It is permissible for Muslims to use perfumes containing alcohol, according to Dr Ali Ahmed Mashael, Grand Mufti at the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai.
He said this fatwa is based on the fact that the proportion of alcohol in perfumes is small and thus does not affect the purity of a Muslim’s prayers.
However, if a Muslim wants to be cautious, he can use oil-based perfumes which are alcohol-free, he added.
Dr Mashael was responding to a question from Emirates 24|7 about the use of perfumes containing alcohol which is forbidden by the Shariah.
He pointed out that alcohol is used as an antiseptic for treating external wounds.
He said many types of perfumes are made in the traditional way without alcohol. If alcohol-free fragrances are available, Muslims are obliged to use them, he added.
“There are two legitimate opinions about impurity of perfumes containing a high percentage of alcohol. One opinion holds that such perfumes are unclean because alcohol is unclean. Another opinion says that such perfumes can be used because alcohol is not impure,” he said.
He said many Muslims scholars hold the view that use of perfumes that contain only a small percentage of alcohol can be allowed since it does not cause intoxication.
Research indicates that the global market for perfumes is worth about $17 billion a year. About $3.8 billion is spent annually on perfumes in the GCC countries, with a per capita consumption of $350 a year. Saudi Arabia is the biggest consumer of perfumes in the Gulf, followed by the UAE.