Muis Fatwa Committee states that;
1) Even though the products contain low alcohol content (less than 0.5%) and/or have zero alcohol content and/or have its alcohol removed, the process of manufacturing the products is similar to the manufacturing of alcohol (khamr1). Thus, it is Haram even though the small amount of alcohol in the products does not cause an individual to be intoxicated.
2) The products are being marketed in a manner that is similar to alcoholic beverages. Islam forbids an event that has resemblance or events that can lead to Haram activities, even though, in its’ natural state, is permissible. This is aligned with a principle in the Sharia’ known as sad al-zari’ah2.
Thus, products that meet the first or second criteria or meet both criteria are considered non-halal for Muslims consumption.
1 kahmr – An intoxicating drink containing ethanol & other components such as methanol, acetaldehyde and ethyl acetate which is produced by fermentation of carbohydrates or drinks containing ethanol and/or methanol as ingredient.
2 Sadd al-dhara’i‘means, literally, "blocking the means", i.e. to undesirable ends, in other words, forbidding what is likely to lead to the haram. The basis of this principle is contained in the Qur'an where Allah says: "Do not swear at those who call on other gods than Allah, so that they will then swear at Allah in enmity, without any knowledge. …." (Q.6:108). Allah has thus made it haram to swear at the gods of others, to avoid them cursing back at Allah. Another example usually highlighted by our past scholars like Imam An-Nawawi, is the issue of accepting and giving gifts for officials. Even though the act of giving a gift itself in essence is virtuous, hence permissible, scholars clearly discouraged those holding on to official posts to accept gifts from the public, as it could be perceived as a bribe. Please refer to: al-Asyqar,Sulayman ‘Abdullah, al-Wadih fi Usul al-Fiqh, (Amman: Dar al-Salam, 2001) 159.