Plum Cake + Rum / Brandy = Haram — December 26, 2011

Plum Cake + Rum / Brandy = Haram

Rich fruit Cake or Plum Cake is commonly known as Christmas Cake. In India,Christmas is not believed to  be complete without Plum Cake. Its one of the commonly found in the Indian bakeries. It is a moist,dark brown cake with plenty of nuts and dried fruits in it. Fruits and nuts are soaked in rum or brandy several days ahead for the plum-cake.

So believers please be cautious when you are offered a Plum cake. You might as well just ask the person offering you the Plum cake if there is any brandy or rum added to it. Or if you’re somebody who likes Plum cakes ask your baker to make it without the intoxicants. If you would like to make it at home, here’s a recipe :

Few tips for fruit cake:  
  • Always mix your fruit with the flour so the fruis will be scattered all over instead of sinking in the bottom of the cake. 
  •  Try to preserve the fruits with apple or orange juice for about a week prior to making the cake, as the flavour will be more amalgamated and makes the cake tastes better.
  • Ensure caramel is brown but not burnt (!) as this distinctly determines the flavour of the cake
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs-separated
½ cup mixed peel
½ cup glace cherries
¾ cup raisins 
¼ cup dates
½ cup almonds
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup orange juice
(A pinch of salt if using unsalted butter)
For the caramel

½ cup sugar
1 cup water
( Melt the sugar and water on medium heat until it turns golden brown and concentrates into a 1/2 cup caramel)
1. Mix all the fruits and almond with the orange juice into an airtight container, and keep this in the fridge for a week prior to baking the cake.
2. Using electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until almost white in colour. Add in the egg yolks followed by the vanilla extract. Put this batter aside.
3. Mix the flour with baking powder and cinnamon. By a week’s time, the fruits would have absorbed all the orange juice but should there be remaining juice, drain the juice off and coat the fruits with flour mix.
4. Pour in the flour-fruit mix alternating with the caramel into the batter until well blended.
5. Beat the egg whites until it forms stiff peak meringue, this will take about 8 minutes with stand electric mixer, or slightly longer with handheld mixer. Add the meringue into the batter using fold in technique.
6. Pour mix into a 23 cm cake pan and bake for 1 hour at 170C or until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean.
Cool the cake on wire rack and decorate it if you like with royal icing, or marzipan and fondant icing. This can be kept for a month in an airtight container.
— November 4, 2011
Can one eat at a restaurant that serves alcohol and what about a business man who has to attend lunches where alcohol is served? — October 31, 2011

Can one eat at a restaurant that serves alcohol and what about a business man who has to attend lunches where alcohol is served?

A Muslim should certainly not go to places like bars and nightclubs which are dedicated primarily to unlawful activities.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not sit at a table where liquor is served.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2801)]

Restaurants and reputable hotels are a different matter. If a restaurant, convenience store, or similar establishment is engaged primarily in lawful business, but also serves alcohol to its customers who order it, then as long as the Muslim does not eat or drink unlawful things or sit at a table where unlawful food or drink is served, then he is not sinful. If other restaurants are available that do not serve alcohol, he may prefer to patronize them rather than support a venue that sells unlawful things. And Allah knows best.

The hadîth reads: “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not sit at a table where liquor is served.” It is talking about what is put on the table where the person is sitting. It also applies to being in the social company of drinkers while they are engaged in their wrongdoing. Therefore, a Muslim who sits at a table where liquor is being served or consumed is doing wrong. The ruling will be extended to the entire venue when it is a place dedicated to social wrongdoing, like a bar or nightclub. This is because in such venues the person is socially participating in the activity of drinking, even if he is not actually sitting at the same table.

On the other hand, if a person sits in a normal restaurant at a table where only lawful items are being served, and there is a table nearby – unaffiliated in any way with him or his companions – where liquor is being consumed, then he is not sinful if he at least denies that wrongdoing in his heart or by his speech.

This practice can readily be adopted in the restaurants were Muslims and non-Muslims both attend, especially in the countries where Muslims are minorities.

With respect to a Muslim businessman who engages in legitimate business in a country where attending lunches and dinners in restaurants and hotels are an unavoidable part of doing business, and where the other parties to the business transaction almost invariably drink alcohol, this can become a matter of legal necessity (darûrah shar`iyyah). 

This will be the case if the general refusal of Muslims to sit at a table where the other party drinks alcohol makes it impossible or extremely difficult for religious Muslims in that country to engage in lawful business. This brings a serious harm upon the Muslims, a harm that Islamic Law would seek to avoid. 

Moreover, the prohibition of sitting with people who drink alcohol is a prohibition regarding the means to wrongdoing. This can be contrasted with the prohibition of drinking alcohol, which is a prohibited for its own sake. Ibn al-Qayyim explains: “Prohibitions regarding the means to wrongdoing are not like things that are prohibited for their own sake. Prohibitions regarding the means to wrongdoing will be lifted for a valid need (hâjah). As for things that are prohibited for their own sake, their prohibition is not lifted except in cases of dire necessity (darûrah).” 

Therefore, a Muslim businessman can sit with people in a respectable business context where the other person is drinking alcohol. The Muslim may sit in such company to the extent that it is necessary for him to conduct normal, lawful, and respectable business. Of course, under no circumstances may the Muslim partake of unlawful food or drink. The Muslim should also endeavor to insist that the meeting takes place at a reputable and respectable restaurant, and not at a bar or nightclub.

And Allah knows best.