Cornell University

Halal and Haram Beverages in Historical Perspective

Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

White Hall, 110
815 University Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

This lecture will consider jurisprudential debates surrounding alcohol consumption since early Islamic times and will survey how various Muslim communities have historically oscillated between leniency and stringency in enforcing established rules. The discussion will also reflect on modern attitudes towards alcohol consumption, intoxication, and other related topics. Modern scientific tools, including those enabling the measurement of alcohol per volume (APV) content, have been increasingly utilized to determine, with more precision, whether varied beverages comply with ancient rules and traditions. The implications of such developments are vast since everything from kombucha and kefir to fruit juices and soda can contain traces of alcohol. Also, in many Muslim countries, the growing popularity of faux libations, such as non-alcoholic beer and non-alcoholic wine, has generated concerns among some religious authorities regarding the propriety of their consumption. By exploring these issues, the lecture will assess how context-dependent religio-legal sensitivities have shaped the consumption of different beverages and brews, in the past and present.

Event Type



Near Eastern Studies, Comparative Muslim Societies Program


nescal, nesnewsletter, middleeasterncal


Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Ayla Cline


Febe Armanios and Bogac Ergene

Speaker Affiliation

Middlebury College and University of Vermont

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