Honoring the guest is much more than a part of the tradition of Islam, it is part of its fundamentals.
From my years of travel in the Muslim world where I have been for so long a guest myself, I have learned the art of receiving guests.
When hosted by a perfumer, a guest expects to receive some gifts of perfume sample or at least to be invited to smell some very special perfumes.
My guests are always amazed when I serve them tea or coffee flavored with the essences of exotic species. Cardamom, Ginger, Mint, Lemon …
To the drinking water I add a drop of perfume, I spray over the cookies essence of grapefruit or lemon, and if they come to me with some cold or other illness, I prepare for them some sugar cubes with a few drops of anise or incense ….
Then I say my favorite phrase: “Never trust a perfumer who does not drink his perfumes.”
What would you say about a person who has a bookcase full of medicines able to cure all diseases.
These medicines have wonderful colors and this person has decided to be a painter in life, and he uses them only for that, not wanting to know in the least how they can be used for healing.
So when his family or his friends fall ill he cannot use the remedies that he has at hand in order to relieve their sufferings and to heal them.
Would not you say that this person is wasting?
Or what would you say about someone who has so much gold that he uses it to make the taps of the bathroom without using even a little of it to save lives and feed the hungry.
Would not you say that this person is stingy?
Or one who has a huge quantity of 500 euro banknotes, and he burn them in the winter to keep the house warm instead of using them to buy firewood.
Would not you say that this person is ignorant?
So is the natural perfumer of the twenty-first century that does neither study nor practice Aromatherapy, content to make perfumes.
The history of perfume dates back to ancient times when the scent was linked to the sacred, to spiritual purification and to healing.
Perfumes were in the hands of priests or doctors, and often the healing art was reserved to priests themselves. The use of aromatic materials was mostly limited to religious and medical use.
Then the advent of Islam 14 centuries ago. The personal use of perfume was made compulsory for all Muslims for:
The congregational prayer on Friday
The purification of women after their menstrual flow
Entering the state of purification for the pilgrimage
The purification of the dead during the washing ritual
Since then aroma, while maintaining its sacred and medical use, passed from the hands of a few priests and doctors at the hands of everyone.
This was the first democratization of perfume. It was no longer restricted to either a social class (nobles), a religious one (rabbis, priests) or an economic one (the rich). Everyone in the community of Islam had the obligation to use perfume, if they could.
In Jewish mysticism all senses give pleasure to the body, except for the sense of smell that gives pleasure to the soul.
Fragrances provides a spiritual pleasure. With Islam, this pleasure was no longer reserved for people of high spirituality but became a means to spiritualize all people.
The profession of perfumer was born then, he was a “doctor perfumer”, who healed the hearts and the bodies.
The hearts are cured with the emotions that smelling perfumes procure and the bodies are cured with the molecules that these perfumes contain.
Because the molecules that cure the bodies are the same that make the smell, it is impossible to dissociate the treatment of heart from that of the body as it is impossible to dissociate the smell from the perfume. It is not only impossible, it is absurd.
Absurd then is the attitude of who paints pictures with remedies and is not interested to learn how to use them to heal at least his family.
What then about making perfumes with natural scents and essential oils without learning or practicing aromatherapy?