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I've viewed a few websites in search of an answer to this, trying to answer my friends question. I can't find a definitive answer to this question however; some people say it is strictly forbidden, others that a seemingly arbitrary amount is halal in some perfumes, and others who say that it is strictly forbidden. I've researched this before and it seems to hinge on whether alcohol is considered pure or not, but I never got to the bottom of that.

So is perfume containing alcohol halal? Haram? If the area is grey, under what circumstances is it one or the other?

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@owari if you could find sources for those, I would accept them as an answer –  Pureferret Oct 21 '12 at 12:22
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I deleted my comments to write a short answer based on them. –  owari Oct 21 '12 at 17:16
    
So the options are (a) it's strictly forbidden, or (b) an arbitrary amount is permitted, or (c) it's strictly forbidden. I'm not seeing a difference between a and c. –  TRiG Oct 22 '12 at 16:43
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

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O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah ], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.

In this Ayah, it is only referring to alcohol hat you drink and intoxicates. You can't drink rubbing alcohol that is in perfumes, if done you would become blind or die.

Source: islamic University | Foundations of Islamic Studies | Module 4.4 This is in the form of a video on YouTube, go to ( 1:14:00 ) in the video.

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What is firmly approved is that drinking Alcoholic drinks is forbidden, but there is a doubt about the other usages of Alcohol, be it in perfume, in medical treating like after a surgery or even injection, and etc., some scholars --like the Grand Ayatullah Sistani-- permit these usages and some --like the Grand Ayatullah Bahjat-- forbid them. Me the person don't use perfumes containing Alcohol and try to avoid even its medical usages (unless I find no alternative and its usage is inevitable), as I read a Hadith from Imam Sadiq --peace be upon him-- that he said he would even not look at it, although if physicians would prescribe it then it would be Halal (while still discouraged). I should however stress over the fact that Imam was talking about an alcoholic drink, seeing it or using it for medications, you can find the Hadith in a book devoted to the medical teachings of Imam Sadiq peace be upon him: طب جامع امام صادق علیه السلام

See the Fatwa of the Grand Ayatullah Sistani who allows using such perfumes here

Godspeed

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A translated fatwa from my country (Malaysia, Shafi'i):

(I'm not going to translate the word Arak here, as the english word for alcohol is used for the drink as well as the chemical. In context, the word Arak here means a drink that is used as an intoxicant.)

  1. All Arak contains alcohol. Not all alcohol is a component of Arak. Alcohol from the process of Arak creation is haraam and najis, but alcohol that is not from the process of Arak creaion is not najis, but haram to drink.

  2. Drinks that are created from the same process of Arak creation, whether it contains a little alcohol or the alcohol is removed is haraam.

  3. Drinks that are not intended to be Arak or intoxicants and not created in the same method are halal.

  4. Tapai is halal.

  5. Alcohol as a byproduct of food creation is not a najis and can be eaten.

  6. Medicine and perfumes that contain alcohol are permitted.

(Personally disagree with point 2 as other scholars have said that non-alcoholic beer and wine vinegar is halal, but just translating)

Source: http://www.e-fatwa.gov.my/fatwa-kebangsaan/alkohol-menurut-pandangan-islam

Another less formal source on this:

If alcohol is derived from grapes or dates, it will be haram and impure. If it is from anything else besides dates and grapes and it does not intoxicate directly or through a mixture, then it is permissible.

Some research turns up this point of view as a common one in other parts of the world, but this is the most formal version I could find.

Source: http://central-mosque.com/index.php/General-Fiqh/alcohol-its-kinds-usage-and-rulings.html

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Posting duplicate answers is typically discouraged; better practice, when possible, would be to post the full "canonical" answer once for the most general case and summarize/link to it in the more specific cases. See also: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/104227/… –  goldPseudo Feb 6 '13 at 13:48
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