By Karimah Bint Dawoud, Muslim Chaplain &Well Being Writer
The reason decide to write this article is there is a particular cold virus going round right now where the eyes hurt and sting , like some sort of allergy, something like conjunctivitis. I have tried rosewater in my eyes for a few days but it has only made a slight improvement and then I remembered my khol pot, standing alone and unused for a few weeks. Last night I put khol in my eyes before bed and already I feel an improvement, this is something inshallah I’ll be doing for a few more nights.
Khol, khur, kohol, kajal,kahal is the black powder used by men and women of the Arabic peninsular to out line their eyes for more than a beautifying purposes.
Ithmid is the name of a stone that the black khol powder is derived from and the best ithmid is from Asfahan in Iran but the black stone is also found in more Western areas,
The best type of ithmid is that which crumbles easily and so forms fine powder. It has shiny reflective properties and doesn’t not contain impurities. According to Imam Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah, in Medicine of The Prophet, khol, also known as antimony and is cold and dry in its temperament .For this reason is good for inflamed eyes, it strengthens them and strengthens the eye nerve.
Ithmid is the best type of khol used for the eyes especially for old people who sight is weakening, it can be even mixed with a little musk and applied to the eyes though I don’t think I would do that unless I was shown by a more knowledgeable practioner.
Abu Dawud narrated in his sunan, from Abd al Rahman bin Al Nu’man bin Ma’bad bin Hawdha Al Ansari, from his father, from his grandfather, that the messenger of Allah, salah al alaihi wa salem, ordered scented antimony at the time of going to sleep, but said, “Let the one who is fasting avoid it”. Abu Ubayda said ‘scented (murawwah)’ means scented with musk.
In the sunan of Ibn Majah, documented that the Prophet salah la alaihi wa salem, had a khol container and he would apply khol three times in each eye(haddith ibn Hanbal, musnad, 1.354)khol is to preserve the health of the eyes and strengthen and cleanses the perceptive faculty.
Abdullah ibn Umar y narrates that the Messenger r said, “You should use Kohl for it improves the eyesight and makes the eyelashes grow.” [Hasan, Sahih ibn Maajah 3495].
Khol is particular and best used before sleep as the eye rests from most movement and this is where the eyes absorbs the khol.
Ithmid can also be used to dissolves access flesh around ulcers and, close the wound while cleansing the area around them .
Ibn Qayyim said, “Ithmid also relieves headache when it is blended with pure watery honey. When Ithmid is ground and mixed with tender fat and then used as a bandage over burns, it prevents blisters from appearing and also helps cure the skin damage that occurs in cases of burns by fire.”
These are accurate statement however, like haddith of Fiqh, they need explaining, all I can offer at this point is there are different types of fats, that have different temperaments, so something like olive is hot in temperament and would not be good for putting on burns, while something like coconut oil is cool and would be more appropriate as it has cooling properties especially for inflamed skin.
It is not clear from ibn Qayim if the honey and antimony is to be applied or drunk and until we find out more, best to err on the side of caution.