Kohl for the eyes

22 09 2008

Kohl for the Eyes
By Hezreen Abdul Rashid

It is known as sirma in Punjabi, kajal in Hindi, katuka in Telegu and kuhl in Arabic. Whatever name it is known today, the exotic antimony was traditionally worn to beautify the eyes back during the bronze age. Yes, vanity had its own language during pre-historic times.

Kohl which has been made infamous by the Bollywood divas is a black substance mixed with other ingredients from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Women of the Arabian Peninsula use kohl as eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow. Apart from making the eyes look brighter and larger, kohl was once believed to have value as a protection against various eye diseases. Its dark colour controls the sun’s glare in the desert, and thus it is used by both men and women of the desert.

But that’s not the only reason why kohl has been highly prized as a cosmetic. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) urged his people to use kohl regularly for the following reasons- “Use kohl made of ithmid on the eye for it brightens the eyesight, and strengthens and increases the growth of the eye lashes.” Prophet was said to have a small container for keeping kohl, from which he applied in each eye three times every night before sleeping.

Aisha R.A , Prophet’s wife once said: “I used to pack Allah’s messenger’s things for him. I would pack some oil lotion, a mirror, a pair of scissors, a kohl jar and a tooth stick.” It was also said that the Prophet also took with him a kohl jar as part of his toiletry. When used, kohl makes a black line around the eyelids to enhance the shape of the eye. It is perfectly permissible to use by both men and women.

Although kohl is harmless since it is available in its purest form, caution need to be taken for it may contain lead which can lead to intoxication. But it’s an understatement to say that the commercial eyeliners are safe to use for even these contain chemicals that could be more harmful in the long run. Thus, kohl is safest to use provided that its ingredients have been checked and verified.
So chuck away the industrial eye liners and gaudy eye-shadows. History has proven that kohl is women’s best remedy for beautiful and healthy eyes. After all, it’s been used for centuries and no cases of blindness have ever been reported.

So if even Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Carribean has no qualms about using kohl, what say we give this exotic eye make-up a try- for the sake of our eyes?