Part One: What Everybody Ought to Know About Intoxicants
There are several types of intoxicants which are often called alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages are broadly classified as wine, beer, and liquor composed of spirits and Liqueurs (Cordials).
There are different types of beer on the market with varying levels of alcohol and may reach 5.5%; a strong beer can reach 8%. There is also one type of beer called lager beer that is stored for about 6 months before it is marketed. It is also important to know that there are products made by mixing beer (as the basic ingredients) with flavourings, water and other ingredients and then carbon dioxide gas is added. This drink is commercially known as shandy drink. This type of drink is extremely misleading to consumers who do not know the origin and who thought that it is not intoxicating due to the alcohol content being only 1%. However, since the drink contains beer, which is forbidden, it is also forbidden to drink shandy. It is likely that some people may justify the drink as halal on the basis of it not being intoxicating but the original ingredients should be considered so that any haram material that it contains which is unlawful is not consumed. In addition, efforts should be made to not open up opportunities for producing and circulating illicit drinks.
Another type of drink that is confusing to consumers is Root Beer. After checking its composition, it turns out that this drink is made from flavorings (also known as essence), water and carbon dioxide. Judging from the composition it cannot be categorized as haram but considering its name, using the name of a forbidden drink, then this kind of drink should be avoided as the name can lead us to be close to the forbidden items; or can create an atmosphere where it will no longer be clear which one is halal and which one is haram. For example, rhum is a type of very intoxicating liquor, however, now there is a synthetic rhum that is not made by fermentation as the original rhum is but is instead a mixture of synthetic chemicals. Mothers often use rhum to make a cake. Some people certainly cannot easily distinguish which rhum is the original and which one is synthetic. Therefore, all material that has the same name with a prohibited substance should be avoided.
It should also be known that alcohol-free beer is now available, which is not completely free of alcohol since the alcohol content can reach 1%. This type of beer can be made in 2 ways: first by distilling the beer so that its alcohol content will be significantly reduced, while the second is made from a mixture of flavoring and other ingredients. Beer that is made using the first method is clearly haram because it comes from beer, while beer made by using the second method should also be avoided, even forbidden, because even if it does not contain alcohol, if we consume it anyway, it is feared that later we will tend to love things that are forbidden.