Islamic scholars unanimously consider root beer halal if it is completely free of alcohol. If it contains a minuscule percentage of alcohol, some Islamic scholars consider it haram while others believe it is still permissible (provided it does not intoxicate people in large quantities).
Table of Contents
What is Root Beer?
Modern root beer is a type of soft drink that originated in North America. The drink gets its name from the root bark that used to make up its primary flavor; nowadays, it is made from artificial flavors instead.
Most root beer that you can buy in grocery stores is non-alcoholic. The name ‘beer’ is simply that – a name. But it’s best to check the ingredients before purchasing them, to be safe.
What is ‘Hard’ Root Beer – And Is It Halal?
‘Hard’ root beer is root beer with a high percentage of alcohol – around 4% or greater (source). So, it is considered an alcoholic beverage and is thus haram.
Is Root Beer Halal?
Most root beer does not contain alcohol, and so scholars consider it halal. However, some root beer does contain a small percentage of alcohol. In this case, scholars have different opinions about whether it is halal or not.
For example, Islam Q&A refers to the quantity and ‘essence’ of alcohol present in the root beer (source). According to the Islamic authority site, if the alcohol is of a minuscule amount and is completely absorbed by the beverage, such that is it untraceable, then the root beer is halal to consume.
However, Shaykh Asif of the Halal or Haram Team stated that beverages with any percentage of alcohol should be avoided. He clarified that most ‘non-alcoholic’ beverages contain 0.5% of alcohol, or less, and should not be consumed by Muslims (source).
Is A&W Root Beer Halal?
Since A&W’s root beer is one of the most popular kinds in the U.S., we investigated their ingredient list. Their original root beer contains (source):
- Carbonated water
- High fructose corn syrup
- Caramel color
- Sodium benzoate (preservative)
- Natural and artificial flavors
- Quillaia extract
So, their root beer seems to contain no alcohol. If you buy from a different brand, we encourage you to check the ingredients before purchasing.
Fatwa About Drinking Root Beer
Islam Q&A issued a detailed Fatwa (source) addressing the permissibility (and prohibition) of beer. The ruling addressed beer with alcohol and beer without alcohol. Since root beer can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic, the same rulings apply.
First, the Islamic authority site addressed intoxicating beer (such as hard root beer). The authority site clarified that it is haram to buy, sell, or consume this type of beer, as it is an intoxicant. Moreover, Islam Q&A cited the following hadith as evidence:
The Prophet (SAW) said: Every intoxicant is khamr and every intoxicant is haram.Narrated by Muslim (source)
Moreover, the authority site confirmed that such beer is haram even in small quanitities. They referenced another hadith as evidence:
The Prophet (SAW) said: Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, a little of it is haram.Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1865 (source)
Next, the authority site addressed the second kind of beer – the type that is not an intoxicant. According to Islam Q&A, this kind of beer either (source):
- Contains no alcohol at all, or
- It contains a minuscule amount of alcohol – an amount so small that you can never become intoxicated by drinking it, even in large quantities.
However, as we mentioned before, some scholars do not agree with this second point – they consider beverages with any trace of alcohol to be haram (source).
According to Islam Q&A, this difference of opinion arises because scholars have different interpretations of hadith (source).