Scents of Space: Early Islamic Pilgrimage, Perfume, and Paradise

In: Arabica
Author: Adam Bursi1
View More View Less
  • 1 Utrecht UniversityUtrechtNetherlands
Open Access


Within some of the earliest textual and material evidence for the history of Islam, pilgrimage appears as an important ritual of devotion, identity, and community. Yet modern scholarship has given little attention to early Muslims’ sensory experiences of pilgrimage sites and what they physically encountered while there. This article examines the importance of smell within Islamic pilgrimage practices of the first/seventh and second/eighth centuries. Drawing upon literary and material evidence, I reconstruct several olfactory components of pilgrimage in this period, including intensive usage of perfume and incense at pilgrimage destinations such as the Kaʿba and the Dome of the Rock, as well as pilgrims’ collection and ingestion of scented materials from these locations. I then argue that the prominence of pleasing aromas at these sacred spaces is connecting to early Islamic ideas about the proximity of paradise to these pilgrimage sites.


Within some of the earliest textual and material evidence for the history of Islam, pilgrimage appears as an important ritual of devotion, identity, and community. Yet modern scholarship has given little attention to early Muslims’ sensory experiences of pilgrimage sites and what they physically encountered while there. This article examines the importance of smell within Islamic pilgrimage practices of the first/seventh and second/eighth centuries. Drawing upon literary and material evidence, I reconstruct several olfactory components of pilgrimage in this period, including intensive usage of perfume and incense at pilgrimage destinations such as the Kaʿba and the Dome of the Rock, as well as pilgrims’ collection and ingestion of scented materials from these locations. I then argue that the prominence of pleasing aromas at these sacred spaces is connecting to early Islamic ideas about the proximity of paradise to these pilgrimage sites.

Within the study of early Islam, one of the most long-debated subjects has been the purpose and meaning of the Dome of the Rock, built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in the 70s/690s.1 Though much of this discussion has turned on interpretations of the Dome’s architecture, iconography, and inscriptions, recent scholarship has incorporated an important additional feature of the building’s early history: the extensive perfuming and incensing of the Foundation Stone (in Arabic, Ṣaḫra) and the interior of the building that was carried out to prepare the space for visitors. According to literary traditions likely dating from the late Umayyad period,2 the Dome’s attendants twice-weekly covered the entire Ṣaḫra in a perfume made from musk, ambergris, saffron, and other luxurious materials, before circumambulating the Stone with censers burning scented woods, filling the entire space with fragrant smoke. When these rituals were complete, the curtains were raised, allowing the smoke to billow out, and an announcement was made: “The Ṣaḫra is open for the people! Whosoever wants to pray [therein], let them come!” Visitors would rush to pray within the Ṣaḫra space, and often reeked so strongly afterwards that “one who smells of its scent, they say of him, ‘This is one of those who have entered the Ṣaḫra.’”3

According to this description, visiting the Dome of the Rock was heavily infused with the experience of scent: nearly every spot within the building was invested with perfume and incense—from the Foundation Stone to the Dome’s top—and these smells accompanied its visitors after they left, marking them as pilgrims to the sacred space. Yet scholars who have analyzed the ritual scenting of the Dome have paid scant attention to this highly sensorial experience for early Muslim pilgrims, focusing instead upon identifying connections between these rituals and earlier Jewish and Christian practices at or near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, especially those that had been carried out at the ancient Israelite Temple.4 Some of these scholars have even marginalized the rich olfactory aspects of early Muslims’ worship there as foreign to Islam, as in comments that “there is nothing remotely Islamic in”5 the scenting of the Dome, and that these practices were “abolished as the Islamization of the Ḥaram proceeded.”6 Rather than an aspect of veneration within an early Islamic sacred space, these scents have often been interpreted as an anomaly dependent upon the Dome’s location on the Temple Mount and the specifically Jewish and Christian resonances of the space and the rituals carried out there.

These olfactory rituals at the Dome of the Rock likely did, in fact, parallel Jewish and Christian usages of perfume and incense, as well as those communities’ beliefs regarding the connections between pleasant scent, divine presence, and sacred space.7 Yet such sensory practices were not as unusual among early Muslims as modern scholars have sometimes suggested or assumed, and were not restricted to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.8 Sweet scents figured prominently at several other important early Islamic sacred spaces, including the Kaʿba in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.9 Like those who visited the Dome, pilgrims to these other locations navigated heavily perfumed and incensed buildings and absorbed odiferous materials that they inadvertently (and sometimes purposefully) brought home with them. Rather than an anomaly dependent upon Jewish and Christian precedents in Jerusalem, the odors cultivated at the Dome of the Rock likely complemented those found throughout the emergent Islamic sacred landscape.

Though scholarship on early Islam has noted the role of pilgrimage to sites such as the Dome of the Rock for early Muslims’ religio-political affiliations and identities,10 little research has focused on pilgrims’ sensorial experiences of pilgrimage spaces or on the ways in which their embodied experiences may have reflected/affected their understandings of the nature and significance of the sacred spaces to which pilgrimage was made.11 In this essay, I argue that scent was an important aspect of Islamic pilgrimage spaces in the first/seventh and second/eighth centuries that was actively supported by early patrons and played a vital role in visitors’ experiences of these locations. Drawing upon literary and material evidence, I reconstruct several olfactory aspects of Islamic pilgrimage of this period, including the prominent usage of perfume and incense at pilgrimage destinations, as well as the collection of scented materials from these locations. Returning, then, to the question of the “meaning” of the Dome of the Rock for early Muslims, I suggest that the olfactory rituals carried out there and at other early pilgrimage shrines reflect: (1) the strong connections between sweet scents and paradise found in early Islamic traditions and (2) early Islamic conceptions of pilgrimage spaces as paradisiacal and eschatologically charged sites. A visit to the Dome of the Rock—like a visit to other early Islamic pilgrimage destinations—provided a whiff of the experience of heaven on earth and took part in the emergent Islamic syllabary of sacred space and its sensory perception.

1 The Politics of Perfume at Pilgrimage Sites

Early textual sources contain traces of information indicating that pleasant scent was cultivated at Muslims’ sacred spaces from the very inception of Islamic history.12 Ḥadīṯ texts place the scenting of mosques, for example, among the first Muslims: the Prophet Muḥammad authorizes his followers to (de)odorize their mosques with perfumes,13 and the caliph ʿUmar b. al-Ḫaṭṭāb (r. 13/634-23/644) prescribes that a censer be used to incense the mosque in Medina on Fridays and during the month of Ramaḍān.14 Such practices appear to have spread widely throughout the emergent Islamicate world: incense reportedly was burned in the mosque in Fusṭāṭ in the mid-first/seventh century;15 the Kūfan jurist Ibrāhīm al-Naḫaʿī (d. ca 96/714) “did not disapprove” when he saw that the mosque there was scented with ḫalūq (a saffron-based perfume paste);16 and two Baṣran scholars—Ṯābit b. Aslam al-Bunānī (d. ca 127/744) and Ḥumayd b. Mihrān al-Ṭawīl (d. 142/759)—“would perfume themselves on the twenty-third and twenty-fourth days of Ramaḍān and approved of perfuming the mosque with scented water (naḍūḥ).”17 The potent smell of some early mosques is apparent in the report that the jurist Makḥūl al-Dimašqī (d. 110s/730s) “held his nose […] to withdraw from the smell of the musk” produced by oil lamps burning within the monumental Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.18

While pleasant odors clearly left their impacts on early mosques, the locations that appear to have received the most sustained and expansive olfactory patronage in the first centuries after the Hiǧra were the sacred places to which early Muslims made pilgrimage. Above, we saw the extensive aromatization carried out at the Dome of the Rock: these activities were possible thanks to the generous resources provided by the building’s patron, the caliph ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwān (r. 65/685-86/705), which included rooms within the complex for the manufacture of special perfumes, and a number of attendants (funded from the ḫums tax) tasked with carrying out the elaborate ritual of aromatizing the area surrounding the Rock.19 At the Kaʿba in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Muslim caliphs and governors—as patrons of these communal sacred spaces—similarly ensured that incense filled the interiors, and perfume coated the walls, of these great pilgrimage centers. Provisioning scent for these spaces was a duty of the Islamic political authorities that signaled their simultaneous veneration and control of these sites.

Competing historical claims regarding the origins of the Kaʿba’s scents illustrate the religio-political connotations of providing scents for sacred spaces. While some sources indicate that scenting rituals were performed at the Kaʿba already in the pre-Islamic period,20 other traditions claim that the Kaʿba began to receive olfactory patronage only under the rule of the Umayyad caliph Muʿāwiya b. Abī Sufyān (r. 41/661-60/680), who was “the first to perfume the Kaʿba with ḫalūq and incense,”21 and reportedly apportioned for the building a daily ration of perfume and dispatched incense and perfume for it during the ḥaǧǧ season and during the sacred month of Raǧab.22 However, other reports attribute such innovations in scenting the Kaʿba to ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Zubayr, the “counter-caliph” who ruled the Ḥiǧāz in opposition to the Umayyads between 60/680 and 73/692.23 Ibn al-Zubayr’s challenge to Umayyad sovereignty rested in large part upon his control and patronage of the Kaʿba at Mecca: indeed, he called himself a “seeker of asylum at the House” (ʿāʾiḏ al-bayt) from Umayyad persecution.24 It is noteworthy, therefore, that—in direct opposition to these claims about Muʿāwiya—several traditions ascribe the institutionalization of the scenting of the building to Ibn al-Zubayr, saying that he was “the first to scent the building with perfume” (ṭīb, ġāliya, or ḫalūq in different texts),25 or that he was “the first to coat the interior (ǧawf) of the Kaʿba with ḫalūq.”26 Both the Umayyad and the Zubayrid houses thus asserted their roles in establishing the ritual aromatization of the House at Mecca, and thereby in institutionalizing a component of the building’s patronage in this early period.

Beyond claims to his being the “first” to do so, sources often more generally associate Ibn al-Zubayr’s veneration and patronage of the Kaʿba with his care for the building’s scents. He reportedly “would perfume the Kaʿba with a pound of incense every day, and two pounds on Fridays”27 and (perhaps hyperbolically) “he perfumed the Kaʿba such that whoever entered the Ḥaram encountered its scent,”28 suggesting that the odor permeated the whole of Mecca’s sacred territory. Such extensive perfuming activities likewise feature in many accounts of Ibn al-Zubayr’s (in)famous reconstruction of the Kaʿba: in addition to the fine building materials commissioned for this project, reports also comment upon the aromatizing of the entirety of the Kaʿba during and/or after its construction, such as “when Ibn al-Zubayr finished building the Kaʿba, he perfumed it with ḫalūq from inside and outside, from top to bottom” or “perfumed its interior with ambergris and musk and coated its exterior walls with musk.”29 Given Ibn al-Zubayr’s role in aggrandizing the Kaʿba, the prominent place of perfume and incense in his activities testifies to the significance of scent in early patronage of the building.

The symbolic power of the Kaʿba’s scent is also suggested by its close association with another of the House’s prized gifts, itself indicative of political authority and control: the building’s kiswa, or covering.30 Several reports link patronage of the Kaʿba’s kiswa with care for its perfumes. For example, during his reconstruction of the building, Ibn al-Zubayr placed under the care of the Kaʿba’s attendants its ornaments, clothes, and perfume.31 The connection between these objects is more firmly indicated by the fact that the competing claims to precedence in scenting the Kaʿba are often directly connected with the similarly differing identifications of the first ruler to provide the House with a kiswa made of fine silk brocade (dībāǧ): here too, the claims of precedence for Umayyad rulers (including Muʿāwiya and ʿAbd al-Malik) appear directly in tension with those of Ibn al-Zubayr.32 This relationship between scent and kiswa is emphasized in the hagiographic report that “ʿAbd Allāh [b. al-Zubayr] was the first to cover the Kaʿba with silk brocade, and he perfumed the Kaʿba such that whoever entered the Ḥaram encountered its scent.”33 After defeating Ibn al-Zubayr in 72/692 and (re)claiming the Ḥiǧāz for Umayyad control, ʿAbd al-Malik began his own program of patronage of the Kaʿba, sending perfume and incense alongside a silk kiswa for the building during each year of his rule.34 It thus appears that, like provisioning the Kaʿba’s covering, patronizing the building’s scent was a caliphal prerogative and “one ingredient in the battle for religious legitimacy between the Zubayrids and the Marwanids.”35

With their defeat of the Umayyads in 132/749, the Abbasid dynasty took over control and support of the Kaʿba, including the aromatization of the building.36 A noteworthy example of the latter activity occurred during the rule of the caliph al-Mahdī (r. 158/775-169/785) when he led the ḥaǧǧ in 160/777. Under al-Mahdī’s orders, the Kaʿba was “anointed from inside and outside with ġāliya, musk, and ambergris, coating the whole of its exterior on all sides from top to bottom,” and the building was then draped with several coverings (kusan), including one made of silk (ḫazz) and another of silk brocade.37 Another account—narrated by one of the Kaʿba’s attendants, the ḥaǧaba—explains the mechanics of this process:

We climbed atop the rear of the Kaʿba with bottles of ġāliya and poured them out upon the Kaʿba’s walls from every side. Servants of the Kaʿba had peeled up the Kaʿba’s coverings with pulleys sewn onto [the coverings], and they painted its walls with the ġāliya from top to bottom.38

Again the Kaʿba’s kiswa and perfume are paired, here in an elaborate ceremony patronized by an early Abbasid caliph. Indeed, one report notes that “al-Mahdī sat on the side of the mosque […] watching as [the Kaʿba] was painted with the ġāliya and draped with the kiswa.”39 Unlike the dueling Umayyad and Zubayrid claims to precedence in scenting the building, there is no indication here of Abbasid competition with other political regimes in their treatment of the Kaʿba. Nonetheless, this perfuming was clearly a significant act of patronage for the space, carried out in the very presence of the caliph who, in this same period, paid for an extensive expansion and beautification of the Sacred Mosque (al-Masǧid al-ḥarām) around the Kaʿba.40

Similar olfactory patronage also appeared at the Prophet’s Mosque at Medina. As in the case of the Kaʿba, different figures are identified as the first to perfume the Prophet’s Mosque: the Prophet Muḥammad himself reportedly applied perfume to the mosque space, while the caliph ʿUṯmān b. ʿAffān (r. 23/644-35/655) is credited as the “first to coat the mosque with ḫalūq.”41 Whatever the specific beginning of the practice, by the end of the first/seventh century, governors in Medina reportedly set aside resources from the public tithe for the “incensing of the Messenger of God’s Mosque on Fridays and coating it with perfume during the month of Ramaḍān,” much as the caliph ʿUmar had reportedly suggested should be done there.42

