Alcohol based perfumes – is it allowed in Islam?


It’s quite likely you have at least 2 or 3 bottles of expensive designer perfume in your cupboard. Maybe more than that, some of us tend to hoard them up and easily rack up a neat little arsenal of flashy bottles. I know I am certainly guilty. I don’t use too much, but over time I have amassed an embarassing amount of fragrances that I alternate between. I must also admit to being a bit of a fragrance snob. I don’t like perfume knock offs, and God help the husband who buys me one for an anniversary…… Perfume is like chocolate. You get the good stuff, the expensive stuff or you just don’t bother.

I’ve wondered though about whether it’s completely permissible in Islam. I must admit, even though I use alcohol based perfumes, I avoid spraying it on if I have wudu. Just to be on the safe side. I recently discovered a little boutique on Kromboom Road in Crawford, called Oud Fragrances. They sell mainly oil and some water based perfumes all alcohol free. All the fragrances are imported from Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Visiting the shop led me to do some internet crawling and research to find out what the consensus is on the permissability of alcohol in perfumes. My findings as such….

So there seems to be differing opinions even among learned ulama (scholars).

Locally, from the Sanha website I was able to glean that it is indeed permissable as the type of alcohol used is denatured and not the same as that used for alcoholic beverages. It will also not break your wudu they have confirmed via email. See their FAQ here.

Most other sources that I came across said it was permissible.
In some cases it gets confusing even to the point of it becoming a subjective decision. In this video Dr. Muhammad Salah explains that if you believe that alcohol is inherently impure like some schools of thought, then it is haraam for you. But like some other schools of thought, if you do not believe that alcohol is inherently impure then it is not haraam for you. So this depends on which school of thought you subscribe to.

So if you’re just not sure and would rather play it safe, here’s some more on this lovely alcohol free frangrance boutique. Oud Fragrances stocks you guessed it, Oud based fragrances. Oud, I learned from Saudi expat, Amine Mousa, who owns the store, is an oil extracted from the Oud tree and forms the basis or carrier of all the perfumes he sells. To that is added various natural fragrance combinations of Musk, Sandalwood, spices or flowers amongst others. The fragrances were all deep and intense, and I found them too heady. Except one which Amine had combined himself. A mix of White Oud, White Musk, Amber, Saffron and Cavalli Oud which i can still smell on my hand now, more than 8 hours later. His Oil based perfumes start at R200 and go up to about R1500 with most at about R450 to R700. It’s not always easy to get a fragrance right for someone else, but the rich decorative bottles make these a very visually appealing gift.


He also stocks Incense burners and loose Insense, Argan Oil products, and ornate Sterling Silver rings set with semi precious stones of amongst others red Aqeeq and the striking blue Fayrooz stone, which according to Islamiclife.com is the first stone that was gifted by the angel Jebraeil to the Holy prophet (PBUH) in the cave of Hera. While I was there a couple came to collect a set of rings that had been specially set for them.


Also on display were some heavily ornamental sets you might use in your dining room or display if you like that type of decor.


And if you’re into the heavy artillery, maybe this will grab your fancy…


Find them at:
94 College Road, Rylands, Athlone, Cape Town, 7764
072 324 6147

N.B. Prices may have changed since this article was first written.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *