Coffee and Caffeine in Halal Diets
Islamic consumers live by “Eat of what Allah has provided for you [which is] lawful and good.” They are also advised, “That flesh will not enter Paradise which has grown from Haram, and all that flesh which has grown from Haram, the fire (of hell) is more worthy of it.”
But what are the concepts of halal and haram? The first reflects what is lawful or permissible in Islam, including dietary standards. The second refers to what is unlawful and impermissible, with alcohol forbidden and meat the most strictly regulated food group.
Islam has strict rules surrounding foods, beverages, processes, and permitted behaviors (halal) and not (haram). While some of these rulings are immutable, such as alcohol and pork, others have come under debate over the years.
For example, there was a time – during the 15th and 16th centuries – that coffee was deemed haram. This ruling was thanks to the Ottoman Sultan IV, who believed the beverage was to blame for “social decay and discord.” He felt so strongly about his decree that he issued a fatwa on coffee, with anyone caught drinking it sentenced to death. The Sultan himself, prowling the city in disguise, often exposed offenders. Others have felt the same, citing caffeine’s perceived “narcotic” effects and assumed addictive qualities.
Happily, Islamic leaders understood later that coffee is a mild stimulant for most – the beans “do not cause drunkenness, dizziness or any effect of inebriation.” They relabelled the delicious beans as halal. Now consumers hail caffeine as promoting increased focus and productiveness during work and important Islamic observations and activities.
In addition, the coffee production process is also considered halal. The beans are dried, roasted, and ground, with no alcohol or fermentation involved.
However, what about caffeine-containing soft drinks? Are caffeinated products like Coca-Cola and energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster halal or haram?
Are All Caffeinated Drinks Halal?
While considered halal in the United States, beverages such as Coca-Cola are not certified in all countries. Coke is non-alcoholic, and caffeine is halal, so why is it not approved everywhere?
Beyond the complete recipe remaining a secret, the known ingredients can differ from place to place. Some markets add uncertified sweeteners, potentially haram flavorings, and gelatin. In response, consumers should always check labels to understand ingredients and research the certifications in their country.
In contrast, Red Bull is Halal Food Authority (HFA) and Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) certified. Other halal energy products include Bang, Rockstar, and 5-Hour Energy. However, brands such as G-Star and Monster may not be halal, so research ingredients and websites before consuming.
At the same time, there is an abundance of caffeine-free variants available. So, why not go caffeine-free and halal-safe with Advanced Biotech’s coffee and cola flavor and aroma ingredients?
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