Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

August 2004 - Rajab 1425 H
Volume 17-08 No : 212
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Heard of "Pure Henna Petition"?

Heard of "Pure Henna Petition"?

Henna is held in high regard by Muslims. Today,
The Internet is flooded with websites that have glamorised Henna as part of a trendy lifestyle

By A Staff Writer

Since time immemorial, henna, better known as mehendi in the sub-continent, has held the fascination of women in not only our part of the world, but also in the Middle East and North Africa.

Henna has quite a substantial presence on the web. Sites selling henna kits, gloves to wear while applying the paste and other materials target the uninitiated, taking advantage of their ignorance and curiosity to make money from what is still regarded in the West as an exotic plant. However, the Internet also offers sites that address the needs of those who are no strangers to henna and apply designs in commemoration of events like weddings and Eid, enhancing their knowledge rather than pulling the wool over their eyes, so to speak.

Since most of us in this country belong to the latter category, a good place to learn more about henna would be http://u.presstelegram.com/Stories/html. This article, posted on what is primarily a fashion and lifestyle website, describes the history of the plant, the designs used by different cultures, which patterns are best suited to which hand-types and why. If you wish to view some of the designs that are discussed in the article, satisfy your curiosity by visiting http://www.sphosting.com/alissa/galleryindex.html. This page showcases a variety of fine examples of traditional Moroccan and Persian, as well as Indian bridal henna patterns besides a number of tribal and contemporary designs. A handy address for those who want to know which designs are most appropriate for which body part is http://www.rupalpinto.com/mehndi/.html.

Some practical instructions on the preparation of henna paste and its application can be availed at http://www.aryawat.com/mehendi. While there are many sites that give paste recipes and instructions on how to make applicator cones, this web page has made the process easier to follow. Step-by-step instructions are accompanied with photographs, which are conspicuously missing from other web pages. Detailed directions on how to ensure that the design comes out as dark as possible, as well as wrapping, a procedure followed by the Tuareg, a desert people of North Africa, for the same purpose, give this web page an edge over the rest.

If you imagined that henna is completely safe to use, http://www.angelfire.com/ak/anakee/mehndi3.html will make you think otherwise. While some of the best henna in the world is grown in the sub-continent, it does get contaminated, and causes serious medical problems, such as blood poisoning, among its users. This page, with the help of links to related pages, explains why black henna products, even those that do not contain para-phenylenediamine or PPD, should be avoided at all costs. Even stale henna is unsafe. Once you have been convinced of the dangers of using henna that is not 100 per cent pure, you can sign the ‘Pure henna petition’, which urges henna growers, manufacturers and exporters to keep their products free of chemicals.

Since the only way you can ensure that you are using pure henna is by growing it yourself, you will need some tips on cultivating the plant. These can be accessed via http://www.geocities.com/how2growhenna. This web page furnishes most of the information needed to choose and buy the dye-producing variety of henna, and also tells how much water and sunlight the plant requires, as well as what to do in the event that insect pests attack it. However, there are no instructions as to how the plant’s leaves can be ground into powder that can be sieved into a form of usable henna; apparently, home preparation of henna has not reached the stage where it can rival its industrial production.

If, after all this, you have been discouraged from having much to do with henna in any form, pay a visit to http://www.ummah.cm/islam/taqwapalace/fitness/health2.html. On this page, which lists the plants mentioned in the holy Quran and the context in which they are discussed there, you will find that henna is held in high regard in Islam for its cleansing properties. These are dwelt upon in greater detail on http://www.clickwalla. com/article, a page posted on a web portal that targets Asians living in the UK. Besides talking about the healing qualities of henna and the talismanic origins of its patterns, the article also focuses on its ability to bring people together as a community, particularly during festivals and other special occasions.

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News Community Roundup Editorial Readers Comments Men, Missions and Machines What's New Trends Insights Community Initiative Issues
Children's Corner Quran Speaks to You Hadith Religion Question Hour : Dr. Zakir Naik Our Dialogue Back to The Past Quran and Science Women in Islam Living Islam Just for the Young Reflections Journey to Islam Sould Talk Matrimonial Jobs Archives Feedback Subscription Links Calendar Contact Us


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