O Muslima! What we should consider of Vinegar
Maybe some of us do not imagine that vinegar has been known at the time of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, as mentioned by the following hadith:
From Jabir Ibn Abdullah RA said:
at one time I was sitting in my house, suddenly through the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, he signed to me and then I stood up to meet him. … … He asked one of his wifes, “Do you have some food?” She replied, “Yes we have!.” Then, she brought three pieces of bread and then place it before Prophet PBUH. He took one … Then he said “No sauce?” She said, “No nothing but vinegar.” He said, “Bring it here! Vinegar sauce is also tasty! “(Hadits narrated by Muslim).
How vinegar is made during Rasulullah period?
Making vinegar at the time that the Prophet PBUH alive, is estimated to involve a fermentation process (a process of changing one substance into another by involving microorganisms) using microorganisms exist in the area.
The main ingredient in making vinegar is sugar-rich materials, while the fermentation that takes place is alcohol fermentation (fermentation that the primarily result is alcohol) and acetic fermentation (fermentation which the main result is acetic acid, the most widely acid type found in vinegar) continuously. It means that fermentation alcohol first then followed by acetic fermentation continually.
Nowaday the vinegar is made from sugar-rich materials such as grapes, apples, coconut juice, and malt, also sugar itself, such as sucrose and glucose. If vinegar is made from such materials then the result is usually called vinegar. In addition, malt vinegar is vinegar made from barley juice (a type of grain).
Vinegar can also be made from alcoholic beverages such as cider and wine. The cider or wine is changed into vinegar by fermentation using acetic acid bacteria starter, where the major changes is the conversion of alcohol (ethanol) to acetic acid. If the vinegar made from wine, then the result is wine vinegar. If the vinegar is made from the cider, the result is called cider vinegar.
In the market, cider vinegar is sometimes called apple vinegar, although it is suitably called as apple cider vinegar or cider vinegar. Rice vinegar is vinegar made from rice wine (wine made from rice), and sherry vinegar made from sherry wine.
What we have to concern when buying vinegar and sauces?
Wine vinegar is usually used to make sauces. Therefore if the ingredients contain wine vinegar then do not buy the sauce because it is not considered to be halal. Balsamic vinegar may contain wine vinegar.
Another type of vinegar is distilled vinegar, which is made by fermentation acetic using solution of “distilled alcohol” (ethanol). Distilled vinegar is also a vinegar obtained from distillation of any vinegars.
It is argued that if food contains ethanol, the food becomes haram, but this opinion is weak. If it is true then any type of vinegar will go into the category of haram because in its process, it forms alcohol and there is an alcohol residual after it becomes vinegar, although of course only a few remaining (below 1%). Even more debilitating is the fact that the Prophet PBUH consumed vinegar so that vinegar must be halal.
If vinegar is made from Halal ingredients such as coconut juice, sugar, or malt, then Insha Allah it is no question because there is nothing to be considered in its manufacturing process. However, if vinegar made from khamr such as wine and cider, namely wine vinegar, rice vinegar, cider vinegar, and sherry vinegar, then it should not be consumed. This is based on the following hadith:
Abu Daud has narrated from Anas bin Malik RA: Abu Thalha had asked the Prophet about the orphans who received wine heritage. So Prophet PBUH said, “Pour it.” Abu Thalha said, “Could I make it become vinegar?” He answered, “No,” (IbnRushd, Bidayatul Mujtahid 2nd part).
Could we drink Apple Cider?
One type of beverage to watch out is cider drinks such as apple cider. Cider drink is categorized the group of alcoholic beverages with alcohol content of 5.86%, so this type of drink should not be taken by Muslims. Apple vinegar is vinegar with high acetic acid levels and so cannot be consumed the same as ordinary vinegar. Apple vinegar can be made from apple cider (other than apple juice), so if apple vinegar made from apple cider then the vinegar is forbidden for Muslims. Apple vinegar Insha Allah halal if it is made from apple juice, but haram if it is made from apple cider.