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Last Updated: 2013/01/20
Summary of question
Do ointment, cream and similar materials transmit impurity? What about liquids other than water?
Do ointment, cream and similar materials transmit impurity? What about liquids other than water?
Concise answer
All Shia scholars (Mujtahedeen) say: “If a ritually clean thing touches a najis thing and if either or both of them are so wet that the wetness of one reaches the other, the clean thing will become najis. [1]  And if the wetness is so little that it does not transfer to the other object, the thing that has been ritually pure does not become najis.[2]
As well, if a ritually clean thing touches a najis thing and one doubts whether either or both of them were wet or not, the ritually pure thing does not become najis.[3], [4]
We have also forwarded your question to the offices of some grand jurists and the answers which we have received are as under:
Office of Grand Ayatollah Khamenei (may Allah grant him long life):
Transmission of impurity (najasah) through cream, ointment and liquids other than water is possible.
Office of Grand Ayatollah Sistani (may Allah grant him long life):
Yes, if najis cream or liquid comes in contact with anything, that thing becomes najis. God knows best.
Office of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (may Allah grant him long life):
“Yes, liquids also transmit impurity.”
In any case, impure moisture which gets transferred to another object causes that object to become impure. For this reason, if the amount of cream or ointment is much and the weather is also hot causing the cream and ointment to turn into liquid, it will transmit impurity.
Office of Grand Ayatollah Saafi Gulpaigani (may Allah grant him long life):
The amount of moisture should be to the degree that it transfers to another object. If it is too little that it does not affect the thing which it comes in contact with, it does not transmit impurity and there is no difference in the moisture of liquids. God knows best.

[1] Ayatollah Khoei:  Similarly, if the wetness of the thing which has become najis, touches a third thing, that third thing will also become najis. It is commonly held by the scholars, that a thing which has become najis transmits its najasat, but indefinite number of transmissions is improbable.
[2] Ayatollah Khoei and Ayatollah Sistani: Even if it comes in contact with the essential object.
Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi: If a pure thing touches an impure thing and if either or both of them are so wet that the wetness of one reaches the other, the pure thing will become impure. But if the two things are dry or the wetness is so little that it does not reach the other one, the pure object remains pure.
[3] Ayatollah Tabrizi: Except that the previous state of the clean thing should have been transferable moisture. Ayatollah Makarem: If one doubts whether a thing has been wet or the wetness has reached it, that thing does not become impure.
[4] Tawzih al-Masail of Maraje’: Title:  How a ritually clean thing becomes najis. Issue No. 125 – 126.

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