KUALA LUMPUR: There is no such thing as "halal" beer. Beer is beer, it contains alcohol, and, therefore, it is not halal, Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria said. Commenting on the subject, which was being hotly debated on social networking site Facebook, he said beer had never been halal because the alcoholic content was above 0.01 per cent.
"Any food or drink with an alcohol content of below that (0.01) is permissible but above that it is not halal. Alcohol is an intoxicant, therefore, it is haram. There shouldn't be any doubt about that." Harussani said beverage manufacturers should not use the word beer for a non-alcoholic beverage, adding that the term itself was self-explanatory.
"It is very simple; basically beer is alcohol. Just don't use the term, 'halal' as it would only confuse the people." According to Wikipedia, beer was the most widely consumed, and probably oldest, of the world's alcoholic beverages. It is the third most popular drink after water and tea. Beer is produced by the brewing and fermentation of starches, mainly from cereal grains -- commonly malted barley, although wheat, maize and rice are widely used.
Most beer is flavoured with hops, which add bitterness and act as a natural preservative, though other flavourings such as herbs or fruits may be included. The debate on "halal" beer followed a report in a local daily that it was popular among Muslims. Following this, the Johor Islamic Affairs Department took samples of the beverage and it was discovered that it was produced from various fruits and the alcohol content was 0.5 per cent.
On Sunday, Bernama reported that Muslims were advised against consuming "halal" beer. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said this was because the beverage's alcohol content was 0.5 per cent. Meanwhile, Islamic Development Department of Malaysia director Othman Mustapha said Jakim had never issued halal certificates for such beverages, which were mostly imported from the Middle East.
The beverage is being sold for RM3 and RM5 per bottle. "Jakim had rejected the applications for these beverages because they did not meet the 1500:2009 halal standards and Jakim has specific requirements that distributors must follow to obtain the halal certificate." He said the halal certificate issued by Jakim was a standard document for all food products in the country. "Any food product that does not have the halal logo is questionable. Jakim's advice is to be cautious when buying the products."