Fatwa ID: 87745
Title: Ruling on using hand-sanitizers which contain a high percentage of alcohol
Category: Purity
Scholar: AMJA Resident Fatwa Committee
Date: 04/03/2020

Question

What is the ruling on using hand-sanitizers which contain a high percentage of alcohol?


Answer

All praise belongs to Allāh and may prayers and peace be upon Allāh’s messenger, his family, companions, and all those who follow.


The scholars have already reviewed the issue of using alcohol which is not suitable for drinking but is designed for medical purposes such as sterilization and cleaning or used in the production of perfumes. The Islamic Fiqh Council, during its 16th conference held in Makkah, has declared that it is permissible to use pharmaceuticals which contain alcohol, in amounts essential to the production process that have no alternative, so long as it has been prescribed by a trustworthy doctor. It is also permitted to use alcohol as an external sterilizer for wounds, anti-bacterial agent, and an ingredient in creams and oils for external uses.

It is therefore correct as a concession to use hand sanitizer which contains alcohol based on need due to the lack of explicit evidence which prohibits it.

In his collection of fatwas (vol. 24, page 270), Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah declared that “Consuming swine lipids for medical purposes is not permissible. As for medicating with that which has been smeared/stained with them and then washed is permitted if necessary. This is based on the permissibility of handling impurities outside of prayer – which is a controversial issue, though permissible according to what is valid. Whatever is permitted due to need is also permitted to use for medicinal purposes”.

In his collection of fatwas (al-Manar, p. 1631), Shaykh Muḥammad Rashid Rida declared that “in summary, Alcohol is a pure cleaning agent, an essential in pharmaceuticals, medical treatments, numerous products, and used in countless medications. Declaring it impermissible for Muslims to use is an impediment to their mastery of the sciences and numerous pursuits. It is one of the greatest catalysts of the foreign countries' superiority over them in areas such as chemistry, pharmacy, medicine and medical treatment, and production. Declaring it impermissible to use in this case could be the case of prolonged sickness, pain, or death for many of the ill and injured”.

Allāh the Exalted is Most-High and knows best.