Ittar is specially used during Eid and in ceremonies or in etiquette of welcoming the guests by apply it on their wrists or top of the hand. For Muslims its a recommended practice to apply ittar or flower essence before every prayer and especially during Eid Prayers. 

Attar also called Ittar is a essential oil derived from natural sources like flowers, spices, barks and roots. Most commonly these oils are extracted via distillation. The essence oils are then diluted in base oils of olive, sandalwood or almond and stored and aged from few months to ten years depending on the desired maturity of the essence. 

Natural attars are derived and matured through a delicate process of distillation and maturing and hence are costly. There are many synthetic attars made of chemicals available for cheap however they do not offer the healing properties the natural attars offer. 

It is said that Prophet Solomon(A.S) had the ability to converse with animals and plants and he spoke to flowers and documented their healing properties.  Prophet Mohammed(SAWS) loved essences and its his recommended practice (Sunnah) for Muslims to apply attars before prayers. 

These attar essences are used to attain different emotional temperament as they contain mercy and compassion of Allah(SWT) bestowed to all creation.   The essence carries a symbolic meaning to reveal each individuals true inner essence for purification of the heart.  Saints and spiritual aspirants adorn themselves with these essence to assist them in their journey towards enlightenment in many traditions. 

The Islamic prophetic medicine and the Sufi traditions use specific essences for specific healing purposes. In the esoteric tasawuff path such as the sufi/irfan traditions the essence of the attars reminds one of their own inner purity and the struggle required towards purification of the soul, to remove imbalances and to attain ones true nature/essence. 

Some of the attars with spiritual and healing significance that are commonly used in Muslims households are amber, frankincense(loban), sandal, musk, jasmine, hina, oud, jannat-ul-firduas. Rose is Considered the mother of all attars.

Hyderabad has a good tradition of attar shops since its 400 years history and there are currently over 100 such shops in the city selling variety of attars and perfumes. I have a good collection of attars and essential oils and have been using them since childhood. I even used to put up a stall to sell attars at Charminar during my school/college days to earn pocket money. 

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May 25, 2020