Bakhoor and its many benefits - FAQ

What is Bakhoor?

How is Bakhoor made traditionally?

How long has Bakhoor been used?

What are the benefits of Bakhoor?

How to Use Bakhoor?

Is burning of Bakhoor considered a shirk?

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What is Bakhoor?

Elegant enough to be burned for the most formal of occasions and yet most suitable to be fumigated and enjoyed for your every day. They are at your service - whether for the scenting of your self, home and wardrobe, or to achieve a state of calmness and meditation through their psychoactive effect.

"Bukhoor” or “Bakhoor” (Arabic ????) is the Arabic name given to scented bricks or a blend of natural traditional ingredients, mainly woodchips (Oud, Agarwood or Aloeswood) soaked in fragrant oils and mixed with other natural ingredients (Resin, Musk, Ambergris, Sandalwood , flower oils and others). These scented chips/bricks are burned in charcoal burners to perfume the house and clothing with the fragrance rich smoke. This is used specifically on special occasions like weddings or on relaxing times and love occasions or generally just to perfume the house or store, and to boost positive energy. It is traditional in many Arab countries to pass Bukhoor among guests in Majlis as a gesture of hospitality.

The Bukhoor is usually burned in a traditional incense burner (also known as Mabkhara) using charcoal of wood or manufactured charcoal discs and briquettes.
Bakhoor Bait Al Arab – an exotic mixture of Amber, Saffron & Agarwood     Oud Etisalbi Nabeel     Motawar Bakhoor from Arabian

How is Bakhoor made traditionally?

Bakhoor is made mainly of natural ingredients and every maker that cooks the bakthoor has its secret recipe that distinguishes her/him from others. Some of these makers inherited the art of making Bakhoor from their great ancestors and still keep the secret from generation to generation. In Yemen, Oman and other Arab countries, it’s called Bakhoor while others in the Gulf countries it’s known as Bukhoor. They are the same but in Yemen and some Arab countries Bakhoor is hand-made using “cooking method” (on fire) while other countries use “baking method” where resins are made by baking (similar to clay where direct fire is not used). The longer the Bakhoor kept on a closed glass jar, the better the scent become.

Various natural ingredients are used sometimes to get the best mix as the burning of purely oud chips are beyond
the reach of many.     Mastery of bakhoor making may take years and sometimes the skills are brought down for one generation to the next.

How long has Bakhoor been used?

Its interest is of no wonder, considering that Bakhoor, Agarwood or Oud has been around for centuries since the ancient times of the Sanskrit, Torah, Gospel and the Muslim scriptures.

In the Islamic history, all Prophets are known to have used Bakhoor, but Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.), and his companions used Bakhoor regularly and more specifically on Fridays. This custom was largely promoted firstly in Arabia and afterward in the vast territory of the Muslim world. The Holy Prophet made known that agarwood is a distinct item of Paradise in his saying, "The first group of people who will enter Paradise, will be glittering like the full moon and those who will follow them, will glitter like the most brilliant star in the sky. They will not urinate, relieve nature, spit, or have any nasal secretions. Their combs will be of gold, and their sweat will smell like musk. The aloes-wood will be used in their centers". The Messenger of God also revealed the numerous healing properties of agarwood, which in the particular saying, referred to Hindi Oud and its effectiveness in treating pleurisy.

The Song of Songs describes King Solomon as "coming up from the desert like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and incense" and there are numerous references throughout this book of the Old Testament to "every kind of incense tree" which popular belief denotes to Oud. The bible mentioned several citations of Oud, including a text in which Jesus is said to have been perfumed with aloes (Oud).

The extremely wealthy ancient Chinese used to make their coffins out of this aloeswood while in Buddhism, the most precious Buddhist string of beads numbering to 108 is made of agarwood. The burning of fragrant wood chips to perfume homes and clothes are prominent among Chinese nobleman. Agarwood also has been associated with the Chinese tradition of Feng shui, a discipline of governing the flow of energy in a particular place, and the Oud wood and fragrant incense has been associated with producing good luck and positive energy wherever it is placed.

