Halal Haram Nutmeg

By: Dr. KH. Maulana Hasanuddin, M.A. (Deputy Chairman of the Central MUI Fatwa Commission); and Drs. H. Sholahudin Al-Aiyub, M.Sc. (Deputy General Secretary of the MUI Center for Fatwa).

Nutmeg has long been famous in several regions. This fruit is consumed by many people in the form of cooking spices or snacks such as candied nutmeg. However, HalalMUI gets information that nutmeg can be intoxicating (muskir) so that some people say this fruit is haram to consume.

Is that right? How does the law of consuming or eating nutmeg? Here’s the explanation of HalalMUI.

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is a plant in the form of a tree that originates from Banda Islands, Maluku. Because of its high value as spices, nutmeg became an important trading commodity since the Dutch colonial period.

Regarding this fruit, there is something that needs to be understood first. Basically, the stipulation of law in Islam is simple, which refers to the provisions mentioned in the Al-Qur’an and Hadith. Consider the meaning of the following three verses:

“[He] who made FOR YOU the earth a bed [spread out] and the sky a ceiling and sent down from the sky.” (QS. Al-Baqarah: 22)

“And He has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth – all from Him. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.”(QS. Al-Jatsiyah: 13)

“Do you not see that Allah has made subject to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth and amply bestowed upon you His favors, [both] apparent and unapparent? But of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening Book [from Him].” (QS. Luqman: 20)

These three verses, and several other verses, clearly and explicitly state that God has provided everything on this earth to humans. This is a general text about the halal things, as a rule of origin. Then the ulama formulated the Fiqhiyyah Rule which states: “Al-ashlu fi al-asy-ya’i al-ibaahah, illaa maa dalla daliilu ‘alaa tahriimihi” (Everything basically is permissible or permissible, unless there is an argument that forbids it).

If there is an nash argumentation that shahih (valid) and sharih (firm) from Allah as the Asy-Syari’ (who has the authority to make the law by Himself), there is also an explanation the Rasulullah saw in his hadith, then the law can turn out to be forbidden, makruh, or haram. (HalalMUI)

From here, it can be understood, that haram food is only a little, as specifically mentioned in the Al-Qur’an and Al-Hadith. Whereas the rest, halal food is very much, including nutmeg.

Furthermore, in syaria nash, the law regarding the prohibition of eating nutmeg is not in the Al-Qur’an or Al-Hadith. There is also nash that shahih dan shariah (clear and firm) stating its prohibition. Thus in the sharia rules, consuming nutmeg is included in the category of silence. Therefore, insofar as it is not explicitly stated about its prohibition, or is not harmful in general, this fruit may be consumed.

Furthermore, all halal food and beverages if consumed excessively can then be intoxicating, or by abusing them and causing danger, then excessive action or abuse makes it unlawful. Pay attention to God’s guidance in a verse that means: “O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” (QS. Al-A’raaf, 7: 31). Do not overdo it that is do not exceed the limits needed by the body, and do not exceed the limits of the food that is halal.

Marijuana leaves, for example, are plants. Many people consume it as cooking spices. If it turns out that someone uses it excessively or misuses it and then he is drunk, then it is casuistic, that is, it is haram for those who consume it because it causes motion sickness. The prohibition on cannabis abuse has also been discussed in the Fiqhul-Maidah rubric, the Halal Journal in the previous edition.

Likewise in the case of nutmeg. If someone consumes it excessively, so that it poses a danger such as being drunk, then the prohibition is valid because of excessive actions that cause the hangover. Or if someone misuses their use, then the behavior of nutmeg abuse is prohibited.

But so far, it seems that HalalMUI has never heard of people in Indonesia who consume nutmeg or candied nutmeg naturally, they become drunk. So, in fact, nutmeg, in general, is not intoxicating, and thus not haram. Even if someone consumes it then becomes drunk, then it is casuistic, individually maybe because of allergies or other causes. In this case, there is the Fiqhiyyah Rule which states, “Al-Hukmu yaduuru ma’a‘ illatihi wujuudan wa ‘adaman”. That is to say, “The law revolves around ‘illat, there or nothing”. That is if the ‘illat is intoxicating or endangering someone who consumes it, it becomes haram for him. Conversely, if it is not intoxicating or not harmful to others, it will not be haram or permissible for him.

As an example of comparison or analogy again, the durian is actually halal. We have not received shahih information that there are ulama who forbid durian because it can make people become drunk. Even if someone consumes it then is drunk, then it is casuistic, maybe because of an allergy, has a disease that makes it difficult to consume durian, or for other reasons. So the prohibition of consuming durians only applies specifically to that person and is not generally applicable.

Furthermore, we know a la ‘uruf or tradition as a habit in our society, from the beginning until now, it seems we have never heard of anyone being drunk by consuming nutmeg or candied nutmeg. So if the nutmeg is included as an intoxicating fruit category, like the khamar, then we don’t think that is right or even incorrect.

There is also a mention of the Rule of Fiqhiyyah “Maa askaro katsiruhu fa qoliiluhu haroomun”, something that is intoxicating, so at least it becomes haram. The rule is taken from the Hadith of Rasulullah saw. who said with the meaning, “What if there are so many intoxicants is at least haram.” (HR. Imam Ahmad, Al-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah. This is also narrated by Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Hibban, from Jabir).

In our opinion, the Fiqhiyyah Rule must also be understood in the context of the khamar drink which is haram textually in the Al-Qur’an and Al-Hadith nash. Not on others. Thus, the rule cannot be used or applied to nutmegs which are said to cause people to get drunk. This can be understood from the hadith narrated from ‘Amr bin Syu’aib, from his father, from his account, that the Prophet visited by a people, then they said, “O Messenger of Allah, indeed we (usually) make liquor, then we drink it in the morning and evening.” Then the Prophet said, “Drink, but every intoxicating drink is forbidden.” Then they said, “O Messenger of Allah, in fact, we mixed it with water.” The Prophet answer, “Haram (though) a little of the drink which (in the amount) is intoxicating.” [HR. Daruquthni]

Also the hadith from Aisyah, she said: Rasulullah saw. said, “Every intoxicating drink is haram, and a large amount of drink is intoxicating, then a handful of it is forbidden.” [HR. Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and Tirmidhi]. Wallahu a’lam bi murodih. (HalalMUI)

Source: Halal Journal No. 135

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