Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Tapai, beer and alcohol addiction

Taken from an e-mail I received from Dr Mohamed Tahir, Singapore on Sunday, 3 April 2011 at 4:12 PM (edited for blog post).


Regarding halal foods also there is the matter of “tapai” which is a popular food amongst the Malays here.  It may have a different name in Kelantan.  Tapai is fermented pulut or ubi kayu. There was an article in a Muslim magazine (The Muslim – by Darul Arqam Singapore) which measured the alcohol content in tapai and its juice.  The alcohol content was as much as 5 % in some cases.  Beer has less alcohol as it is only about 2-3%. But tapai is consumed with impunity by our community and is even served sometimes in Mawlid gatherings.  Apparently there was a fatwa made in one of the states of Malaya that tapai is not haram.  Even the Majlis Ugama Islam website of Singapore states that it is not haram as it is made from pure ingredients etc.  But isn't beer, wine, toddy or sake also made from pure ingredients?  What is consumed customarily does not make it right.  I had one Malay patient once, whose wife complained that he must drink a cup of tapai juice  each day, otherwise he starts shivering, sweating and trembling.  When I examined him, he had obvious signs of alcohol addiction. 
- Dr M Tahir

Tapai ubi kayu from Pasar Tani, Pasir Tumboh, Kelantan. Photo by FAR
Tapai pulut served at a Malay wedding reception in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, 25 June 2010. Photo by FAR
Tapai pulut available from Pasar Tani, Pasir Tumboh, Kelantan. Photo by FAR

Tapai pulut served at a Malay wedding reception in Panji, Kelantan, 3 June 2011. Photos by FAR

Tapai pulut served at a university lunch, 28 Sept 2010. Photo by FAR.

8 comments:

sasy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gula "gulaley" Kapas said...

Aiyoh! Next time ask JAKIM. They have their own food specialists who are experts in both food and hukum-hukum Islam. They can explain to you in detail why tapai is halal. A few times ada JAKIM representative yang appear dalam program Tanyalah Ustaz to talk about Halal.

Ni Portal Halal JAKIM.

Ni dari website Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan:

Alkohol Menurut Pandangan Islam
http://www.e-fatwa.gov.my/fatwa-kebangsaan/alkohol-menurut-pandangan-islam

4. Tapai halal dimakan.
4. Tapai (fermented rice) is lawful to be eaten



Penggunaan Alkohol Semasa Solat
http://www.e-fatwa.gov.my/fatwa-negeri/penggunaan-alkohol-semasa-solat

Selain itu alkohol juga terhasil dari lebihan proses pembuatan makanan seperti tapai,sama ada dari ubi kayu atau pulut.Ianya adalah tidak najis dan harus dimakan.

mtahir said...

The original post already acknowledges that a fatwa was given in Malaysia, and also by MUIS Singapore that tapai is not haram. But the facts are that it contains alcohol and has been found by the author to cause alcoholic craving and addiction. Thus whether it is labelled haram or halal, alcohol has the same potentially harmful effect.

Gula "gulaley" Kapas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gula "gulaley" Kapas said...

Yes, it does acknowledge but doesn't provide the source. Some people might be interested to look into those sources. i know i would :D

i object to the last sentence:
"Thus whether it is labelled haram or halal, alcohol has the same potentially harmful effect."

I object to clumping Halal and Haram together just because of the effects. To me, that's similar to pluralism. However, i agree on the harmful effects of alcohol *i'm no doctor, so i'll just take what is given*.

But then again, it is possible that we've not yet come to the stage of knowing scientifically why this alcohol is Halal and why that alcohol is Haram, like explaining scientifically the secrets of solat.

=======
"Solat: Kebaikan Dari Perspektif Sains" (2009)

Authors:
- Fatimah Ibrahim
- Wan Abu Bakar Wan Abas
- Ng Siew Cheok.

Penerbit:
Jabatan Kejuruteraan Bioperubatan, Fakulti Kejuruteraan, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.

ISBN:
978-967-5148-03-3
=======

The knowledge of science should contort to Islam, not the other way round. In other words, Islam first, science second.

Besides, what's the difference between addiction to plain water with addiction to alcohol? Too much of a good thing is just as bad.

The best solution is to get in touch with JAKIM's specialists and discuss this matter. Try asking for Ustaz Mohd. Amri Abdullah. He's the person i saw on Tanyalah Ustaz on 14 & 15 August 2010, talking about "Makanan Halal".

Here is a googled result on him using the terms "ustaz amri abdullah":
http://www.exportacademy.net/resource/file/jakimhalal.pdf

To watch previous shows of Tanyalah Ustaz, you'd need to register & login here:
http://www.tonton.com.my/
However, only shows of the current year are listed. No idea where to find shows from previous years. Previously it was at www.tv9.com.my, then they moved it to Tonton.

Frankly speaking, *this should be made the rule of thumb and taught to everyone* --> i'd suggest you stick to your field of speciality and not meddle with a field that is not yours to play on *kalau belajar, buat cara belajar*. Leave it to the experts of that particular field. Also, don't answer questions that are not yours to answer.<--

Lack of diplomacy is just one of my many poor qualities :P. Apologies offered.

KenGo said...

I beg to disagree.

Scientifically, both tapai and alcoholic beverage contain ethanol which we commonly called alcohol (in layman term); the question here, how do you measure which ethanol is halal or haram? The fact that both, through fermentation (same chemical process), produce the same alcohol - ethanol - molecularly and chemically (CH3CH2OH) ?

Quote:
Selain itu alkohol juga terhasil dari lebihan proses pembuatan makanan seperti tapai,sama ada dari ubi kayu atau pulut.Ianya adalah tidak najis dan harus dimakan.

Scientifically, it is the fact that alcohol is a by product in producing wine, beer, etc.

mtahir said...

Exactly my point, Ken Go. I had already stated that I have seen the intoxicating and addicting effects of Tapai in one of my patients. Alcohol is detectable in Tapai within a few hours of it being made.

Unknown said...

There is a hadith that many consider to be 'Sahih' or authentic, therefore, grounds for basing a ruling from:
The prophet PBUH said:
"Whatever that a lot of makes you intoxicated, a little of it is haram"

So a little beer will certainly not intoxicate you, but a lot of it will. Therefore even a little is haram.

However, how about food items or drinks that contain traces of alcohol? Upon studying the matter many scholars believe that this percentage of alcohol, which is certainly very low (0.01% etc), no matter how much would you consume of, you'd never get enough alcohol in you to get intoxicated, and as such, it is not haram.

This does not apply to tapai I am afraid. As it's a good 2%+ alcohol as mentioned in this article. So if you had 10+ tapai cakes would you get tipsy? Sounds like the case, so even a little alcoholic tapai is haram as far as this logic goes. Practicing muslims who wish to enjoy tapai could have a non alcoholic version of it. At the end, Allah knows best :)

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