Over the course of the late first/seventh and second/eighth century, the mosque in Medina became an increasingly sanctified and visited space, with scent playing a part in this process. The Umayyads funded an extensive expansion and beautification of the building, a key component of which was the incorporation of the Prophet’s tomb into the Mosque complex.43 Several Umayyad caliphs in this period sent special aromatic gifts for the Prophet’s Mosque: ʿAbd al-Malik reportedly dispatched, in addition to his gifts for the Kaʿba, perfume and incense for the Prophet’s Mosque, where the kiswa was hung on the Mosque’s columns for one day before being moved to the Kaʿba.44 Similarly, when he led the ḥaǧǧ in 91/710, ʿAbd al-Malik’s son and caliphal successor al-Walīd (r. 86/705-96/715) personally delivered the Mosque’s perfume and censer alongside the kiswa, which was again hung in the Mosque for one day before being transferred to Mecca.45 As they transformed Medina into a “holy city” and the Prophet’s Mosque into a pilgrimage destination, these caliphs brought their patronage and authority to bear upon the Mosque, manifested in both the kiswa’s presence there, and their gifts of scent for the space during the ḥaǧǧ season.46

Patronage of scent at the Prophet’s Mosque reached even grander heights later in the second/eighth century under the Abbasids. Historical sources describe a visit to the Prophet’s Mosque during the ḥaǧǧ of 170/787 by the Abbasid queen al-Ḫayzurān, concubine of the caliph al-Mahdī (r. 158/775-169/785) and mother of the caliphs Mūsā l-Hādī (r. 169/785-170/786) and Hārūn al-Rašīd (r. 170/786-193/809). While there, al-Ḫayzurān commissioned for the mosque to be scented with ḫalūq and placed her servant Muʾnisa in charge of carrying out her orders.47 Muʾnisa was then approached by Ibrāhīm b. al-Faḍl b. ʿUbayd Allāh b. Sulaymān, the mawlā of Hišām b. Ismāʿīl al-Maḫzūmī, who had served as the governor of Medina from 82/701 until 87/706 under the Umayyad caliphs ʿAbd al-Malik and al-Walīd.48 Ibrāhīm asked Muʾnisa, “Do you [pl.] want to surpass those who come after you, by doing what those who came before you did not?” Asked what he meant, Ibrāhīm responded, “Cover the whole tomb in ḫalūq!” Muʾnisa followed Ibrāhīm’s advice, covering the whole of the Prophet’s tomb in ḫalūq, as well as two important columns at the front of the mosque: the “repentance column” and the column remembered as the Prophet’s place of prayer.49

This story exposes clearly the politics of perfume at early Islamic sacred spaces. Ibrāhīm—a servant of the Umayyad governor of Medina during that dynasty’s greatest patronage of the Prophet’s Mosque—advises a servant of the Abbasid regime to go even further in perfuming this location than its previous patrons had done.50 Much like the competition between the Umayyad and Zubayrid houses, we see here an explicit wish to compete with a rival dynasty in providing grand olfactory patronage to a pilgrimage place: an act that will “surpass those who come after you, by doing what those who came before you did not.” Like the extensive perfuming of the Dome of the Rock under ʿAbd al-Malik, the olfactory care for the Kaʿba and for the Prophet’s Mosque by the Zubayrid, Umayyad, and Abbasid regimes testifies to the significance of scent at these early sacred spaces. Indeed, the competition between these rulers regarding claims to precedence and magnanimity suggests that the provision of scent likely functioned as a symbol of patronage signaling both care for, and control of, these sites.

2 Smelling and Collecting Scents in Sacred Spaces

These reports suggest that the scents provided to early Islamic pilgrimage spaces were often lavish—particularly during holy days associated with pilgrimage—and thus were almost certainly a vital part of pilgrims’ experiences of these spaces.51 As in other late antique Near Eastern traditions, pilgrimage was constituted of a variety of multisensory phenomena: Christian and Jewish pilgrims looked upon and touched holy people, places, and things; listened to the prayers, chants, and songs accompanying such rituals; and smelled and tasted the incense, perfume, and oil emanating from these sacred spaces.52 The same was largely true of early Islamic pilgrimages, including those made to the great shrines of the Kaʿba, the Dome of the Rock, and the Prophet’s Mosque. All of these locations offered visitors multisensory experiences of the holy through a variety of rituals, among which those involving scent were a key component, providing avenues through which early Muslims directly participated in the sacredness of these holy spaces.

The importance of scent is reflected, for example, in early reports that encourage the scenting of Islamic pilgrimage spaces as acts of piety and charity.53 As we have seen, Islamic authorities took great care in the provision of scent at pilgrimage centers, and official attendants were charged with carrying out these rituals.54 In addition, lay pilgrims (or would-be pilgrims) may have also participated in such olfactory tasks. According to a statement attributed to the Prophet’s wife ʿĀʾiša, she commanded, “Perfume the Kaʿba! This is dearer to me than providing it with gold and silver.”55 Here, ʿĀʾiša indicates that the scenting of the Kaʿba is more important than its visual adornment. Similarly, when asked by a woman in Mecca whether or not she “should place a kiswa upon the Kaʿba,” ʿĀʾiša advises, “The rulers will suffice you for that, but rather purify it with perfume.”56 Here, a division of devotional labor is encouraged in which the “rulers” (al-umarāʾ) are tasked with providing the kiswa, while individual visitors—including women—are charged with perfuming the building.

Gifting light and scent for the sacred space at Jerusalem is praised in a widely-attested Prophetic ḥadīṯ. Equating the gift with pilgrimage itself, the Prophet Muḥammad states that those who are unable to travel to Jerusalem should send oil to light the lamps on the Temple Mount and “it will be as if you had prayed there.”57 While the Prophet’s words most explicitly address the visual beautification of Jerusalem’s sacred space through light, it is worth noting that the lamps provided not only light, but scent as well. This dual role is reflected in reports that, during the caliphate of ʿAbd al-Malik, the Temple Mount was lit with lamps burning oils of ben-tree and jasmine, which the building’s attendants would also use to perfume themselves.58

A vivid depiction of an aromatic gift made to a relatively minor pilgrimage site appears in a report about the grave shrine of the Companion Ṭalḥa b. ʿUbayd Allāh in Baṣra. Here, a woman visiting Ṭalḥa’s grave empties the entirety of a bottle of ben-tree oil upon the grave, pouring it out “until the soil of the grave reeked of musk.”59 This report—and others like it—suggest that gifts of scent offered Muslims a tangible means of venerating several pilgrimage destinations.

Even if these descriptions of the overwhelming odiferousness of these spaces might be (in some cases) pious exaggerations, the perfumes nonetheless left olfactory traces upon the pilgrims themselves. As noted above, the odor of the Dome of the Rock reportedly clung to its visitors after they left the site, such that “one who smells of its scent, they say of him, ‘This is one of those who have entered the Ṣaḫra.’” At the Kaʿba, the building’s perfume stained visitors’ clothes when they touched it, leading early jurists to ask whether contact with the perfume necessitated a ritual ablution.60 Some jurists were wary of the perfume and its scent, but others suggested that there was no need to wash off the Kaʿba’s perfume, with some even going so far as to say that the perfume was ṭahūr (“pure, purifying”) rather than ritually contaminating.61 Illustrative of a relatively permissive attitude—and of the perfume’s pervasiveness—are the words of the Mālikī jurist ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. al-Qāsim al-ʿUtaqī (d. 191/806): when asked if any expiation was required for those who “touch the ḫalūq of the Kaʿba,” al-ʿUtaqī replied, “I hope it is merely a trivial thing […] for whenever [people] enter the House, they can scarcely rid themselves of it [i.e. the perfume’s smell].”62 Some Šīʿī ḥadīṯ connect touching the Kaʿba’s perfume with discussion of “the ḫalūq of the [Prophet Muḥammad’s] tomb,” suggesting that it was just as difficult for a pilgrim to avoid the latter’s perfume as that of the Kaʿba.63 Scent therefore not only characterized the pilgrimage space itself, but also displayed one’s status as pilgrim by sensually marking one’s body and clothes.

Indeed, the role of scent at these locations extended further than passive inhalation or absorption, for pilgrims in some cases physically collected and/or imbibed these places’ smells as a sort of pilgrimage souvenir. Material evidence suggests that Muslims from the first/seventh century onwards collected scented contact relics from several pilgrimage sites. For example, late antique glass souvenir bottles from Jerusalem may have “served as containers for the ḫalūq that had been used to anoint the Ṣaḫra.”64 Bearing an image of ʿAbd al-Malik, these containers of perfume created an association between the sacred space of the Dome of the Rock, its scent, and the caliph’s politico-religious authority.65 These objects point to the place of scent in the Umayyad effort to patronize the Dome of the Rock as a sacred pilgrimage space.

While archaeological sources provide only hints of these practices, literary sources explicitly describe early Muslims collecting materials from pilgrimage spaces, with sweet scent often appearing as a key aspect of these materials’ importance. Visitors to the grave of the martyr ʿAbd Allāh b. Ġālib (d. 83/702) in Baṣra perfumed their clothes with the grave’s miraculously musk-scented soil,66 while Šīʿī pilgrims collected the odiferous soil of the Imam al-Ḥusayn’s tomb at Karbalāʾ.67 Texts often present the scents as autochthonous manifestations of these locations’ holiness. However, one finds a more terrestrial explanation for the odor of such sacred materials in a Šīʿī report in which the Imam Muḥammad al-Bāqir (d. 114/733) tells a follower:

Take some of the soil of Ḥusayn’s tomb, knead it with rain water, and mix it with honey and saffron. Divide it among the Šīʿa so that they might heal their sick with it.68

Here, honey and saffron add gustatory and olfactory dimensions to this pilgrimage relic, which Muḥammad al-Bāqir advices should be “divided among the Šīʿa,” forming a sort of sensorial community associated with the practice of consuming this relic of Ḥusayn’s tomb.

These kinds of relic practices did not win universal approval within early Muslim circles, as evidenced in the discussions in many early texts about using stones and soil from the Meccan Ḥaram (the sacred area surrounding the Kaʿba) as blessings and medicinal objects.69 In these discussions, some authorities include the perfumes of the sacred buildings within the class of substances that should not be removed from the Ḥaram. For example, the Kūfan scholar Saʿīd b. Ǧubayr (d. 95/714) reportedly “found it detestable that some of the perfume (ṭīb) of the Kaʿba be taken in order to seek healing with it. When he saw the attendant (ḫādim) taking some of it, he would strike her, not failing to cause pain.”70 The Šīʿī Imam Ǧaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (d. 148/765) similarly disapproved of these activities at the Ḥaram: when a man asks Ǧaʿfar, “My uncle swept the Kaʿba and took some of its soil, shall we heal with it?” Ǧaʿfar responds, “Return it there.” When another returned pilgrim says that he has taken some of the sukk that had coated the Maqām Ibrāhīm near the Kaʿba (alongside soil and pebbles from around the Kaʿba), Ǧaʿfar replies, “Don’t do that!”71 This latter report suggests that, like the Kaʿba, the Maqām Ibrāhīm also was coated in perfume, in this case the musk-based mixture called sukk.72 Like the soil surrounding these structures, their perfumes were understood as materials that should not be removed from the Ḥaram.

Other authorities, however, considered the Kaʿba’s perfume as a permissibly transportable pilgrimage souvenir. Indeed, some of those jurists who specifically rejected taking objects such as stones and soil from the Ḥaram apparently had no such qualms about the collection of the perfume. For example, while the Meccan jurist ʿAṭāʾ b. Abī Rabāḥ (d. 115/733) considered taking stones and soil from the Ḥaram detestable,73 he held that “there is no problem in taking away some of the perfume of the Kaʿba or its kiswa, with the permission of the attendants (ḥaǧaba).”74 Thus, while permitting the collection of these materials from the Kaʿba, ʿAṭāʾ stipulates that one must seek “the permission of the attendants (ḥaǧaba),” suggesting that the distribution of the Kaʿba’s perfume may have been among these officials’ duties and a (semi?) sanctioned aspect of the pilgrimage rituals.75 Indeed, in a variant version, ʿAṭāʾ commands: “Do not rub off perfume from the House unless it is given to you,” indicating that some such figure existed with the authority to distribute the material to pilgrims.76

A distinction between soil and perfume appears again a century later in opinions attributed to Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal (d. 241/855). In response to a question about taking soil from the Ḥaram, Ibn Ḥanbal answers, “No […] Do not remove anything from Mecca,” but concedes, “as for the perfume (al-ṭīb), it eases digestion (ashala), and there is no problem with the water of Zamzam.”77 Like ʿAṭāʾ, Ibn Ḥanbal suggests that taking perfume from the Kaʿba is acceptable and has medicinal value: he compares the perfume to water from Zamzam, a substance that was renowned for its healing abilities and commonly collected by pilgrims to Mecca.78 Indeed, Ibn Ḥanbal’s contemporary (and persecutor), the Abbasid caliph al-Wāṯiq (r. 227/842-232/847), reportedly received both Zamzam water and ḫalūq from the Kaʿba while on his deathbed.79

The statements attributed to ʿAṭāʾ and Ibn Ḥanbal suggest that the scent of the perfume—endowed with material sacrality through its haptic association with the Kaʿba—contained a healing power. The combined olfactory and haptic power of the Kaʿba’s perfume is seen in another statement from ʿAṭāʾ: “When one of us wants to seek healing with it, he will bring perfume and wipe the [Black] Stone with it, then take it.”80 A similar statement is attributed to Ibn Ḥanbal in later Ḥanbalī fiqh sources: “If one wants to seek healing through the Kaʿba’s perfume, do not take anything from [the Kaʿba], but rather spread perfume upon [the Kaʿba], then take it.”81 Rather than taking from the perfume that had already been used to anoint the Kaʿba, visitors are encouraged to create a new contact relic by touching perfume to the Kaʿba (or, in ʿAṭāʾ’s case, to the Black Stone more specifically), thereby endowing the scented material with power that allows individuals to “seek healing through it.” A mixture of scent and touch lies behind the healing power of the perfume: even if the scent itself does not originate from the Kaʿba, the perfume nevertheless contains a healing power as a result of its physical contact with the sacred building. Well situated within late antique and early medieval ideas about the medicinal powers of perfumes and odors—including scented contact relics such as soil and fluids collected from sacred locations—these reports attest to the general importance of scent in the experience of early Islamic sacred space.82

