Plant-based diets, vegetarian and vegan foods are on the rise. Muslims in Western countries also turn to them whenever Halal food is hard to find.
Let’s dive deep into how Islam sees this trend and whether vegan and vegetarian foods are a compatible substitute for Halal food.
Vegan food excludes any animal-derived ingredients and is usually Halal unless they contain alcohol. Islam allows Muslims to adopt vegetarianism or veganism as long as it doesn’t contradict Islamic teachings.
Table of Contents:
1- Are Vegan and Halal the same?
2- Possible Haram Ingredients in Vegan Food
3- Is Veganism Halal?
4- Can Muslims be Vegan?
5- Is Vegan Meat Halal?
6- Is Vegan Pork Halal?
7- Is Vegan Burger Halal?
8- Is Vegan Sausage Halal?
9- Are Vegan Sweets Halal?
10- Are Vegan Cosmetics Halal?
11- Takeaway Message
Are Vegan and Halal the same?
More and more people are shifting to vegetarian and vegan diets for various reasons, mainly for health, environmental, and animal welfare issues.
Although both diets may sound similar, there is a subtle difference between the two. Vegetarian foods exclude meat, poultry, seafood, fish, and animal byproducts, such as gelatin. But they may include eggs, honey, and dairy products, such as cheese, yogurt, or butter.
On the other hand, vegan food excludes anything of animal origin. Thus, it is also free from any animal-derived ingredients, including those haram ingredients, such as pork gelatin, lard, pork rennet, or animal shortening.
Many Muslims turn to vegetarian or vegan food for practical reasons, especially when Halal foods are less accessible.
Are vegan and Halal foods the same?
A short answer, no. Vegan food is usually halal, but not always. Although vegan food has eliminated any animal-derived, haram ingredients, in some cases it may contain other types of impermissible ingredients, typically alcoholic drinks and alcohol-containing ingredients.
Muslim scholars unanimously agree that it is not permissible to cook or prepare food with alcohol. (source)
Foods prepared with alcohol are haram to consume, though it evaporates as it is believed, but it is part of the ingredients and will not have any affect on its outcome.Islam QA (source)
In a nutshell, vegan food can be a decent alternative to Halal food, as long as it’s not cooked or prepared with alcohol.
Potentially Haram Ingredients in Vegan Food
Please keep in mind that alcohol in food items can be incidental (for example, as a byproduct of fermentation) or intentionally added. The Islamic rulings are different for each type.
Here are some typical haram ingredients used in vegan food.
1. Alcoholic drink
2. Vanilla extract
3. Soy sauce
4. Sauces and Dressings
1. Alcoholic Drinks
Alcohol is considered a vegan-friendly item (except those made with cream and honey), but definitely not Halal. It is pretty common to add alcohol in vegan food and recipes, such as cakes, cookies, desserts, sweets, sushi, even risotto!
Alcoholic drinks come in different varieties and names, for example, rum, beer, liquor, amaretto, wine, mirin, sake, etc.
Here are some examples of vegan and vegetarian food which may contain alcohol.
- Dessert (tiramisu, black forest, sticky toffee pudding, fruit cake): may contain rum, liquor
- Mushroom risotto: sometimes prepared with white wine
- Onion soup: Sometimes prepared with red wine
2. Vanilla Extract
Vanilla comes in different forms (essence, extract, powder, etc.) and is frequently used in drinks, cakes and desserts. Vanilla extracts typically contain ± 0.1% or less of ethyl alcohol and such a low percentage is unlikely to cause intoxication.
There are divided opinions regarding the permissibility of vanilla extracts. Some Muslim scholars argue that vanilla extract containing alcohol is haram and must be avoided, regardless of the amount.
Meanwhile, other scholars and Halal certifiers agree that vanilla extract is halal as long as the alcohol used during the production is not made from grape or dates. (source)
Here is IFANCA’s ruling on the permissibility of vanilla extracts and products alike.
Vanilla extract, oleoresin, powder, flavors, vanillin, and ethyl vanillin are food ingredients and not food products. They are never eaten or consumed in their pure form. Alcohol is used to make the ingredient soluble and easy to use, hence all such flavors are considered permissible in the making of halal products.IFANCA
Please note that not all vanilla extracts are made equal. If you prefer to stay on the safe side, opt for alcohol-free vanilla extracts or use real vanilla pods. Read more about whether vanilla extract is halal or not here.
3. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce typically contains a trace of naturally occurring alcohol (1-2%) due to the fermentation process.
There are also divided opinions regarding this matter. Some strict Muslims consider such type of soy sauce haram, regardless of its low amount.
Some other scholars, including Darul Iftaa Birmingham, agree that soy sauce is halal to consume, although it contains residual alcohol from the fermentation stage because it won’t cause intoxication and it doesn’t resemble wine in any way.
