People reach for different drinks when they want refreshments.
While many claim there is no better and tastier drink than plain water, others prefer fruit juices, sodas, smoothies, tea, coffee, pressed juices, or root beer.
Can everyone drink root beer?
Is there alcohol in this drink? Why do even children drink it in some areas, and why is it called “beer”?
And, finally, the question that we will deal with in the following lines – is root beer halal or haram in Islam?
If you’ve been wondering if Muslims can drink root beer, read on to find out the real answer and all the extra details.
We will explain how different Islamic scholars view this issue, why their views differ in some detail, and what rules should be followed if you follow the principles of halal nutrition.
Is Root Beer Halal or Haram?
The most straightforward answer to this question, which interests many, is that root beer is halal if there is no alcohol.
On the other hand, if root beer contains any alcohol, even minimal, some Islamic scholars will consider it forbidden or haram, while others will argue that it is still permissible or halal.
Let’s clarify this answer a bit.
According to Islamic law, some things are haram, which means they are forbidden or illegal.
Haram can refer to many things, such as certain behaviors, lifestyle choices, foods, or drinks.
Regarding food and drink, at the top of the list of what is haram for Muslims is alcohol.
Alcohol is forbidden for Muslims because it leads to intoxication, reduces judgment, and alters the state of consciousness.
For the same reason, all narcotic drugs are prohibited under Islamic law.
However, when it comes to the question of whether a drink containing a small amount of alcohol (less than 0.5%) is halal or haram, the views of Islamic scholars diverge.
The reason for this is the different interpretations of Islamic law.
While some Islamic scholars (the more liberal ones) believe that the point of banning alcohol is to prohibit drinking, others (the more rigid ones) think that alcohol itself should be considered forbidden.
Therefore, for some Islamic scholars, root beer containing a small amount of alcohol is halal, while it is still haram for others.
The first is based on the fact that an amount of alcohol of 0.5% or less cannot be sufficient to lead to intoxication, especially if it is not drunk in large quantities.
Others, however, advocate that consuming even the smallest amount of alcohol is haram because it is explicitly prohibited by Islamic law.
According to their interpretation, consuming even a minimal amount of alcohol is a sin, even though this amount of alcohol cannot make anyone drunk.
For them, even buying or selling root beer with a small amount of alcohol is haram.
Islamic scholars who support this view recommend Muslims not to work in places where such drinks are sold and not to buy them even for someone else.
There are even more extreme interpretations of Islamic law.
According to them, even completely non-alcoholic root beer is haram because it contains the word “beer” in its name, which refers to an alcoholic drink that is haram.
However, advocates of this interpretation are rare, and this attitude is not often heard.
If you are still in doubt about whether you are allowed to drink root beer, it is best to follow the view of the Islamic scholars you usually follow.
Consult a local religious leader and decide whether root beer is halal or haram for you and under what conditions you may drink it.
What is Root Beer?
Initially, we should clarify that what is understood and sold today under “root beer” is not the same drink originally produced.
In the past, root beer meant an alcoholic drink obtained by fermentation.
As such, root beer at the time was haram due to the presence of alcohol sufficient to cause intoxication.
Root beer has long been popular in the United States; over time, it has become loved in many other countries.
Root beer was made from the root bark of a tree called sassafras.
However, as this bark contains safrole, which has been banned in the United States since the 1960s, the recipe has changed.
Today, this drink is made in several different ways.
Most manufacturers achieve a specific taste using artificial flavors.
However, some manufacturers still use sassafras extract, but with the banned ingredient removed.
Root beer has a particular, carbonated, and sweet taste.
It is primarily alcohol-free and caffeine-free, but there are a few exceptions.
Root beer is recognizable by its foamy head, similar to cola’s, but thicker.
One of the favorite ways to serve root beer is with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Root beer typically contains less than 0.5% alcohol, although exceptions exist.
Some varieties of this drink, commonly called “hard” root beer, have higher alcohol levels, usually above 4% ABV.
These types of root beer are considered haram under Islamic law and are not permitted for Muslims.
Information about the alcohol content of a particular root beer should be available on the label, and if it is omitted, it can be obtained from the manufacturer.
What Ingredients Are in Root Beer?
Root beer is not considered an alcoholic beverage.
It is precisely why most Islamic scholars argue that this drink is not haram if there is no alcohol in it or if it is present in small amounts.
Root beer that can be bought in stores today is a carbonated or soft drink.
The name “beer” comes from the fact that this drink is made similarly to regular beer, but the alcohol is removed at the end of the process.
Most root beer is entirely non-alcoholic, and some types contain a small amount of alcohol, less than 0.5%.
Under US law, all beverages with an alcohol content of less than 0.5% by volume are classified as non-alcoholic.
It is supported by the fact that in some cultures, even children consume root beer because it is practically considered soda.
Some typical ingredients of root beer are high fructose corn syrup, carbonated water, natural and artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
None of these ingredients is haram, so if root beer does not contain alcohol (or contains a minimal amount), it is clear why most Islamic scholars will agree that it is halal.
