Is vanilla extract permitted in Islam?
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Vanilla is a flavour derived from the vanilla plant or more precisely vanilla planifolia. The vanilla plant comes from the family of orchids. The natural vanilla flavour, usually called Pure Natural Vanilla is non-alcoholic and is usually made with glycerin or a propylene glycol base.
Vanilla extract is a solution containing the flavour compound vanillin as the primary ingredient. Pure vanilla extract is made by macerating and percolating vanilla beans in a solution of ethyl alcohol and water. Although 35% is the standard alcohol requirement, premium vanilla extracts often contain a higher percentage of alcohol in order to extract more vanilla flavour from the beans.
There are different types of vanilla extracts and vanilla flavoured foods. Therefore, we cannot issue a general ruling on the permissibility or impermissibility of vanilla extracts.
If it is known that a particular Muslim country or store observes all the regulations of halal and there are no reasonable grounds for doubt, one may consume its food items without knowledge of the exact ingredients. If there are reasonable grounds for doubt, one must investigate and ensure the food he consumes is halal.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Muhammad Imad Ali
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ilm Birmingham