Wednesday, October 05, 2005

3aza

I went to give condolences to a friend over the death of his grandfather yesterday. It was really croweded and as usual most people in the 3aza were talking about the same subject: how much they hate the present Omani way of mourning. It's just too tiresome for everyone, especially the bereaved family.

For those who don't know, in Oman when someone passes away the men from his/her family accept condolences for three days in a mosque from morning till dhuhur prayers and again from asr till maghrib. When you go to pay your respects at the mosque, you enter and shake hands with every single person in the mosque begining with the people closest to the door on your right. If the person who's passed away is well known, well loved or had lots of friends, it means that there would probably be a constant flood of people coming in. As a result the people in the mosque never sit down. They will be standing on their feet for the most part of three days. It doesn't get better if there are less people, because they sit on the ground not on chairs or cushions. And everytime someone enters the mosque everyone gets up again. So the routine is constant sitting and standing till your legs go numb.

Some groups in Oman have it a bit different. For example the shi'a have made the process more efficient. You don't shake hands with everyone in the mosque. You enter the mosque and go straight to the bereaved family and give condolences to them. This system is more efficient for the people going to pay their respect, but it doesn't do anything for the family themselves because they're still constantly having to stand up whenever someone enters the mosque. One thing I like about shi3a mourning is that as soon as you sit down in the mosque someone comes and gives a small section of the Quran to read in respect to the deceased. It's better than sitting around chatting with other people there which seems a little disrespectful to me.

I don't know how it is in other countries, but surely there's got to be a better way. I remember reading about it in a Kuwaiti blog last year and it didn't seem any better than it is here except over there it's usually in a diwania and they sit on chairs instead of the floor. But still there's the same aspect of the bereaved family being on their feet for three days.

6 comments:

nibaq said...

I like our gaza system. Yes it does get annoying getting up and down greeting people, but we do that in our diwaniyas on a regular basis. I always seen an gaza as a meeting point. So many times going to a random persons gaza and meeting an old friend I haven't seen in a while and gives us a chance to talk and catch up. It also gives us a chance to catch up with the family of the deceased.

I see why you can be annoyed with your system. Greeting everyone who enters and since it is a rolling door you will be greeting lots of people.

Kazablanka said...

In libya, when someone dies everyone pours into their family's house (not the mosque) for three days. They come whenever they want, (morning , evening or night), drink tea, and leave. they usually dont stay longer than 5 minutes, just the amount of time it takes to give their condolences and drink tea.. but they must come everyday for 3 days though.. :s

mentioned maturity said...

In India, we generally have one condolence meeting planned for a particular day, for a particular time(generally 3 hours). so all those who wish to pay respect just gather at the given time and pay thier respects to the dead. we dont even end up talking generally to anyone, as there are always some verses being chanted or some soft mantras playing.
but it does get annoying and garish when people get these singing troupes in, to sing songs of grief and such... quite hideous.

TI3GIB said...

I want to that 3azza too, damn all of the family related to the deceased looked different ...

Sowhat said...

yeah it is the same in kuwait .. but you dotn have to shake hand with every one like here .. and yes it is sittign in chairs not in the floor which is much eaiser ..

i think those stuff are unchangable ...

Nash said...

It does sound a bit annoying to stay there and shake hands to everyone who comes in, but on the bright side, it somewhat helps ease pain of the bereaved family knowing people have come from miles away (no matter what their intentions are) to give their condolences.