Taking a break from writing about Arabic. Here’s what took place a few days ago.
Functions are aplenty here. And this is what a makeshift kitchen looks like. I’ll explain briefly each picture.
This is an annual function that starts at 7am and ends at lunch. Some stay throughout, some come and go, and some attend at the closing at lunch time right after midday prayer.
It is the Tahlil of a community leader, businessman who lived four generations ago. Tahlil (tahleel) is a recitation of prayers upon a deceased typically read the first three days after death, seventh day, fortieth, hundredth and then annually.
This practice comes from a long and established tradition of Shafi’i (Sunni / Ahlul Sunnah Wal Jamaah) Muslim – scholars and non-scholars at large, which depletion and misperception we are beginning to see in recent times.
Abdul Qader bin Ahmad bin Abdul Rahman bin Ahmad bin Hassan bin Abdullah al-Haddad, the deceased is the descendant of the 17th century Imam Abdullah al-Haddad. Abdul Qader took the long travel by sea to Southeast Asia to raise money to build what has become one of the most established schools here, Rubat Tareem. If you meet me in person, I’ll share illustrious stories about the remarkable students of the past of this school, including my headmaster’s teacher.
Top left is the massive pot. There were at least four of those. One I think was meant for meat only. Unfortunately I was too embarrassed to ask for a look. If you know how good the meat tastes here, you’d want to at least look.
Top right is mogh-dhaf. You won’t find this in Hadhramout restaurants in Malaysia even if it’s the same dish, as they don’t slaughter the goats themselves. It is made of the insides of the goat, and held together by its intestines – after it has been cleaned and flipped inside out. On my earlier visits I found it repulsive. Nowadays it is the first thing I go for.
Bottom is what they do with leftovers. Almost every time food is served for more than twenty people, it’ll be on a tray (a large plate), consumed by groups of four to seven. Sometimes people ask for top-ups, and naturally there’ll be leftovers. It is collected and given out to animals. That’s from the tray. From the pot, leftovers go to people like me to bring home for my wife. I eat what she leftover since it is irresponsible to feed this to a nine month old baby. Otherwise, I’d just eat what the baby leftover.
The weaved mat and basket you see are locally made. Likely from a date tree. Comes in different shapes and sizes. Prayer mat. Bread basket. Floor mat. Cutting mat. It is also used to lay a dead person at one point between death, washing and burial, I can’t be certain at which phase exactly. Will write more about this sometime in the future.