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Perfumes & cosmetics containing alcohol

Published: 25/08/2011 07:56:00 AM GMT
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Many perfumes and some cosmetics contain alcohol. May a Muslim use these?

Answered by

Sheikh Salman al-Oadah

It is lawful to buy, sell, and use perfumes and cosmetics that contain alcohol, because the amount of alcohol is not significant and it is mixed with other materials.

It is not used as a drink, otherwise would be unlawful, even for selling and buying. If we say that such products are impure, then we have to say the same about many items such as gasoline and many other petroleum products that contain alcohol.

Even for intoxicating drinks, the preferable saying is that they are pure in and of themselves. They are unlawful because they intoxicate, not because they are impure.

When the Qur’ân calls wine as abomination, it is emphasizing that it is bad and forbidden. That is why it is mentioned as an abomination along with gambling, sacrificing to idols, and divination by arrows, none of which are physical impurities according to the agreement of the scholars. Therefore, there is no evidence in this verse that alcohol is impure.

If intoxicants were impure, they would not have been poured into the streets of Madinah while there is severe warning against who those who urinate in the roadways. Also, when intoxicants were prohibited, people were not requested to wash their utensils or clothes from it, not even those containers that held liquor.

In one famous hadîth, a person was not asked even to clean the containers that contained alcohol. [Sahîh Muslim (1579) and Sunan al-Nasâ’î (4664)] All this is supported by the general principle in Islamic Law that things are assumed to be pure unless otherwise cited with evidence.

And Allah knows best.

Source: Islam Today

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