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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.