Can Medicines Containing Alcohol Be Taken to Prevent Disease?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah


Would taking alcohol containing homeopathic medications as a general tonic to keep diseases at bay this be permissible?

I have several stones in both my kidneys. Every few years one of them will travel done my ureter and pass out. I took homeopathic treatment to help the stone pass which it did. Can I continue with the treatment given that I am not in any pain at present?


Jazakum Allah khayr for your question. I pray you are well.

We can generally categorise medicinal substances as those used to treat a current disease and those used to prevent disease (prophylaxis).

A basic example in conventional medicine is antibiotics. A person suffering from a tooth and gum infection may be given antibiotics to get rid of the infection, while after certain dental surgeries the patient may be given antibiotics to prevent infection occurring, even if they don’t have an infection.

In the case of medicines that contain alcohol that are used to treat a current disease, allopathic or otherwise, then the rulings and conditions discussed in our previous answer apply. You may review that answer here.

Medicines Containing Alcohol Used to Prevent Disease

The ruling on taking preventative medicines which contain alcohol (including vitamin and mineral supplements), irrespective of whether they are allopathic or natural, depends on the individual situation. The two most common scenarios are:

1. In cases where a person takes the medicine to prevent a specific condition that one has suffered from previously, and if one does not take it, then the disease condition will definitely return. In such cases, the preventative medicine takes on the same ruling as medicine used to cure a current disease. The summary of which, is that it is permissible to take with the following conditions:

1. That the alcohol has been admixed

2. That there is no pure alternative that will be just as effective

3. That one has been informed of this by an upright physician, or that one knows through their own experience.

(For the Hanafi conditions please refer to the previous answer)

2. In cases where the person takes the preventive medicine for general wellbeing without actually using it to prevent a specific disease, or no reliable physician (of any medical background) or personal experience has shown that it prevents the specific disease, then in these cases the medicine containing alcohol would not be permitted to take.

This is because a general legal principle is that dispensations (changing something that is usually prohibited to permissible) cannot be taken with the presence of doubt. Here, there is doubt about the medicines preventive effect and use, and therefore the dispensation is not given. [Idah al Qawa’id al Fiqhiyyah]

[The above scenarios were questions I put to my teachers quite a few years ago, and this is the summary of their answers]

Homeopathic Prophylaxis

A final point to consider is whether homeopathic prophylaxis is actually effective. While some studies have been carried out on homeopathic remedies as preventative measures, and certain homeopaths have reported promising results in their use, homeopathic prophylaxis is an area which requires much more rigorous critical study and testing.

On a personal note, neither I, or my teachers, use homeopathy as a preventative medicine and therefore I am unable to comment whether it is effective or not.

However, in a few scenarios it has been tried and tested widely, such as certain remedies given straight after surgery, and in these cases, they are very effective and useful. Otherwise, we wait until the disease picture emerges and then prescribe. This also seems much more sensible and cautious, as the same remedy is not always indicated at every occurrence of even same complaint.

Additionally, and very important to know, is that continual and long term intake of even a homeopathic remedy can result in what is termed ‘proving’ a remedy, in which a patient will start experiencing symptoms of the actual remedy, which include not only an aggravation of current symptoms but also the production of a whole host of other unwanted symptoms, which although pass eventually, can be very uncomfortable. This is why it is important to consult a qualified and reliable homeopath.

Your Personal Situation

In your personal case, you would have to consult with your homeopath and ascertain the basis for taking the medicine (or if you know by your own experience). If it is established that if you stop taking the medicine as a preventative, your condition will reoccur, and there is no alternative, then it will be fine to take it.

If, however, this is not the case, then you should not take it, until it reoccurs.

As a final note, any recurring condition indicates a susceptibility on the constitutional level, and therefore requires constitutional treatment, which should resolve the issue long term and thereby eliminating the need to take any preventive medicines or tonics. And Allah knows best.

I wish you all the best and May Allah grant you complete health.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.