• Bakhoor - Why it is Loved So Much

    The oldest yet most fascinating fragrance-Bakhoor-is not formulated in airless laboratories rather comes from the bark of the trees. Bakhoor is widely used in Arab countries to fumigate the houses on special occasions like weddings or Eid. It is also a part of the tradition to pass it among guests during Majlis (Council or private place where guests are received and entertained) as a gesture of hospitality.


    The Long History of Bakhoor

    Bakhoor and Oud are as old as the Sanskrit, Gospel, and Muslim scriptures.

    Islamic history has many allusions to Bakhoor and Oud uses. Almost all of the prophets have used Bakhoor. Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) and his companions also have been documented using Bakhoor, especially on Fridays. The trend, first, was started in Arabia and then spread to all of the Muslim world.

    Prophet Muhammed had announced Agarwood a definite item of paradise. He said, “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”. Prophet Muhammad, referring to Hindi Oud, said that it has numerous healing properties.

    Not just Islam, but all other ancient religions, reigns, and civilizations have been known in history to use Oud, incense, and fragrant trees; these include the Chinese, Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks.

    Biblical literature also has evidence of Bakhoor usage, as it was presented to Christ and was used in religious rituals. It is also mentioned in a text that Christ was perfumed with Aloes (Oud).

    King Solomon, in the book “Song of Songs”, also has been described as perfumed with smoke, incense, and myrrh.

    Chinese used to make their coffins with Aloeswood.  Romans and Greeks are also documented using Bakhoor in their customs and religious rituals.

    Even in the 21st century, Bakhoor still has a very distinct religious and spiritual significance among many civilizations.


    Difference Between Bakhoor, Oud, and Incense

    People get confused when it comes to differentiating between Oud and Bakhoor.

    To put it more simply, Oud is just raw wood pieces of an Agarwood tree. These small wooden chips are considered natural as they generally undergo minimal polishing and cleansing. These chips are typically extracted from the trees that produce resin; for example, Aquilaria trees.

    While on the other hand, Bakhoor is an incense and not as natural as Oud. It is formed from different ingredients such as synthetic, essential oils, or aromatic compounds.

    Other incenses are raw powdered materials that get mixed together to take the form of paste. The paste is, then dried and cut into pallets.

    One other major difference between Oud and Bakhoor is Oud can be worn directly on the skin in the form of perfume or oil. Bakhoor needs to be burned to release the fragrance.


    How is Bakhoor Made?

    There are many different recipes used to make Bakhoor.  That’s why each Bakhoor fragrance is different from others, because each one has a secret ingredient to add. However, the basic natural ingredients in each Bakhoor type are Oud, Sandalwood, Musk, Resin, and Ambergris.

    There are different types of Bakhoor and depending on what goes into the Bakhoor, each has its own technique.

    1. Powdered Bakhoor

    The first and most famous type made by companies is powdered Bakhoor. The basic raw ingredients of Bakhoor making are the same: Resin, Sandalwood, and Agarwood. These ingredients are shaved and mixed together forming into tablets. During the mixing process, different scented oils are added into the portion to create its own unique fragrance. The material is then left to soak. After soaking, the tablet is ‘baked’. This is how the scent is locked in and formed into its final shape.

    1. Oud Chips

    This type of Bakhoor is also called Oud chips and in Arabic Oud means wood. This type of Bakhoor doesn’t have any geometrical shape, rather just big chips from Agarwood or Sandalwood trees.

    These big shavings are soaked into the batch of different essential scented oils for a period of time; absorbing the scented oils. After the required time has past, these chips get packed and go for sale; foregoing any baking or heating process.

    This form is more natural and rare, as well as, more expensive, due to not mixing with other ingredients.

    1. Stick Incense

    The most common type of Bakhoor is Stick Incense. It is probably the most affordable form of Bakhoor. Stick Bakhoor is made the same way powdered Bakhoor is made. However, it is shaped into stick, instead of tablets or blocks. This form of Bakhoor does not need charcoal to burn. Simply lite the tip with a flame and it will burn on its own.

    Whatever form of Bakhoor you choose to bring home, you will experience the true essence of it. You will enjoy its calming fragrance that will help to alleviate the stress of your mind and create a peaceful surrounding.


    How to Burn Bakhoor?

    There are two ways to burn Bakhoor at home.

    1. Using the traditional charcoal burner - Mabkhara
    2. Using the electric burner

    Along with the Mabkhara or electric burner, you will need Bakhoors, and charcoal discs.

    Steps to Burn Bakhoor in Mabkhara

    1. Place the charcoal disc in the incense burner or Mabkhara.
    2. Use a lighter or fire to flame the charcoal disc, until you begin to see the sparks flashing throughout the coal.
    3. Within a few minutes, the charcoal disc will produce a gray ash. This is when your charcoal is ready to place the Bakhoor on it.
    4. Now put a tablet, block, or chip of Bakhoor on top of the disc.
    5. From the moment you place Bakhoor on the disc, you will start to smell the exotic and fresh aroma that will begin to permeate your dwelling.
    6. After burning, be careful with removing the charcoal, as it may still be hot. Only once you are completely sure the charcoal is cool, remove the charcoal from the Mabkhara and discard. It is safer and less of a mess to use Tongs to handle the charcoal. Use Tongs whenever you add or take Bakhoor from the charcoal.

    Burning Bakhoor in Electric Burner

    Burning Bakhoor in an electric burner is not tough to deal with.

    1. Plug the electric Mabkhara and keep it plugged throughout the process of burning.
    2. Place a layer of aluminum foil on the burning plate to keep it safe from Bakhoor ashes, as it will stain. 
    3. Put Bakhoor on the foil and let it burn.

    How to Store Bakhoor?

    You need to take good care of homemade Bakhoor, since it comes with no instructions or precautions. Store it in a jar of some kind, with a lid and keep it in a cool and dark place. This method will maintain the intensity and sweetness of the chips.

    What are the Benefits of Using Bakhoor?

    Bakhoor fumigates everything that comes near it. Whether it’s your wardrobe, house, or surroundings; it makes everything smell excellent. Bakhoor also provides an array of benefits ranging from spiritual to therapeutic, psychoactive, and healing. 

    1. Aromatherapy

    At different points of our lives, we all feel fear, stress, and anxiety. As a result, we will often feel depleted of energy. Bakhoor helps to calm the mind and put feelings to rest. 

    Research has shown the therapeutic qualities of Bakhoor and how it directly affects your nervous system. Bakhoor can help relieve your exhausted mind and pacify all of the anxious feelings you have bottled up. With a calmer mind, you are able to confront your problems with clarity; making better decisions.

    1. Creativity Booster

    Bakhoor has the ability to awaken your creative genius. It can help your mind to declutter and  focus on creation.

    1. A Natural Medicine

    Bakhoor also has medicinal significance along with therapeutic value. The fragrance-rich smoke of Bakhoor helps to deal with breathing problems such as asthma, chest congestion, and nausea. The antimicrobial and soothing properties of Bakhoor can lessen the intensity of symptoms in epilepsy patients as well.

    1. Spiritual Awakener

    Not only in Islam, but other religions also consider Bakhoor as a sacred substance to connect the human mind with spirit. Muslims have a belief that the prayers carried in the scented smoke of Bakhoor attract the angels and for this, Muslims fumigate their houses on Thursday nights - the holiest night of the week.

    Tibetan monks use Bakhoor to wind down their minds, meditate, and awaken their spirituality. Sufis and shamans use Agarwood oil to perform their cryptic rituals. For some, it helps in calming the mental state to awaken the third eye or different chakras.





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