This was the setting for an outdoor gathering I recently attended at a friend’s home. She was hosting a group for dinner as part of the itinerary of the Sacred Caravan, an organized tour for mostly American Muslims making Umrah, the religious pilgrimmage to visit the cities of Makkah and Madinah. Umrah is similar to Hajj, however while Hajj is set during a specific period of time each year and is a requirement for every Muslim to complete at least once in his lifetime, Umrah can be performed any other time of the year and does not fulfill the Hajj requirement. This photo was taken before the group arrived and is in the back of her home next to the pool – it was set up for the women and this is just one corner of the large area covered Bedouin-style in red carpets with red cushions around the perimeter for seating. Another area in front of her home was set up similarly for the men.
My friend’s father-in-law is the very well known Islamic scholar from Mauritania, Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, who currenlty teaches at King Abdul Aziz University here in Jeddah. The group that came to Saudi Arabia was organized by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, an American convert to Islam, who is a prominent student of Sheikh Bin Bayyah and who has his own large following in America. Sheikh Hamza Yusuf teaches at Zaytuna Institute in Hayward, California. After the 9/11 attacks, Yusuf met as an Islamic leader with President George Bush, at Bin Bayyah’s urging. He is an advocate of education and understanding and denounces extremism and terrorism. Hamza was also quoted in 2001 in an interview with the Guardian as saying, “I would rather live as a Muslim in the west than in most of the Muslim countries, because I think the way Muslims are allowed to live in the west is closer to the Muslim way.”
The ladies I met that evening who were with the group were delightful, and the food was fantastic!
City Daily Photo consists of bloggers from around the world who offer a glimpse of life in their cities. The first of every month is CDP Theme Day and this month’s them is RED. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants