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Should I treat cosmetics as food and verify their permissibility? Or can one consider everything other than food halal?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Fatwa.ca

Question:

1) Is Carmine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmine) halal? It is found in food as well as cosmetics.

2) I haven’t been able to find any kosher or halal certification for commonly available cosmetics. How much effort should one put in this regards? I read a fatwa a while back which says that all soaps are permissible:

http://www.askimam.org/public/question_detail/21360

http://www.askimam.org/public/question_detail/19864

Mostly cosmetics don’t enter the mouth. But lipstick and some other product have high probability to enter the mouth. Should I treat these cosmetics as food and verify their permissibility? Can one consider everything else halal?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

1)      Please refer to our previous answer on Carmine at : http://fatwa.ca/apparel-and-adornment/carmine-in-lipstick/

2)      In principle everything is halal and permissible to use until there is a Shar’ī reason to prohibit it. The above principle has two general exceptions, i.e. meat and private parts. This means that usage of everything will be permissible as long as there is no shar’ī hindrance or prohibition found, but in case of items which containing meat, the principle position will be that it is haram to partake of it. Similarly in the case of benefiting from some person to fulfil one’s carnal passions, the principle position would be that it is haram for one to do  so, until the position is changed to halal through shar’ī  means (i.e. Nikah).

Having understood the above principle position of Sharī’ah, it becomes clear that one needs to be cautious of what one consumes. You have correctly stated that most cosmetics are not designed for consumption and that the lipstick has a greater chance of being consumed.

Moreover, it will also be important to find out if the cosmetics have anything which is considered Najis (impure) in Sharī’ah. In which case, application of such cosmetic externally will be impermissible as well. This is different than the issue of lard which you have mentioned in your question. The lard/animal fat is an active ingredient used in soap making, which goes through a chemical process to make soap. The lard is broken down and complete metamorphosis takes place (alkaline hydrolysis of the fatty acid esters). This renders the final product permissible for usage.[1]

However, should the lard be present in the final product (i.e. soap) as a final ingredient, then such soap would be impure and impermissible to use even externally.

One should exert all the efforts to establish with considerable certainty, that the cosmetics one uses, does not have any impermissible ingredients. The yard stick is to exert as much as one is capable of. Perhaps call the companies, get the ingredient listings, their origin.

Consider the fact that when activist lobby feels the need to investigate into particular item, they go to lengthy extents to find out how these cosmetics were manufactured, treated and tested, molded, advertised. Their exertion is on the level of a centralized lobby, and cannot be expected from a single individual, but their researches can be tapped into and utilized for our purpose. Ideally some Muslims should start such level of research and formulate an information databank for other muslims to take benefit from.

As far as your personal input is concerned, I advise you to check the particular brand of cosmetics, get their contact and inquire about the ingredients being used. You may tell them that you are collecting information to ascertain if certain cosmetic will cause allergies or not. Many companies may not be willing to share information under the precept of halal and haram ingredient, but will be willing to help out if there is a potential medical risk. Nonetheless, exert your efforts as much as you can.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Faisal bin Abdul Hameed al-Mahmudi
www.fatwa.ca

Concurred by

Mufti Faraz al Mahmudi
www.darulfiqh.com

 


[1] Natural soaps are sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids, originally made by boiling lard or other animal fat together with lye or potash (potassium hydroxide). Hydrolysis of the fats and oils occurs, yielding glycerol and crude soap.

In the industrial manufacture of soap, tallow (fat from animals such as cattle and sheep) or vegetable fat is heated with sodium hydroxide. Once the saponification reaction is complete, sodium chloride is added to precipitate the soap. The water layer is drawn off the top of the mixture and the glycerol is recovered using vacuum distillation.

soap

The crude soap obtained from the saponification reaction contains sodium chloride, sodium hydroxide, and glycerol. These impurities are removed by boiling the crude soap curds in water and re-precipitating the soap with salt. After the purification process is repeated several times, the soap may be used as an inexpensive industrial cleanser. Sand or pumice may be added to produce a scouring soap. Other treatments may result in laundry, cosmetic, liquid, and other soaps. (http://chemistry.about.com/library/weekly/blsapon.htm : accessed Jun 17th 2013)

This answer was collected from Fatwa.ca, which is a fatwa portal operated by Mufti Faisal al Mahmudi from Canada. 

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