However, keep in mind that ingredients may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Therefore, always read the ingredient lists, and if you need clarification, contact the manufacturer.
Why Do Some Islamic Scholars Disagree on the Halal Status of Drinks With a Minimum Amount of Alcohol?
We have already explained that most Islamic scholars agree that root beer with no alcohol at all is halal.
The only exceptions are the rare proponents of the thesis that even these drinks are haram for the simple reason that they contain the word “beer” in their name, which links them to the concept of alcohol consumption, which is contrary to the Islamic faith.
However, Islamic scholars differ when it comes to low-alcohol root beer (0.5% or less).
Why is it so?
Both schools of thought (the one that claims these drinks are halal and the one that calls them haram) follow Islamic law but interpret it differently.
At the outset, it should be clarified that tiny amounts of alcohol can be found naturally in many foods.
For example, alcohol is naturally present in some types of fruit, fruit juices, fermented milk products, pickles, natural vinegar, and many other things we eat and drink daily without thinking that they contain alcohol.
Alcohol cannot be felt, smelled, or seen in these foods.
Also, it is insufficient to affect the human body and cannot cause intoxication.
Therefore, all these foods are halal.
When talking about the alcohol in root beer, Islamic scholars who claim that this drink is halal are looking at it the same way they look at the alcohol present in the foods in which it occurs naturally.
The amount of 0.5% (or even less) alcohol in root beer is not enough to cause intoxication, nor does it affect the smell or taste of this drink.
For these reasons, some Islamic scholars advocate that root beer is permissible for Muslims and that there is nothing against Islamic law.
On the other hand, supporters of the opposite position present different arguments.
They say that root beer, although the amount of alcohol in it is not enough to cause intoxication, is contrary to Islamic tradition and faith.
For them, root beer is part of the Western tradition, so it is not appropriate for Muslims.
They maintain that root beer is haram and recommend that Islamic believers avoid this drink and all other low-alcohol beverages.
This attitude comes from a view that focuses more on the very concept of drinking alcohol than on the consequences it causes.
The amount of 0.5% alcohol is insufficient to cause intoxication even if drunk in large quantities.
And yet, these scholars believe that the very idea of consuming a drink that contains alcohol is entirely contrary to Islamic culture.
If all of this still sounds confusing, it would be best to seek advice and guidance from your religious leader.
Is Beer Halal or Haram, and Is Root Beer Actually Beer?
Islamic law explicitly prohibits all intoxicants, including alcohol.
The reason why alcohol is haram for Muslims is that it causes intoxication and affects the human consciousness.
It is why Muslims do not drink alcoholic beverages.
Regarding beer, its halal status depends on its alcohol content.
On average, regular beer contains about 5% alcohol by volume, although some brands have a higher alcohol content.
Ordinary beer is haram according to Islamic law because two or three beers are enough to cause mild intoxication in an average person.
On the other hand, non-alcoholic beers do not contain alcohol or have an alcohol content of less than 0.5%.
Most Islamic scholars consider these beers halal, but some still claim that they are also haram.
As you can see, the situation is the same as when it comes to root beer.
And is root beer at all beer?
The answer to this question is complex.
Officially, root beer is considered a subcategory of beer.
Root beer is not made from the same ingredients as regular beer, and the production process is somewhat different.
It is why root beer is generally considered a type of soda, a carbonated soft drink.
Generations of Americans and people worldwide have enjoyed the taste of root beer for decades.
If you’ve been wondering whether root beer is halal or haram in Islam, we hope you now understand the different views and the reasons behind these views.
In short, root beer is considered halal if it contains no alcohol.
If there is a small amount of alcohol in root beer, some Islamic scholars claim it is haram, while others claim it is still halal.
Their conflicting views stem from different interpretations of Islamic law.
Islamic law prohibits the consumption of alcohol but mentions it as an intoxicating substance.
Therefore, some Islamic scholars believe that alcohol is still halal if it is present in an amount that is not sufficient to cause intoxication.
Other Islamic scholars consider that even a minimal amount of alcohol is haram because it contradicts Islamic culture.
A particular type of root beer, known as “hard” root beer, contains more alcohol, usually around 4% or even more.
Islamic scholars agree that “hard” root beers are haram because they can cause intoxication.
There are also a small number of Islamic scholars who consider even non-alcoholic root beers haram.
They base their position on the fact that even the word “beer” in the name of this product offends the rules of Islamic law and opposes the beliefs of Muslims.
However, this attitude is very rare, and only a few support it.
Objectively speaking, it is safest to rely on the list of ingredients and alcohol content on the label.
If root beer does not contain any haram ingredients, there is no reason why this drink should be forbidden for Muslims.
If there is no necessary information on the root beer label, we recommend contacting the manufacturer and asking about everything that interests you.
If this topic still confuses you, we recommend contacting your religious authority and asking for their advice.
In this way, you will most accurately determine whether root beer is suitable for you or not.
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