Sunday, November 22, 2009

Islamic Generousity

One thing I have noticed is Islamic generousity in Oman---generosity beyond reciprocity. As a "selfish" westerner this is something I am going to have to have some practice at. I will start by making sure I always have some kind of food on hand, as well as sweets arranged very elegantly through-out my/our [I live with my girls] home in an easily accessible manner, and that Ialways have qaqwa [Omani cardamon flavoured coffee, chai [tea], mi [water], and two kinds of asir [juice] available for visitors.
I love the idea of arranging chocolates around a vase or Morrocan lantern, and of making a gift basket of dates shaped into a palm tree with cellophane. Tres chic.

One Omani with a passion for proverbs, told me a little tale about how one should treat guests:
"Once upon a time there was a famous Shiekh renowned for his wealth in a racing stallion, and his genourosity. One day four men from a rivalling tribe came to test the character of the Sheikh, their intention to take his wealth (through the stallion) or defame him (by asking for the soure of all his wealth---the stallion). They would ask for the famous horse, and they would either walk away with the wealth of the Shiekh's people, or they would make the Shiekh look bad before all men if the man refused what they plotted to ask for. They journeyed to the lands of the Shiekh, only to find the lands overcome with horribe drought. There was no food and drink along the way. A very poor Shiekh recieved the men even though they were traditionally his enemy, and offered them a great meal of meat even though in his lands there was almost no food to be had. The men immediately regretted their original intentions, and confessed to the Shiekh they had originally come to shame the Shiekh into handing over his most prized pocession---his horse. The Sheikh looked sad and said, 'I wish
you had told me that before. I have just fed you my horse.'"

1 comment:

scarlet pimpernel said...

ooomphh !!! reminds me of godfather