By: Dr. KH. Maulana Hasanuddin, M.A. (Deputy Chairperson of the Central MUI Fatwa Commission); and Dr. KH. Abdul Halim Sholeh, M.A. (Member of the Central MUI Fatwa Commission).
Assalamu’alaikum wr. wb.
When my health condition is less fit, I consult a doctor. The doctor suggested that I drink milk regularly. Whereas all this time, I felt allergic to milk. As an alternative, I am advised to drink kefir milk which is processed by the fermentation process because it contains many health benefits.
But I also got information, because of the fermentation process, kefir milk is said to have high alcohol content.
How exactly is the law to consume kefir milk? Is it true that the word kefir comes from the word pagan? If true, I am increasingly hesitant to consume kefir milk.
For the answers given, I say thank you as much as possible.
Wassalamu’alaikum wr. wb.
First of all, it needs to be explained milk from halal animals is sacred and halal. Then the raw material of the product must be studied. If it comes from natural milk ingredients, and halal animal milk, then kefir dairy products are also halal for consumption.
But if you experience processing or processing, there is a mixture of additional ingredients, then of course you must first examine the mixture of materials used. If the additives and processing equipment are holy and halal, the processed milk is also holy and halal.
Likewise the processing. Is the mixture pure, or unclean, also whether the mixture is halal or haram. If the mixture contains khamar, for example, then of course it is haram. For this research, it must be done by experts who have competence in this field, and by institutions that have authority. In our context, Indonesia is LPPOM MUI with an audit process. Then the fatwa was determined by the MUI Fatwa Commission. In the halal certification process, if necessary, laboratory research can also be carried out. So that all the ingredients can be known in detail and accurately.
Furthermore, with the fermentation process, the milk alcohol content rises. If the increase is high, so it will be dangerous for those who consume it, the processed milk will be haram. This is in accordance with the Prophet’s saw. hadith. which later became the Fiqhiyyah Rule: “Laa dhoror wa laa dhiroor”. Meaning: “There must be no danger and no harm to others.” (HR. Al-Baihaqi, Al-H?kim, etc.).
As mentioned, the fermented product contains alcohol. So concerning the alcohol content itself, must be examined first, whether it comes from khamar or not.
According to MUI Fatwa Number 10 of 2018 concerning Food and Beverage Products that Contain Alcohol/Ethanol, it is mentioned, among others: (1) Khamar is any intoxicating drink, whether from wine or others, whether cooked or not; (2) Alcohol is ethyl alcohol or ethanol, a chemical compound with the formula (C2H5OH). (3).
As for alcoholic drinks are: (a) Drinks containing ethanol and other compounds, including methanol, acetaldehyde, and ethyl acetate which are made by fermentation with engineering from various types of vegetable raw materials that contain carbohydrates, or (b) Beverages that are added with ethanol and/or methanol intentionally.
From this explanation, the legal provisions are: (1) Alcoholic beverages which are categorized as yeast are drinks containing alcohol/ethanol (C2H5OH) of at least 0.5%. Alcoholic drinks that are categorized as khamr are unclean and the law is haram, little or much. (2) While non-fermented beverage products containing alcohol/ethanol are less than 0.5% which are not legal halal, if medically it is not dangerous.
The fatwa also stipulates: Provisions relating to Food Products Containing Alcohol/Ethanol. Namely: (1) Fermented food products containing alcohol/ethanol are legally halal, as long as the process does not use illicit substances and if medically harmless. (2) Fermented food products with the addition of alcohol/ethanol non-khamr are lawful, as long as the process does not use illicit substances and if medically harmless.
In fact, every food that contains carbohydrates has the potential to also contain alcohol. But according to the MUI Fatwa mentioned above, the alcohol contained in food naturally does not belong to the category of prohibited khamar. Like rice, sticky rice and fruits, it naturally contains alcohol. Even tapai sticky rice and durian fruit, for example, naturally high alcohol content. But the alcohol content is not included in the khamar category. So in general, there are no scholars who forbid tapai or durian fruit.
As for the doubt about the name of the product called “Kefir”, it comes from the word “Kafir”, so as a drink that is categorized as contrary to Islamic values, it must also be explored further. Because in terms of language the expression “Kafir” and plural “Kuffaar” can also mean “farmers who cover seeds with soil” in the Qur’an as farmers do when planting seeds. It is stated in the verse which means: Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except for the enjoyment of delusion.” (QS. Al-Hadid, 57:20).
Some even say, the naming of “Kefir” itself is not derived from Arabic. Some experts say, at first the Kefir Milk drink came from the mountainous communities of the North Caucasus, Russia, for more than 1,400 years ago. The term “Kefir” itself comes from the Turkish language, “ke’if”, which means good, good condition. Therefore, it cannot be identified as a special drink for infidels and is considered forbidden to Muslims. Wallahu a’lam bish-showab.