Still curious? Read more about soy sauce here.
4. Sauces and Dressings (Dijon mustard, teriyaki sauce)
Much to our surprise, some sauces may contain alcohol as part of the ingredients, for example, teriyaki sauce and Dijon mustard. In that case, both sauces are not halal.
Kikkoman confirms on their website that some of their teriyaki sauces are added with mirin (sweet rice wine) or wine as an ingredient.
McCormick and Grey-Poupon, two famous brands for sauces and condiments, also produce their signature Dijon mustard with white wine and Chardonnay wine. Luckily, searching for a Halal alternative is not impossible at all. You just need to find one prepared with vinegar instead of wine
Is Veganism Halal?
According to the majority of Muslim scholars, Islam doesn’t forbid Muslims from adopting vegetarian or vegan diets, as long as they don’t regard eating meat as prohibited.
It is permissible to be a vegan or vegetarian. This will not cause a person’s Deen any harm provided that he does not believe meat to be haraam.Source: https://islamqa.org/hanafi/askimam/126655/is-it-permissible-to-be-a-vegan-in-shariah/
Can Muslims be Vegan?
There are various reasons someone considers adopting a specific diet or lifestyle. Islam allows its believers to follow vegetarian or vegan diets, provided they don’t contradict Islamic teachings.
Here is an answer from Mufti Ibrahim Desai and Moulana Yusuf Taher (Hanafi scholars) regarding the permissibility of a Muslim being a vegan.
If a person becomes a vegan due to, e.g., health reasons, i.e., consumption of meat is not advisable for him, or a person simply cannot eat meat but does not believe that it is wrong to eat meat, it will be permissible.
If the person becomes a vegan for the wrong reasons, e.g., he believes that it is morally wrong to eat meat, slaughtering is cruelty to animals, etc., then it will not be allowed.Islam QA (Source)
Islam does not obligate Muslims to eat all halal foods. Therefore, it is permissible for a Muslim not to eat animal products such as meat, cheese, eggs, and fish.Islam QA (Source)
Is Vegan Meat Halal?
Vegan meat, such as beyond meat, is usually halal because it contains halal ingredients such as soy beans, mushrooms and other vegetables. However, you should always read the list of ingredients to be safe.
With the rise of vegan diets, more and more vegan products are easier to find. Some types of vegan meat (also known as meat-replacement, meat substitutes, or meat analog) are available on the market.
Plant-based ‘meat’ is made from plant-based sources, such as soya, peas, beans, jackfruit, brown rice, mushroom, or potatoes. The ingredients are processed to yield an end product that looks and tastes like meat.
Is Vegan Pork Halal?
It is permissible to consume as long as vegan/ vegetarian pork is made without any haram ingredients.
According to Mufti Ibrahim Desai, the permissibility of food depends on the ingredients, not necessarily on the name. See his statement below.
The permissibility of a food product is based upon its content, not its name. Hence, even though the name of the product is repugnant due to its containing the word “pork,” vegetarian pork is still permissible if it is completely free from any non-dhabīhah animal-derived product.Source: https://islamqa.org/hanafi/askimam/5446/is-vegetarian-pork-halal-it-is-100-animal-free-and-made-from-soya/
Is Vegan Burger Halal?
A vegan burger made entirely from vegetables is halal. However, it is also worth checking other ingredients as well. Make sure it doesn’t contain any unlawful ingredients. (source)
Is Vegan Sausage Halal?
By the same logic as in the vegan burger above, vegan sausage is also halal when prepared with halal ingredients, like this one from Beyond Meat.
Are Vegan Sweets Halal?
Vegan sweets and candies have certainly omitted gelatin. However they may contain added alcohol or flavourings prepared with alcohol (for example, vanilla extract). The latter is considered haram by some.
It’s always best to do your research and look into the listed ingredients. Here’s a quick list of halal gummies we put together to get you started.
Are Vegan Cosmetics Halal?
Vegan cosmetics refer to cosmetic products made without any ingredients of animal origin. However, some items might contain alcohol. It is permissible to wear makeup and skincare products containing alcohol, provided that the alcohol is not made from grapes or dates (khamr).
However, not every product mentions the information on the label. To stay on the safe side, it is best to choose alcohol-free products.
Read more about whether makeup is halal or not.
Vegan food excludes any animal-derived ingredients and is usually Halal unless they contain alcohol. Islam also allows Muslims to adopt vegetarianism or veganism as long as it doesn’t contradict Islamic teachings.
Furthermore, it is halal to eat vegan meat and other products (vegan sausage, burger, etc.) provided they are prepared only with halal ingredients.
On Halal Guidance, we source our information from trusted sources to help our readers make an informed choice, and the final decision is always yours.