Answered by Mufti Muhammad Adnan
Is it true in the hanafi fiqh non khamr alcohols such as ethanol (corn derived) are permissible for external application e.g in creams and internal consumption e.g in sweets as long as they are in minute quantities, not meant for intoxication and do not intoxicate even if the product is consumed in large quantities?
In Shariah alcohol can be divided into two groups. The first Khamr and the second non Khamr. Khamr is that alcohol which is derived from dates and grapes while the non-khamr type of alcohol is that which is derived from sources apart from the above two.
There is difference of opinion amongst the hanafi scholars in regards to the usage of the second type. Imam Ibn Abidin states:
“…Fatwa is given on the view of Imam Muhammad and this is also the position held by the other three Imams, due to the saying of the Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) “Every intoxicant is Khamr and every intoxicant is unlawful” (narrated by Imam Muslim), and also: “Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, then a small quantity of it is also forbidden” (narrated by Ahmad, Ibn Majah & al-Darqutni and he classed it as authentic.) (Raddul Muhtar p.323 v.5)
If such products have alcohol which has been derived from grapes or dates, then it will not be permissible to use. However, if the alcohol has been derived from any other source other than the ones mentioned above it will be permissible to use. (Fatwa Haqqaniyyah p.199 v.5)
If alcohol’s other than dates and grapes are consumed to such an extent that they intoxicate, then they too will be impermissible.(Ahsanul Fatawa Vol.8 Pg.488)
Only Allah knows best.
Written by Mufti Muhammad Adnan
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham