Using inhaler that contains ethanol
Fatwa No: 322984

Question

I have just been given an inhaler in the hospital to treat asthma, but from reading its leaflet, I understood that it contains ethanol, which is a form of alcohol. Can I use it?

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  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Ethanol is considered as one of the intoxicating alcohols; rather, it is the same intoxicating substance that is present in wine. The Arab World Encyclopedia reads, “Ethanol, which is also known as ethyl alcohol, is the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages.” Please, refer to fatwa 88496.

Taking a drug (a medicine) containing a percentage of alcohol is not permissible in principle, as Imaams Ahmad and Muslim reported that Taariq ibn Suwayd Alju’fi, asked the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) about wine, and the Prophet forbade him or hated that he would make it. So, Taariq said, “But I make it for medicine.” Thereupon, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “It is not a medicine; it is a disease.

The fatwa of the Standing Committee reads, “It is not permissible to treat with an intoxicant as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) prohibited being treated with alcohol, as he said, 'No, it is a disease, and not a medicine.' Also, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, 'Seek treatment, but do not seek treatment with what is forbidden.' Moreover, Ibn Mas’ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said, 'Allaah did not make your cure in what He has forbidden you from.'

However, if the amount of alcohol is little and does not appear in the taste of the medicine, nor its color nor, its smell, then it is hoped that there is nothing wrong in using it.

The fatwa of the Standing Committee reads, “It is not permissible to mix drugs with intoxicants, but if it is mixed with alcohol, it becomes permissible to use it if the percentage of alcohol is little and its effect does not appear in the color, taste, or smell of the drug, otherwise what it has been mixed with becomes forbidden.

Also, the resolution of the Islamic Fiqh Council reads, “It is permissible to use medicine containing percentage of alcohol that dissolve and are important for the medical industry and have no alternative provided it is prescribed by a trustworthy doctor.

Allaah knows best.

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