Sugar alcohol (phenylaline)
Fatwa No: 88496

Question

I have a question about an ingredient in a food. I want to know what is alcohol and if it is Haraam. I am a Muslim and I am very strict about the Halaal food that all Muslims consume. This ingredient is mostly found in gum.

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 ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

If this ingredient -sugar alcohol -is intoxicating, then it is alcohol and it is impure, and therefore it is not permissible to add it to food or eat the food which contains such an  ingredient, even if it is only a small amount of it that is added; Allaah Says (what means): {O you who believe, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone altars [to other than Allaah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.}[Quran 5:90]

Also, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “If a large amount of something can cause drunkenness, any little amount of it is forbidden.” [An-Nasaa'i, Abu Daawood, At-Tirmithi and Al-Albaani]

Having said that, we have been informed by trustworthy people reporting from specialists in the matter that sugar alcohol (phenylaline) is not intoxicating.  Therefore adding it to any food does not render that food forbidden as the food remains in its original form (i.e. permissible).

According to the research of specialists in this field, only ethanol or ethyl alcohol is forbidden; other alcohols are not intoxicants.

Allaah Knows best.

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