Sunday, November 19, 2017 - 30 Safar 1439
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Using cosmetics and detergents containing alcohol

Is it permissible to use cosmetics (e.g. creams and shampoo) which contain alcohol?

Answer

Scholars agree that alcohol is not an impure (najis) substance and it is permissible to be used in (manufacturing) perfumes, detergents, medicine and other useful items. If one performs prayer while wearing perfume containing alcohol, their prayer is valid, because, according to Shari’ah, objects are principally pure.
Although it is prohibited in the Shari'ah to drink alcohol, that does not necessitate it to be impure. This is because impurity is attached to the rulings of the Shari'ah which necessitates separate evidence. It is not a liquid intoxicant, such as wine, which scholars have differed over determining its impure or pure properties. Alcohol is prohibited because it is harmful and destructive.

The ruling
It is established in the Shari'ah that when the essence and characteristics of objects change, its legal ruling subsequently changes. Alcohol is not considered as wine if it is mixed with perfume, medicine or detergents. Likewise, if wine converts to vinegar by itself, it is considered pure by the Shari'ah.
 

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