As Muslims, we often look for Islamic alternatives to traditional everyday items. For those born and raised in Muslim families, the use of ittar is common place. For those who embraced Islam later in life, however, there is a transition. Choosing an alcohol free perfume alternative can be a challenging task. Don’t be intimidated, you don’t have to be an expert fragrance oil finder to pick something that is good for you. We have tried to describe each fragrance with the core elements so you have a general idea of what the scent will be like before ordering. Each of these Arabic perfume oils comes in a gorgeous decorative bottle which makes it a beautiful display piece and a cherished gift.
What is oud? Oud is formed in the agarwood tree which is native across Southeast Asia and India and is a primary component in many kinds of attoor. The Agarwood tree defends itself against a type of parasitic mold by creating an ultra-dense resin that shields the rest of the tree from attack and forms a capsule around the mold culture. This resin capsule is called an oud mabakhar or oud raisin which can then be melted and blended with oils, spices and other ingredients to create the intensely exotic oil based fragrances. Often, pieces of the wood where the oud have been gathered are also soaked in pure oils to extract other layers of the scents from agarwood. The resulting combination of oud fragrances is as breathtaking as pure musk oil.
What is musk oil? Musk is collected from various animals, traditionally from the musk deer (which is now endangered), and plants. When it is collected from animals, the Islamic preference is that they are animals which are normally slaughtered for meat. Therefore, Muslim perfumes containing musk oil are usually synthetic musk aromas. Natural musk sources for Muslim body oils would be the musk ox or many plant sources which resemble the aroma of musk. Since the musk collected from a musk deer is exceptionally potent, some century old musk oils still exist and they are very valuable commodities.
Why should Muslims wear perfume oils instead of traditional cologne? Firstly, alcohol free fragrances are more pleasant; whereas alcohol based scents have a harsh, intense blast of scent and can more easily be overpowering. Oil based fragrances are applied lightly, with just a few drops so it is much easier to control the intensity of the aroma and Muslims can better observe social modesty by preventing overpowering scents which may cause distraction. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) loved nice smelling things and he was well known to wear ittar. In fact, one Hadith recorded by Imam Bukhari says that Aisha (may Allah be Pleased with her) used to apply attar to the Prophet Muhammad until she could see the oil shine in his beard! According to Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), Muhammad (Peace be upon him) would use the best attar available with the best scent. Therefore, wearing attor is an act of love for the Prophet and in keeping with his teaching to have pleasant scents around us at all times.
In addition to the sunnah, fragrance oils are better for the skin, last longer, have a more natural scent and are overall better quality than alcohol based fragrances. Oil based perfumes are also far less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Many fashion magazines have been writing about a trend toward perfume oils. A trend that the Muslim community has been keeping up with for the last 1400 years! So don’t wait any longer, get your new aseel perfume or attar from Muslim American today!