DE1 Scent and the Spirit Vol. 42 • October 2017 | Perfumer & Flavorist www.PerfumerFlavorist.com
One of the world’s most sublime mystical traditions, Sufism views scent
as the spirit’s essence.
If Sufism were to be likened to a perfume, its top notes would be peace, freedom, compassion, humility, unity; heart notes of purity, universal equality, devotion, sincerity and wisdom; and a sublime
base note of unconditional love! Known to be the
core essence of all faiths, Sufism, emerges from
the essence of Islamic spiritual teaching. It follows
the path of all-encompassing love and its core
principles, including compassion and brotherhood.
Legendary Sufis like Ibn el Arabi of Andalusia even
propounded the theory of ‘Wahdat al Wujood’ (unity
of mankind) and ‘Wahdat ad Deen’ (unity of all
faiths) emphasizing that these principles lay at their
very core, uniting them spiritually.
FRAGRANCE – A SIGN OF GOD
Since fragrance has direct relation with the spirit,
Sufis consider it to be an expression of spirituality and spiritual inspiration. Sufi mystics consider
the universe’s bounties as manifestations of divine
beauty and signs of the universal creator, among
whose most sublime creations is fragrance. Known
to exhilarate and spiritually elevate mankind since
ages, the Sufis are no exception to loving fragrance
which has been unanimously viewed by them in
many enlightening and intriguing ways.
Beginning with Islam, non-alcoholic perfume
concentrates or ‘attar’ have been a part of ‘Sunnah’ or
prophetic tradition including the practice of burning
agarwood (oud) chips in the form of ‘bakhoor’ or
incense on ornate Arabic incense burners called
‘Mabkharah.’ Since alcohol is ‘haram’ (forbidden) in
Islam, attars have been a part of all Islamic commu-
nities and even Sufi orders.
MUSK – THE SCENT OF LOVE
One of the loftiest Sufis and Persian mystic poets
of all times was Jalaluddin Rumi. Also known as
‘Mevlana’ to the Turks, ‘Molana’ to Persians, he
existed in ‘Aalam-e-Lahoot’ (realm of divinity), the
All photos courtesy of the author.
A Turkish whirling dervish during a sema (Sufi dance circle).
n BY KRISHNARAJ IYENGAR