3 Perfume and Paradise at Early Islamic Pilgrimage Spaces

These sources suggest that scents occupied a prominent place within early Islamic pilgrimage. With all of this perfume and incense floating about, one might then ask: What was the significance of these scents for pilgrims to early Islamic sacred spaces? What meanings were conveyed to early Muslims by the presence of scents there? As noted at the beginning of this essay, the usages of perfume and incense by early Muslims have often been interpreted as largely synonymous with (if not directly dependent upon) the practices and beliefs of other Near Eastern religious communities. Along these lines, we might categorize the perfuming of the Dome of the Rock, the Kaʿba, and other early Islamic spaces as specific examples of general practices—known throughout the ancient (and modern) world—related to the provision of scents for areas associated with divinity or other sacred presences.83

However, in Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell, Constance Classen, David Howes, and Anthony Synnott write: “Sacred rites of smell are common to many people […]. These olfactory rites are similar on one level, yet each has a unique meaning within the context of the particular culture which practises it.”84 Even within late antiquity, the significance attached to the use of incense, for example, was not static, but varied across time and place among different Near Eastern communities. While early Christians rejected as idolatrous any connections between the burning of incense and sacrifices to (or communication with) God, “the idea of propitiatory incense re-emerged” and became pervasive in the cult of saints and elsewhere in the practices of different late antique Christian communities by the fourth and fifth centuries.85 In late antique Judaism, the lighting of incense might evoke sentiments of penitence and atonement connected with the Temple rituals described in biblical texts, but was also looked upon skeptically as a potentially idolatrous and/or magical practice, and the acceptability of burning incense in synagogues and during religious ceremonies was thus a point of debate among different Jewish communities.86 Thus, even if “practically everywhere odiferous substances are employed to communicate with the gods,”87 these materials convey different meanings to different audiences, due to the ways in which “olfactory communication is ‘coded’” through social and cultural expectations.88 In short, “there can be no such thing as a natural history of the senses, only a social history of human sense perception.”89

What social meaning and significance might early Muslims have perceived, then, from the perfume and incense that they encountered at pilgrimage destinations? I suggest that we might understand how early Muslims “read” these odors by considering the close connections between sacred space, paradise, and pleasant scent within early Islam. Early Islamic sources strongly correlate terrestrial sacred spaces with heavenly paradise, often going so far as to say that these locations “are paradise, or rather, ‘one of its gardens.’”90 As art historians have noted, the decorative motifs at several of these spaces suggest conscious efforts to evoke multisensory experiences of heaven on earth. Given the strongly olfactory descriptions of paradise that characterize early Islamic traditions, the perfumes that covered and filled many sacred spaces likely evoked a sensorial connection with paradise and thus a sense of experiencing paradise itself at the pilgrimage site.

Several scholars have taken note of connections in early Islamic texts between sacred spaces—especially pilgrimage sites—and paradise. Brannon Wheeler has drawn attention to the mythological connections between the ḥaǧǧ and the story of Adam’s fall from paradise, arguing that the establishment of the sanctuary in Mecca and the institution of the pilgrimage rites there served as “an earthly substitute for the garden of Eden.”91 Stephen R. Burge has focused on “the role of angels in the articulation of sacred space in Islam,” examining stories in which “the rites associated with the pilgrimage and the Kaʿba are those performed in heaven by the angels.”92 Ofer Livne-Kafri and others have collected reports that associate Jerusalem (and especially the Ṣaḫra) with paradise and with early Islamic eschatological expectations.93 Heribert Busse has pointed to traditions sacralizing the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, where the space near the Prophet’s tomb is said to be “one of the gardens of paradise” and the Prophet’s minbar is said to stand atop the Pool (ḥawḍ) of paradise.94 Analyzing traditions associated with all of these locations, Christian Lange has argued that early texts describe the proximity of paradise at these sacred spaces not as “referential,” symbolic, or “gesturing towards an otherworld that is absent,” but rather as “truly and fully here on earth” and “indicat[ing] presence, not likeness.”95 Placed together, these texts suggest that many early Muslims understood and experienced the sacredness of pilgrimage spaces as (symbolically or literally) related to paradise.

Paradisiacal themes have also been noticed by scholars of early Islamic art and architecture, who argue that the iconographic programs at some of these sites seem to have been designed with precisely such ideas in mind. According to Priscilla Soucek, Myriam Rosen-Ayalon, and others, the wall mosaics within the Dome of the Rock—filled with depictions of plants, trees, and precious stones—strongly mirror Near Eastern imagery of Paradise, including that found within the Qurʾān.96 The Prophet’s Mosque at Medina offered similar visual experiences explicitly connected with paradise, as we learn from an early report about the reconstruction of the mosque during the reign of the Umayyad caliph al-Walīd b. ʿAbd al-Malik: “One of the craftsmen who worked on the mosaics said, ‘We made them according to the images of the trees and palaces of Paradise that we found.’”97 This caliph also decorated the Sacred Mosque in Mecca with mosaics, which Barbara Finster suggests “probably represented ‘scenes of Paradise’ as in the Prophet’s mosque in Medina.”98 Although less directly apparent than this mosaic imagery, representations of heaven were also visible in the architecture of the Kaʿba, which early traditions characterize as a terrestrial version of the heavenly “Frequented House” (al-Bayt al-maʿmūr) constructed “on the pattern of God’s throne” (wizānat ʿarš Allāh),99 and in that of the Dome of the Rock, several design features of which have been understood to “symbolize paradise.”100 The decorative and architectural designs of these buildings thus offered visual manifestations of, or references to, paradise, enabling a direct experience of the divine at an earthly site.

Heaven was available not only to the eye at these locations, but also to touch. Drawing upon Rosen-Ayalon’s analysis of the Dome of the Rock’s marble paneling “evoking the image of rippling water,”101 Alain George has argued:

The marble paneling below the mosaics, with its wave patterns, might have evoked water sliding down from this fantastical garden […] a visual impression reinforced by their coolness to the touch […]. In this reading, the monument offers an almost tactile glimpse of paradise on earth.102

A similar haptic connection with paradise was available to the Kaʿba’s visitors when they touched the Black Stone, which early traditions describe as a jewel from Heaven and the right hand of God upon earth.103 Though later than the period under discussion here, the account of the Spanish pilgrim Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Ǧubayr (d. 614/1217) provides an idea of what experiencing the Stone was perhaps like for its visitors when he writes that: “The Stone, when kissed, has a softness and moistness which so enchants the mouth that he who puts his lips to it would wish them never to be removed.”104 Such haptic encounters enabled a physical experience of heaven’s touch, facilitating a visceral understanding of these locations as paradisiacal.

If paradise was seen and felt at these locations, scent offered another important axis through which this otherworld was made sensorially present for early Muslim pilgrims. A variety of texts manifest a strong correlation within the early Islamic imaginary between pleasant scents and paradise. As Anya King writes, while “the association of good fragrance with paradise has a long history” within the religious traditions of the Near East, Islamic literature displays a pronounced emphasis on this olfactory aspect of the afterlife that is “greatly expanded and elaborated by numerous references to specific aromatics,” particularly musk, ambergris, camphor, and saffron.105 The Qurʾān mentions that paradise’s blessed inhabitants drink pure water mixed with camphor (Kor 76, 5) and ginger (Kor 76, 17), as well as wine sealed with musk (Kor 83, 25-26).106 Early ḥadīṯ texts embellish this olfactory image in descriptions of the heavenly scents of paradise and its residents: the soil of paradise is composed of saffron and musk, upon which the residents of the Garden lounge; the transformed heavenly bodies of these blessed individuals are said to exude a musk-like scent instead of the sweat or spit that they had produced in life; and the bodies of their paradisiacal companions, the ḥūrīs, are composed from musk, camphor, and saffron.107 Smell is so implicated in the idea of paradise that many traditions frame the experience of the afterlife in terms of its scent: it is predicted that damned individuals “will not smell the scent of the Garden,” while a soon-to-be martyr exclaims on the verge of his victorious death, “The Garden! By God I smell it!”108

The presence of these scented products on earth is itself traced directly to paradisiacal origins in traditions describing Adam’s descent from heaven. After Adam’s landing in India with the “smell of paradise” still upon him, this smell then “hung upon India’s trees and valleys and filled the space with perfume.”109 The rich scents of musk, ambergris, saffron, camphor, and aloeswood—all imported from around the Indian subcontinent—are thus “produced from the smell of paradise” or, alternatively, “the smell of Adam.”110 Paradise’s scent reportedly even remained upon the Kaʿba itself after Adam’s original construction of the building in Mecca, until the rains of the Flood washed the “smell of Adam” from it.111

Given this highly articulated connection between perfume and paradise within early Islamic traditions, the sweet scents that covered and filled sacred spaces like the Dome of the Rock and the Kaʿba could readily evoke a sense of being within paradise, or at least in its direct proximity. Notably, the substances used to perfume these locations are exactly those that are said to characterize the smell of paradise in the texts mentioned above. As King writes, “use of aromatics associated with the Garden reinforced the link between this world and the next for the believer.”112 By scenting these locations, early Muslims endowed these spaces with a sympathetic olfactory connection to paradise, in which “the supernatural aspects or ‘holiness’ of the place are not separated from the material or ‘natural’ aspects.”113

Several traditions suggest that heavenly odors at these sites offered “go-betweens […] between the otherworld and this world,” providing some of the direct material presence of paradise on earth at these sacred spaces.114 A tradition related about the Umayyad governor of the Ḥiǧāz (and later caliph) ʿUmar b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz (r. 99/717-101/720) states that while he was standing within the Ḥiǧr in Mecca, he said:

Ismāʿīl complained to God of the heat of Mecca. God revealed to him, “I will open a gate of paradise in the Ḥiǧr. A breeze will blow on you from it until the Day of Judgement.”115

Here God is said to have created a “gate of paradise” that allowed its pleasantly-scented breeze (rawḥ) to blow directly into the Ḥiǧr, the enclosed area next to the Kaʿba where the prophet Ismāʿīl is said to be buried. Similarly, it is reported that at Jerusalem:

From an open gate in the sky—one of the gates of Paradise—blessings and mercy descend upon Jerusalem […] the dew that descends upon Jerusalem is a cure for every illness, as it comes from the blessings of Paradise.116

Another heavenly gate here allows “blessings and mercy” to fall upon Jerusalem, perhaps taking the form of the dew that is said to offer “a cure for every illness.” This open connection between paradisiacal and earthly space is explicitly connected to scent in a Šīʿī report in which the Imam ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn (d. 94/712 or 95/713) states that “each night an angel descends with three small pieces of the musk of the Garden, which he casts into the Euphrates,” suggesting that the river’s holiness for the Šīʿa is connected with literal pieces of heaven’s sweet scent dissolved within it.117 The city of Medina, which before the Islamic Hiǧra had exhibited a foul smell, began to display a “sweet scent of its soil” and a “fragrance of its air” after the Prophet Muḥammad transformed it into a sacred space (ḥaram): this scent was a divine sign (āya) from God, so pleasant that “there is nothing that surpasses it but the scent of paradise (rīḥ al-ǧanna).”118 At locations that contained pieces of paradise itself—such as the Black Stone and the Ṣaḫra—scent offered another material manifestation of paradise in pilgrims’ midst.

The scent of the pilgrims themselves may have also been related to the experience of paradise offered at these locations. In his examination of connections between the Meccan ḥaǧǧ and the garden of Eden, Wheeler argues that the “the prohibitions […] pertaining to the sanctuary at Mecca and the conduct of pilgrims correspond directly to conditions in the garden of Eden” and, more specifically, that the prohibition against wearing scent during the ḥaǧǧ rituals “may be linked with the notion that all perfume originated from the plants of the garden of Eden and as such did not exist before the fall.”119 In fact, although this prohibition was adopted by the classical Islamic legal schools, wearing scent during ḥaǧǧ was a debated practice in the first centuries, with many early jurists permitting it during at least certain parts of the ritual.120 In one report, the Umayyad caliph Sulaymān b. ʿAbd al-Malik (r. 96/715-99/717), while on ḥaǧǧ, calls together a group of scholars to ask them about the acceptability of perfuming oneself before making the circumambulation of the Kaʿba called ṭawāf al-ifāḍa: they unanimously approve of it, with the exception of the caliph ʿUmar’s grandson, ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAbd Allāh.121 In a similar report, the caliph al-Walīd b. ʿAbd al-Malik asks the same question of two individuals: here, Ḫāriǧa b. Zayd b. Ṯābit allows the use of perfume, but another grandson of ʿUmar’s—Sālim b. ʿAbd Allāh—forbids it.122 Several Umayyad-era jurists reportedly disliked any use of scent while in iḥrām: for example, Saʿīd b. Ǧubayr “found it detestable to anoint oneself with oil containing musk or aromatics while entering iḥrām,” and Ibrāhīm al-Naḫaʿī, “if he saw a man who was perfumed during iḥrām, would order him to wash his head with dirt.”123 Such ascetic attitudes appear to have been part of a “pious reaction against the practice, current in Umaiyad [sic] times,” of wearing aromatics during the ḥaǧǧ.124

Among those who reportedly approved of wearing aromatics while in iḥrām are several Umayyads and Zubayrids, who, as we noted above, were instrumental in the institutionalization of the Kaʿba’s perfuming. In addition to his appearance as one of the scholars who responded approvingly to Sulaymān b. ʿAbd al-Malik’s query about perfume, the Umayyad ʿUmar b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz reportedly was himself anointed with salīḫa (cassia bark) during iḥrām.125 Among the Zubayrids, Ibn al-Zubayr was anointed with fine ġāliya during his iḥrām, while his brother ʿUrwa b. al-Zubayr fumigated his clothes with incense and perfumed himself with ḏarīra (a scented powder made with ingredients like musk and ambergris) and ben-tree oil.126 Thus, rather than depriving themselves of aromatics, some pilgrims—including figures from the dynasties in the middle of the political struggles over the scents at the Kaʿba and other sacred spaces—wore fine perfumes, made of materials understood to characterize the scents of paradise.

