As mentioned above, bakhoor is Indian incense made from the same source as oud oil. This oud infused wood is not the only form of incense referred to as bakhoor though. Since the traditional aloeswood or agarwood is becoming more and more expensive, there are other species of wood from the tropics and types of sandalwood that are soaked in essential oil. Very small amounts of the bakhoor are used either as oil soaked wood, mabthouth or dakhoun (balls of oil, resin, ground wood and spices), are able to produce a great deal of incense to please the senses for hours.
There are different ideas surrounding the use of bakhoor, some say that it will protect the home against jinn or from the magic, others that it is disliked by Angels. The truth of the matter is that bakhoor was loved by Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and there are many traditions recorded by Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim that are authenticated which describe the Prophet using oud bakhoor to perfume the house, the masjid and instructing it to be used as part of the cleansing for the Ka’aba itself. There are no authentic narrations, however, which prescribe the use of bakhoor as a tool against jinn or anything else. The sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is to use pleasant aromas at all times and to keep an atmosphere of nice smells and perfume. Modern studies of aromatherapy have proven that the right kinds of perfume and incense can elevate the mood and eliminate depression along with other negative mental states. Therefore, burning bakhoor incense is the sunnah aromatherapy practice!
You may be wondering how to burn Indian oud bakhoor incense properly. Start with a proper bakhoor charcoal incense burner and a disc of charcoal these incense censers are often called mubkhara, but they are known by many other names depending on the country or region. Light the charcoal and let it heat up before placing the oud wood or sandalwood on top. The bakhoor incense will begin to smolder and the incense perfume will fill the room.
Invite guests to breathe in the smell of the bakhoor as the rich, oud scented incense smell penetrates the air. Traditionally, guests would pass the incense burners around and let the smoke surround them with perfumed air. Another custom is to light bakhoor in the home on Jummuah days after sunrise and let the smoke fill up one’s hair, beard and clothing with scent before heading out for Friday prayers.