It was the eminent Queen of Yemen, Arwa Suleyhi, who would send large wooden boxes of Bakhoor to Najaf, Karbala and Egypt in the holy months of Ramadan, and Muharram in the lunar calendar. When it was burnt the atmosphere of the sacred cities became very pleasant and people knew that the gift from Yemen has reached its destination.

During conventions on the Sciences of Islam, especially by Queen Arwa, bakhoor have always been used to create a pious atmosphere. Learned students achieved both the benefits simultaneously and spiritual knowledge with precious fragrances.

Romans and Greeks are also known to have used Bakhoor in religious rituals. It would be transported over thousands of miles up to the Mediterranean, before it could be traded on to Europe. Bakhoor was also used in vast quantities by the ancient Egyptians. History holds vast evidence of the uses of Bakhoor in Biblical literature too. It was one of the fragrances presented to the infant Nabi Essa and is always used during religious ceremonies. After the fall of the Roman Empire the newly established Christian Church adopted several ceremonies - including the ritual burning of Bakhoor. It is well recorded that it was the practice of all king of England once a year to offer Bakhoor and Myrrh on the Feast of Epiphany (Jan. 6th).

In addition, Bakhoor was widely used for important ceremonies, such as the consecration of churches and bishops. Then of course Spain was ruled for centuries under Muslims, again giving a magnificent opportunity to spread the Muslim customs in those regions. Later on the Ottomans promoted the cultural heritage of Islam in the west through their military expeditions, whose evidence still remains visible today. According to the valuable sources of “Qaratees al Yamaniyah”, during the period of Suleyhi Power, first from Sana’a and later Zeejiblah, a large quantity of costly Bakhoor along with other fragrances were regularly presented to the Al Haramyn al Sharefyin, Kabah and Rauzat al Nabawi.

What are the benefits of Bakhoor?

Bakhoor is often associated with its ability to bring about calmness in the nervous system, its ability to cultivate focus and alertness when used and, as some say, the positive effect it gives to one's libido system when used regularly. Bakhoor is indeed an aromatherapy, is not gender-specific and can be enjoyed by both sexes, though some females may prefer a blended version of Bakhoor due to the strong potent smell of the pure Oud Bakhoor. In the Middle East, men and women burn Bakhoor to fragrance their houses and also their clothes so that the lasting scent will permeate the whole garment.

The use of Oud oils, wood chips and bakhoors is ancient beyond memorial
since the time of the Sanskrit, Toral, Gospel and the Moslem scriptures.     Bakhoor calms the body and mind, invoking a feeling of harmony and vigor.

The benefits that are involved with Bakhoor are vast, ranging from psychoactive and spiritual, to therapeutic and medicinal. Keep in mind that the information we share below is only for your general information and is not to be relied for diagnostic and treatment purposes.

Bakhoor calms the body, removes destructive and negative energies, provides enhanced awareness, reduces fear, invokes a feeling of vigor and harmony, and enhances mental functionality

Bakhoor eases neurotic and obsessive behavior and helps create harmony and balance in our home

Bakhoor is highly psychoactive

Bakhoor is highly effective for meditation, enlightenment, bringing deep tranquility and relaxation

Bakhoor is suggested by proficient masters for giving inspiration and the imperative affection for meditation

Bakhoor is said to bring connection with the transcendent, stimulating the psyche, human body and consciousness. It is said that prayers rise with the scented smoke and carry the prayer to the Creator. The angels are attracted to the scent and Oud smoke. That is why Muslims love to burn Oud Bakhoor and fumigate their houses on Thursday nights, the holiest of the weeknights to them.

Buddhists deploy oud woods for transmutation of ignorance. Tibetan monks utilize it to convey energy to wind down the mind and spirit. The Sufis and Japanese shamans use agarwood oil in their esoteric rites.

Bakhoor helps to improve mental clarity, opens the third eye and all of the upper chakras while calming the whole entire spiritual system.

Medically, Oud Bakhoor is a tonic, aphrodisiac, diuretic, relieves epilepsy, antimicrobial, carminative, anti-asthmatic.

How to Use Bakhoor?

