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What is the permissible amount of alcohol in medication and ointments?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Arij Canada

If there is a certain amount of alcohol in a medication, and you don’t have any other medication available is it permissible to take that medication? Also if you are applying an ointment and that has alcohol in it is that permissible because you are not consuming it?

Assalâmu’alaikum Warahmatullâhi Wabarakâtuh

We acknowledge receipt of your query and our response is as follows:
The use of medicines containing any haram ingredient is prohibited except under the following circumstances:

  1. When these medicines have been prescribed by a Muslim medical expert.
  2. When there are no alternative medicines available for such illness.
  3. When there is great hope that the person will be cured.

امرأة ول بن ق ول ه ع ند ال فا سد ال ب ٌع ف ً ق دم نا (إل خ ال بدائ ع ف ً ورده ق ول ه) ب ال محرم ال تداوي ف ً مط لب وف ً :ال نهاٌ ة ف ً ق ال غ ٌره دواء ٌ جد ول م ش فاء ف ٌه أن ع لم إن جوازه اخ تارا وال نهاٌ ة ال خان ٌة صاحب أن ول م ش فاءه ف ٌه أن م س لم ط ب ٌب أخ بره إذا ل ل تداوي وال م ٌ تة وال دم ال بول شرب ل لع ل ٌل ٌ جوز ال تهذٌ ب ال ع ل ٌل شرب ٌ جوز وهل وجهان، ف ٌه ب ه ش فاؤك ٌ تعجل ال ط ب ٌب ق ال وإن م قامه، ٌ قوم ما ال م باح من ٌ جد اا س ت ش فاء إن ق ٌل وما ال ذخ ٌرة ف ً وك ذا ال تمرت ا شً اإلمام ذك ره وك ذا وجهان، ف ٌه ل ل تداوي ال خمر من أما ش فاء ف ٌه أن ٌ ع لم ل م إذا ٌ جوز ا إن ما ب ال حرام اا س ت ش فاء وأن إطاق ه ع لى مجرى غ ٌر حرام ب ال حرام حرم ف ٌما ش فاؤك م ٌ ج عل ل م – ع نه هللا ر ضً – م س عود اب ن ق ول ومع نى ٌ جوز غ ٌره دواء ل ه ول ٌس ع لم إن عن ب ال حال ٌ س تغ نً ح ٌ ن ئذ ألن ه ال محرم غ ٌر دواء ل ه عرف داء ف ً ذل ك ق ال ٌ كون أن ٌ ح تمل ع ل ٌ كم اهـ ب ال حال ٌ كون وإن ما ب ال حرام ال ش فاء ٌ كون ف ا ال حاجة ع ند ال حرمة ت ن ك شف ٌ قال أن وٌ جوز ال حرام .واألرب ع ٌن ال تا سع ال ف صل آخر من ال ع ٌن ن ور

(٢٢٨/٥ ال مح تار رد )

The Ulema are unanimous in their ruling regarding the impermissibility of alcohol derived from grapes and dates. As far as those alcohols which are not extracted from grapes and dates are concerned, some ‘Ulamâ` have permitted its use in medicine, amongst them is Mufti Taqi Saheb ‘Uthmaani daamat barakaatuhum and Mufti Rashid Saheb Ludhyaanwi rahmatullâhi alaih, especially due to the factor of Umoom-e-Balwaa (the general masses being so involved in its usage that it has become unavoidable). ( Ahsan al Fatawa 483/8) ( magribi mumalik ke jadeed fiqhi Masaail page 42, excerpt from fiqhi maqlaat part 5)

However, many ulema have exercised caution in this matter since “Mufta Bihi” (most relied upon opinion) in Hanafi fiqh is that all intoxicants are haram. ( Kitab al Fatawa 207/6)

Our humble advice regarding those alcohols which are not extracted from grapes and dates is that one should only use it when there are no alternative medicines (non- alcoholic) available. The ruling for ointment is the same as above.


Ibrahim Kureshi
January 10, 2013
Safar 27, 1434

This Q&A was collected from the official web portal of Academy of Research in Islamic Jurisprudence (Arij) from Canada, which was headed by Mufti Ibrahim Kureshi and Mufti Zakariyya Panchbhaya. As the original website is no longer accessible, we have provided a source link of each answer to the archive copy from Way Back Machine.

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