By : Hendra Utama (Senior Auditor LPPOM MUI)
In Qur’anic terms, a liquor called Khamr is used not just as a beverage product. Its application, beyond that, is extensive. If the provisions of the sharia do not bind someone, then for him, it is customary to consume Khamr as a drink or to be paired with the main meal, or it can also be added to other products—such as food or culinary products.
In a world that emphasizes and demands creativity, one way to innovate is by modifying existing forms. Experts label such a creative process as ATM (observe, imitate, and change).
Therefore, in the context of innovating with all their creativity, chefs or product designers often conduct experiments through trial and error —departing from pre-existing products. With a few modifications, both in terms of ingredients or process, the product/menu can be transformed into a new product called an innovative product.
Even for them, including Khamr —with its various types, kinds, and ages—in their menu or products is not taboo. Imagination and the creation of unlimited flavors are the basis for designing new products/menus or new variants. As long as it is within the range of flavors or tastes that the audience can accept, then the product or menu will undoubtedly be the choice of the many experimental results.
Such are the landscapes and ecosystems on the world’s expanses with different value systems. So, thinking without limits—not just outside the box, but even without the box—becomes the locomotive. If we borrow the lens of the capitalistic world, the considerations for producing, innovating, and investing are indeed the principle of benefits, and the ends of the coin are clear. As long as it can be profitable, anything can be done. In this value system, halal and haram are not considered.
For a good Muslim, Islamic law is a filter. Everything must be based on the rule of value. If you want to do something, you first think about whether it is halal or haram. That’s the primary filter.
Haram because of Substances and Actions
The Fiqh divides haram into concepts: li dzatihi and li ghoirihi. Something can be forbidden because of the law of the object or substance (li dzatihi) and because of the direction of the act (li ghoirihi).
Khamr is subtly considered haram and unclean. Not all haram substances are also contaminated, but the MUI fatwa commission condemns Khamr as haram and unclean since the majority (jumhur) of scholars express the most decisive opinion. So that when it stands alone as the sole ingredient, liquor is condemned as unclean and unclean. The same thing applies to liquor being included in a product or menu that was initially halal. Because of the presence of liquor, the product is contaminated with unclean and unclean ingredients—the term is mutanajis then the product/menu is also categorized as a haram product.
Also, because the prohibition against liquor is so strict, several activities related to it are prohibited because of the law acts associated with this type of drink.
The following hadith states this: “Allah cursed khamr, its drinker, its presenter, its merchant, its purchaser, its extortionist, its retainer or storage, its carrier, and its recipient.” (HR Ahmad and Thabrani from Ibn Umar, as in the Book of Musnad Ahmad, Juz 2 page 97).
Slightly more technical, based on the decision of the MUI Fatwa Commission in 2018, alcoholic beverages that fall into the khamr are those containing more than 0.5% alcohol/ethanol (C2H5OH).
Khamr, as part of other products—not just a stand-alone liquor—has been practiced for centuries by culinary practitioners. Therefore, it is also not something foreign. This type of liquor can be found in creative coffee drinks, sneaking into chocolate products, infiltrating fried rice, removing the fishy smell and enhancing the taste of stir-fried squid, tenderizing processed meat, and adding aroma to cake mixes -black forest using kahlua sauce or pudding using vla sauce mixed with rum; including one of the favorite ice cream flavors, namely rhum and raisin.
For khamr connoisseurs, all things related to this type of intoxicating drink always have positive associations. It is part of the lifestyle. For him, this choice is a self-representation that adheres to contemporary values; that’s the perception you want to display. A perception that must be straightened out if we are Muslim.
The Sin is Greater Than the Benefits
Many opinions say that there are benefits to the habit of drinking alcohol. Some people’s motivation to consume liquor is to enjoy the effects it causes. There is pleasure in every sip—another way of enjoying their version of the life.
When it comes to benefits, it’s natural when an object has its pluses and minuses. Allah always creates things in pairs: dark and light, good and bad, high and low, big and small, benefits and harms, including khamr.
Therefore, for us as Divine creations, all of these facts are God’s way of testing humans. For people who think alcohol is even though there are benefits, now, the sin is far greater than the benefits. The following excerpt from QS Al-Baqarah verse 219 can provide an answer to the claim for these benefits.
“They ask you (O Prophet) about intoxicants and gambling. Say, “There is great evil in both and some benefit for people—but the evil outweighs the benefit.” 1 They (also) ask you (O Prophet) what they should donate. Say, “Whatever you can spare.” This is how Allah makes His revelations clear to you (believers), so perhaps you may reflect.”
Consuming Khamr Unknowingly
For a Muslim who tries to apply Islamic law kaafah, he istiqamah will try to carry out his obligations. Still, this awareness must be accompanied by sufficient knowledge. Knowledge is necessary for excellent or sincere intentions to be enough.
The scholars agree that, in general, worship will be accepted by Allah if it fulfills two absolute conditions, namely sincere intention, only hoping for a reward from Allah, and the second is mutaba’ah ar-Rasul sallallaahu’ alaihi wasallam or following the instructions of the Messenger of Allah. These two conditions must exist and cannot be separated.
Regarding the obligation to seek knowledge, of course, many arguments explain it. One is “Knowledge before you speak, do charity, or do activities.” (Narrated by Imam Bukhari). They included seeking knowledge related to consuming only halal.
Technology is so developed that the origin of a product can be summed up when no experts are trying to unravel the mystery behind a product’s production process technology. Therein lies the importance of institutions related to halal certification.
When a product has been certified halal by a competent halal institution, the approved yield, Insha Allah, will be guaranteed to be halal. After that, we, as good Muslims, certainly have a choice with the availability of halal-certified products.