Ruling on perfumes containing alcohol
Praise be to Allaah.
We need to talk at length about the issue of perfumes that are said to contain cologne or alcohol. If the percentage of alcohol is very little, we say that it does not matter, and a person may use them without any concern, such as if the alcohol content is 5% or less. This does not matter.
If the percentage of alcohol is very high, so that you can detect it, then it is better not to use it except where it is necessary, such as for sterilizing wounds and the like.
In cases where it is not necessary, it is better not to use it, but we do not say that it is haram. The most we can say is that this high alcohol content is an intoxicant, and no doubt consuming intoxicants is haram according to the texts of Islam and the consensus of the scholars, but is using it in ways other than drinking it permissible?
This is open to speculation, but to be on the safe side we should not use it. If you say that it is open to speculation because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Intoxicants, gambling, al-ansaab [animals that are sacrificed on stone altars for idols], and al-azlaam [arrows for seeking luck or decision], are an abomination of Shaytaan’s handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. Shaytaan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allaah and from al-salaah (the prayer). So will you not then abstain?” [al-Ma’idah 5:90-91], then we look at the general meaning of the phrase So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination), and say that alcohol should be avoided in all cases, whether it is drunk or applied to the skin, or used in some other way.
If we look at the reason why, Allaah says, “Shaytaan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allaah and from al-salaah (the prayer). So will you not then abstain?” We may understand this to mean that only drinking it is forbidden, because applying it to the skin does not lead to that (enmity and hatred, etc.). So, in conclusion, we say that if the percentange of alcohol in this perfume is low, there is no need to worry about using it, but if it is high, then it is better to avoid it unless it is for a need, such as sterilizing wounds and the like.
Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 24