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Posts Tagged ‘Arab’

I read this poem some years ago written by Khalil Gibran from Lebanon. I liked it as it had something different to say. Here’ an extract from the poem:

Your thought urges you to marry wealth and notability. Mine commands self-reliance. Your thought advocates fame and show, mine cousels me and implores me to cast aside notoriety and treat it like a grain of sand cast upon the shore of etnernity. You thought instills in your heart arrogance and superiority. Mine plants within me love for peace and the desire for independence. Your thought begets dreams of palaces with furniture of sandalwood studded with jewels and beds made of twisted silk threads. My thoughts speak softly in my ears: ‘Be clean of body and spirit even if you have nowhere to lay your head.’ Your thought makes you aspire to tittles and offices. Mine exhorts me to humble services. You have your thought and I have mine.

Najma Aijaz, 25th April 2012

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The entrancing performance of light, music and water that has changed the face of Dubai forever.

Anyone that happens to visit Dubai should check out the Dancing fountain at the Dubai mall. I loved it. I remember visiting it with my friends and family. Then whenever I used to feel tensed/lonely/depressed I used to drive to the Dubai mall and sit and watch the dancing fountain (usually on the weekdays when there were less people). It was soothing.

The songs that are played (or atleast were played when I was in Dubai were : a song in Swahili. I know it’s Swahili as my friend, Ilham from Tanzania spoke Swahili. Then there was the Arab world’s top-selling dance number Shik Shak Shok and the signature piece of world-renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, Con te partiro (Time to Say Goodbye).

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Being raised in U.A.E. meant that I spent many of my childhood years playing in the desert sand (only during winters though). Some time back, there was a lucky draw at pizza hut to promote P-zone in which I won tickets for six for the desert safari :).

This is the arrangement at night for dinner after we are done with all the activities. It was beautiful listening to soft music under dim lights with cool breezy air.

Sand dune bashing: It was one  hell of a ride! It’s first activity that’s done at the desert safari:


The music played during sand dune bashing was Arabic which made the experience more fun. It seemed like the car was ‘dancing’ with the music.

                                               Our driver was a local (not surprising as Emaratis absolutely love this sport).

Next there was quad biking which was the first time for me.

Camel riding at the desert safari

To showcase the country’s culture there are Emarati women putting henna on the ladies and wearing traditional outfits.

And of course, there’s sheesha (I don’t really like it personally). 

Tanoora dance

Tanoora dance

 

 sufi music performance with lights

U.A.E.’s national bird: Falcon

It was a once in a lifetime experience. Something anyone should do if they happen to go to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  Everything was just amazing.. the activities, the people and the food :). It’s also a way to know more about the culture and traditions of the people of the Emirates.

There are different packages for Desert Safaris with different timings but the activities are usually the ones that I have mentioned. It’s always a lot more fun going in winters.

 Najma Aijaz, 30th March 2012

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On my way to school everyday I remember watching this tower and making up stories about it with the other kids: 

There were a number of watchtowers constructed at strategic locations in U.A.E. during the early 19th century. They were built to detect approaching enemy and serve as a first time of defense. Lone towers, such as this one, which lies on the outskirts of Shamal, usually had high up ‘doors’, requiring a ladder or rope to enter.

Najma Aijaz, 18th March 2012

 

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Perfumes are very popular in the Arab world. Back in 2009 my roomie, Sahar,  was from Sudan.  She was very fond of scents.  She used to lit Oud in the evenings and I began liking it. It used to make me feel lighter.

Oud 

Fortunately I have brought Oud with me here in Pakistan. I haven’t used it as yet. I am waiting for a special moment. It’s only now that I am here I realize there are so many little things and details that I know of the Arabic culture. I mean obviously I am born there but it’s only now that these things seem different to me, because they aren’t here. People rarely know stuff called Oud.  Plus here, like my neighbours, use Agarbatti on special occasions. But it’s not the same. I don’t like Agarbattis! 

Agarbatti

Anyway, this isn’t what this post’s about. I used to travel everyday to school and then to college passing by The Perfume Roundabout in Fujairah. I used to think it’s called The Perfume Roundabout because there are perfume shops near by but recently I saw it’s pictures on facebook and realized this is not the reason! And I thought I was observant about things. 🙂 I remember I used to wonder why it’s made this way:

It’s only a few days back I ‘noticed’ that the hand is sprinkling perfume! This is what Arab people often did at their place. They used to use the above object and sprinkle it on people and their homes. Beautiful isn’t it?

The Perfume Roundabout as it looked at night during the UAE 40th National Day celebrations:

Najma Aijaz, 21-2-2012

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Last year during Eid Al Adha holidays I went with my family to visit The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, popularly called the Grand Mosque by local residents. It’s said to be one the most beautiful in the world-  initiated no less by the late president HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who is fondly thought of as the father of the UAE.

Natural materials were chosen for its design and construction due to their long-lasting qualities, including marble, stone, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals and ceramics.

An equally impressive interior design complements the Mosque’s awesome exterior. Italian white marble and inlaid floral designs adorn the prayer halls and the Mosque’s interior walls have decorative gold-glass mosaic features, particularly delicate on the western wall. The main glass door of the Mosque is 12.2 metres high, 7 metres wide and weighs approximately 2.2 tonnes.

The 99 names (qualities) of Allah featured on the Qibla wall exemplify traditional Kufi calligraphy, designed by the prominent UAE calligrapher – Mohammed Mandi. The Qibla wall also features subtle fibre-optic lighting, which is integrated as part of the organic design.

I remember praying here (pic below). Since it was quite hot outside so coming in this room for prayer was pure bliss. We prayed here our Asr prayer:

The best thing I found about the mosque were it’s chandeliers. In fact, one lady (a visitor too) at the mosque told me they were the largest chandeliers in the world. Now, I am not sure whether it’s true but anyway I don’t mind believing that I saw the world’s largest chandelier 🙂 . The Mosque features seven 24-carat gold-plated chandeliers which were imported from Germany, all designed with thousands of Swarovski crystals. The largest of these chandeliers, which hangs from the main dome of the Mosque, is considered the biggest in the world; it measures 10 metres in diameter, 15 metres in height, and eight-to-nine tonnes in weight.

Since it was the holiday season there were many tourists at the mosque. We didn’t really got much information about the mosque and just headed there randomly due to which we had to go through the same places of the mosque 5 times! The mosque’s quite big – The Mosque can accommodate up to 40,960 worshippers from its prayer halls and courtyard.

Najma Aijaz, 20-2-2012

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I have been born and brought up in U.A.E.  I  lived there for 20 years until I shifted to my home country, Pakistan,  last year in August.

One of the traits that I loved in the people of U.A.E. was their simplicity. The way they used to sit down and eat rather than eating on a dining table. I have even seen the Sheikhs eating while sitting down on the desert sand. I like the term  عا جزی in Urdu more than it’s meaning, humility,  in English. It describes more of what I am trying to say.

Speaking of which, reminds me that once someone asked me a trait which is found in human beings but not in Allah. I didn’t know the answer plus I got anxious too. I mean what trait could be in human beings but not in HIM (the Almighty). The answer to this was عا جزی (humility).  Beautiful isn’t it?

Here are some pictures which I took at the Hatta museum which demonstrated how Arab people live (even at this day and age).  They may use cars now instead of camels, they may live in air conditioned houses now but they still are so deeply rooted to their traditions and customs and most importantly, their religion, Islam.

Simply beautiful and something that I would want people of my country to have.

Room for guests.

Desert, while going to Dubai

Najma Aijaz  25th January 2012

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