If these reports are an indication of patterns of behavior among early Muslims, we have further illustration of the place of aromatic scents at pilgrimage sites and in the recreation of paradise on earth at these locations. Not only were the pilgrimage spaces aromatized, but pilgrims themselves wore expensive perfumes. The redolent perfumes and incenses encountered at these spaces were almost certainly resonant with early Muslims’ expectations of paradise, as described in the Qurʾān and other early Islamic sources. In his discussion of “the sensuousness and embodiment of sacred space,” Julian Holloway notes that “the sanctity of space is corporeally enacted and physically sensed as sacred.”127 Traversing perfumed spaces and surrounded by scented companions, visitors to these locations experienced “a ritual (pre-)enactment of the state of believers in the hereafter”128 where they could enjoy something of the luxuries of paradise by “overwhelming the olfactory and visual senses.”129 More than simply traveling to a sacred space, pilgrims would take in the divine presence of these locations through their bodies, including through their noses.

4 Conclusion: Scents and the Sense of Pilgrimage Space

The sources studied here demonstrate that scent was an important component of early Islamic pilgrimage practices. Under the care of early caliphs and other officials, the Kaʿba, the Dome of the Rock, and other sites were filled and covered with incense and perfumes, as early authorities competed for the most elaborate olfactory patronage of these sacred sites. Early Muslims cherished not only the visual splendor of these spaces, but also the smell of them. Penetrating the pilgrimage sites themselves, these scents also followed pilgrims homeward, clinging to their clothes, and were carried away for usage in healing and blessing. Perhaps because of its ethereal and immaterial nature, scent was a piece of the sacred space that even some relatively restrictive early Islamic voices, such as Ibn Ḥanbal, thought could be acceptably transported away from sacred territory itself.

These smells likely contributed to the sense of community forged at (and through) these pilgrimage spaces. Historians of the senses suggest that scent plays a particularly strong role within the creation of shared experience during communal rites such as pilgrimage, the latter itself closely connected with the formation of communal identity.130 After the return home, scent enabled the connections, memories, and identities formed on pilgrimage to continue: the “memory of communion” could be “(re-)experienced through material culture,”131 such as the pilgrimage souvenirs that were often “intimately associated with the experience the pilgrims had received in the holy place.”132 Indeed, discussing the relative fame of different late antique Christian saints’ cults throughout the Mediterranean world, Béatrice Caseau notes, “The scale and success of a cult depends in part on the existence of objects to be brought home.”133 In this period when the sacred geography of Islam was still crystallizing, the aromas experienced and collected at sites such as the Dome of the Rock, the Kaʿba, and elsewhere perhaps functioned as a version of such “objects” that allowed the memories, fame, and sacrality of pilgrimage locations to reproduce and spread. Scented materials may have been particularly well-suited to this task, given the strong physiological associations between the sense of smell and memories of past experiences.134

Scent could be called upon to identify pilgrims’ identities to others: smelling, as one might, like “one of those who have entered the Ṣaḫra.” Additionally, scent likely also assisted believers in conceptualizing their own experiences as pilgrims to Islamic sacred spaces. In an essay highlighting the importance of sensory experience to the “construction of meanings and narratives” of pilgrimage, Heather Hunter-Crawley writes:

How individuals move around a site, how they interact with each other and with their immediate environment, the sounds, sights, smells, and other sensations which they experience, all of these elements combine to constitute the memory and the meaning of a pilgrimage at the level of both individual and community.135

Writing about the experiences of pilgrims to the shrines of Saint Menas and Saint Symeon the Elder in late antique Egypt and Syria, Hunter-Crawley argues that the sensorial rituals carried out at these sites “materialized and reinforced the meanings of the individual cults,” which in these two cases meant “the experience and meaning of these pilgrimages as a form of behavioural, sacred mimesis.”136 The smells of fragrant oil and incense (re)produced pilgrims’ experiences of these spaces and guided the meanings that they extracted from them.

To return to the beginning—the Dome of the Rock and its meaning for early Muslims—the sights, touches, and smells encountered there and at other early Islamic pilgrimage shrines likely evoked conceptions of paradise for early visitors. The Dome of the Rock’s location on the Temple Mount, and the eschatological expectations connected with that space, undoubtedly factored into how the perfume and incense there were consumed and interpreted.137 However, rather than a uniquely Jewish or Christian practice connected exclusively with this specific space, such olfactory rituals were used by early Muslim worshippers at many early pilgrimage destinations. Paradisiacal and eschatological expectations and experiences characterized these early Islamic sacred spaces, with scent holding a prominent position at each of them. Due to the strongly olfactory conceptions of paradise present within early Islam, the walls covered in perfume and clouded with incense likely contributed to this sense of being within reach (or at least smell) of the hereafter. At these locations where the divine was believed to penetrate into the profane, smell offered an invisible but tangible manifestation of the sacredness of the location and an odorous glimpse of the future.


The research for this article was partially funded and carried out as part of the ERC Consolidator Grant project “The Senses of Islam: A Cultural History of Perception in the Muslim World” (project no 724951). Versions were presented to audiences at the 2017 American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting in Boston, the Silsila: Center for Material Histories at New York University, and the 2019 Indiana University Medieval Studies Symposium. I am especially grateful to Eyad Abuali, Arash Ghajarjazi, Kim Haines-Eitzen, Christian Lange, David Powers, and the anonymous reviewers for reading and commenting upon previous drafts, and Yael Wender for her generous last-minute help. All errors are my own.


The bibliography on this topic is huge. For a recent contribution with a useful overview of previous scholarship, see Milka Levy-Rubin, “Why Was the Dome of the Rock Built? A New Perspective on a Long-Discussed Question,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 80/3 (2017), p. 441-464.


On the dating of these traditions, see Meir Jacob Kister, “A Comment on the Antiquity of Traditions Praising Jerusalem,” The Jerusalem Cathedra, 1 (1981), p. 185-186; Amikam Elad, Medieval Jerusalem and Islamic Worship: Holy Places, Ceremonies, Pilgrimage, Leiden-New York-Köln, E.J. Brill (“Islamic History and Civilization,” 8), 1995, p. 17-22; id., “Why Did ʿAbd al-Malik Build the Dome of the Rock? A Re-Examination of the Muslim Sources,” in Bayt al-Maqdis: ʿAbd al-Malik’s Jerusalem, eds Julian Raby and Jeremy Johns, Oxford-New York, Oxford University Press (“Oxford Studies in Islamic Art,” 9), 1992, p. 39-40, 47-48; Suleiman Ali Mourad, “The Symbolism of Jerusalem in Early Islam,” in Jerusalem: Idea and Reality, eds Tamar Mayer and Suleiman Ali Mourad, London-New York, Routledge (“Middle East Studies/Middle East Society”), 2008, p. 90; Alain George, “Paradise or Empire? On a Paradox of Umayyad Art,” in Power, Patronage, and Memory in Early Islam: Perspectives on Umayyad Elites, eds Alain George and Andrew Marsham, New York, Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 46.


Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Wāsiṭī, Faḍāʾil al-bayt al-muqaddas, ed. Isaac Hasson, Jerusalem, Magness Press (“Max Schloessinger Memorial Series,” 3), 1979, p. 82-83 (no 136); Abū l-Maʿālī l-Mušarraf b. al-Muraǧǧā b. Ibrāhīm al-Maqdisī, Faḍāʾil bayt al-maqdis wa-l-ḫalīl wa-faḍāʾil al-Šām, ed. Ofer Livne-Kafri, Šafā ʿAmr, Dār al-mašriq, 1995, p. 59-60 (no 47); Sibṭ b. al-Ǧawzī, Mirʾāt al-zamān, ed. and transl. in Elad, “Why Did ʿAbd al-Malik,” p. 36, 55; Šihāb al-Dīn Abū Maḥmūd b. Tamīm al-Maqdisī, Muṯīr al-ġarām ilā ziyārat al-Quds wa-l-Šām, ed. Aḥmad al-Ḫuṭaymī, Beirut, Dār al-ǧīl, 1994, p. 173; Muǧīr al-Dīn al-Ḥanbalī l-ʿUlaymī, al-Uns al-ǧalīl bi-taʾrīḫ al-Quds wa-l-ḫalīl, ed. ʿAdnān Yūnus ʿAbd al-Maǧīd Abū Tabbāna, Amman, Maktabat Dandīs, 1999, I, p. 403-404; Šams al-Dīn al-Suyūṭī, Itḥāf al-aḫiṣṣā bi-faḍāʾil al-masǧid al-aqṣā, ed. Aḥmad Ramaḍān Aḥmad, Cairo, al-Hayʾa l-miṣriyya l-ʿāmma li-l-kitāb, 1982-1984, I, p. 242-243.


Moshe Sharon, “The ‘Praises of Jerusalem’ as a Source for the Early History of Jerusalem,” Bibliotheca Orientalis, 49/1-2 (1992), p. 58-63; Heribert Busse, “The Temple of Jerusalem and Its Restitution by ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwān,” in The Real and Ideal Jerusalem in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Art: Studies in Honor of Bezalel Narkiss on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday, ed. Bianca Kühnel, Jerusalem, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1998, p. 23-33; Pamela Berger, The Crescent on the Temple: the Dome of the Rock as Image of the Ancient Jewish Sanctuary, Leiden, Brill (“Studies in Religion and the Arts,” 5), 2012, p. 48-50; Stephen J. Shoemaker, The Death of a Prophet: The End of Muhammad’s Life and the Beginnings of Islam, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press (“Divinations”), 2011, p. 234-236. A similar emphasis on “pre-Islamic antecedents” has historically characterized the study of ḥaǧǧ rituals: Marion Katz, “The Ḥajj and the Study of Islamic Ritual,” Studia Islamica, 98-99 (2004), p. 95.


Sharon, “The ‘Praises of Jerusalem,’” p. 64-65. Similar comments appear in: id., “Shape of the Holy,” Studia Orientalia Electronica, 107 (2009), p. 283-310.


Busse, “The Temple of Jerusalem,” p. 33.


Nina Ergin, “The Fragrance of the Divine: Ottoman Incense Burners and Their Context,” Art Bulletin, 96/1 (2014), p. 70-97; Anya H. King, Scent from the Garden: Musk and the Medieval Islamic World, Leiden-Boston, Brill (“Islamic History and Civilization,” 140), 2017, p. 340.


Incense practices are assumed to be absent from early Islam in: S. Brent Plate, A History of Religion in 5 ½ Objects: Bringing the Spiritual to Its Senses, Boston, Beacon Press, 2015, p. 79; Lawrence Nees, Perspectives on Early Islamic Art in Jerusalem, Leiden-Boston, Brill (“Arts and Archaeology of the Islamic World,” 5), 2016, p. 140. The significance of scents within medieval Islamic sacred spaces is largely minimized in: Julie Bonnéric, “Réflexions sur l’usage des produits odoriférants dans les mosquées au Proche-Orient (Ier/VIIe-VIe/XIIe s.),” Bulletin d’Études Orientales, 64 (2016) [Histoire et anthropologie des odeurs en terre d’Islam à l’époque médiévale, ed. Julie Bonnéric], p. 293-320; Jean-Charles Ducène, “Des parfums et des fumées : les parfums à brûler en Islam medieval,” Bulletin d’Études Orientales, 64 (2016), p. 159-178. However, Bonnéric notes that, compared to later centuries, there is “un recours plus fréquent aux substances odorantes à la période umayyade” and that “les mentions de produits odoriférants concernent principalement la période de califes rāšidūn et la période umayyade”: Bonnéric, “Réflexions sur l’usage,” p. 299, 308.


As has been noted previously by: Julian Raby, “In Vitro Veritas: Glass Pilgrim Vessels from 7th-Century Jerusalem,” in Bayt al-Maqdis: Jerusalem and Early Islam, ed. Jeremy Johns, Oxford-New York, Oxford University Press (“Oxford Studies in Islamic Art,” 9/2), 1999, p. 177; Gülru Necıpoğlu, “The Dome of the Rock as Palimpsest: ʿAbd al-Malik’s Grand Narrative and Sultan Süleyman’s Glosses,” Muqarnas, 25 (2008), p. 40-41.


Gerald R. Hawting, “The Ḥajj in the Second Civil War,” in Golden Roads: Migration, Pilgrimage and Travel in Mediaeval and Modern Islam, ed. Ian Richard Netton, Richmond, Curzon Press, 1993, p. 31-42; Andrew Marsham, Rituals of Islamic Monarchy: Accession and Succession in the First Muslim Empire, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2009, p. 91, 124-125, 189, 279; Chase F. Robinson, ʿAbd al-Malik, Oxford, OneWorld (“Makers of the Muslim World”), 2005, p. 95-100; M.E. McMillan, The Meaning of Mecca: The Politics of Pilgrimage in Early Islam, London, Saqi, 2011; Harry Munt, The Holy City of Medina: Sacred Space in Early Islamic Arabia, New York, Cambridge University Press (“Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization”), 2014, p. 141-147, 186-190; Najam Haider, The Origins of the Shīʿa: Identity, Ritual, and Sacred Space in Eighth-Century Kūfa, New York, Cambridge University Press (“Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization”), 2011, p. 243-247.


For interesting work on sensorial aspects of premodern Islamic pilgrimage practices, see: Avinoam Shalem, “The Four Faces of the Kaʿba in Mecca,” in Synergies in Visual Culture—Bildkulturen im Dialog: Festschrift für Gerhard Wolf, eds Annette Hoffmann, Manuela de Giorgi, and Nicola Suthor, Munich, Wilhelm Fink, 2013, p. 139-153; Béatrice Caseau, “The Senses in Religion: Liturgy, Devotion, and Deprivation,” in A Cultural History of the Senses in the Middle Ages, ed. Richard G. Newhauser, London, Bloomsbury, 2014, p. 89-110.


On scent in early Islam generally and at sacred spaces specifically, see: Mary Thurlkill, Sacred Scents in Early Christianity and Islam, Lanham-Boulder-New York-London, Lexington Books (“Studies in Body and Religion”), 2016; Ergin, “The Fragrance of the Divine,” p. 72-73.


Abū Bakr b. Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf li-Bn Abī Šayba, ed. Abū Muḥammad Usāma b. Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad, Cairo, al-Fārūq al-ḥadīṯa, 2008, III, p. 310 (nos 7520, 7521, 7523); ʿAbd al-Razzāq b. Hammām al-Ṣanʿānī, al-Muṣannaf, ed. Ḥabīb al-Raḥmān al-Aʿẓamī, Beirut, al-Maktab al-islāmī (“Manšūrāt al-maǧlis al-ʿilmī,” 39/1), 1983, I, p. 430-433 (nos 1682-1685, 1690); Abū Yaʿlā l-Mawṣilī, Musnad Abī Yaʿlā l-Mawṣilī, ed. Ḥusayn Salīm Asad, Damascus, Dār al-maʾmūn li-l-turāṯ, 1984-1990, VIII, p. 152 (no 4698); ʿUmar b. Šabba, Taʾrīḫ al-Madīna al-munawwara, ed. Fahīm Muḥammad Šaltūt, Beirut, Dār al-turāṯ, 1990, I, p. 18-28; ʿAlī b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Samhūdī, Wafāʾ al-wafā bi-aḫbār Dār al-Muṣṭafā, ed. Qāsim al-Sāmarrāʾī, London, Muʾassasat al-furqān li-l-turāṯ al-islāmī, 2001, II, p. 446-450; III, p. 214; Raby, “In Vitro Veritas,” p. 168, 177; Essam S. Ayyad, “The ‘House of the Prophet’ or the ‘Mosque of the Prophet’?”, Journal of Islamic Studies, 24/3 (2013), p. 291-292; Bonnéric, “Réflexions sur l’usage,” p. 299-303.


Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, III, p. 310 (no 7524); Abū Yaʿlā, Musnad, I, p. 170 (no 190); Ibn Rusta, Kitāb al-Aʿlāq al-nafīsa, ed. Michael Johan de Goeje, Leiden, Brill, 1892, p. 66; al-Samhūdī, Wafāʾ al-wafā, II, p. 450; Ibn al-Naǧǧār, al-Durra l-ṯamīna fī taʾrīḫ al-Madīna, ed. Muḥammad Zaynahum Muḥammad ʿAzab, Cairo, Maktabat al-ṯaqāfa l-dīniyya (“Turāṯ al-ǧazīra l-ʿarabiyya”), 1995, p. 161-162.


Ibn ʿAbd al-Ḥakam, Kitāb Futūḥ Miṣr wa-aḫbāruhā, ed. Charles C. Torrey, New Haven, Yale University Press (“Yale Oriental Series. Researches,” 3), 1922, p. 92.


Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, III, p. 310 (no 7525). On ḫalūq, see: Raby, “In Vitro Veritas,” p. 172-177; King, Scent from the Garden, p. 281; Bonnéric, “Réflexions sur l’usage,” p. 299-300.


Ibn Abī l-Dunyā, Faḍāʾil ramaḍān, ed. ʿAbd Allāh b. Ḥamad al-Manṣūr, Riyadh, Dār al-salaf, 1995, p. 55 (no 27).


Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq, ed. Muḥibb al-Dīn Abū Saʿīd ʿUmar b. Ġarāma l-ʿAmrawī, Beirut, Dār al-fikr, 1995-2001, II, p. 278.


On these attendants and their role at the Dome, including the preparation of perfume, see: Elad, Medieval Jerusalem, p. 51-56; Raby, “In Vitro Veritas,” p. 167-173; Andreas Kaplony, The Ḥaram of Jerusalem 324-1099: Temple, Friday Mosque, Area of Spiritual Power, Stuttgart, Franz Steiner (“Freiburger Islamstudien,” 22), 2002, p. 228, 324-326.


Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Aḥmad al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka wa-mā ǧāʾa fīhā min al-āṯār, ed. ʿAbd al-Malik b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Duhayš, Mecca, Maktabat al-Asadī, 2003, p. 242, 354 (nos 177, 280); ʿAbd al-Malik b. Hišām, Kitāb Sīrat rasūl Allāh, ed. Ferdinand Wüstenfeld, Göttingen, Dieterichsche Universitäts-Buchhandlung, 1858-1860, I, p. 85; ʿAbd al-Razzāq, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 86-87, 100 (nos 9081, 9104); Abū Bakr Aḥmad b. al-Ḥusayn al-Bayhaqī, Dalāʾil al-nubuwwa wa-maʿrifat aḥwāl ṣāḥib al-šarīʿa, ed. ʿAbd al-Muʿṭī Amīn Qalʿaǧī, Beirut, Dār al-kutub al-ʿilmiyya, 1988, II, p. 57; Robert Bertram Serjeant, South Arabian Hunt, London, Luzac, 1976, p. 61-62; Patricia Crone, Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1987, p. 52, 75; Muḥammad Abū l-Faḍl Ibrāhīm (ed.), Dīwān al-Nābiġa l-Ḏubyānī, Cairo, Dār al-maʿārif (“Ḏaḫāʾir al-ʿarab,” 52), 19903, p. 25; Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych, The Poetics of Islamic Legitimacy: Myth, Gender, and Ceremony in the Classical Arabic Ode, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2002, p. 23, 39. Some descriptions of Abraha’s church, built in Yemen as a pilgrimage destination to rival the Kaʿba, mention the burning of aloeswood and the spreading of musk within it: Muḥammad b. Saʿd, Kitāb al-Ṭabaqāt al-kabīr, ed. Eduard Sachau et al., Leiden, Brill, 1905-1940, I/I, p. 55; Abū Ǧaʿfar Muḥammad b. Ǧarīr al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīḫ al-rusul wa-l-mulūk: Annales quos scripsit Abu Djafar Mohammed ibn Djarir at-Tabari, ed. Michael Johan de Goeje et al., Leiden, Brill, 1879-1901, I, p. 943.


Al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 358 (no 291); Ibn al-Faqīh al-Hamaḏānī, Kitāb al-Buldān, ed. Yūsuf al-Hādī, Beirut, ʿĀlam al-kutub, 1996, p. 77; Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī, Muʿǧam al-buldān, Beirut, Dār Ṣādir, n.d., IV, p. 467; Bonnéric, “Réflexions sur l’usage,” p. 303-304.


Al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 357 (no 288).


Robinson, ʿAbd al-Malik, p. 31-48.


Wilferd Madelung, “ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Zubayr and the Mahdi,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 40/4 (1981), p. 291-305; id., “ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Zubayr the mulḥid,” in Actas XVI Congreso UEAI, eds Concepción Vázquez de Benito and Miguel Ángel Manzano Rodríguez, Salamanca, Consejo superior de investigaciones científicas, 1995, p. 301-308; Mehdy Shaddel, “ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Zubayr and the Mahdī: Between Propaganda and Historical Memory in the Second Civil War,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 80/1 (2017), p. 1-19.


Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. Isḥāq b. al-ʿAbbās al-Fākihī, Aḫbār Makka fī qadīm al-dahr wa-ḥadīṯihi, ed. ʿAbd al-Malik b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Duhayš, Beirut, Dār Ḫiḍr, 19942, III, p. 221 (nos 2008-2009); Ibn Wāḍiḥ al-Yaʿqūbī, Taʾrīḫ, ed. Martijn T. Houtsma, Leiden, Brill, 1883, II, p. 311; Yāqūt, Muʿǧam al-buldān, IV, p. 467; Abū Hilāl al-Ḥasan b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Sahl al-ʿAskarī, al-Awāʾil, ed. Muḥammad al-Sayyid al-Wakīl, Ṭanṭā, Dār al-bašīr li-l-ṯaqāfa wa-l-ʿulūm al-islāmiyya, 1987, p. 55. On ġāliya, a compound perfume containing musk and ambergris, see: King, Scent from the Garden, p. 278-280, 284-290; Amar Zohar and Efraim Lev, “Trends in the Use of Perfume and Incense in the Near East After the Muslim Conquests,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Series 3), 23/1 (2013), p. 11-30.


Al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 356, 362 (nos 285, 298).


Ibid., p. 362-363 (no 299).


Al-Zubayr b. Bakkār al-Qurašī l-Zubayrī, Ǧamharat nasab Qurayš wa-aḫbārihā, ed. ʿAbbās Hānī l-Ǧarrāḥ, Beirut, Dār al-kutub al-ʿilmiyya, 2010, II, p. 272; Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq, XXVIII, p. 213; Šams al-Dīn al-Ḏahabī, Siyar aʿlām al-nubalāʾ, ed. Šuʿayb al-Arnaʾūṭ et al., Beirut, Muʾassasat al-risāla, 1981-1988, III, p. 374.


Al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 304-305, 312-313, 318 (nos 227, 239, 252); Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, III, p. 310 (no 7522); al-Yaʿqūbī, Taʾrīḫ, II, p. 311; Ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī, Kitāb al-Ǧāmiʿ fī l-sunan wa-l-ādāb wa-l-māġāzī wa-l-taʾrīḫ, eds Muḥammad Abū l-Aǧfān and ʿUṯmān al-Baṭṭīḫ, Beirut, Muʾassasat al-risāla (“Min turāṯinā l-islāmī,” 17), 19832, p. 143; al-Naǧm ʿUmar b. Fahd, Itḥāf al-warā bi-aḫbār Umm al-Qurā, ed. Fahīm Muḥammad Šaltūt, Mecca, Ǧāmiʿat Umm al-Qurā, 20052, II, p. 75; Quṭb al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Nahrawālī, Kitāb al-Iʿlām bi-aʿlām bayt Allāh al-ḥarām, ed. Ferdinand Wüstenfeld, Leipzig, F.A. Brockhaus (“Morgenländische Bibliothek”), 1857, p. 82. On Ibn al-Zubayr’s building project, see: Gerald Hawting, “‘A Plaything for Kings’: ʿĀʾisha’s Ḥadīth, Ibn al-Zubayr, and the Rebuilding of the Kaʿba,” in Islamic Studies Today: Essays in Honor of Andrew Rippin, eds Majid Daneshgar and Walid A. Saleh, Leiden-Boston, Brill (“Texts and Studies on the Qurʾān,” 11), 2016, p. 3-21.


The provision of the kiswa was identified as a special “obligation and privilege” of the earliest caliphs: Maurice Gaudefroy-Demombynes, “Le voile de la Ka’ba,” Studia Islamica, 2 (1954), p. 5-21; Richard T. Mortel, “The Kiswa: Its Origins and Development from Pre-Islamic Times until the End of the Mamlūk Period,” al-ʿUṣūr/Ages, 3/2 (1988), p. 30-46.


Al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīḫ, II, p. 537; al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 315 (no 244).


ʿAbd al-Razzāq, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 89 (nos 9085, 9087); al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 356-364 (nos 285, 288, 290, 292, 301); al-Fākihī, Aḫbār Makka, III, p. 221 (no 2008); al-Yaʿqūbī, Taʾrīḫ, II, p. 311; Yāqūt, Muʿǧam al-buldān, IV, p. 467; Abū Hilāl al-ʿAskarī, al-Awāʾil, p. 55; Ibn al-Faqīh, Kitāb al-Buldān, p. 77; Ibn Hišām, Sīra, I, p. 126; Muǧīr al-Dīn, al-Uns al-ǧalīl, I, p. 406; Alexander Fodor, “The Pyramids in Arabic Folk Beliefs,” in Occident and Orient: A Tribute to the Memory of Alexander Scheiber, ed. Robert Dán, Budapest-Leiden, Akadémiai Kiadó-E.J. Brill, 1988, p. 157; Mortel, “The Kiswa,” p. 33-34.


Al-Zubayr b. Bakkār, Ǧamharat nasab Qurayš, II, p. 272; Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq, XXVIII, p. 213; al-Ḏahabī, Siyar aʿlām al-nubalāʾ, III, p. 374.


Al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 359 (no 294); Mortel, “The Kiswa,” p. 34; Ghazi Izzeddin Bisheh, The Mosque of the Prophet at Madīnah throughout the First-Century A.H. with Special Emphasis on the Umayyad Mosque, PhD thesis, University of Michigan, 1979, p. 247. He and his son al-Walīd are also said to have overseen renovations to the Kaʿba and the Meccan sanctuary, regarding which, see: Robinson, ʿAbd al-Malik, p. 96-98; Gerald R. Hawting, “The Umayyads and the Ḥijāz,” Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 2 (1972), p. 39-46; Fred M. Donner, “Umayyad Efforts at Legitimation: The Umayyads’ Silent Heritage,” in Umayyad Legacies: Medieval Memories from Syria to Spain, eds Antoine Borrut and Paul M. Cobb, Leiden-Boston, Brill (“Islamic History and Civilization,” 80), 2010, p. 200-201.


Raby, “In Vitro Veritas,” p. 183.


McMillan, The Meaning of Mecca, p. 158-160; Travis Zadeh, “The Early Hajj: Seventh- Eighth Centuries CE,” in The Hajj: Pilgrimage in Islam, eds Eric Tagliacozzo and Shawkat M. Toorawa, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2016, p. 42-64.


Al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 368 (no 311); al-Yaʿqūbī, Taʾrīḫ, II, p. 476; al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīḫ, III, p. 483; Muǧīr al-Dīn, al-Uns al-ǧalīl, I, p. 407.


Al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 367-368 (no 310). Parallel versions say that the servants “hung” or “suspended” (taʿallaqū) the coverings with pulleys: ʿUmar b. Fahd, Itḥāf al-warā, II, p. 204-205; al-Nahrawālī, al-Iʿlām, p. 99. I thank the anonymous reviewers for drawing my attention to these parallel texts and for their assistance with this passage.


Al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 368 (no 311).


F.E. Peters, Mecca: A Literary History of the Muslim Holy Land, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 112-117; Robert Schick, “The Umayyads and ʿAbbāsids in Mujīr al-Din’s Fifteenth-Century History of Jerusalem and Hebron,” in The Lineaments of Islam: Studies in Honor of Fred McGraw Donner, ed. Paul M. Cobb, Leiden, Brill (“Islamic History and Civilization,” 95), 2012, p. 220; al-Yaʿqūbī, Taʾrīḫ, II, p. 476-477.


Ibn Šabba, Taʾrīḫ al-Madīna, III, p. 961; Ibn al-Naǧǧār, al-Durra l-ṯamīna, p. 162; al-Samhūdī, Wafāʾ al-wafā, II, p. 448. See the sources cited in note 13 above.


Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt, V, p. 295.


Munt, The Holy City of Medina, p. 103-115.


Al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 359 (no 294); Bisheh, The Mosque of the Prophet at Madīnah, p. 247; al-Samhūdī, Wafāʾ al-wafā, II, p. 350.


Al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīḫ, II, p. 1234; Bisheh, The Mosque of the Prophet at Madīnah, p. 226-227.


Munt, The Holy City of Medina, p. 139, 164-165.


Kitāb al-Manāsik wa-amākin ṭuruq al-ḥaǧǧ wa-maʿālim al-ǧazīra, ed. Ḥamad al-Ǧāsir, Riyadh, Manšūrāt dār al-Yamāma li-l-baḥṯ wa-l-tarǧama wa-l-našr (“Nuṣūṣ wa-abḥāṯ ǧuġrāfiyya wa-tārīḫiyya ʿan Ǧazīrat al-ʿarab,” 9), 1969, p. 372; al-Samhūdī, Wafāʾ al-wafā, II, p. 88, 349-351, 449; Ibn al-Naǧǧār, al-Durra l-ṯamīna, p. 162.


McMillan, The Meaning of Mecca, p. 92, 102-104; Šams al-Dīn al-Saḫāwī, al-Tuḥfa l-laṭīfa fī taʾrīḫ al-madīna l-šarīfa, ed. Asʿad Ṭarābzūnī l-Ḥusaynī, Cairo, Maṭbaʿat dār našr al-ṯaqāfa, 1979-1980, I, p. 82 (no 97).


On these columns, see: Mattia Guidetti, In the Shadow of the Church: The Building of Mosques in Early Medieval Syria, Leiden-Boston, Brill (“Arts and Archaeology of the Islamic World,” 8), 2017, p. 153; Bisheh, The Mosque of the Prophet at Madīnah, p. 141-142. Ibn ʿAbd Rabbihi’s fourth/tenth-century description of the Prophet’s Mosque mentions several spaces in the building, including part of the Prophet’s tomb, as “rubbed over with perfume” (muḫallaq bi-l-ḫalūq): Ibn ʿAbd Rabbihi, al-ʿIqd al-farīd, ed. ʿAbd al-Maǧīd al-Tarḥīnī, Beirut, Dār al-kutub al-ʿilmiyya, 1983, VII, p. 288-289.


On early Abbasid patronage of sites in Medina, see: Munt, The Holy City of Medina, p. 115-120, 165-172.


The months of Ramaḍān and Raǧab are presented in some traditions as distinctly efficacious times for the performance of non-ḥaǧǧ pilgrimage (ʿumra). See: Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 161-163, 214-215 (nos 13175-13183, 13485-13491); Meir Jacob Kister, “‘Rajab is the Month of God’: A Study in the Persistence of an Early Tradition,” Israel Oriental Studies, 1 (1971), p. 219-223. These months also appear within traditions as times that scents were dispatched to the Kaʿba or the mosque at Medina was scented.


Béatrice Caseau, “Christian Bodies: The Senses and Early Byzantine Christianity,” in Desire and Denial in Byzantium, ed. Liz James, Aldershot, Ashgate Variorum (“Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies,” 6), 1999, p. 101-109; ead., “Experiencing the Sacred,” in Experiencing Byzantium, eds Claire Nesbitt and Mark P.C. Jackson, Farnham-Burlington, Ashgate (“Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies,” 18), 2016, p. 59-78; Georgia Frank, The Memory of the Eyes: Pilgrims to Living Saints in Christian Late Antiquity, Berkeley-Los Angeles-London, University of California Press (“The Transformation of the Classical Heritage,” 30), 2000; Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Scenting Salvation: Ancient Christianity and the Olfactory Imagination, Berkeley-Los Angeles-London, University of California Press (“The Transformation of the Classical Heritage,” 42), 2006, p. 89-90; ead., “Sensing More in Ancient Religion,” Svensk Teologisk Kvartalskrift, 89 (2013), p. 97-106; Liz James, “Senses and Sensibility in Byzantium,” in Museum Objects: Experiencing the Properties of Things, ed. Sandra H. Dudley, London, Routledge (“Leicester Readers in Museum Studies”), 2012, p. 134-149; Paul A. Brazinski and Allegra R. P. Fryxell, “The Smell of Relics: Authenticating Saintly Bones and the Role of Scent in the Sensory Experience of Medieval Christian Veneration,” Papers from the Institute of Archaeology, 23/1 (2013), p. 1-15; Heather Hunter-Crawley, “Movement as Sacred Mimesis at Abu Mena and Qal’at Sem’an,” in Excavating Pilgrimage: Archaeological Approaches to Sacred Travel and Movement in the Ancient World, eds Troels Myrup Kristensen and Wiebke Friese, London, Routledge (“Routledge Studies in Pilgrimage, Religious Travel and Tourism”), 2017, p. 187-202; Joshua Levinson, “There Is No Place Like Home: Rabbinic Responses to the Christianization of Palestine,” in Jews, Christians, and the Roman Empire: The Poetics of Power in Late Antiquity, ed. Natalie B. Dohrmann and Annette Yoshiko Reed, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press (“Jewish Culture and Contexts”), 2013, p. 99-120.


For similar late antique Christian practices: Caseau, “Christian Bodies,” p. 108; Harvey, Scenting Salvation, p. 87; Gary Vikan, Early Byzantine Pilgrimage Art, Washington, Dumbarton Oaks (“Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection Publications,” 5), 20102, p. 51. On Jews and Christians providing perfume and oil for sites in early Islamic Jerusalem, see: Raby, “In Vitro Veritas,” p. 176; Elad, Medieval Jerusalem, p. 64.


Like the attendants of the Dome of the Rock, the Kaʿba’s attendants, the ḥaǧaba, perfumed and incensed the building as part of their care for the House: al-Fākihī, Aḫbār Makka, I, p. 352 (no 730-731); al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 324, 363-366 (nos 261, 301-305); Aḫbār al-dawla l-ʿabbāsiyya, ed. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-Dūrī and ʿAbd al-Ǧabbār al-Muṭṭalibī, Beirut, Dār al-ṭalīʿa, 1971, p. 140.


Al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 362 (no 296).


ʿAbd al-Razzāq, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 89 (no 9088); Hūd b. Muḥakkam al-Hawwārī, Tafsīr Kitāb Allāh al-ʿazīz, ed. Bālḥāǧǧ b. Saʿīd al-Šarīfī, Beirut, Dār al-ġarb al-islāmī, 1990, I, p. 146. Elsewhere, the two components of this report appear separately: al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 358, 362 (nos 289, 297). This report may have emerged as an exegesis of God’s command to “purify my house” (ṭahhirā baytī) at Kor 2, 125. See: al-Samhūdī, Wafāʾ al-wafā, II, p. 449; ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Mubārak, Kitāb al-Zuhd wa-yalīhi Kitāb al-Raqāʾiq, ed. Ḥabīb al-Raḥmān al-Aʿẓamī, Beirut, Dār al-kutub al-ʿilmiyya, 1980, p. 415 (no 1176) [recension of al-Ḥusayn al-Marwazī].


Al-Wāsiṭī, Faḍāʾil al-bayt al-muqaddas, p. 24-25 (no 32); Ibn al-Muraǧǧā, Faḍāʾil bayt al-maqdis wa-l-ḫalīl, p. 88, 141-142 (nos 79, 178-179); Muḥammad b. ʿUmar al-Wāqidī, Kitāb al-Maġāzī, ed. Marsden Jones, London, Oxford University Press, 1966, II, p. 866; Ibn Māǧa, Sunan, ed. Baššār ʿAwwād Maʿrūf, Beirut, Dār al-ǧīl, 1998, II, p. 522 (no 1407); Abū Dāwūd Sulaymān b. al-Ašʿaṯ al-Azdī l-Siǧistānī, Kitāb al-Sunan, ed. Muḥammad ʿAwwāma, Jeddah, Dār al-qibla li-l-ṯaqāfa l-islāmiyya, 1998, I, p. 371 (no 458); Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, Musnad al-Imām Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, eds Šuʿayb al-Arnaʾūṭ, ʿĀdil Muršid, et al., Beirut, Muʾassasat al-risāla, 1995-2001, XLV, p. 597-599 (nos 27626-27627); Abū Yaʿlā, Musnad, XII, p. 523 (no 7088); Sulaymān b. Aḥmad al-Ṭabarānī, al-Muʿǧam al-kabīr, ed. Ḥamdī ʿAbd al-Maǧīd al-Salafī, Cairo, Maktabat Ibn Taymiyya, n.d., XXV, p. 32-34 (nos 54-56); id., Musnad al-šāmiyyīn, ed. Ḥamdī ʿAbd al-Maǧīd al-Salafī, Beirut, Muʾassasat al-risāla, 1989, I, p. 197, 271 (nos 344, 471-472); III, p. 137 (no 1947); Ibn Abī ʿĀṣim al-Ḍaḥḥāk al-Šaybānī, al-Āḥād wa-l-maṯānī, ed. Bāsim Fayṣal Aḥmad al-Ǧawābira, Riyadh, Dār al-rāya, 1991, VI, p. 216 (no 3448); Šams al-Dīn al-Ḏahabī, Mīzān al-iʿtidāl fī naqd al-riǧāl, ed. Muḥammad Riḍwān ʿIrqsūsī, Beirut, Dār al-risāla l-ʿālamiyya, 2009, II, p. 83 (no 2814); Ǧamāl al-Dīn Yūsuf al-Mizzī, Tahḏīb al-kamāl fī asmāʾ al-riǧāl, ed. Baššār ʿAwwād Maʿrūf, Beirut, Muʾassasat al-risāla, 1985, IX, p. 481-483. On this tradition, see: Ignaz Goldziher, Muslim Studies, eds and transl. Samuel Miklos Stern and Christa Renate Barber, London, Allen & Unwin, 1967-1971, I, p. 45; Elad, Medieval Jerusalem, p. 64; Raby, “In Vitro Veritas,” p. 178.


Al-Wāsiṭī, Faḍāʾil al-bayt al-muqaddas, p. 83 (no 136); Ibn al-Muraǧǧā, Faḍāʾil bayt al-maqdis wa-l-ḫalīl, p. 60-61; Muǧīr al-Dīn, al-Uns al-ǧalīl, I, p. 404; al-Suyūṭī, Itḥāf al-Aḫiṣṣā, I, p. 244; Elad, “Why Did ʿAbd al-Malik,” p. 36; Kaplony, The Ḥaram of Jerusalem, p. 328; Raby, “In Vitro Veritas,” p. 177.


Ibn ʿAbd Rabbihi, al-ʿIqd al-farīd, V, p. 70-71. On veneration of Ṭalḥa’s grave, see: Adam Bursi, “A Holy Heretical Body: Ṭalḥa b. ʿUbayd Allāh’s Corpse and Early Islamic Sectarianism,” Studies in Late Antiquity, 2/2 (2018), p. 147-179.


This was likely related to debates on the acceptability of wearing scent while in iḥrām. See discussion below.


Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 247 (nos 13677-13680); al-Fākihī, Aḫbār Makka, I, p. 347 (nos 713-715); Muḥammad b. Yaʿqūb al-Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, ed. ʿAlī Akbar al-Ġaffārī, Tehran, Dār al-kutub al-islāmiyya, 1968-1971, IV, p. 339; Ibn Bābawayh al-Qummī, Kitāb Man lā yaḥḍuru l-faqīh, ed. Ḥusayn al-Aʿlamī, Beirut, Muʾassasat al-aʿlamī li-l-maṭbūʿāt, 1986, II, p. 226 (no 2613); Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-Ṭūsī, Tahḏīb al-aḥkām fī šarḥ al-Muqniʿa li-l-šayḫ al-Mufīd, ed. Muḥammad Ǧaʿfar Šams al-Dīn, Beirut, Dār al-taʿāruf li-l-maṭbūʿāt (“Mawsūʿat al-kutub al-arbaʿa fī aḥādīṯ al-nabī wa-l-ʿitra,” 13), 1992, V, p. 64 (nos 225-226); Muḥibb al-Dīn al-Ṭabarī, al-Qirā li-qāṣid Umm al-Qurā, ed. Muṣṭafā l-Saqqā, Beirut, al-Maktaba l-ʿilmiyya, n.d., p. 202.


Saḥnūn b. Saʿīd al-Tanūḫī, al-Mudawwana l-kubrā li-l-imām Mālik b. Anas al-Aṣbaḥī, Beirut, Dār al-kutub al-ʿilmiyya, 1994, I, p. 460. Discussions also appear in: Muḥammad b. Idrīs al-Šāfiʿī, al-Umm, ed. Rifʿat Fawzī ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, al-Manṣūra, Dār al-wafāʾ, 2001, III, p. 380-381 (no 1080); Ibn Ḥazm al-Andalusī, al-Muḥallā bi-l-āṯār, ed. ʿAbd al-Ġaffār Sulaymān al-Bandārī, Beirut, Dār al-kutub al-ʿilmiyya, 2003, V, p. 291-295 (no 895); Ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī, al-Nawādir wa-l-ziyādāt ʿalā mā fī l-Mudawwana min ġayrihā min al-ummahāt, ed. ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Muḥammad al-Ḥulw, Beirut, Dār al-ġarb al-islāmī, 1999, II, p. 351. On early debates about entering the Kaʿba, see: Gerald R. Hawting, “‘We Were Not Ordered with Entering It but Only with Circumambulating It’: Ḥadīth and Fiqh on Entering the Kaʿba,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 47/2 (1984), p. 228-242.


Ibn Bābawayh, Kitāb Man lā yaḥḍuru, II, p. 225-226 (no 2612); al-Ṭūsī, Tahḏīb al-aḥkām, V, p. 272 (no 1016). Only significantly later texts specify that the tomb mentioned here is that of the Prophet Muḥammad: Muḥammad Taqī l-Maǧlisī, Rawḍat al-muttaqīn fī šarḥ Man lā yaḥḍuruhu l-faqīh, Qom, Dār al-kitāb al-islāmī, 2008, VIII, p. 84; Yūsuf b. Aḥmad al-Baḥrānī, al-Ḥadāʾiq al-nāḍira fī aḥkām al-ʿitra l-ṭāhira, ed. Muḥammad Taqī l-Īrwānī, Beirut, Dār al-aḍwāʾ, 1985-1989, XV, p. 420; al-Sayyid ʿAlī b. al-Sayyid Muḥammad ʿAlī l-Ṭabāṭabāʾī, Riyāḍ al-masāʾil fī taḥqīq al-aḥkām bi-l-dalāʾil, Qom, Muʾassasat Āl al-bayt li-iḥyāʾ al-turāṯ, 1998, VII, p. 434.


Raby, “In Vitro Veritas,” p. 175. Archaeological evidence suggests Muslims’ collection of such materials also from the Kathisma church south of Jerusalem and the shrine of St. Sergius in the Syrian town of Ruṣāfa. See: Rina Avner, “The Kathisma: A Christian and Muslim Pilgrimage Site,” Aram, 18-19 (2006-2007), p. 547; Dorothea Weltecke, “Multireligiöse Loca Sancta und die mächtigen Heiligen der Christen,” Der Islam, 88/1 (2012), p. 81-82; Elizabeth Key Fowden, The Barbarian Plain: Saint Sergius between Rome and Iran, Berkeley-Los Angeles-London, University of California Press (“The Transformation of the Classical Heritage,” 28), 1999, p. 38, 85-86. Though we do not have direct evidence of scenting of the materials collected from these sites, these objects suggest early Muslims’ participation in the world of late antique Near Eastern pilgrimage practices, in which the perfuming of pilgrimage souvenirs was extremely common.