Bakhoor is not a self-lit substance as Incense sticks. A burner such as an electrical one is required to fast start and safely burn Bakhoor. However, it is recommended to use charcoal to better burn the Bakhoor so as to slowly emitting the smoke of fragrance. In this method, burn a charcoal disc till it glows on a Mabkhara, a special metal or ceramic incense burner.

The various types and makes of Bakhoor Burner

Place a small piece of Bakhoor on the lit glowing charcoal or on the hot plate of the electric incense burner.

Let the smoke of fragrance fill the air of the place but not too much since this can take much oxygen from the room. The fragrance stays there after the smoke goes away. Don't open the windows till the room is saturated with the fragrance carried by the smoke of Bakhoor.
To perfume the clothes with Bakhoor, just expose the cloth directly to the smoke of Bakhoor for a good 5 minutes.
Please be careful not to make fire when using charcoal and incense burners at home also it is safe not to burn Bakhoor while there is somebody sleeping in place since this can take some oxygen from the room (open windows after the room is saturated with the fragrance smoke).

Is burning of Bakhoor considered a shirk?

The burning of bakhoor and oud chips and other resins by Muslims is in no way solely something which Muslims do. The burning of Franckincense and Myrrh resins, Agarwood chips and bakhoor is actually traditional to the Middle East which undoubtedly goes back since probably the dawn of humanity. In addition to this, the burning of fragrant materials to enrich ones atmosphere is not solely a Middle Eastern thing but is found worldwide in most cultures.

Issue of bakhoor being a ‘shirk’ arises on simple facts that other religious bodies such as Buddhist temples and Churches also burn resins for their holidays.

First, we would say that in traditional Arabian culture especially in Bedouin culture, it’s traditional to burn agarwood or bakhoor when guests come and to offer the scented smoke to each guest so they can scent their hair, clothing and hands, this is as integral to hospitality as serving coffee and dates. Given that this tradition is such a mainstay of Middle Eastern culture it leaves no doubt that since Christianity and Judaism were also born in the Middle East that they would have their own uses for these materials too, as it’s not just limited to Muslims. Arab Christians, Jews and even the Chinese and Japanese use agarwood and burn bakhoor and frankincense too. It’s not a tradition linked to any one nationality, culture or religion. It’s a universal tradition.

Cleanliness, uplifting scents with tranquil atmospheres are always appreciated
in spiritual and prayer places.

We found the list of the benefits of Bakhoor from the perspective of a Sunni discussion which we find may be informative. (“Al Risalatil Nadirah Fil Attur al Fakhirah”, Syedi Abdulqadir bin Qazi Habibullah, manuscript, Hiraaz, Yemen)

Bakhoor creates a peaceful, tranquil, refreshing, uplifting & inspiring atmosphere

Bakhoor opens one mind to spirituality & diverts from worldly impurities

Bakhoor keeps the mind alert and gives the mind leisure when it is busy

Age does not affect the efficacy of Bakhoor & its habitual use causes no harm

Burning Bakhoor is a soothing & uplifting activity in itself

Bakhoor is a good haemostatic, antiseptic and a good healing agent

Bakhoor dispels malicious & distressing psychic forces

Bakhoor when used frequently may improves memory

It’s disturbing to have people attributing something harmless to shirk. Attributing something to shirk is no small matter. It is mindboggling to have some “religious people” to just go around and attributing whatever they wish to shirk. Shirk is a grave matter, it is associating partners with Allah and has 2 aspects. The major one is associating partners with Allah, such as praying one salat to someone else, and the minor aspect is swearing an oath to someone other than Allah. Unless it is specifically laid out in the Quran or the Hadiths that an activity is haram, people should not assign every category of matters to haram and halal at their whims and fancies. Islam is a beautiful religion of ease, and people are not supposed to make it difficult or to make more out of something than what it really is. Unfortunately, we will always have new converts or those who experience a sudden religious zeal to go around and scrutinize everything - even things which do not need to be scrutinized just to find something wrong with it and assign them as haram.

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We hope we have answered some of your basic questions regarding bakhoor. May you have a pleasant and informative oud journey as Pods & Petals Giftlab embarks on offering more Oud Gift choices to our product selections.

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