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The dabqaad, a popular censer in Somalia and Djibouti.

The dabqaad (Somali for "fire raiser"), also known as idin or girgire, is an incense burner, or censer. With either one or two handles, it is commonly used in Somalia, Djibouti, and Ethiopia.

Usage and production

File:Modern Dabqaad.jpg
A modern metallic design dabqaad.

Dabqaads are traditionally used to perfume homes after large meals and/or during special occasions, such as when one is expecting guests.

Frankincense (lubaan) or a prepared incense (uunsi), which in countries in the Arabian Peninsula is known as bukhoor, is placed on top of hot charcoal inside an incense burner, the dabqaad. It then burns for about ten minutes. This keeps the house fragrant for hours.

The dabqaad pot is made from a white clay or soapstone found in specific areas of both southern and northern Somalia. Meerschaum (sepiolite) is used to make the dabqaad, with the district of El Buur serving as a center for quarrying. El Buur is also the place of origin of the local pipe-making industry.[1]

Somalis living in the West obtain their dabqaads from visits to the Horn of Africa or they have relatives residing in the region send them.


The dabqaad is closely related to the Arabian mabkhara, albeit generally less elaborately decorated. The mabkhara is widely used amongst Arab communities living in the West and throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

See also


  1. ^ Abdullahi, pp.98-99