Raby, “In Vitro Veritas,” p. 115-127, 181. For another interpretation of the image, see: Robert Hoyland, “Writing the Biography of the Prophet Muhammad: Problem and Solutions,” History Compass, 5/2 (2007), p. 581-602.


ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Mubārak, Kitāb al-Ǧihād, ed. Nazīh Ḥammād, Jeddah, Dār al-maṭbūʿāt al-ḥadīṯa, 1982, p. 140 (no 144); Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā l-Balāḏurī, Ansāb al-ašrāf, ed. Muḥammad al-Yaʿlāwī, Beirut, Klaus Schwarz, 2002, VII/II, p. 266; Abū Nuʿaym al-Aṣfahānī, Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ wa-ṭabaqāt al-aṣfiyāʾ, Cairo, Maktabat al-Ḫānǧī, 1996, II, p. 257-258; Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Ḥanbal, al-Zuhd, Beirut, Dār al-kutub al-ʿilmiyya, 1983, p. 302-303; Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Tamīm al-Tamīmī, Kitāb al-Miḥan, ed. Yaḥyā Wahīb al-Ǧubūrī, Beirut, Dār al-ġarb al-islāmī, 2006, p. 201; David Cook, Martyrdom in Islam, Cambridge-New York, Cambridge University Press (“Themes in Islamic History”), 2007, p. 116-119.


Ibn Qūlawayh, Kāmil al-ziyārāt, ed. Ǧawād al-Qayyūmī l-Iṣfahānī, Qom, Našr al-Faqāha, n.d., p. 131, 143, 462-465, 474-479; Suzanne Evans, “The Scent of a Martyr,” Numen, 49/2 (2002), p. 193-211; Marco Schöller, The Living and the Dead in Islam: Studies in Arabic Epitaphs. II: Epitaphs in Context, Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz, 2004, p. 90-99; Khalid A. Sindawi, “Holy Earth: The Importance of the Land of Karbala for the Shîʿah,” Islamic Culture, 77 (2003), p. 73-84.


Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-Barqī, Kitāb al-Maḥāsin, ed. Sayyid Ǧalāl al-Dīn al-Ḥusaynī, Qum, Dār al-kutub al-islāmiyya, n.d., p. 500 (no 621); Ibn Qūlawayh, Kāmil al-ziyārāt, p. 461. On al-Barqī and his text, see: Roy Vilozny, “A Šīʿī Life Cycle according to al-Barqī’s Kitāb al-Maḥāsin,” Arabica, 54/3 (2007), p. 362-396. Regarding the date of the beginning of Šīʿa pilgrimage to Ḥusayn’s tomb, see: Torsten Hylén, “Myth, Ritual, and the Early Development of Shiite Identity,” Intellectual History of the Islamicate World, 6/3 (2018), p. 300-331; Haider, The Origins of the Shīʿa, p. 243-248.


On collecting stones and soil from the Ḥaram, see: ʿAbd al-Razzāq, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 145-146 (nos 9205-9209); Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 388 (no 14545-14547); Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqūb b. Ibrāhīm al-Anṣārī, Iḫtilāf Abī Ḥanīfa wa-Ibn Abī Layla, ed. Abū l-Wafāʾ al-Afġānī, Hyderabad, Maṭbaʿat al-wafāʾ (“Laǧnat iḥyāʾ al-maʿārif al-nuʿmāniyya”), 1938, p. 139-140; al-Šāfiʿī, al-Umm, VIII, p. 344-345 (nos 3198-3200); al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 725-726 (nos 881-884); al-Fākihī, Aḫbār Makka, III, p. 389-392 (no 2273-2281).


Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 312 (no 14093).


Al-Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, IV, p. 229; Ibn Bābawayh, Kitāb Man lā yaḥḍuru, II, p. 169-70 (nos 2334-2336).


On sukk, see: King, Scent from the Garden, p. 153, 156.


Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 388 (no 14547); al-Fākihī, Aḫbār Makka, III, p. 390-391 (no 2276-2278).


Al-Fākihī, Aḫbār Makka, I, p. 348 (no 716).


On ʿAṭāʾ’s role in giving rulings during the ḥaǧǧ, see: Muhammad Qasim Zaman, Religion and Politics Under the Early ʿAbbāsids: The Emergence of the Proto-Sunnī Elite, Leiden, Brill (“Islamic History and Civilization,” 16), 1997, p. 149, n. 103.


Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 312 (no 14094). Clerical officials were similarly in charge of the distribution of such materials at late antique Christian pilgrimage sanctuaries: Caseau, “Experiencing the Sacred,” p. 71.


Masāʾil al-imām Aḥmad riwāyat Abī Dāwūd Sulaymān b. al-Ašʿaṯ al-Siǧistānī, ed. Ṭāriq b. ʿAwaḍ Allāh b. Muḥammad, Cairo, Maktabat Ibn Taymiyya, 1999, p. 187 (nos 913-915).


In another recension of the Masāʾil, Ibn Ḥanbal does not mention the Kaʿba’s perfume, but only Zamzam water: Masāʾil al-imām Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal wa-Isḥāq b. Rāhawayh bi-riwāyat Isḥāq b. Manṣūr al-Marwazī, ed. Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Zāḥim et al., Medina, al-Ǧāmiʿa l-islāmiyya, 2004, V, p. 2307-2308 (no 1593).


Yaʿqūb b. Sufyān al-Basawī, Kitāb al-Maʿrifa wa-l-taʾrīḫ, ed. Akram Ḍiyāʾ al-ʿUmarī, Medina, Maktabat al-dār, 1989, I, p. 209.


Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 312 (no 14093). Mention occurs elsewhere of perfume on the Black Stone: al-Fākihī, Aḫbār Makka, I, p. 129 (no 128); Ibn Abī Zayd, al-Nawādir wa-l-ziyādāt, II, p. 351.


Muḥammad b. Mufliḥ al-Maqdisī, Kitāb al-Furūʿ, ed. ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAbd al-Muḥsin al-Turkī, Beirut, Muʾassasat al-risāla, 2003, VI, p. 16-17; Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Sāmirī, al-Mustawʿib, ed. ʿAbd al-Malik b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Duhayš, Mecca, Maktabat al-Asadī, 2003, I, p. 494; Ibn Qudāma l-Maqdisī, al-Muġnī, eds ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAbd al-Muḥsin al-Turkī and ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Muḥammad al-Ḥulw, Riyadh, Dār ʿālam al-kutub, 1997, V, p. 464.


Mark Bradley (ed.), Smell and the Ancient Senses, London-New York, Routledge (“The Senses in Antiquity”), 2015; Richard Palmer, “Bad Odour: Smell and its Significance in Medicine from Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century,” in Medicine and the Five Senses, eds William F. Bynum and Roy Porter, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 61-68; Béatrice Caseau, “Parfum et guérison dans le christianisme ancien et byzantine: des huiles parfumées des médecins au myron des saints byzantins,” in Les pères de l’église face à la science médicale de leur temps, eds Véronique Boudon-Millot and Bernard Bouderon, Paris, Beauchesne (“Théologie historique,” 117), 2004, p. 141-91; ead., “Incense and Fragrances: From House to Church. A Study of the Introduction of Incense in the Early Byzantine Christian Churches,” in Material Culture and Well-Being in Byzantium (400-1453), eds Michael Grünbart, Ewald Kislinger, Anna Muthesius, and Dionysios Ch. Stathakopoulos, Vienna, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (“Denkschriften: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-historische Klasse,” 356; “Veröffentlichungen zur Byzanzforschung,” 11), 2007, p. 75-92.


David Howes, “Olfaction and Transition: An Essay on the Ritual Uses of Smell,” Canadian Review of Sociology, 24/3 (1987), p. 400, 403; Gale Peter Largey and David Rodney Watson, “The Sociology of Odors,” American Journal of Sociology, 77/6 (1972), p. 1031; Dan Sperber, Rethinking Symbolism, transl. Alice L. Morton, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press (“Cambridge Studies in Social Anthropology,” 11), 1975, p. 118; Plate, A History of Religion, p. 61-97; Mark M. Smith, Sensory History, Oxford-New York, Berg, 2007, p. 60-63.


Constance Classen, David Howes, and Anthony Synnott, Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell, London-New York, Routledge, 1994, p. 130-131.


Caseau, “Incense and Fragrances,” p. 92; Harvey, Scenting Salvation, p. 58, 75-83; Vikan, Early Byzantine Pilgrimage, p. 50-52.


Deborah A. Green, The Aroma of Righteousness: Scent and Seduction in Rabbinic Life and Literature, University Park, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011; Steven Fine, This Holy Place: On the Sanctity of the Synagogue during the Greco-Roman Period, Notre Dame, University of Notre Dame Press (“Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity,” 11), 1997, p. 84-85; Richard A. Freund, Digging Through the Bible: Understanding Biblical People, Places, and Controversies through Archaeology, Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield, 2009, p. 236-246; Abraham O. Shemesh, “Those who Require ‘[…] the Burning of Incense in Synagogues are the Rabbinic Jews’: Burning Incense in Synagogues in Commemoration of the Temple,” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies, 73/3 (2017).


Howes, “Olfaction and Transition,” p. 403.


Classen, Howes, and Synnott, Aroma, p. 3. See also: Kelvin E.Y. Low, “Ruminations on Smell as a Sociocultural Phenomenon,” Current Sociology, 53/3 (2005), p. 397-417; Trygg Engen, Odor Sensation and Memory, New York-London, Praeger, 1991, p. 3.


Robert Jütte, A History of the Senses: From Antiquity to Cyberspace, transl. James Lynn, Cambridge-Malden, Polity Press, 2005, p. 9.


Christian Lange, Paradise and Hell in Islamic Traditions, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2016, p. 254.


Brannon M. Wheeler, Mecca and Eden: Ritual, Relics, and Territory in Islam, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2006, p. 64, 86. See also: Katz, “The Ḥajj,” p. 110-113. Peter Webb has recently argued that traditions of Adam’s involvement in the beginnings of the Kaʿba and the ḥaǧǧ date only from the third/ninth century and later: “The Hajj before Muhammad: Journeys to Mecca in Muslim Narratives of Pre-Islamic History,” in The Hajj: Collected Essays, eds Venetia Porter and Liana Saif, London, The British Museum Press (“Research Publication,” 193), 2013, p. 6-14. Note, however, that such traditions about Adam occur already in ʿAbd al-Razzāq, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 91-94, 116 (nos 9090, 9092, 9096, 9118) and in Muḥammad b. Isḥāq, Kitāb al-Siyar wa-l-maġāzī [recension of Yūnus b. Bukayr], ed. Suhayl Zakkār, Damascus, Dār al-fikr, 1978, p. 94-95, indicating that they circulated earlier than Webb argues.


Stephen R. Burge, “Angels, Ritual and Sacred Space in Islam,” Comparative Islamic Studies, 5/2 (2009), p. 221-245.


Ofer Livne-Kafri, “Jerusalem in Early Islam: The Eschatological Aspect,” Arabica, 53/3 (2006), p. 382-403; id., “Jerusalem: The Navel of the Earth in Muslim Tradition,” Der Islam, 84/1 (2008), p. 46-72; id., “The Muslim Traditions ‘In Praise of Jerusalem’ (Faḍāʾil al-Quds): Diversity and Complexity,” Annali dell’Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”, 58 (1998), p. 165-192; Izhak Hasson, “The Muslim View of Jerusalem: The Qurʾān and Ḥadīth,” in The History of Jerusalem: The Early Muslim Period, 638-1099, eds Joshua Prawer and Haggai Ben-Shammai, Jerusalem, Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, 1996, p. 349-385; Josef van Ess, “ʿAbd al-Malik and the Dome of the Rock: An Analysis of Some Texts,” in Bayt al-Maqdis, eds Raby and Johns, p. 89-103; Necıpoğlu, “Dome of the Rock as Palimpsest,” p. 28-30, 33-35.


Heribert Busse, “Die Kanzel des Propheten im Paradiesesgarten,” Die Welt des Islams, 28/1-4 (1988), p. 99-111. See also: Josef van Ess, Theology and Society in the Second and Third Centuries of the Hijra: A History of Religious Thought in Early Islam, Volume 4, transl. Gwendolin Goldbloom, Leiden-Boston, Brill (“Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 1, The Near and Middle East,” 116/4), 2019, p. 613; Lange, Paradise and Hell, p. 250; Gautier H.A. Juynboll, Encyclopedia of Canonical Ḥadīth, Leiden-Boston, Brill, 2007, p. 313; Bisheh, The Mosque of the Prophet at Madīnah, p. 275-276; Barbara Finster, “Die Mosaiken der Umayyadenmoschee von Damaskus,” Kunst des Orients, 7 (1970-1971), p. 135; Schöller, The Living and the Dead, p. 48-50.


Lange, Paradise and Hell, p. 245.


Priscilla Soucek, “The Temple of Solomon in Islamic Legend and Art,” in The Temple of Solomon: Archaeological Fact and Medieval Tradition in Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Art, ed. Joseph Gutmann, Missoula, Scholar’s Press (“Religion and the Arts,” 3), 1976, p. 73-123; Myriam Rosen-Ayalon, The Early Islamic Monuments of al-Ḥaram al-Sharīf: An Iconographic Study, Jerusalem, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Institute of Archaeology (“Qedem,” 28), 1989, p. 46-69; Raya Shani, “The Iconography of the Dome of the Rock,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 23 (1999), p. 158-207; Finster, “Die Mosaiken der Umayyadenmoschee von Damaskus,” p. 117-121; Finbarr Barry Flood, The Great Mosque of Damascus: Studies on the Makings of an Umayyad Visual Culture, Leiden-Boston-Köln, Brill (“Islamic History and Civilization. Studies and Texts,” 33), 2001, p. 15-56; Necıpoğlu, “Dome of the Rock as Palimpsest,” p. 54-56; George, “Paradise or Empire,” p. 53-55. Mathieu Tillier has recently drawn attention to the eschatological content of the inscriptions displayed within the Dome of the Rock: “‘Abd al-Malik, Muḥammad et le Jugement dernier: le dôme du Rocher comme expression d’une orthodoxie islamique,” in Les vivants et les morts dans les sociétés médiévales: actes du XLVIIIe Congrès de la SHMESP (Jérusalem, 2017), Paris, Éditions de la Sorbonne (“Publications de la Sorbonne. Histoire ancienne et médiévale,” 158), 2018, p. 341-365.


