In general, Muslim scholars agree unanimously that when wine turns into vinegar by itself (without any deliberate interference from humans), it is halal. However, some others believe that wine vinegar is halal, either when it turns naturally or by an intentional process.
Wine vinegar is one of the most popular types of vinegar made from red or white wine.
Judging from its name and ingredients, Muslims might be doubting whether this condiment is halal or haram to consume. To answer this frequently asked question, we have collected and compiled available sources regarding the rulings of wine vinegar.
How is Wine Vinegar Produced?
Before we go further, let’s talk briefly about how wine vinegar is produced because this aspect is a crucial consideration regarding further rulings.
A bottle of wine can turn into vinegar naturally. When it is left open for a certain amount of time, spontaneous fermentation occurs. During the fermentation, the alcohol content is turned into acetic acid – the primary constituent of vinegar.
Furthermore, wine can be treated and processed to yield quality vinegar as done by commercial manufacturers. For example, by adding starter cultures, catalysts, so on.
Speaking of fermentation, check out our recent post to learn more about whether fermented kimchi is halal or not.
Rulings of Wine Vinegar from Different School of Thoughts
There are different opinions regarding the permissibility of using wine vinegar in our foods. According to the Shafi’is, Hanbalis, and some Malikis jurists, it is impermissible to change wine into vinegar. (source)
Furthermore, the Shafi’i school says that wine vinegar is halal and permissible as long as the wine turns itself into vinegar – without human interventions. If there is an intentional, deliberate process, it is not halal. (source). That said, commercial wine vinegar products are not halal, according to this fatwa.
Here is the hadith that supports the above statements.
As narrated by Anas bin Malik, “The Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked whether wine could be changed to be used as vinegar. He said, ‘No.’” (Sahih Muslim p.163 v.2 & Sunan Abu Dawud p.161 v.2)
However, according to the Hanafi scholars, the hadith above is very strict on alcohol prohibition, that even making beverages from containers that used to contain alcohol is also prohibited. Later on, The Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) allowed such practice and the making of vinegar from wine.
As mentioned in Darul Ifta Birmingham, Saaidah Aaisha was once asked whether wine could be changed to be used as vinegar. She replied by saying, “there is nothing wrong with it as it is food (Idaam).” (Musanaf Ibn Abi Shaibah p.98 v.5)
Therefore, based on this evidence, the Hanafi school rules that wine vinegar is pure and halal to consume, either when the wine turns to vinegar by itself or through human interference.
According to Shafi’i school, wine vinegar is only halal when the wine spontaneously turns into vinegar, without any human helps. Meanwhile, the Hanafi school rules that wine vinegar is halal, either way.
On Halal Guidance, we only showcase legitimate and credible sources to help you make an informed choice, and the final decision is all yours.