"Cooked Alcohol?" HARAM?
Is it permissible to eat dishes cooked with alcohol? It is well-known that alcohol evaporates with heat?
Thank you so much for your Email and your question regarding Islam. It is wonderful to see people like yourself taking the time and interest to learn more about the correct teachings of Islam. This in itself is a sign of guidance from the Almighty Above. May He grant us the wisdom to know the right knowledge and the ability to put it into practice, Ameen.
Now as regards your question:
First of all, as in many questions these days, there is a comment or statement lying underneath the question in an effort to perhaps influence the answer. Let us ask the question as a question should be asked.
"Does alcohol totally evaporate while heating, cooking or flaming?"
The answer, according to the United States Federal Department of Agriculture is, "No. It does not all evaporate."
Some, but not ALL of the alcohol evaporates during cooking. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has published the following table of alcohol content in cooked foods.
|Amount of Alcohol Retained During Cooking
Source: USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)
|Alcohol added to boiling liquid, then removed from heat
|No heat, stored overnight||75%||25%|
Many people believe that because alcohol is sensitive to heat, it is eliminated with cooking. However, not all the alcohol content of alcoholic drinks is removed with heat; it depends on the type and time of cooking.
For instance if you add beer or wine to boiling liquid, then immediately remove it from the heat, 85 per cent of the alcohol content will remain. If you light the alcohol, as in flambé dishes, 75 per cent will remain. Even after simmering the dish for one and a half hours, it will still have 20 per cent of the original alcohol content.
It is only if you simmer the mixture for two or more hours, (as you would with a wine-based beef casserole), that as much as five to 10 per cent of the original alcohol content still remains.
Now as regards the status of this in Islam according to the Quran and the accurate Hadiths (sayings and teachings of Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him); Any and all alcohol is totally Haram (forbidden).
The proof lies in the verses of the Quran where Allah tells us that:
"They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, "In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit." And they ask you what they should spend. Say, "The excess [beyond needs]." Thus Allah makes clear to you the verses [of revelation] that you might give thought." [Noble Quran 2:219]
"O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful." [Noble Quran 5:90]
"And from the fruits of the palm trees and grapevines you take intoxicant and good provision. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who reason." [Noble Quran 16:67]
The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) made it clear many times, alcohol is definitely forbidden and cannot be consumed by Muslims. He also made it clear even small amounts were forbidden. He stated more or less:
"Whatever intoxicates in large amounts (wine, etc.) is Haram (forbidden) in small amounts."
The people before us played with the things which Allah has made Haram and Halal and for that reason Allah has punished them greatly. Let us not be deceived by the Shaytan and fall therefore, into the same trap.
May Allah save us and keep us strong in the face of temptation, Ameen.
Again, it is only Allah who has All Knowledge. May He forgive me my mistakes and guide us all to the right way, Ameen.
Sheikh Yusuf Estes