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Incentivising Putting On Kohl/ Surma For Women and Men

Question: Is putting on Kohl (Surma/Kajal) halal or haram for women?

All praises are due to Allah, and salutation and blessing is upon the messenger of Allah, his family and his companions.

Incentivising putting on kohl (Surma/Kajal) for women and men has been reported from the messenger of Allah ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ).

And al-Mundiree has titled a chapter in his book ‘al-Targheeb Watarheeb’: “The Targheeb (incentivisation) on putting on Ithmid kohl (surma/kajal) for women and men”, under which he narrated from ibn Majah from ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) that the messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said :

“Utilise the Ithmid for it enhances vision and grows hair”

And in Sunan al-Tirmidi, from ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) that the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said :

“Utilise the Ithmid for it enhances vision and grows hair”

And he claimed that the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to have a Makhala (kohl holder) from which he used to take kohl and apply it three times in each eye every night.

For more benefit,refer to the Fatwas : 3354 and 3849.

Fatwa translated from IslamWeb.net


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Simple test to check Ithmid Kohl Authencicity

This simple and DIY test can be used by anybody to help determine if a product is genuine Ithmid kohl.

All what is needed for it is a piece of magnet or magnetic object (like magnetic screwdriver) and a piece of paper.

  • Pour some of the product (kohl) on the paper.
  • Hold the paper with the Kohl on top so that you can run the magnet under it.
  • Starting right under where the powder is, move the magnet around slowly.
  • If the product is genuine Ithmid kohl, the magnet would have no effect.
  • On the other hand, if it moves with the magnet, the product is likely not to be a genuine Ithmid kohl.

This is a well-known test amongst Ithmid kohl traders and enthusiasts.

Although it is difficult to say the basis on which it works, it is likely that the high lead content of fake Ithmid kohl products might be the reason why they get attracted by magnets.

Below is a a video posted by a concerned Saudi consumer which demonstrates the test.

The man tests samples of some widely available brands against a sample sourced from a local seller. Only the sample from the local dealer passes the test.

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K. S. A: Popular Kohl Brands Found To Be Unsafe

The Saudi Food and Drugs Agency has carried out tests on 9 Ithmid Kohl samples from some of the most popular and widely distributed brands.

In a press release on its website, the agency found high levels of lead and bacterial contamination in all samples.

The levels of lead found in the samples exceeded 10 times the allowed limit for lead in beauty products as per Saudi guidelines.

Seven of the samples contained higher than allowed levels of bacteria.

The agency posted the names of the products alongside images on their website (Click here to view).

The main brands in the list include :

1) Ithmid Kohl with ZamZam water

This product is currently sold on ebay and is found in many shops in the western countries, let alone in Saudi Arabia.

2) Alharamain Kohl

Clever marketing with the inclusion of the free makhala, but no substance to it, it seems.

3) Hashmi Kohl

Again, a widely circulated brand that has flooded online platforms like amazon and eBay as well as shops all over the world, and thought of many consumers as premium Kohl eyeliner brand.

4) Raani Kohl Kajal

This is another popular kohl eyeliner brand that markets itself as a high quality kohl producer. Likewise it widely circulated and still available on Amazon.co.uk as we speak.

And the list continues

The rest of the list is made up unbranded but professionally and nicely packaged kohl products from smaller players, which has not got as much as global reach as the other main ones.

Common denominator

The common thing between all these fake kohl brands is the focus on marketing rather than quality.

You can notice that all are produced and packaged to a high professional standard to give an impression on genuinety and authenticity.

Here at Realithmidkohl.com things are the opposite way.

We sell genuine and real Ithmid kohl in a plain undecorated packages. Rather than focusing on marketing through image, we focused on obtaining the best possible quality from trustworthy sources.

As a result, you can be rest assured that you will be buying authentic and safe Ithmid kohl.

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History of Ithmid Kohl and the story of al-Zarqaa’a

Ithmid Kohl was known amongst the Arabs in pre-Islamic Jahiliyah times for its benefits for eyes and vision.

There is a widely circulated and infamous story from this era highlighting how Ithmid Kohl can give strong vision.

This is the story of a woman called Zarqaa’a al-Yamama. She was from a al-Yamama tribe and was famous amongst them for her exceptional vision.

When another tribe wanted to launch an attack on the tribe of  Zarqaa, they were so concerned with Zarqa seeing them from far and alerting her people in advance.

They came up with a plan : every man was to carry and hide under a freshly dislodged tree whilst on the march. That way Zarqa would not be able to see them coming. They thought she will think of them as trees in the distance.

