What is the ruling on using medicines & sprays that contain alcohol?
There are four types of Alcohol, they are as followed:
1) Khamar – It is the grape juice which is fermented for so long that it becomes strong and clear after leaving the froth.
2) Aseer– It is the grape juice which has been boiled or put in sunlight for a period that only 1/3rd of the original quantity remains.
3) Naqee-ut-tamar – It is prepared by putting wet dates in water for such a long period that the water becomes strong and leaves the froth.
4) Naqee-uz-Zabeeb – It is prepared by putting wet currant raisins in water for such a long period that the water becomes strong and leaves the froth.
Now, there is difference in ruling for these types of alcohol.
Prohibition of Khamar is proved from Nass-e-Qata’i (clearly from the Qur’an & Ahadith), anyone who deems it to be allowed is a Kaafir (out of the folds of Islam). A person who drinks even a drop of Khamar will be prosecuted as per the Islamic law for drinking wine.
Whereas the prohibition of other three liquors are not Qata’i but are Dhanni (not clearly proved from Nass). A person whom deems them to be permissible is not regarded as a Kaafir. These are haraam only when consumed to the level of intoxication.
However, irrespective of the above differences, Scholars have agreed that they are all prohibited and unclean.
Now coming to the use of these liquors in medicines and sprays. We can clearly see that no medicine/syrups (especially Homeopathic medicines) and sprays/deodorants are free from Alcohol. No person and no house is exempt from this; not only the general public but even Scholars are using these substances due to need and requirement.
A condition, in which all the people, general public and Scholars, are together involved in something due to valid needs and reasons is called ‘Umoom-e-Balwa’. This condition leads to dilution of the Islamic Law.
Hence in today’s generation, using alcoholic medicines and sprays will be allowed due to ‘Umoom-e-Balwa’. However, we would still request the people to avoid them, if possible.
Apex Islamic Law Board of India – Majlis-e-Sharai (Jamia Ashrafia) in its 1st seminar held on 16 Jan 1994 gave the fatwa on the permissibility of using English medicines with alcohol.
[Excerpts from Sahifa Fiqh Islam – volume 1]
Allah knows best.
Answered by Mawlana Mohammed Kashif