Muslims lining colourful surma during Ramzan month

Muslims lining colourful surma during Ramzan month
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Muslims lining colourful surma during Ramzan month (Photo: Srinivas Setty)

Highlights

Tradition of applying black surma is slowly disappearing, but thanks to elderly, it is alive

Hyderabad: With this holy month of Ramzan sale of colourful surma (kohl) has picked up in the city in the last few days. Youngsters are lining surma in eyes. Sellers of items required for the festival like attar (perfume), kohl, traditional caps and rosaries are making brisk business, as many devotees have already begun the Eid shopping.

A devotee offers prayers during Ramzan, lining eyes of faithful with surma and dabbing their wrists with ittar (perfume) as they come to mosques for prayers. The practice of applying surma and ittar is recommended as per Islamic traditions as it was done by Prophet Mohammed. However, the tradition of applying black surma is slowly disappearing, but thanks to elderly, it is alive.

Surma is usually available in powdered form, processed from Surma stone. It is preserved in tiny glass or metal vials. Muslims usually apply surma using a glass probe before going for namaz and also before going to bed. Small bottles of surma starting from one gm to 10 gm are sold in shops, specially in the Old City. Mohammed Basheerullah Siddiqui, owner of Berket and Sons, selling perfumes and surma for 50 years at M J Market, said different varieties of surma are available. There are over 10 varieties with different colours, including red, blue, green, grey, black. The colour surmas are applied usually by youngsters, whereas elderly use black surma. "The cost of these surma ranges between Rs 20 anb Rs 100 a bottle. The pure black surma stone costs over Rs 200 for 10 gm bottle," he added.

The surma is brought from Mumbai, UP and also imported from Pakistan. Varieties in colours are brought from Mumbai. "The India's khojati, Dur-e-Najaf and Pakistanis Hashmi surma remain high in demand.

The pure surma stone is imported from Madina (Saudi Arabia). 'Neem ka tez surma' is usually used by men for eye protection. It is so effective; eyes would be fiery for a few minutes. It is avoided by women."

Some traders also prepare it by crushing surma stone. A small quantity of mint is also used to cool eyes, as it is very strong. A majority of shopkeepers from districts during Ramzan month purchase surma, perfumes and other items and sell them.

The practice is an Islamic tradition; it not only gives protection to eyes, but also removes dirt from them. It prevents cataract and gives protection from excessive heat conditions," explained Basheerullah.

However, traders say the colour surma is mixed with chemicals and may also be a threat to eyes. Even the surma bottle is a hazard for eyes. But with the trend, youngsters apply colour surma for making eyes look beautiful and smudged.

According to Islamic belief, Prophet Moosa (Moses) first used surma after Koh-e-Toor (Mount Sinai) was charred. Prophet Moosa applied the char dust to his eyes.

In later years, Prophet Mohammed also used to apply surma, as described in several Hadees. Hence, applying surma became a part of the Islamic tradition of Sunnah or words, actions and practices of the Prophet.

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