Attar dealers do brisk business during the holy month

A busy Saeed meticulously puts a small bottle of attar in a little black pouch and hands it over to an eager customer with a broad smile at his shop in Shivajinagar.

He understands the importance of attar (natural perfume) for Muslims during the holy month of Ramzan — a period of self purification, introspection and spirit of sacrifice.

Ramzan sees devout Muslims zealously follow Sunnah, the way of life arising out of teachings and practices of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). “Attar was one of Prophet Muhammad’s favourites. Staying clean and using attar is Sunnah for us.” says Jawad Khan, owner of a three-generation-old attar business in Shivajinagar.

Attar is a perfume made out of blending natural essential oils into fragrances without any chemical or alcohol additives, Mr. Khan said. “Pure to the last molecule, a small bottle lasts several days and the fragrance lingers for hours.”

For attar dealers like Jawad, the month of Ramzan brings in more customers to their shop. Saeed, who works in Jawad’s attar shop, says the rush of customers during Ramzan keeps him very busy. Even non-Muslims patronise attar, he added.

“During Ramzan, the demand for attar also comes from corporates, which want to gift the perfumes. We have to increase our workforce to meet the demands for packaging of the gifts,” explains Mr. Jawad.

Every Ramzan, his shop tries to introduce around five new fragrances. One of the Ramzan favourites is Riaz-ul-Jannah or the Garden of Heaven, which has fruity overtones.

The fragrances come in fancy crystal bottles measuring 3 ml, 6 ml and 12 ml that are imported from China and France.

The popular fragrances available in his shop include Falak, Shah-e-Iran, Jannatul Firdauz and Mukhallat Imaad. Also available were perfumes named Armani and Ferrari that have milder fragrance that smell like some of the branded sprays available in the market.

The usual price range is anywhere between Rs. 50 to Rs. 200. But, some of exotic fragrances available at his shop can cost up to Rs. 1,200.

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