Henna art has gradually become a core part of Islamic culture, it is known as a kind of (sunnah)blessing to you I and done during Sallah( annual Muslim festival), marriages and naming ceremonies.
It was usually drawn on the hands of women in the Arab countries to differentiate them from the men.
It’s a series of beautifully designs used to beautify the body, mainly the hands and legs. Some very exciting people get some done on their necks. It is often mistaken for a tattoo and it’s even been nicknamed “Halal Tatoo”, halal meaning allowed.
Henna used to be done mostly on brides on their wedding day which Muslims call ‘awure’ and it is done by anyone who knows art. It is not a sole duty. Sometimes very little girls who are very good are employed to do it but it’s mostly a relative or someone known by a relative. It’s not written anywhere in the Quran’ but it’s in a Hadith that the wife of Mohammed used to wear them during occasions.
During such ceremonies, extra care is taken due to the proverbial ‘evil eyes’. The henna is done to make the bride extra beautiful on her special day.
How fast you get a henna done for you depends on the artist. Some are very fast and can take just 15minutes to give you a normal everyday design. Although at a normal rate, an everyday henna design would take say 20 to 30minutes. I keep saying everyday design because ceremonial designs are special. For example, a bridal henna can take as long an hour or two. Extra precision and care is taken to gloriously beautify the woman on that day.
The designs are done using hair dye. Yes, you read right. Hair dye. It is soaked with water in a rubber although it has revolved to come in tubes. The tubes or rubber have a very small opening so as to stop overflowing which might ruin the whole design. Very dark people sometimes use ‘lele’( a leaf that reddens the body when applied) to make their henna more visible. Sometimes the red dye is used to add color to the design and make it visible.
Although the design and art has become a part of the Muslim culture, it is not compulsory and has no representation. A bride who decides she won’t get a henna done for her would still be a bride and all. It just beautifies you and oh who doesn’t want to Slay. Some non-Muslims even get it done for them. The appealing thing so far about it is the fact that it goes off gradually and is, therefore, an all-time favorite occasional beautification art.