The Arabic káfúr was imported into English as camphor, but it originally comes from the Sanskrit, karpuram. Of course, camphor
is a fragrance - something which is a source, or means, of
attraction. The "camphor fountain" was first mentioned in the
Qur'an. I have saved what I believe to be the meaning of camphor
fountain until the end of this essay. -M.F.
"Blessed the one that hath drunk from the Spring of the Cow and
washed in its waters, for the black-eyed damsels quaff the
camphor in Paradise, which hath come from the Spring of the Cow
[i.e., Aynu'l-Baqár, located in `Akká, Israel], and from the
Spring of Salvan (Siloam) [located in Jerusalem, Israel], and
the Well of Zamzam [located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia]. Well is it
with him that hath drunk from these springs, and washed in their
waters, for God hath forbidden the fire of hell to touch him and
his body on the Day of Resurrection."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p.180
"I have asked the Guardian concerning the exact meaning of the
word `Dayspring'. Literally it means `Dawn'. It is sometimes
used in the sense of `Horizon' or `Rising point', and taken
figuratively it is equivalent to fountain or source. It can
also be used as referring to a Manifestation of God, as in the
following expression `Dayspring of Truth'."
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to
an individual believer, February 19, 1935)
-- Multiple Authors, Lights of Guidance, p.480
"But the righteous shall drink of a cup tempered at the Camphor
Fountain, a gushing spring at which the servants of God will
refresh themselves: they who keep their vows and dread the
far-spread terrors of judgement-day; who, though they hold it
dear, give sustenance to the poor man, the orphan, and the
captive, saying: 'We feed you for Gods sake only; we seek of
you neither recompense nor thanks.'"
-- Qur'an 76:5
"The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the
recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and
the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both
the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p.19
"Cleave to the Root of Knowledge, and to Him Who is the Fountain
thereof, that thou mayest find thyself independent of all who
claim to be well versed in human learning, and whose claim no
clear proof, nor the testimony of any enlightening book, can
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings, p.177
"When one meditates over the general trend of affairs and drinks
deep from the fountain of the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh and
Abdu'l-Bahá he is bound to come to the conclusion that this world
is no world of attachment; nay rather it constantly gives us the
lesson of keeping aloof as far as possible from it."
-- From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian, Bahiyyih
Make my prayer, O my Lord, a fountain of living waters whereby I
may live as long as Thy sovereignty endureth, and may make
mention of Thee in every world of Thy worlds.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas: Other Sections, p.93
Beware lest ye be hindered by the veils of glory from partaking
of the crystal waters of this living Fountain. Seize ye the
chalice of salvation at this dawntide in the name of Him Who
causeth the day to break, and drink your fill in praise of Him
Who is the All-Glorious, the Incomparable.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p.38
"A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the
bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is
the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p.15
"May God cause him [Mirza Mihdiy-i-Kashani] to inhale the sweet
scent of holiness in the highest Paradise, and refresh him with
the crystalline wine cup, tempered at the camphor fountain. Unto
him be salutations and praise. His fragrant tomb is in Akká."
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Memorials of the Faithful, Page: 97
Even clearer is the following statement by `Abdu'l-Bahá:
"The holy Manifestations of God were sent down to make visible
the oneness of humanity. For this did They endure unnumbered
ills and tribulations, that a community from amongst mankind's
divergent peoples could gather within the shadow of the Word of
God and live as one, and could, with delight and grace,
demonstrate on earth the unity of humankind. Therefore must the
desire of the friends be this, to bring together and unify all
peoples, that all may receive a generous drink of this pure wine
from this cup that is `tempered at the camphor fountain.'"
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá,
"Yahya related to me from Malik from Ayyub ibn Abi Tamima
as-Sakhtayani from Muhammad ibn Sirin that Umm Atiyya al-
Ansariyya said, "The Messenger of Alláh, may Alláh bless him
and grant him peace, came to us when his daughter died and
said, 'Wash her three times, or five, or more than that if
you think it necessary, with water and lotus leaves, and at
the end put on some camphor, or a little camphor, and when
you have finished let me know.' When we finished we told
him, and he gave us his waist-wrapper and said, 'Shroud her
It should be washed with water and sidr (lote tree leaves)
and in the last washing camphor should be added to the
"The Prophet Himself, immaculate in His person, loved
fragrances, used musk, ambergris, and camphor and used to
burn aromatic woods. At one point, after not having received
any revelation for some time, He said to a companion: 'How
can revelations not be interrupted when you do not trim your
nails, nor clip your moustache, nor cleanse your finger-
"Bathe the [dead] body of this [girl] with water and berry
leaves three times or five times or even more if required
and add camphor to the water with which you bathe her.
"Bathe this girl odd number of times: three or five or seven
times and begin with her right side and from the limbs by
which wudu is done." (Bukhari: No. 1254)
"A dead body should be washed thrice, first with the water
mixed with berry (Sidr) tree leaves, then with the water
mixed with camphor and finally with pure water."
"In several important traditions, the Prophet (Pbuh) has
stressed on the value of purity and cleanliness in such a
way that it seems to be one of the surprising Islámic issues
to any intellectual.
"Cleanliness is half of faith. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.5, p.558]
"The first thing that is considered in the Hereafter is
"The Prophet (Pbuh) was extremely sensitive to the issue of
oral and dental hygiene, cleaning hair and face, clothes and
furniture, lanes and streets and even the dead. He was also
superior to all in following hygienic rules and cleanliness.
He ordered the dead to be washed with lotus and camphor
From the above, it seems as though camphor fountain, or a
camphor cup, may be a reference to purity. So, drinking of the
camphor fountain might be a metaphor for purifying oneself
from sin through the grace of God. -M.F.