What to consider TABDEEL ul MAAHIYAH in regards to using alcohol products such as cologne, rubbing alcohol, etc. and ethyl alcohol as carrier / solvent and its acceptable percentage in products.
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.
Tabdeel-e-Mahiyah is the total transformation of an item whereby the original components maintains no properties of its former state and differs completely from it in application and qualities and due to this fact the name of the item also changes.
An example of this in the books of jurisprudence is given by ‘Allamah Ibn Aabideen in regards to grape juice(Aseer) which is pure but when it is fermented and it changes into wine (Khamr) it becomes impure and thereafter it can further change into vinegar [Khal] which is pure again. (Raddul Muhtar, Vol 5, P320)
In Shariah alcohol can be divided into two groups. The first Khamr and the second non Khamr. Khamr is that alcohol which is derived from dates and grapes while the non-khamr type of alcohol is that which is derived from sources apart from the above two.
There is difference of opinion amongst the hanafi scholars in regards to the usage of the second type. Imam Ibn Abidin states:
“Fatwa is given on the view of Imam Muhammad and this is also the position held by the other three Imams, due to the saying of the Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) “Every intoxicant is Khamr and every intoxicant is unlawful” (narrated by Imam Muslim), and also: “Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, then a small quantity of it is also forbidden” (narrated by Ahmad, Ibn Majah & al-Darqutni and he classed it as authentic.) (Raddul Muhtar, Vol 5, P323)
Therefore in conclusion of the above if the (cologne, rubbing and ethyl) alcohol was of the first type then a complete change (tabdeel-e-lmahiyah) will be required before it can be used in its new form. If the process (tabdeel) did not completely change the components of the alcohol then it will not be permissible for use even if it is only 1% or less. However if it is of the second type then, due to the initial difference of opinion of Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Abu Yusuf that alcohol from this type is not forbidden if consumed for gaining strength (and not for pleasure and enjoyment) as long as it does not intoxicate, the contemporary scholars are of the opinion that this type of alcohol may be used for external use only i.e. in perfumes , creams etc but not for consumption.
(Generally the alcohols used in products are chemically manufactured (synthetic alcohol) and not derived from grapes, dates and barley. However if it is clear that these are derived from grapes etc then these will be unlawful.)
Only Allah knows best.
Darul Ifta, Birmingham.