However, Zarqa was able to spot them coming from very far distance. She told her tribesman about the sight of moving trees that she can see in the distance. Her fellow tribesman found this to be ridiculous and did not believe her, thinking that Zarqa must have lost her mind. Before they knew, the enemy was upon them and having taken them by surprise was able to easily to defeat them.

Zarqa was taken captive and was later executed on the orders of the king of the victorious tribe. It is said they then dissected her eyes and found visible traces of Ithmid Kohl within her veins. The king decided to call the area “Alyamamah” in honour of her.  Al-Yamama is still a district in modern day Saudi Arabia.

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Benefits of Ithmid Surma/Kajal for the eyes

The especial Ithmid Surma/Kajal is the best type of Surma/Kajal to be used for the eyes. This is because it has been   personally used and praised by prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم), who was inspired by Allah , Glorified be he.

Benefits of Ithmid Surma/ Kajal for the eyes

1. Ithmid Surma/Kajal cleanses the eyes of harmfull substances. This includes dirt, dust, germs as well as other chemicals which can harm your eyes in the long term.

For example, Nitric oxide is a chemical substance that is produced inside the body as by product of reactions. It can build up in the eyes and cause serious eye diseases.

We simply do not know the true scale of what Ithmid surma/kajal can do for the eyes in terms of protecting it from harmfull substances, both internal and external, and reducing risk for the many eye diseases out there since no one has ever researched this.

But there is no doubt if proper research has been done to examine this, scientists would have found that ithmid surma/ kajal gives best protection possible for the eyes from anything that can harm sight in both the long tetm or short term. As a result,much commom eye problems and diseases will have been avoided.

2. As stated by the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) ithmid surma /kajal both maintains and improves eye sight. This is partly due to its eye cleansing and detoxification effects. But there could be other ways it can does this. Without anyone doing research, we simply do not know how ithmid surma/kajal increases benefits vision. But a muslim has no doubt in it doing so since this has been stated by the one who speaks nothing but truth and who has been given knowledge by Allah.

3. Ithmid Surma / kajal grows eye lashes and makes them longer and this in turn acts to protect the eyes from dirt particles and other harmfull things.

Those are 3 major benefits of using ithmid surma / kajal for the eyes. All of these benefits are confirmed by authentic hadiths from the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم).

Is it not enough to convince us in adopting using ithmid surma / kajal for the eyes as a basic routine for all of us muslims ?

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Kohl can be harmfull but not genuine Ithmid (antimony) kohl

Kohl in Arabic is anything that is applied to the eye and/or its surroundings such as the eyelashes and eyebrows. Under this broader meaning, modern eyeliner and mascara products can also be regarded as kohl.

Given this, the answer to the question : Is kohl harmfull ?, is yes and no. It all depends on what it is made of.

People have used and still use different substances to adorn the eyes; essentially different types of kohl.

For example, frankincense resin was used in ancient egypt as a form of kohl. In India, many people who can not afford to buy commercially available kohl make their own one using soot and natural oils.

Even modern eye-makeup products, which can be regarded as kohl, can contain many harmful chemicals which are associated serious health problems.

Therefore, it is wrong to treat kohl products as one entity and then say it is harmful to health.  Unfortunately, this is completely wrong approach is taken by the majority of scientific researchers who carried out research into kohl products.

Unsurprisingly, many of these research papers wrongly conclude that kohl is harmful to health because of it containing high levels of lead and other toxic material.

This is akin to saying that eyeliners and mascara are damaging to health. If this statement was to be made regarding eyeliner and mascara products, the first thing that comes to mind would be : which brands are to be avoided ? with so many different types of these stuff made from in so many different ways, surely not all of them can be the same.

Unfortunately, this simple common sense is missing when dealing with kohl products. They are treated as though they are one entity and the popular scientific opinion currently says : kohl is harmfull to your health.

The question is : which kohl ?

Ithmid kohl: Innocent till proven guilty

However, genuine Ithmid kohl is made only with 100% natural ingredient (s) and has no harmful side effects when used appropriately.

For over 15 centuries and counting, Ithmid kohl has kept its reputation as an effective and safe beauty and health maintenance substance, at least in the Arabian peninsula.

If it was harmful to health in any way, it is likely this practice will not have survived this long. But because it gives good results without any health problems, Ithmid kohl remained as a popular and sought-after substance.

Moreover, Ithmid kohl has been used and recommended by the prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم. Knowing this, a muslim should have no worries and anxiety about using Ithmid kohl. Rather than worrying about whether it is safe or not, our sole concern should be about obtaining genuine Ithmid kohl and avoiding the numerous counterfeit products out there.

