The Sunnah of Using Kuhl
In his classic book of hadeeth The Virtues and Noble Character of The Prophet Muhammad , Imaam Abi 'Eesaa Muhammad bin 'Eesah bin Sorah At-Tirmidhi R.A.(209-279A.H.) lists 5 ahadeeth.
The English translation and commentary by Shaykhul-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Muhajir Madni (R.A.) are copied below while the Arabic text is available here.
Chapter on the kuhl of Rasulullah
To apply (surmah, antimony, collyrium) in the eyes is mustahab. One should use kuhl with the intention of ajr (thawaab, reward). It benefits the eye and one receives ajr for following the sunnah also. Imaam Tirmidhi mentions five ahaadith in this chapter.
(48) Hadith Number 1
Ibn 'Abbaas Radiyallahu 'Anhu says:"Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam said: 'Use kuhl made of ithmid on the eye; it brightens the eyesight, and strengthens and increases the growth of the eye lashes'. (Sayyidina Ibn'Abbaas Radiyallahu'Anhu also used to say) 'Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam had a small container for keeping kohl, from which he applied kohl in each eye three times every night"'.
Ithmid is a special type of kohl which is reddish black in colour. It is obtained in the Eastern countries. Some of the learned say it is the Isfahaani kuhl, and other say it is the Totiya. Some 'ulama say, it means those who have good eyesight and it should be used by those with whose eyesight it agrees, otherwise a sick person's eyes will pain more by its use. It is more beneficial to apply kohl at the time of sleeping as it will remain longer in the eyes, and will penetrate more into the pores. There are different narrations on the number of times it should be applied in each eye. In a few it is stated that it should be applied three times in each eye, as mentioned above.
In other narrations it is stated that it should be put three times in the right eye and two times in the left eye. It is supposed that the variations are because of the different times of the narrations. At a certain time, Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi Wasallam applied it in one manner and at another time in the other manner. Haafiz Ibn Hajar, Mulla 'Ali Qaari and other 'ulama have preferred the first method (as given in the hadith under discussion). the first method has been narrated many times from Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu' Alayhi Wasallam, as will be seen in the narration that follow.
(49) Hadith Number 2
Ibn 'Abbaas Radiyallahu 'Anhu reports: "Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam applied kuhl of ithmid three times in each eye before sleeping'. In a narration also from Ibn 'Abbaas Radiyallahu 'Anhu, it is reported: "Rasuluilah Sallallahu'Alayhi Wasallam had a small container for keeping kuhl, from which he applied in each eye kuhl three times before sleeping'.
(50) Hadith Number 3
Jaabir bin 'Abdullah Radiyallahu 'Anhu says: "Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam said: 'Use the kuhl made from ithmid for the eyes. It brightens the vision and strengthens the growth of the eye lashes'.
(51) Hadith Number 4
Ibn 'Abbaas Radiyallahu 'Anhu says: "Rasulullah Sallallah 'Alayhi Wasallam has said: 'The best from among all the kuhl used by you is the one made from ithmid. It brightens the eyesight and strengthens the growth of the eye lashes"'.
One of the narrators in the chain of this hadith is Bishr bin Mufaddal RA. The 'ulama wrote that he performed four hundred rak'ahs nafl daily, and it was his permanent practice to fast every alternate day.
(52) Hadith Number 5
'Abdullah bin 'Umar Radiyallahu 'Anhu related the same hadith from Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallarn that: "Verily use the kuhl made from ithmid. It brightens the vision and strengthens the growth of the eye lashes".
In all the above narrations the use of kuhl made from ithmid has be stressed. Only those eyes are meant, that agree with the use of it, otherwise, because of certain eye conditions kuhl does not agree with some people, as was mentioned previously. The 'ulama have written that due to these commands and practices it is sunnah to use kuhl, and it is better to use the one made from ithmid. If one uses kuhl made from any other substance it will be regarded as sunnah, but the virtue is obtained by using kuhl made of ithmid.
The following fataawa also help expound the sunnah of applying ithmid:
1) Is the use of surma for the eyes a sunnat. 2) If it is a sunnat, what is the sunnat times to put surma. 3) What is the sunnat way of putting surma in the eyes. 4) What are the bennifits of putting surma.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh
1) It was the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) to apply Surmah every night in both eyes.
2) Nabi [sallallaahu Alayhi wasallam] used to apply Surma into each eye three times every night before sleeping. He used the Surma called, Ithmid.
3) Imran Ibn Abi Anas has related that the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to apply antimony (surmah) thrice in the right and twice in the left.
4) Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) advised, ‘Use Ismid (antimony) as that grows the eyelashes and improves the sight.’ (Bukhari)
[Radhiallaahu anhu] narrates that Nabi [sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] said, ‘Apply the Surma called ‘Ithmid’ to the eye, for verily, it removes unclearness from the eyes and causes the eyebrows to grow.’
Ibn Abbas (ra) has related that the Holy Prophet [sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] said, “Apply antimony regularly, as it clears the sight, makes the hair grow and is the best of things beautifying the eyes.” (Shamail-Tirmizi-Ibn Sa’d)
And Allah knows best
A Female Iftaa Student
Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah
Is there a sunnat way of putting the surma on?
Al-jawab billahi at-taufeeq (the answer with Allah’s guidance)
1) To apply Surma, Kohl (collyrium) to the eyes is Mustahab (peferable). Besides the benefit to the eyes, one would also get recompense (Thawab) for following the prophetic practice.
It is reported from Ibn Abbas (Radhiallahu Anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to apply the collyriyum of Ithmid (a mineral product) thrice to each eye every night before retiring to bed.”
Hafiz Ibn Hajar and Mulla Ali Qari have preferred those traditions which indicate that the kohl-rod was applied to each eyes thrice.
Jabir (Radhiallahu Anhu) reports that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has advised to apply the collyrium of Ithmid to the eyes as it increases the light of the eyes and helps grow the eye-lashes.” (Shamaa’il)
There is no fixed time in applying Surma but applying it before retiring to bed is beneficial. (Ahsanul Fataawa Vol. 9 Pg. 74)
And Only Allah Ta’ala Knows Best.
Moulana Qamruz Zaman
Question: It is permissible to apply antimony in the day ?
It because Hadrat Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) has related that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) had a collyrium container out of which he applied collyrium every night, in each eyes three times.
It is permissible.
And Allah Ta`ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
================================ Question: I want to know that is it sunnah to keep 7 things beside bed namely comb itching stick oil shurma mirror miswak & scissors?...
Hadhrat Anas (رضى الله عنه) narrates that water, miswak and comb used to be placed beside the holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) when he went to sleep. Hadhrat Ayisha (رضى الله عنها) narrates that I used to arrange oil, comb, mirror, scissors, kohl-pot and miswak for the holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) when he was in journey. While in another hadith, Hadhrat Ayisha (رضى الله عنها) narrated the following items: mirror, kohl-pot, comb, Scraping stick and miswak. It is mentioned in another hadith that the holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) always carried these things in journey and at home. We could not get the details of other things near bed except water, miswak, comb and antimony container.
Allah (Subhana Wa Ta’ala) knows Best
Darul Uloom Deoband
================================ Question: ...can we apply surma or kaajal on the eyes of the newly born? wht is the difference between kajal & surma?...
...Kajal is generally used for children as surma burns their eyes. Kajal is eye-pencil while surma is antimony...
Ml. Husain Kadodia
STUDENT: Darul Ifta
CHECKED & APPROVED: Mufti Ebrahim Desai
(1) Is it from the sunna for guys to use kohl/antimony (in urdu “kajul”)? Is it true it makes the eyes clean or something?
(2) I understand there are two types of sunnah, one sunnah is that which is strongly emphasized to be practiced and one that is merely optional and usually when practiced by someone, it practiced out of love for Prophet Sal-Allah-Alaihi-Wassalam. If using coal/mascara is as sunnah, which type?
[Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan]
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.
(1) Yes it is from the sunna to use kohl/antimony (in Arabic, ithmid), and it does help with vision according to the hadith.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The best type of antimony for you is ithmid, for it makes vision clear and causes hair to grow.” [Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud]
(2) As you mention, there are two types of sunna:
(a) Emphasized sunnas of guidance (sunan al-huda), the leaving of which entails wrongdoing and is disliked [unless one has a valid excuse].
Such sunnas are considered to be among the symbols (sha’air) of the religion itself. If a person/community habitually abandons such a sunna, they are deemed to be astray, as abandoning these entails not taking the religion seriously. Examples are praying in congregation, and making the call to prayer (adhan) and the commencement of prayer (iqama).
(b) Non-emphasized sunnas that are of additional blessing (sunan al-zawa’id), the leaving of which does not entail wrongdoing and is not disliked.
These sunnas are things that the Prophet regularly did, yet they are not symbolic of the religion itself and hence are “of additional blessing” (zawa’id). Examples are the way the Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) dressed, stood and sat.
[ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
Applying kohl/antimony would fall under the second category.
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani