Alcohol in Perfumes - Is it Permissible?

Alcohol in Perfumes - Is it Permissible?

There is a difference between khamr (intoxicants) and alcohol. As it relates to perfumes, the alcohol within them is non-intoxicating and non-consumable. In fact, if consumed it can be deadly. For that reason it is classified as summ (poison) which is permissible to buy, sell, transport, or use it, but not consume.

 In matters or religion, it is important to emphasize that we return back to our scholars and students of knowledge for guidance from the Quran and Sunnah. 


Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said when he was asked about the impurity of alcohol and cologne: 

The basic principle is that things are pure (taahir) unless there is evidence to indicate that they are impure (najis). When there is no evidence to indicate that something is impure, then the basic principle is that it is pure. But it is evil (khabeeth) in a practical and metaphorical sense. However, the fact that a thing is forbidden does not necessarily mean that it is impure. Do you not see that poison is haraam but it is not najis (impure)? Everything that is najis is haraam, but not everything that is haraam is najis. 

Based on that, we say concerning cologne and similar things: they are not najis, because alcohol in and of itself is not najis. There is evidence for the opinion that we have mentioned, so cologne and similar things are not najis either, and as they are not najis, the clothing does not have to be purified from them. End quote. 

Majmoo‘ Fataawa al-Shaykh al-‘Uthaymeen, 11/252 

Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen was also asked: 

If it is proven that a perfume contains alcohol, can a person put it on his clothing and go out to pray? 

He answered: 

It should be noted that pure alcohol is not najis and it does not have to be washed from the clothing or the body. Once you understand that, you will know that perfumes that contain alcohol, even if the ratio is high, are not najis. End quote. 

Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh, 176, question no. 4 


Shaykh Moosa Richardson

See the below excerpt for Shaykh Moosa Richardson's website: 

"It is important to differentiate between “khamr” (intoxicants) and “alcohol”.*

The substance called “alcohol” is of three types:

1) That which is deadly, if you consume it you will die or become seriously ill.  This is considered “summ (poison) and it is permissible to buy, sell, transport, or use it, but not consume it.  You can use it when found in mouthwash, perfume, bug spray, etc., but not in foods or drinks.

2) That which intoxicates when consumed, a little of it or a lot, then it considered Khamr (intoxicant), and it is not permissible to buy, sell, transport, use, or consume.  The scholarly verdicts mentioned here and here refer to this category: khamr.

3) That which does not intoxicate no matter how much of it is consumed, then it is not a khamr, rather it is halaal, like the small amounts of alcohol found in many foods and drinks that we eat every day.  This type is permissible to buy, sell, transport, use, and consume.

So if the type of alcohol used in your medicine or food is type #3, then you may use and/or consume it.  If it is type #1 or #2, then NO, unless the resulting product has a diluted amount, so small that it does not make the product an intoxicant, even when large amounts are consumed. 

And Allaah knows best.

*[I learned this point from Shaykh Muhammad Baazmool, who relays it from al-‘Allaamah Al-Albaanee, may Allaah have Mercy on them both.]

Written by: Moosaa Richardson

ST Archives – Originally Published 03-11-2007"


Shaykh Abu Khadeejah

Additionally see the below excerpt from Shaykh Abu Khadeejah's website: 

"Alcohol has been permitted by scholars to use to clean wounds, but not for consumption by swallowing. Also, alcohol in perfumes and colognes is permitted because, of course, it is not drunk."


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