There is no doubt that proper research into Ithmid kohl, which is completely absent, would have found it to be a truly wonder substance and that it poses no health risks whatsoever, when used appropriately.

 

 

 

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Ithmid (antimony) Kohl : Beauty on a different level

Ithmid (antimony) kohl is recommended by the prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم for its eye health benefits. It is often the case that when the prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم recommends something or an action, it comes with extra bonus benefits.

These benefits are not mentioned by the prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم because they are less important but are only realised when you start putting the prophet`s words into action.

Ithmid (antimony) kohl is a case in point. As well as the major health benefits mentioned by the prophet, it also carries beauty benefits for the eyes.

Universal beauty

There are certain characteristics which are wished for by both women and men. These are gender-neautral physical traits which make both genders seem beautiful.

Obtaining these characteristics helps anyone, regardless of gender, to be seen and judged as beautiful by beholders from both sexes. Examples include having big eyes, glowing skin, and being slightly tall.

Difference between Ithmid (antimony) and other types of kohl regarding beauty

What is great about Ithmid (antimony) kohl is that it promotes universal beauty traits, hence why it should be used by both men and women.

Other types of kohl carry a superficial and short term beauty effect. Unlike Ithmid (antimony) kohl, they do not go deep and start introducing structural changes that result in you obtaining universal beauty characteristics. As soon as they are washed off, the beauty goes with them.

Non-Ithmid kohls are essentially eyeliners and mascaras under a different name. These makes them unsuitable to be used by men ( at least during the day) as in most cultures, these cosmetic products are reserved exclusively for women only, and most men would shy away from walking around with highlighted eyes and hair.

Gender-neutral beautiful eyes

Ithmid (antimony) kohl makes your eyelashes longer, as affirmed by the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. As well as having health benefits, this makes your eyes ,and in turn your face and yourself, look better.

Ithmid (antimony) kohl also makes your eyes themselves look more pristine, clear and beautiful. Although this is is not confirmed by a Hadith, it is a well known and taken-for-granted benefit amongst Ithmid kohl users.
Using Ithmid (antimony) kohl makes the white parts of the eyes more whiter and clearer, and the coloured part ( Iris) more colourful and also clearer.

Ithmid (antimony) kohl is also capable and is reported to give you bigger eyes. This is likely to be the result of Ithmid (antimony) kohl promoting stronger and healthier eyes, allowing the user to open their eyes more wider than before.

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Ithmid (antimony) Kohl : what is it and why it is special ?

If you have never heard of Ithmid (antimony) Kohl, then reading this article aims to introduce you to Ithmid (antimony) kohl to you, making understand what it is and why it is important in Islam.
Kohl in Arabic is anything that is applied to the eye and/or its surroundings such as eyelashes and eyebrows.
Ithmid (antimony) is a type of a natural stone which when powdered is called Ithmid (antimony) Kohl and is used as a kohl for the eyes and the surrounding hair.

A special Kohl

Ithmid (antimony) Kohl is special because unlike other types of Kohl it carries enormous health benefits for the eyes. As an added bonus, Ithmid (antimony) Kohl also beautifies the eyes in a unique and different way.
Ithmid (antimony) kohl has been used for over 15 centuries to enhance eyesight and maintain overall eye health. Even before the dawn of Islam and at the time of Jahilyah, Ithmid (antimony) kohl was famous for its unique benefits.
Other types of kohl (stuff applied to eyes and its hairs) only carry beauty benefits and ,contrary to promoting health as Ithmid (antimony) kohl does, often contain harmful substances.

The only kohl approved by the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم

What makes Ithmid (antimony) kohl truly special is that it is the only type of kohl the prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم has praised and affirmed its benefits.

Ibn Al-Abbas (رضي الله عنهما ) narrated that the prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم said : “The best of your kohl is ithmid (antimony), for it makes the vision clear and makes the hair grow.”

Not only did the prophet ( صلي الله عليه وسلم ) praised Ithmid kohl but he also commanded it to be used.

Ibn Al-Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) narrated that the prophet ( صلي الله عليه وسلم ) said : Apply ithmid (antimony) to your eyes, for it makes the vision clear and makes the hair grow”

This hadeeth, classed saheeh by Al-Albaani, reflects the importance and specialness of Ithmid (antimony) kohl as the prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم ) would not have felt the need to order it to be used unless if it was of such a high significance and benefit.

Because of the incredible benefits of Ithmid (antimony) kohl, the prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم himself used to apply Ithmid kohl to his eyes when going to sleep, to maintain his eye health and set an example for us to follow.

Aisha رضي الله عنهما)ا) has reported that the prophet ( صلي الله عليه وسلم ) “used to have an Ithmid (antimony) from which he used to apply kohl three times in his eyes when going to sleep”
Ibn Al-Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) also said: “The Prophet ( صلي الله عليه وسلم ) used to have a Kohl container and used to apply Kohl 3 times in each eye”

This article has hopefully made you aware about this little known sunnah and realise the significance of Ithmid (antimony) kohl in Islam.

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A look at Hadith : Is Kohl really a Sunnah ?

As discussed previously , it is observed that Hadiths found within the Sunnah refer specifically to one type of Kohl: Ithmid Kohl.

Since the word Kohl refers to , in Arabic, anything applied on the eyes and/or its related hair, it is incorrect to say that Kohl is a Sunnah. Rather, applying Ithmid Kohl , to the exclusion of other types of Kohl, is a Sunnah.

Hadiths on Kohl are all referring to Ithmid Kohl

عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رضي الله عنهماَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : (إِنَّ خَيْرَ أَكْحَالِكُمُ الْإِثْمِدُ يَجْلُو الْبَصَرَ وَيُنْبِتُ الشَّعْرَ) رواه أبو داود (3878) والنسائي (5113) وابن ماجه (3497) ، وصححه الألباني في “صحيح أبي داود”

Narrated by Ibn Abbaas, May Allah be pleased with them: Said the Prophet of Allah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ( Indeed the best of your Kohls is the Ithmid… (it) Yajlu (enhances) vision and Yunbit (Grows, tames etc) hair).
Sunan al-Nasaa’i (5113) , Sunan Abi Dawood (3837), Sunan Ibn Majah (3497). Graded Saheeh by Al-Albaani in the “Saheeh of Abi Dawood”.

وعَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رضي الله عنهما أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ : (اكْتَحِلُوا بِالإِثْمِدِ فَإِنَّهُ يَجْلُو البَصَرَ ، وَيُنْبِتُ الشَّعْرَ) رواه الترمذي (1757) ، وصححه الألباني في “صحيح الترمذي

Narrated by Ibn Abbaas, May Allah be pleased with them: Said the Prophet of Allah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ( Use Ithmid as a Kohl for it Yajlu (enhances, improves etc) vision and Yunbitu ( Grows, tames etc) hair ).

Reported by Al-Tirmidhi (1757), and graded Saheed by Al-Albaani in the ” Saheeh of Al-Tirmidhi”

وعن علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : (عَلَيْكُم بِالإِثْمِد فَإِنَّهُ مَنْبَتَةٌ للشَّعْرِ ، مَذْهَبَةٌ للقَذَى ، مَصْفَاةٌ لِلْبَصَرِ) أخرجه الطبراني في “الكبير” (1/109 ، رقم 183) وحسَّنه المنذري والعراقي وابن حجر ، انظر “الترغيب والترهيب” (3/89) و “فتح الباري” (10/157)

Narrated by Ali Bin Abi Taalib, May Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet of Allah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said : ( Use Ithmid for it is “Munbit” ( Grows) hair, removes “Al-Qada” (dirt, debris, germs etc), and acts as a “Masfah” (sieve, purifier, filter etc) for the vision).
Reported by Al-Tabarani in ” Al-Mujam al-Kabeer “ (1/109, no:183 ). Classed as Hassan by Almundiri, Al-Hafiz Al-Iraqy and Ibn Hajar. See the Fath-Albari (10/157) and Al-Targheeb Wal-Tarheeb (3/89).

These are the strongest Hadiths on Kohl and they all explicitly refer to Ithmid Kohl, as we can see. There is also other weaker Hadiths (in terms of grading) which affirm the view that Ithmid Kohl is the only type of Kohl which its use and application can be described as being a Sunnah practice.

In Fath-Albari, Ibn Hajar mentioned several Hadiths further encouraging the use of Ithmid Kohl. It is reported from Anas, May Allah be pleased with him, to have said that ” He (The prophet صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ used to command us to use Ithmid”. Aisha, May Allah be pleased with her, is reported to have said that “the prophet صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ used to own an Ithmid Kohl which he used to apply when going to sleep thrice (three times) in each eye”. Abu Huraira and Saeed Bin Hawdah, May Allah be pleased with them, have also narrated similar Hadiths encouraging the use of Ithmid Kohl and stipulating its superiority over other types of Kohl.

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Clearing misconceptions about Kohl

What image comes to your mind as the word Kohl is mentioned? And how do you feel about it?

Except those who have good understanding of the concept of Kohl in Islam, most people tend to have a wrong perception of Kohl, which is the reason why some men might shudder at or even oppose the idea of men applying Kohl.

For many of us, Kohl conjures an image of a mascara-like substance used to darken and blacken the eyelashes and eyeborows, for the sole purpose of beautification and making one more attractive. Some of us might even just be thinking of it as some sort of cultural cosmetic habit. Most will have a faint idea of it being a Sunnah and a prophetic tradition, without any knowledge on the Ahadith that pertain to it. But for the vast majority of us it will not stir any strong feelings of approval, likeness or pride.

This wrong perception is established by the way Kohl is used traditionally within our cultures, and it acts as a barrier against some muslims, especially men, adopting this prophetic practice.

Like many of the problems that exist in the Ummah, this wrong thinking is due to a lack of knowledge on the Sunnah in particular , and the Deen in general. People are far from studying, understanding and acting upon the vast amounts of golden information found within our beautiful Deen.

The majority of us are just getting-by with the barest minimum knowledge on the affairs of the religion. As a result, many of us are missing out on a lot of valuable knowledge that could have , to a great degree, improved many different areas of our worldly life including our health and well being.

The correct way of viewing Kohl/Surma/Kajal (especially Ithmid)

First of all, it is important to understand that the arabic word “Kohl” refers to anything that is applied on the eyes, eyelashes and eyebrows. This is also the case with the words “Surma” and “Kajal” used in South Asia, or their somali equivalent, “Indha-Kuul”.

In this context anything made of any kind of substance can act as a Kohl, Kajal, Surma or Indha-Kuul.

Considering this wider meaning of the word, modern eyeliner and mascara products are a form of Kohl or Surma/Kajal/Indha-kuul.

On a close studying of relevant Ahadith, it becomes apparent that saying Kohl is recommended and used by the prophet صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ is sort of wrong.

Almost all the Hadiths relating to the use of kohl explicitly refer to Ithmid kohl only. The prophet صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ recommended and used Ithmid Kohl only.

There is no evidence of the prophet recommending the practice of Kohl in general or the use of other types of Kohl.

This is not to say that other substances that are used as a Kohl are haram and not allowed, but it is wrong to claim that this mere practice of applying these substances (Kohl) is a sunnah.

It is more specific than that.
The practice of applying various substances on the eyes and its surroundings for cosmetic and health purposes has been around well before the coming of Islam, and there is many different substances such as charcoal and that can be used to this end.

One of the queens of ancient Egypt, where Kohl was popular, used to have a grounded Frankincense as a Kohl. In modern times, various chemicals are used to make eye liners and mascara products ,which are also a form of Kohl.

Therefore, It is important to make the distinction between Ithmid Koh, which is the Kohl used and recommended by the prophet صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ and other types of Kohl.

Secondly, and this is very important point for men in particular: Applying ithmid Kohl is not like you are applying a mascara or an eyeliner. Rather you should view it as using a miracolous substance that has been proven throughout centuries to be beneficial for eye health and maintaning optimum vision. Not only that, you are following a practice and an advice of your beloved صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ whom following him only brings goodness and bliss.

Once the above-mentioned points are well understood and taken into account, it becomes easy to tackle the misconception that there is a contradiction between the Sunnah of applying Kohl and the medical opinion of experts, which advises against the use of Kohl due to high levels of toxic Lead. As we discussed before, Kohl can not be lumped together as one thing since different Kohl products contain different substances.

Rather just thinking of it as a some sort of trivial cultural thing, whenever Ithmid Kohl is mentioned it should stir love and pride within the heart.

Love : because the prophet`s صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ commandment for us to use Ithmid Kohl is a reflection of his never-ending efforts to teach his Ummah everything that is of a benefit to them. Some even consider Ithmid Kohl as a miracle showing the truthfulness of the prophet as the prophet described accurately benefits of Ithmid Kohl (vision improvement and hair growth) which always occur as exactly as he صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ mentioned.

Pride : because Ithmid Kohl is yet another example of the many practical Islamic teachings relating to health and well-being which have been shown to be enormously beneficial. It makes one proud to be a follower of such a great religion that is full of sound practices that are not based on superstition and mere faith only, but actually works and delivers.
Hopefully this post has opened your eyes and cleared up any wrong perceptions you might have had about Kohl. The relevant Hadiths were ommited to avoid making the article any longer. For a comprehensive look at the hadiths on Kohl, refer to ” A look at hadith : Is Kohl really a Sunnah ?”.

Speak your mind:
If you have any questions, thoughts or feedback about this article , please leave a comment.
Has reading this article changed your perception about Kohl ? If no, why not?