Fatwa: # 6
Category: Worldly Possessions
Country: Other Country/Island
Date: 27th August 2000


Alcohol in Cosmetics and Food


What is the Islamic views of Muslims using cosmetics, e.g. lipstick, foundation, perfume, after-shave, etc.or even consuming food that has traces (not the main ingredient) of alcohol in them.


Question 6(a) Principally, if the alcohol is extracted from grapes or dates it is not permissible. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, "Khamr (wine) is from these two trees, dates and grapes." (Mishkãt p. 317).   Furthermore, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, 'Alcohol itself is prohibited and intoxication in every other beverage.' (Hidaaya vol. 4 p. 497).

However, if the alcohol in foods is not from dates or grape extract but from, for example, ethanol which is fermented from sugar cane mollasses and does not intoxicate, then it is permissible.

 Question 6 (b) A: It is not permissible to use cosmetics that contain alcohol from grapes or date extracts. Such cosmetics are impure and Salaat with it is invalid. However, if the alcohol is synthetic, it is pure and permissible to use. Salaat without washing off such cosmetics will be valid. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to differentiate between genuine and synthetic alcohol.
Thus, to be on the safe side, one should rather prefer using cosmetics that are labelled as 'alcohol-free', especially when such cosmetics are easily available.

 By Mufti Ebrahim Desai

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