Kitāb al-Manāsik, p. 365; Ibn al-Naǧǧār, al-Durra l-ṯamīna, p. 176; al-Samhūdī, Wafāʾ al-wafā, II, p. 270. Discussed in: Jean Sauvaget, La Mosquée Omeyyade de Médine: étude sur les origines architecturales de la mosquée et de la basilique, Paris, Vanoest, 1947, p. 80-81; Finster, “Die Mosaiken der Umayyadenmoschee von Damaskus,” p. 120, 133; George, “Paradise or Empire,” p. 53.


Barbara Finster, “The Material Culture of Pre- and Early Islamic Arabia,” in A Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture, eds Finbarr Barry Flood and Gülru Necıpoğlu, Hoboken, Wiley Blackwell (“Blackwell Companions to Art History,” 12), 2017, I, p. 83; ead., “Die Mosaiken der Umayyadenmoschee von Damaskus,” p. 129-131.


ʿAbd al-Razzāq, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 28-29 (nos 8873-8875); al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 90 ff.; Livne-Kafri, “Navel of the Earth,” p. 62-64.


Kaplony, The Ḥaram of Jerusalem, p. 332; Heribert Busse, “Zur Geschichte und Deutung der frühislamischen Ḥarambauten in Jerusalem,” Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins, 107 (1991), p. 149.


Rosen-Ayalon, Early Islamic Monuments, p. 55.


George, “Paradise or Empire,” p. 47-48. See also: Marcus Milwright, “‘Waves of the Sea’: Responses to Marble in Written Sources (Ninth-Fifteenth Centuries),” in The Iconography of Islamic Art: Studies in Honour of Robert Hillenbrand, ed. Bernard O’Kane, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2007, p. 211-221.


ʿAbd al-Razzāq, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 38-40 (nos 8914-8922); Ibn Isḥāq, Kitāb al-Siyar wa-l-maġāzī, p. 96; al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 443-456 (nos 409-443); al-Fākihī, Aḫbār Makka, I, p. 81-97 (nos 1-33); Katz, “The Ḥajj,” p. 125; Juan Eduardo Campo, “Authority, Ritual, and Spatial Order in Islam: The Pilgrimage to Mecca,” Journal of Ritual Studies, 5/1 (1991), p. 75.


Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Ǧubayr, Riḥlat Ibn Ǧubayr, Beirut, Dār Ṣādir, 1964, p. 67. Translation from: Shalem, “Four Faces,” p. 148.


King, Scent from the Garden, p. 272-273, 340-342, 352-356. For the association of paradise with scents in other Near Eastern traditions, see: Harvey, Scenting Salvation, p. 48-56, 88, 226, 235-239; Green, Aroma of Righteousness, p. 119-123, 164-165, 204-205; Caseau, “Incense and Fragrances,” p. 83, 86-87.


Ailin Qian, “Delights in Paradise: A Comparative Survey of Heavenly Food and Drink in the Quran,” in Roads to Paradise: Eschatology and Concepts of the Hereafter in Islam, eds Sebastian Günther and Todd Lawson, Leiden-Boston, Brill (“Islamic History and Civilization,” 136), 2017, I, p. 251-270; Nerina Rustomji, The Garden and the Fire: Heaven and Hell in Islamic Culture, New York, Columbia University Press, 2009, p. 70; Lange, Paradise and Hell, p. 44, 66.


ʿAbd al-Razzāq, al-Muṣannaf, XI, p. 413-424 (nos 20866-20898); Ibn al-Mubārak, al-Zuhd, p. 521-538 (nos 1478-1537) [recension of al-Ḥusayn al-Marwazī], p. 66-82 (nos 227-285) [recension of Nuʿaym b. Ḥammād]; ʿAbd al-Malik b. Ḥabīb, Waṣf al-firdaws, ed. Saʿd Karīm, Alexandria, Dār Ibn Ḫaldūn, n.d., p. 16, 27-41, 69-72 (nos 35, 62-104, 173-185); Ibn Qūlawayh, Kāmil al-ziyārāt, p. 204-205; Aziz Al-Azmeh, “Rhetoric for the Senses: A Consideration of Muslim Paradise Narratives,” Journal of Arabic Literature, 26/3 (1995), p. 215-231; Rustomji, Garden and the Fire, p. 72, 84, 88, 89, 96, 111, 116; Ergin, “Fragrance of the Divine,” p. 72.


Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, IX, p. 208-209 (nos 28505-28508); Ibn Saʿd, Ṭabaqāt, I/II, p. 142; Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā l-Balāḏurī, Futūḥ al-buldān, eds ʿAbd Allāh Anīs al-Ṭabbāʿ and ʿUmar Anīs al-Ṭabbāʿ, Beirut, Muʾassasat al-maʿārif, 1987, p. 635; Rustomji, Garden and the Fire, p. 17, 82; King, Scent from the Garden, p. 353.


Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt, I/I, p. 12; al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīḫ, I, p. 126; al-Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, VI, p. 527-528; al-Fākihī, Aḫbār Makka, I, p. 90 (no 23); II, p. 43 (no 1110); ʿAbd al-Razzāq, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 116 (no 9118); al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 560-561 (no 662); Ibn Isḥāq, Kitāb al-Siyar wa-l-maġāzī, p. 95; al-Bayhaqī, Dalāʾil al-nubuwwa, II, p. 53; Wheeler, Mecca and Eden, p. 83-86; King, Scent from the Garden, p. 360-361; Thurlkill, Sacred Scents, p. 154-155.


Anya H. King, “The Importance of Imported Aromatics in Arabic Culture: Illustrations from Pre-Islamic and Islamic Poetry,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 67/3 (2008), p. 175-189.


Al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 73-74.


King, Scent from the Garden, p. 354.


Angela K. Martin and Sandra Kryst, “Encountering Mary: Ritualization and Place Contagion in Postmodernity,” in Places Through the Body, eds Heidi J. Nast and Steve Pile, London-New York, Routledge, 1998, p. 210.


Lange, Paradise and Hell, p. 7.


Al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 430-431 (no 388); al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīḫ, I, p. 352. See: Gerald R. Hawting, “The Origins of the Muslim Sanctuary at Mecca,” in Studies on the First Century of Islamic Society, ed. Gautier H.A. Juynboll, Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press (“Papers on Islamic History,” 5), 1982, p. 43; id., “Plaything for Kings,” p. 15.


Ibn al-Muraǧǧā, Faḍāʾil bayt al-maqdis wa-l-ḫalīl, p. 149 (no 190), 264 (no 399); Kaplony, The Ḥaram of Jerusalem, p. 287.


Al-Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, VI, p. 402; Ibn Qūlawayh, Kāmil al-ziyārāt, p. 108; Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq, I, p. 213. On Šīʿī veneration of the Euphrates, see: Khalid A. Sindawi, “The Cult of the Euphrates and Its Significance among the Imāmī Shīʿa,” Der Islam, 81/2 (2004), p. 249-269.


Al-Ǧāḥiẓ, Kitāb al-Ḥayawān, ed. ʿAbd al-Salām Muḥammad Hārūn, Cairo, Muṣṭafā l-Bābī l-Ḥalabī, 1965-1969, I, p. 247; III, p. 142. Cited in Munt, The Holy City of Medina, p. 89; Maher Jarrar and Nisrine Jaafar, “‘It Stinks in Basra!’ Al-Jāḥiẓ on Odors,” in Al-Jāḥiẓ: A Muslim Humanist for Our Time, eds Arnim Heinemann, John L. Meloy, Tarif Khalidi, and Manfred Kropp, Würzburg-Beirut, Ergon Verlag-Orient-Institut (“Beiruter Texte und Studien,” 119), 2009, p. 274.


Wheeler, Mecca and Eden, p. 64-65; Thurlkill, Sacred Scents, p. 122-123.


On the prohibition, see: Maurice Gaudefroy-Demombynes, Le pélerinage à la Mekke : étude d’histoire religieuse, Paris, Paul Geuthner (“Annales du Musée Guimet,” 33), 1923, p. 169, 186-191, 297; King, Scent from the Garden, p. 343-344.


Aḥmad b. Šuʿayb al-Nasāʾī, al-Sunan al-kubrā, ed. Šuʿayb al-Arnaʾūṭ and Ḥasan ʿAbd al-Muʿnim Šalabī, Beirut, Muʾassasat al-risāla, 2001, IV, p. 215-216 (no 4146); Ibn Ḥazm, Muḥallā, V, p. 71. In an alternate account, the scholars’ disagreement leads Sulaymān to call upon the expertise of his father’s (i.e. the caliph ʿAbd al-Malik’s) hairdresser to ask whether the previous caliph had used perfume: Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq, LXIX, p. 96-97, 226-227. I thank Richard Heffron for drawing these versions to my attention. These reports parallel accounts of Sulaymān’s asking jurists in the Ḥiǧāz about ʿAbd al-Malik’s performance of the ḥaǧǧ rites and his role in the construction of the Kaʿba: al-Yaʿqūbī, Taʾrīḫ, II, p. 358; al-Azraqī, Aḫbār Makka, p. 319-320 (no 255). See discussion in: Hawting, “Ḥajj in the Second Civil War,” p. 36-37; Robinson, ʿAbd al-Malik, p. 94-95; McMillan, The Meaning of Mecca, p. 109; Reinhard Eisener, Zwischen Faktum und Fiktion: Eine Studie zum Umayyadenkalifen Sulaiman b. ʿAbdalmalik und seinem Bild in den Quellen, Wiesbaden, Otto Harrassowitz, 1987, p. 192-193.


Mālik b. Anas, al-Muwaṭṭaʾ [recension of Abū Muṣʿab al-Zuhrī l-Madanī], eds Baššār ʿAwwād Maʿrūf and Maḥmūd Muḥammad Ḫalīl, Beirut, Muʾassasat al-risāla, 1998, I, p. 418 (no 1059); id., al-Muwaṭṭaʾ [recension of Suwayd b. Saʿīd al-Ḥadaṯānī], ed. ʿAbd al-Maǧīd Turkī, Beirut, Dār al-ġarb al-islāmī, 1994, p. 385 (no 494); id., al-Muwaṭṭaʾ [recension of Yaḥyā b. Yaḥyā l-Layṯī l-Andalusī], ed. Baššār ʿAwwād Maʿrūf, Beirut, Dār al-ġarb al-islāmī, 1997, I, p. 443-444 (no 924); id., al-Muwaṭṭaʾ [recension of ʿAbd Allāh b. Maslama l-Qaʿnabī], ed. ʿAbd al-Maǧīd Turkī, Beirut, Dār al-ġarb al-islāmī, 1999, p. 369 (no 580).


Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 245-246 (nos 13666, 13672).


Joseph Schacht, The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1950, p. 155, citing the debates that appear in al-Šāfiʿī, al-Umm, III, p. 376-379 (nos 1069-1078); X, p. 237-240 (nos 273-281).


Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 242 (no 13650). On salīḫa, see: Stephen G. Haw, “Cinnamon, Cassia, and Ancient Trade,” Journal of Ancient History and Archaeology, 4/1 (2017), p. 5-18.


Ibn Abī Šayba, al-Muṣannaf, V, p. 242-244 (nos 13651-13654, 13661); Ibn Ḥazm, Muḥallā, V, p. 70. On ḏarīra, see: King, Scent from the Garden, p. 281.


Julian Holloway, “Make-Believe: Spiritual Practice, Embodiment, and Sacred Space,” Environment and Planning A, 35 (2003), p. 1964-1965.


Lange, Paradise and Hell, p. 272.


Luke Treadwell, “The Formation of Religious and Caliphal Identity in the Umayyad Period: The Evidence of the Coinage,” in Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture, ed. Flood and Necıpoğlu, I, p. 105.


Largey and Watson, “Sociology of Odors,” p. 1031-1032; Howes, “Olfaction and Transition,” p. 403-408; Constance Classen, “The Odor of the Other: Olfactory Symbolism and Cultural Categories,” Ethos, 20/2 (1992), p. 160; Classen, Howes, and Synnott, Aroma, p. 140.


Eva Mol and Miguel John Versluys, “Material Culture and Imagined Communities in the Roman World,” in A Companion to the Archaeology of Religion in the Ancient World, eds Rubina Raja and Jörg Rüpke, Malden, Wiley Blackwell (“Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World”), 2015, p. 456.


John Wilkinson, Jerusalem Pilgrims before the Crusades, Warminster, Aris & Phillips, 2002, p. 72.


Caseau, “Parfum et guérison,” p. 188.


Howes, “Olfaction and Transition,” p. 401-402; Trygg Engen, The Perception of Odors, New York, Academic Press, 1982, p. 97-112; id., Odor Sensation and Memory; Donald A. Wilson and Richard J. Stevenson, Learning to Smell: Olfactory Perception from Neurobiology to Behavior, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006, p. 188-242.


Hunter-Crawley, “Movement as Sacred Mimesis,” p. 189.


Ibid., p. 199.


Tillier writes that “l’interprétation eschatologique du Ḥaram al-Sharīf est largement ignorée des sources musulmanes postérieures […] il semble que la signification originelle du dôme du Rocher ait été oubliée,” but notes that non-eschatological paradisiacal themes continued to be present in later interpretations of the space: “ʿAbd al-Malik, Muḥammad et le Jugement dernier,” p. 365. Scholars are divided regarding how long these rituals continued to be practiced at the Dome of the Rock; see, for example: Busse, “Temple of Jerusalem,” p. 33; Amikam Elad, “ʿAbd al-Malik and the Dome of the Rock: A Further Examination of the Muslim Sources,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 35 (2008), p. 181. Notably, al-Nuwayrī’s Nihāyat al-arab reports that a type of nadd incense—whose recipe is ascribed to the mother of the ʿAbbāsid caliph al-Muqtadir (r. 295/908-320/932)—was used to “fumigate the Kaʿba and the Ṣaḫra of Jerusalem every Friday.” The author of a book on scents, Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Saʿīd al-Tamīmī (d. after 370/980), is then quoted as saying that the “head of the servants in Jerusalem gave some of this nadd to my father,” suggesting that the Dome still had servants producing perfume for it in the fourth/tenth century. Šihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Nuwayrī, Nihāyat al-arab fī funūn al-adab, eds Mufīd Qumayḥa et al., Beirut, Dār al-kutub al-ʿilmiyya, 2004, XII, p. 37. On this text, see: King, Scent from the Garden, p. 346; Zohar and Lev, “Trends in the Use,” p. 26.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 3227 2090 184
PDF Views & Downloads 6404 5309 484