Thursday, 19 April 2012

Misk/Musk Perfume

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Musk perfume - Misk[1]

Musk has been used as a perfume and as a traditional medicine for 5000 years. There are approximately four hundred Chinese and Korean traditional remedies using musk. It is researched that musk can be a powerful anti-inflammatory and thirty times stronger than hydrocortisone. It is also said to give strength, clears the eyes, counters the effects of poison, prevents stomach ache and can treat seizures in children. (See the book ‘Islamic Medicine’ by Yusuf al Hajj Ahmad).

There are about six species of musk deer found in thirteen countries. The best and most valued musk comes from the Tong-King Chinese and Tibetan musk deer. Next in value is the Assam or Nepalese Musk and the least valuable comes from Russia/Siberia.
The musk deer are small with protruding teeth but no antlers. Only the male deer have the musk pods or glands.
In the past the musk deer was respected and the rulers in Kashmir forbade the killing of the musk deer for musk. The naturally fallen musk pods were collected once a year from the forest floor without harming the musk deer. However, today the deer are killed for the precious musk. In 1999 one report stated that the Russian musk deer population dropped by 50% due to overhunting. That indicated that around 17,000 musk deer were killed that year yielding approximately 400kg of raw musk pods. Each pod weighs about 23g and the musk was worth about $2 a gram. The European Union banned the import of musk in 1999 to protect the species from dying out.

Apart from the musk deer there are other sources of musk scent:


musk rat
musk otter
musk duck etc.


Musk flower
musk seeds
musk wood

Musk in Islaam

The Arabic word for Musk is ‘misk’ مسك .
The Arabic word for perfume is ‘atar عطر , teeb طيب or raa’ihah رائحة .  Just as in English we can use the words perfume, scent, fragrance etc.
Musk is considered the best type of perfume. 

Musk is mentioned once in the Qur’aan and about forty-four times in the ahaadeeth.

In the Qur’aan musk is mentioned in Surah al Mutaffifeen [83:25-26]:

يُسْقَوْنَ مِن رَّحِيقٍ مَّخْتُومٍ  خِتَامُهُ مِسْكٌ ۚ وَفِي ذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَتَنَافَسِ الْمُتَنَافِسُونَ

They will be given to drink [pure] wine [which was] sealed.
( 26 )   The last of it is musk. So for this let the competitors compete.

Shaykh Fawzaan defined musk as the blood of the musk deer which goes hard in their pods and then the deer scratch these pods and they fall off the body. (Fiqh dars 5/3/2011 in his explanation of the hadeeth regarding the use of musk for Tahara after menses).

 The first group of Muslims to enter Jannah will sweat musk.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used a perfume with musk in it before assuming his ihram for Hajj.

Shaykh Muhammad al Uthaymeen, may Allaah have mercy upon him, defined the word perfume in his explanation of Zaad al Mustaqni’ vol. 7, p137:
Not everything which has a nice scent is considered perfume. Perfume is something which is applied to perfume the body according to customs. This means that apple, mint and similar scents that people like have a nice smell but are not considered perfume. Perfume is what is used to perfume oneself such as the oils of oud, musk, rayhaan (basil), rose etc. These perfume oils are not allowed to be used by the person in ihraam.

Perfume generally is not allowed to be used when a person in performing hajj or umrah and is in ihraam. One of the explanations for this is because it arouses the desires and distracts a person from his worship. Allaah Knows best.

There is a hadeeth in Sunan Nisaa’ee which explains that a man’s perfume has an apparent sent and is not very colourful whereas a woman’s perfume is colourful but the scent is hidden and very light.

There is a strong warning to women not to leave her house perfumed as this could attract the attention of men and she is likened to a fornicator.

There is a hadeeth which mentions a light mixed musk perfume for women: 

"كنا نخرج مع رسول الله –صلى الله عليه وسلم- إلى مكة فنضمد جباهنا بالسُك -نوع من الطيب- المطيب عند الإحرام، فإذا عرقت إحدانا سال على وجهها فيراه النبي –صلى الله عليه وسلم- فلا ينهانا". أخرجه أحمد وأبو داود وإسناده حسن.

The hadeeth above mentions the women applying ‘sukk’ to their foreheads and when they sweated the mixture would run down their faces. ‘Sukk’ is a mixture of ‘raamik’ and musk. Raamik is a black substance similar to tar which is mixed with musk to make a lightly perfumed paste.

However, this sukk perfume musk mix is not found in the markets today.

They do however sell black musk and white musk. There are different grades of it.
The original black musk can be found in expensive shops with a tiny bottle, quarter of a tola (about 3g) can cost SR150 (Saudi Riyals approximately £25 GBP). The smell is very potent and shop assistants are sometimes reluctant to let you smell it. They will instead offer you 'misk at Tahaarah' which is the white musk that is very popular among women. People think that this 'misk at Tahaarah' is what is meant by the hadeeth about using misk after menses. Although there is nothing to indicate this. Shaykh Fawzaan explained misk as coming from the deer as mentioned in the quote above.

Musk perfume found today can be original from the animal (black) or artificial from plants or chemicals (white and other black versions).

There is also something called solid cubes of musk which people say is used for after the menses too. However, they seem to be an artificial mix of chemicals that could actually be harmful if used regularly on the skin. They do smell nice placed among clothes in a drawer though.

Solid Misk Cube (bought in Saudi, made in Pakistan)

. بارك الله فيكم

[1] Researched and compiled by Umm ‘Abdir Rahmaan Tara bint Hashim. 2015

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