcohol in a thing makes it unlawful; rather if the percentage of alcohol has an effect whereby when a person drinks this mix, he becomes intoxicated, then it is unlawful. But if the percentage is very small without effect, then it is lawful. For example, a percentage such as 1%, 2% or 3% does not make the beverage unlawful. Some people misunderstood the hadeeth that states, 'Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, then a small quantity of it is forbidden,' to mean that if a small percentage of an intoxicant is mixed with a large amount of a substance that is not intoxicating, then it is unlawful. This is a misunderstanding of the hadeeth. 'Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, a little of it is unlawful' means that if a lot of something will cause intoxication, and a little of it will not cause intoxication, then a lot or a little are both unlawful, because you may drink a little that does not cause intoxication, then you may be tempted to drink more and become intoxicated. But if something is mixed with alcohol, while the alcohol content is a minute amount and does not have any effect, then it is lawful and does not come under the ruling of this Hadeeth.”

The Fataawa of the Permanent Committee reads,

“If the beverage that contains a percentage of alcohol intoxicates in large quantities, then it is unlawful to consume any quantity of it, large or small. It is also deemed prohibited to sell or buy such a beverage and it is obligatory to dispose of it because it is considered khamr (intoxicant). However, if the consumption of a large amount of such a beverage does not intoxicate, then it is permissible to sell, buy, and consume it ...”

Allaah knows best.

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