Is it permissible to consume beer-battered fish according to the Hanafi Madhab ?
Question: Is it permissible to consume beer-battered fish according to the Hanafi Madhab? Some claim that the alcohol evaporates during the frying process. Answer: ِﺑ ْﺴ ِﻢ ا ِﷲ اﻟ ﱠﺮ ْﺣﻤ ِﻦ اﻟ ﱠﺮ ِﺣْﯿﻢ In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
According to the mufta bihi opinion in the Hanafi Madhab (i.e. that opinion according to which an Islamic legal verdict is issued), it is impermissible to consume beer-battered fish irrespective of the amount of beer content and whether it intoxicates the consumer or not. Beer is such a beverage that is manufactured and consumed with the intention of intoxication, hence even if a small amount is added to the batter it would be impermissible to consume regardless of which source the alcohol was derived from. (Raddul Muhtar: v. 6, p. 454-455 [Darul Fikr-Beirut]; Preparation and Processing of Religious and Cultural Foods: p. 285 [Woodhead Publishing]) In regards to the evaporation of alcohol, this is a matter which cannot be guaranteed --hence uncertain-- especially when frying times are short, e.g. when frying beer-battered fishes. Based on the Islamic principle “Certainty is not removed with doubt” we cannot consume beer-battered fish because we are certain that beer exists in the batter, nevertheless, we are doubtful whether all of the beer has evaporated or not. Therefore, we cannot conclude with conviction that the fish is beer-free based on mere assumption. Many people prefer beer-battered fish over non-beer-battered on account of the bubbles in the beer adding body and lightness to the batter. To achieve this very purpose, you may alternatively use soda or any other halal carbonated drink for the batter.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Mohammad Ahsan Osmani Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham