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How to identify pure Ithmid kohl/surma/kajal?

Pure black ithmid kohl

With so many fake kohl powders being sold as a pure Ithmid Kohl, it’s very easy to fall a victim to this unscrupulous trade and buy a kohl product on the assumption that it is real and pure ithmid kohl when in reality it is not not only not what you think but potentially toxic and harmful.

In fact, the vast majority (over 90%) of the kohl powders on the market which their sellers claim to be 100% lead free and pure are anything but. A lot of these sellers are themselves unaware of what is in these products but they advertise it as pure and lead free nonetheless just to make sales without asking themselves if their claims are true or not.

However if they did a little bit of homework to ensure that what they are selling is actually pure Ithmid and lead free, many of them would have discontinued selling them.

So what homework can one do to investigate that the product they are buying is genuinely pure Ithmid kohl?

Check it’s not on the black list

The easiest and first thing you can do is to check if the product is not one already reported to be lead laden and potentially toxic by reliable sources.

The biggest brands or makes in the kohl market actually have been discredited by lab tests conducted by the Saudi Food and Drugs Agency. Ecowaste coalition and New South Wales government in Australia also discredited a major kohl brand as being potentially toxic.

Check the list of these brands and images of their widely available kohl products here as a first step of knowing whether your potential purchase (or already bought product) is actually pure kohl. If it’s there, then you just have saved yourself a lot of further checking as well as saving your money and health.

Can the stone be traced and provided if needed

Another indirect way of knowing whether the product is pure Ithmid kohl is to check with the seller if they are able to trace where the kohl came from and can provide you with a stone of the same type if needed.

Ithmid kohl like any other product is passed down a chain of producers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers before reaches you. But any seller who knows their trade well will be able to trace back when the Ithmid stone was crushed into a powder. They will know which of their suppliers did this and they can verify with them that nothing was added and the end product was completely pure Ithmid powder.

Sellers who just bought a nicely packaged black substance advertised as pure Ithmid kohl from a random wholesaler will not be able to do any of these requirements. They have no history of the product, where it came from and how it is made except that which is written by the package or told to them by whoever they bought it off from (who in turn relies on the packaging info or what someone else said to them)

At we are 100% sure about the purity of our Ithmid kohl powder which is crushed into a stone using an electrical grinder. We know and can trace back the whole journey of our ithmid powders. The stones from which are our pure ithmid kohl powders are made from are available on request.

Does it look like and feel like a crushed stone

Pure ithmid kohl is obtained by crushing ithmid stone into a powder without adding any other ingredients. Imagine yourself doing this for a minute ? What image comes to your mind of the of kind of powder would you end up ? Something dusty with a slightly different shades of color ? Or something that is jet black and glossy without any traces of dust or variation in its color ?

Hopefully, you have picked the first option which is what represents a truly pure ithmid kohl. When you see and feel a pure ithmid kohl you will know feel confident to say that it must have come from a stone. A good pure ithmid kohl powder has this little shiny silverish grains in it (which look white flecks in the photo) and it is colour is more of a dark grey than that of black.

Also pure ithmid kohl has this soft texture to it that it easily compacts on itself under pressure and forms lumps in a similar way to a wet sand.

Pure black Hijazi ithmid kohl powder
Pure black Hjazi ithmid kohl powder : Notice the whitish spots ( Exagerated in this photo by the camera- in reality it is more subtle and is ony a hint of silver). Also notice the texture and how soft it looks. Also the colour is not jet black.

Does the seller sound knowledgeable

This is an indirect way of ascertaining whether what you are about to buy is actually pure and genuine ithmid kohl. Being knowledgeable about the topic of ithmid kohl is a distinguishing sign that marks good sellers who have done their research and homework and know what they are talking about from the others who due to their lack of expertise and knowledge on the topic do not know much about the products they are selling beyond what is written on the packaging and may be the hadiths on the benefits of ithmid kohl.

Some of the questions that you can ask the seller include :

Where does ithmid kohl come from ? Is pure ithmid kohl only a certain color ( for example black ) ? What other colours does pure ithmid kohl come from ? How many varieties of ithmid kohl exist ? What is the difference between them ? How is ithmid kohl made ? How to apply it ?

Sellers selling genuinely pure and authentic ithmid kohl will most definitely give you convincing answers on these questions as they themselves had gone through the same situation you are in when sourcing their products and through research and personal experience found out the answers.

Hope you found this article useful and it gave you a very important tips that you can use to steer away from fake ithmid kohl products and identify pure ithmid kohl.

If you have any questions or comments please leave a comment under the post ( I will reply to you insha`Allah) or get in touch by email at :

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Avoid at all costs : The black list of kohl products

The ithmid kohl market is saturated with brands claiming to offer genuine ithmid kohl products. Unfortunetaly the reality is that the vast majorities of these products are not genuine ithmid kohl. Laboratory results have shown that they contain toxic amounts of lead. Some of them were also found to be contaminated with bacteria, possibly due to unhygienic handling and processing.

Couple of brands seem to have made it big on the ithmid kohl trade. Their well presented products have flooded the markets all around the world and are the first thing someone looking for ithmid kohl encounters.

Most of these fake products have been confirmed by lab analysis to be unsuitable for human use due to containing toxic amounts of lead. Here you will find a list of these products. Anyone looking for genuine ithmid ( or cares about their health for that matter) should not be going anywhere near these products.

Brands tested by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority

Samples from nine common ithmid kohl products that were actively sold in markets were tested by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority. All nine were found to contain excessive amounts of lead ( 10 times the allowed limit for beauty products per the saudi standards ).

Additionally , seven samples were found to contain high amounts of bacteria that exceeds the maximum allowed limit for beauty products.

Below are the ithmid kohl products tested by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.


Name : Ithmid kohl with rose and zamzam water
Country of manufacture : KSA



Name : Alharamain kohl
Country of manufacture : Not available



Name : Black ithmid kohl
Country of manufacture : Not available

Fake ithmid kohl 2


Name : Rani kajal kohl
Country of manufacture : Not available



Name : Hashmi black kohl
Country of manufacture : India



Name : Red ithmid kohl
Country of manufacture : Not available



Name : Hashmi Kajal
Country of manufacture : India



Name : Hatimi black kohl
Country of manufacture : India


Name : Hatimi black kohl
Country of manufacture : Not available

fake ithmid kohl 9

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Ithmid Kohl : A protection against CMV virus?

Cytomegalovirus, HCMV, is a herpes type virus carried by most people – like other viruses – without any symptoms.

Eyes can be seriously damaged by the HCMV virus. It can cause a condition called HCMV retinitis which as its worst could lead to blindness.

Ithmid Kohl has been traditionally used as an antimicrobial agent by ancient Arabs in the Middle East.

Therefore, it is very plausible that regular use of ithmid Kohl, as has been strongly recommended by prophet Muhammad ( May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), could protect the eyes against viral infections such as that caused by CMV.

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Is kohl eyeliner harmful or dangerous for eyes and health ?

Bad reputation and negative stigma is attached to kohl eyeliners as a result of findings that it contains harmful ingredients and toxic levels of lead.

This puts many people who are attracted to the potential cosmetic and health benefits of kohl eyeliners in a difficult situation ; wandering wether or not to use kohl and confused about its safety.

Many people face a dilemma between wanting to use kohl for its assumed benefits and the mainstream advice not to use it because of potential health problems.

So just how dangerous is kohl eyeliners and should you be avoiding them?

Lead laden

Unfortunately, the vast majority of kohl eyeliners (both traditional and commercial) contain unsafe levels of lead, which can lead to lead poisoning, particularly on children.

Excessive Lead can build up in different body tissues and can cause various adverse health effects.

Saudi Food and Drugs Agency (SFDA) reported that nine of the most popular commercial kohl brands on the market contained lead levels which are 10 times higher than permitted levels. Additionally, the samples were found to be contaminated with bacteria (very concerning as eyes have suppresses immunity) .

A large proportion of commercial kohl products are made using galena and minium which are lead based compounds containing high amounts of lead.

Many kohl products are full of toxic substances

But not all kohl is bad

According to one study, as much as three quarters of kohl products on the market do not contain lead as a major component.

Another study have shown that indeed a very small percentage (7 out of 21 samples) of kohl eyeliners on the market do not contain any lead at all (lead free).

Clearly not all kohl eyeliners are the same and the main stream blanket approach of warning against all kohl eyeliners and products is wrong.

Genuine and organic Ithmid (antimony) kohl poses no health risks or potential harmful effects to the eyes or health in general.

It is made by crushing natural rocks containing antimony compounds (minerals) such as stibnite, valentinite and stibiconite.

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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

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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.

Buy pure and 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.

Lead-free pure Ithmid kohl powders

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 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 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.