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Is it Sunnah to Burn Incense On Fridays?

03 March, 2023
Q Asalaamu alaykum, Is it true that Prophet Muhammad loved to burn incense of perfumed oil on Fridays for the Jummah prayer? Should we do this, or can we do this if we want? Are there any benefits except a good smell?


Short Answer:

  • While Prophet Muhammad did burn incense to make his house and masjid (mosque) smell nice, it wasn’t specified to have been on Fridays.
  • It’s OK to burn incense or oil any day of the week, so long as our burning it is not in association with any false beliefs about protection from evil.

Salam alaykum waRahmat Allah Dear Questioner,

Thank you so much for sending your question to Ask About Islam.

It is an interesting question, and many of our brothers and sisters might have some misconceptions in this regard. So, this shall be a good reminder for us all.

First, incense, oils and so forth are permissible as long as they’re used for having/enjoying pleasant smells around the house, for example.

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Second, there is a very common misconception about using incense to expel evil spirits.

Incense Doesn’t Protect Us from Evil

Actually, we do not believe that using incense has any special power in expelling “jinn” and evil forces.

These are superstitions and wrong beliefs.

We learn from the Quran and Sunnah that evil forces, like devils and black magic, can be kept away through the Noble Quran and the prescribed adhkar from the prophetic hadiths.  

It Wasn’t Specifically Fridays

Third, we don’t have any evidence that the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) specified Friday, in particular or solely, for burning incense.

Rather, what we know about using incense is what’s mentioned in the following hadiths, for example.

It was narrated that Nafi’ said:

When Ibn ‘Umar burned incense, he would burn Al-Uluwwah that was not mixed with anything else, or camphor mixed with some Al-Uluwwah. Then he said: ‘This is what the Messenger of Allah [SAW] used to burn.’ [Sunan an-Nasa’i]

This is also pertaining to mosques as it was narrated from ‘Aishah that the Messenger of Allah commanded that places of prayer be established in villages and that they be purified and perfumed. [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Some Reminders for Women

But, we also know of a prohibition regarding burning incense for women, in particular, if they will be going out where many people will smell the strong fragrance on them.

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

Any woman who has been perfumed with incense should not attend ‘Isha’ later with us. [Sunan an-Nasa’i]

Also, it was narrated that Abu Hurairah said:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: ‘If a woman goes out to the Masjid, let her perform Ghusl to remove perfume as she would perform Ghusl to remove Janabah (impurity following sexual activity).’ This is an abridged form of it. [Sunan an-Nasa’i]

So, it is good to use incense/oils to have pleasant smells, as long as this is not associated with wrong beliefs or specific prohibitions.

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

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