Does Alcohol Only Refer to Ethanol?

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I’ve been told that when talking about alcohol in the islamic context (khamr) we chemically only refer to “ethanol”.

Can we limit all rulings pertaining to khamr, like impurity, to ethanol (and substances with a similiar effect) only, according to the Shāfi’ī school? Does it matter how the substance has been manufactured ?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam, I pray you’re well insha’Allah.

The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Every intoxicant is khamr and every intoxicant is forbidden.’ [Muslim].

In the Shafi’i school, the principle is that if a liquid is an intoxicant (muskir), then it takes the ruling of alcohol (khamr). This means that any liquid that intoxicates, falls under the ruling of alcohol. There is no differentiation between the source, name (ethanol or other), or manufacturing process of the alcohol.

For the Hanafi positions, please read here.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah