A taste of what a social meal looks like in Tareem.
Mind you this is only a slice of what goes on of the social meal custom here.
I often illustrate to those who ask, it is considered refined culture what the stereotype idea of a fine French meal is like. A few spoons and forks, a few glasses and plates, instead of just one each. And it’s true. That’s a product of fine culture.
Likewise in Tareem a gathering for a meal may prelude itself with a qasidah being sung every few minutes while all listen in. In between each, people chatter with those near them.
The qasidah would contain high refined language mentioning lofty affairs, thus would influence if not orientate the conversations that happen in between each other qasidah.
Meaning, people are persuaded to not discuss heedless things or that which doesn’t concern them, let alone harmful talk like gossip and back biting including in subtle ways.
That’s the basic.
Other times a scholar or teacher who happens to be one of the guests, may speak off the cuff as a form of mutual reminder to all those that are present. It is common to find humour in this too.
A times the host or an esteemed guest, meaning someone of knowledge background, may take out a book and it is read by one, commented by the former, and listened by all. Occasionally a discussion amongst all may ensue.
What you see in the video really is an after-party.
We all had gone to a Mawlid which started before sunrise. And after which got invited to the house of the host and perhaps one or two were not originally invited but very much welcomed by the host as they too were travellers of our acquaintance.
We were rather uncouth guests, checking out his books, walking around, taking videos and asking questions about the camel milk he served.
As you’re seeing this is at the end of this breakfast the host, an IT engineer, recited a qasidah for us, from memory.
What has prevented us from calling this too as refined culture?
*I eventually found myself in this house Thursday mornings reading two books to this teacher of my age, Sayyid Abdullah bin Ahmad al-Haddad. He would share his commentary as I read aloud page by page from – Collection of Imam al-Haddad’s poetry – The Diwan and the collection of Imam al-Haddad’s speeches, actions and stories – Tathbiitul Fu’aad. Like many others here, he called it ‘just us reading books together’, though we know clearly this is teacher-student. May Allah preserve him and all of our teachers.