Here's Why Sake and Mirin are Haram

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Although only a little bit, the use of sake and mirin in Japanese cuisine is forbidden to Muslims. How is this explained?

In Indonesia, restaurants that adopt cuisine from abroad are becoming a trend, one of which is Japan. The menu is diverse, ranging from shabu and grill, sushi, to ramen. The taste of typical Japanese cuisine is synonymous with sake and mirin, which turns out to belong to the category of khamr.

(Also read: "No Pork No Lard" Claim, AYCE Restaurant Is Definitely Halal?)

Meanwhile, Islam clearly forbids its people from consuming any kind of khamr. This is stated in three verses at once, namely Al-Maidah verse 90, Al-Baqarah verse 219, and QS. An-Nisa verse 43. What is the use of sake and mirin like? What makes it illegitimate?

Sake is an alcoholic beverage from Japan derived from the fermentation of rice. It is often also referred to by the term rice wine. Different from sake, mirin has a sweeter taste with a lower alcohol content, so it is often referred to as sweet sake. As a substitute for mirin, sake is usually added with sugar to give it a sweet taste.

In cooking, the function of using sake and mirin is to eliminate fishy in fish. Sushi, for example, one of the menus of Japanese food dipped in mirin. Even so, sake and mirin have a high enough alcohol content that it can intoxicate the drinker.

Therefore, both of them belong to khamr and cannot be carried out the halal verification process. While a product is called halal if it is made of halal ingredients and is not contaminated with unclean ingredients, therefore the use of mirin in halal products is not allowed. Although only in small or very small quantities for seasoning dishes.

"Don't look at how much it's used anymore. Whether you want a lot or a little, drunk or not drunk, it's still not kosher. Because khamr is illegitimate and unclean. Moreover, some say, if it is heated, the alcohol will evaporate. But still you can't because the substances are already contained in the dish," explained the President Director of LPPOM MUI, Ir. Muti Arintawati, M.Si.

In terms of halal certification, MUI will not carry out a verification process on products that resemble alcoholic beverages such as mirin, sake, and shoju. The product will not be processed to be proven halal because it imitates something illegitimate.

According to Muti, cooking spices that are not kosher cannot be replaced, it is better to leave them and there is no need to find a substitute. "Because something is forbidden, the principle for Muslims is something that should be abandoned, not what should be sought for a replacement," he added.

However, if you still need a substitute for non-halal seasonings, you should see its function. Sake, for example, to get rid of fishy odors, it is possible to find ingredients that can eliminate the fishy smell in fish such as lemon. (YN

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