Producing propolis tincture containing 70% alcohol
Fatwa No: 322549

  • Fatwa Date:6-4-2016 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 28, 1437
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Question

We are a nutraceuticals producer in Bangladesh. We produce propolis tincture. We have to use alcohol as the solvent. The problem is that we could not find any good solvent like alcohol yet. This tincture contains 70% (percent) of alcohol. The dose is only five drops per day (must be diluted with water). Its does not taste good and it gets sticky when the alcohol runs out. This tincture is a very effective medicine in treating tumors and low back pain and is even used in treating prostate enlargements and so on. So please let us know whether it is halal for Muslim consumers. We have a commitment to our consumers to provide them with halal foods as a nutraceuticals company, and as a producer it is our policy to produce halal foods only.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

According to the majority of the scholars, intoxicating alcohol is impure (najis), and this is the scholarly view adopted at Islamweb. It is impermissible to mix medicine with it. The fatwa of the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatwas reads, “It is not permissible to mix medicine with intoxicating alcohol. However, if it is mixed with alcohol, then it is permissible to use it if the percentage of alcohol is so small that its effect does not show in the color, taste or smell of the medicine; otherwise, it is impermissible to use what is mixed with it.

The percentage mentioned in the question (70%) is definitely a high percentage and entails declaring this medicine mostly an intoxicant and not a tincture. Using this tincture as medicine is in fact using alcohol as a medicine. If the tincture that you produce contains 70% alcohol, then it is impermissible to use it as medication except in case of a compelling necessity, and it is prohibited to sell or buy it as well.

Verily, Allaah would not make our remedy in what He has prohibited for us. Umm Salamah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “Allaah did not make your cure in what He has deemed prohibited for you.” [Al-Bayhaqi - Ibn Hibbaan graded it saheeh (sound) as Al-Haafith Ibn Hajar said in Buloogh Al-Maraam]

This hadeeth was also narrated by Al-Bukhari, as a Mu’allaq report (i.e. its reporter omits the whole chain of narrators and quotes the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,  directly) in an authoritative manner on the authority of Ibn Masʻood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him.

Also, Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said, “The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, forbade the evil medicine.” [At-Tirmithi and others - Al-Albaani graded it saheeh (sound)] Some versions of the hadeeth interpreted the meaning of “evil medicine” as poison. Al-Haakim interpreted it as alcohol (intoxicants). The preponderant view is that it includes all evil substances: poison, intoxicant, or anything else.

Allaah knows best.

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