Praise be to Allaah.
The nutmeg tree used as a kind of spice which gives food a fragrant smell and delicious taste. The ancient Egyptians used it as a medicine for stomach
disease and to expel wind.
Its effects are like those of hashish. If it is consumed in large quantities, a person ringing in his ears, severe constipation, difficulty urinating, anxiety, stress, suppression of the central nervous system and possibly death.
With regard to the rulings on it, the scholars differed and there are two opinions.
The majority of scholars are of the view that it is haraam to
use it in small and large quantities. Others are of the view that it is
permissible to use a little of it if it is mixed with other substances.
Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d. 974 AH) said concerning nutmeg:
When there was a dispute concerning it between the scholars
of the Haramayn and Egypt, and there were differences of opinion as to
whether it is halaal or haraam, this question arose: Did any of the imams or
their followers state that it is haraam to eat nutmeg?
To sum up the answer – as was stated clearly by Shaykh
al-Islam Ibn Daqeeq al-Eid – it is an intoxicant. Ibn al-‘Imaad went further
and regarded hashish as comparable to it. The Maalikis, Shaafa’is and
Hanbalis are agreed that it is an intoxicant and comes under the general
text: “Every intoxicant is khamr and all khamr is haraam.” The Hanafis are
of the view that it is either an intoxicant or a drug, either of which
affects the mind, so it is haraam in either case. End quote.
See: al-Zawaajir ‘an Iqtiraab al-Kabaa’ir (1/212) and
al-Mukhaddiraat by Muhammad ‘Abd al-Maqsood (p. 90).
During the eighth conference of medical fiqh – “The Islamic
View on Some Health Problems – Haraam and Impure Substances in Food and
Medicine” – which was held in Kuwait between 22-24 Dhu’l-Hijjah 1415 AH
(22-24 May 1995), they said:
Narcotic substances are haraam, and it is not permissible to
consume them unless that is for a specific medical purpose, and in the
amount specified by doctors, but they are pure (taahir) in and of
There is nothing wrong with using nutmeg to improve the
flavour of food, in small amounts that do not cause listlessness or
Shaykh Dr. Wahbat al-Zuhayli said:
There is no reason why a small amount of nutmeg should not be
used to improve the flavour of food, cakes and the like, but a large amount
is haraam, because it is a narcotic.
But to be on the safe side we should say that it is not
allowed even if it is mixed with other things and there is only a small
amount of it, because “that which intoxicates in large amounts, a small
amount of it is haraam.”
It should noted that it is prohibited to import nutmeg – both
seed and powder – into the Land of the Two Holy Mosques (i.e., Saudi Arabia)
and it is permitted only to import it when it is mixed with other spices in
permitted proportions, which is no more than 20%.
And Allaah knows best.