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On September 11, 1951, an Egyptian newspaper, al-Ahram, published a fatwa on whether or not the consumption of the soft drinks Coca-Cola and Pepsi were allowed under Islamic law. The mufti, or Islamic judge, Hasanayn al-Makhluf was the individual who ruled on the case. The premise of the case was due to rumors and conspiracies spreading among the public such as the Coca-Cola logo, when reflected in a mirror, spells out "No Mohammed no Mecca" in Arabic.
Issuing the fatwa
In order to get an accurate answer on whether or not Pepsi and Coca-Cola were prohibited by Islamic law, the Department of Fatwas asked the Ministry of Public Health to ascertain the composition of the two sodas. On August 25, 1951, the Ministry of Public Health found that neither Pepsi-Cola nor Coca-Cola contained any narcotics, alcohol, or pepsin. The use of narcotics and the consumption of alcohol are both prohibited under Islamic law. Pepsin is created from the membrane of pig stomachs, and any product coming from a pig is not permitted under Muslim Sharia law. The Ministry of Public Health explained that the drinks also have no harmful microbes in them. Based on the information provided by the Ministry of Public Health, the Department of Fatwas declared the drinks permissible under Islamic law.
Mufti Hasanayn al-Makhluf also explained in this fatwa that all foods and drinks are assumed to be permissible under Islamic law unless found otherwise and if a person does not know the condition or ingredients of a food or beverage, its consumption is permitted until its nature is determined.
- Skovgaard-Petersen, Jakob. Defining Islam for the Egyptian State: Muftis and Fatwas of the Dār Al-Iftā. Leiden: Brill, 1997, 172.
- Kamdar, Ismail. "Of Wa-Hubbies and Conspiracies." Muslim Matters. March 23, 2011. http://muslimmatters.org/2011/03/23/of-wa-hubbies-and-conspiracies/.
- Herbert J. Liebesny, The Law of the Near and Middle East Readings, Cases, and Materials, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1975, 42-43.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. "Pepsin from Hog Stomach." 1972. http://www.fao.org/ag/agn/jecfa-additives/specs/Monograph1/Additive-309.pdf.
- Herbert J. Liebesny The law of the Near and Middle East readings, cases, and materials, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1975, 42-43.