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The Perfume Industry

Applying fragrance is a Sunnah of our Nab? sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. At the same time it would be interesting to educate ourselves on the modern perfume industry.

A common misperception is that fragrances are made from the substance which it smells like (and flavours are made of the substance it tastes like). For example, a rose perfume is made from roses. Not true! Modern perfumes are generally made from synthetic chemicals commonly synthesised from petroleum distillates. (This of course doe s not negate that many perfumers still use natural essential oils, friendly to the human body).

The first synthetic fragrance was made in the late nineteenth century. This made a greater amount of scents available to work with, as well as cheaper fragrances for the general public. Costly raw materials such as musk used to make luxury perfumes, could now be replicated from waste by-products.

Hazardous chemicals

In 1991 the Environmental Protection Agency of the USA found that numerous potentially harzardous chemicals are commonly used in fragrances. According to Material Data Sheets, when these chemicals are inhaled they can cause central nervous disorders, dizziness, nausea, slurred speech, drowsiness, irritation to the mouth, throat, eyes, skin and lungs, kidney damage, headache, respiratory failure, ataxia and fatigue, etc.

If you are suffering from any of the above, it might be a good idea to stop using your fragrance and to see if there is any relation between the symptom and fragrance.


Ras?lull?h sallall?hu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “If one is given Ray??n (Sweet Basil) he should not refuse it, as it originates from Jannah.” [at-Tirmi??]

Mawl?n? Zakar?y? Kandhalw?’s commentary:

Is Ray??n alone meant or other fragrant substances? Linguists give both meanings. Both may be intended here. All?h Ta‘?l? made an imitation of the fragrance of Jannah in this world because this may be an incentive for the people towards Jannah and also increase their desire and zeal for it. People are naturally attracted towards something fragrant. What comparison can there be with the original fragrance of Jannah? It shall have such a strong fragrance, that the distance of 500 years will have to be covered to reach its source.

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