بســـم اللــه الرحــمــن الـرحـــيــم
Our Shaykh, Muhammad ibn Hizaam -may Allaah preserve him- was asked the following question:
What’s the ruling of (using Alcohol-based) perfumes, and is it forbidden to use anything which contains alcohol?
(Alcohol-based) Perfumes fall into three cases:
The first case: the proportion of alcohol is so large that it can cause intoxication. If it’s possible to consume and get drunk off it, then it takes the same ruling as wine. So it must not be bought or sold.
The second case: it contains a small percentage of alcohol which will likely decompose into the rest of the solution, losing its intoxicating effect; so however much a person consumes; a little or a lot, it won’t cause intoxication. This type is permissible.
The third case: He doesn’t know. In this case, it’s a doubtful matter, and Muslims should stay clear of doubtful matters; as the Prophet ﷺ said:
((دع ما يريبك إلى ما لا يريبك))
“Give up what is doubtful to you for that which is not doubtful.”
He ﷺ also said:
((فَمَنِ اتَّقَى الشُّبُهَاتِ اسْتَبْرَأَ عِرْضَهُ وَدِينَهُ وَمَنْ وَقَعَ فِي الشُّبُهَاتِ وَقَعَ فِي الْحَرَامِ))
“He who guards against doubtful things keeps his religion and his honor blameless, but he who falls into doubtful things falls into Haraam.”
As for the second part of the question; is it forbidden to use anything which contains alcohol?
Some substances which contain alcohol are not suitable for consumption, let alone intoxication; such as poisonous substances, antiseptics, and petroleum substances. We don’t know of any scholar who disallows selling, purchasing or generally using such substances; this is because these substances are needed by Muslims, firstly. Secondly, they’re not used for intoxication, as they are very harmful; they may even kill a person. They are more or less like poison; they resemble poison more than alcohol. In fact, even poisons themselves contain a large amount of alcohol. So what seems apparent is that it’s permissible to use substances which contain alcohol so long as it’s not suitable for consumption.
But if a person finds better alternatives, he should stick to that. So it’s better to avoid alcohol-based perfumes for alcohol free fragrances instead; like musk, Oud, etc.
Abu Ishaq Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ba Alawi
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