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The Ruling on using Perfumes which contain a certain amount of Alcohol in order to clean Wounds

Is the external use of perfumes and scents which contain a certain amount of alcohol permissible to clean wounds?

The answer to this question requires clarification on two points:

Firstly: Is Khamr unclean, or not?

On this question, scholars have differedmost of them say that the alcohol is physically impure, meaning that if it is spilt on the clothing or the body, it must be purified. There are also among the scholars those who say that alcohol is not physically impure, because physical impurity is a legal ruling, which requires evidence, and there is no evidence of that. And if it is not confirmed by legal evidence that alcohol is impure, then fundamentally, it is pure. Some may say that the evidence is in the Book of Allaah, the Most High:

"O you who believe! Khamr (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansaab, and Al-Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are Rijs of Shaitaan's (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful." [Surah Al-Ma'idah 5:90]

And Rijs means filth, as Allaah, the Most High says:

"Say (O Muhammad): "I find not in that which has been inspired to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be Maitah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine (pork, etc.) for that surely is impure, or impious (unlawful) meat (of an animal) which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allaah."" [Surah al-An'am 6:145]

That is, the above mentioned foods, the Maitah, pork or blood poured forth are all Rijs, meaning unclean. And the evidence that Rijs here means unclean is the saying of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wassalam) concerning the skin of the dead animal, that water purifies it, so his saying: It purifies it is a proof that it was unclean, and this is something well known to the scholars. But it may be said in reply to this that what is meant by Rijs here is spiritual unlceanness, not physical uncleanness, the of which is the Words of Allaah, the Most High:

"Rijs of Shaitaan's (Satan) handiwork." [Surah al-Ma'idah 5:90]

Additional evidence is the fact that gambling, Al-Ansab and Al-Azlam are not physically unclean, and the description (Rijs) here is all four: alcoholic drinks, gambling Al-Ansab and Al-Azlam and if the description applies to all four of these things, then the ruling on all of them is the same.

Also, those who say that alcohol is not physically unclean have another proof from the Sunnah, which is that when the prohibition of alcoholic drinks was revealed, the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wassalam) did not order the vessel to be washed clean of it. Likewise, the Companions emptied them out in the markets, and if it was unclean, they would not have emptied them out in the markets, because that would necessitate pollution being spread throughout them.

Secondly: Since it is clear that the Khamr is not physically unclean - and that is the most authoritative saying in my opinion then alcohol is not physically impure, but spiritually impure, because the alcohol which inebriates is Khamr, according to the words of the Prohpet (Sallallaahu alayhi wassalam):

Everything which inebriates is Khamr.

And if it is Khamr, then its useas a beverage or a food , by being mixed with certain food to give flavour to it is clearly forbidden by the Book and agreement of the Scholars. But as for use for other things, such as cleansing bacteria and the like, it is a matter of opinion, and whoever avoids it is more prudent but I cannot say that it is forbidden, though I do not use it myself, except when necessary, such as sterilising wounds and such likes.

Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-`Uthaymeen
Fatawa Islamiyah, Vol. 2, p26-28, DARUSSALAM.
Other subjects of interest:

Prescribed Punishments
Sacrifice and Slaughtering
Food and Drink
Oaths and Vows
Supplications And Ruqya
Masjid Rulings

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