20121018

The City of a Thousand Minarets

I am so glad you all enjoyed our layover in Amsterdam and now it's almost time to take you to Egypt, but before I do I must give you a little background. When I told you that we had a trip planned I mentioned that is was not going to be a trip of leisure but of prayer and spirituality. And it was exactly that, it was not about the pyramids or the museums but of a beauty, history and pain of a different kind. Let me explain. Most of you know that we are Muslims. Like most religions, Islam too is divided into many sects, the main two being Sunni and Shia. We belong to the latter. The Shia's are further divided into many sects, we belong to a a sub sect of the Fatimid's known as the Dawoodi Bohra's. You may have seen Muslim women wearing headscarves and burqah's etc. We, the women, traditionally wear what is called a rida (they can be a variety of colors with embroidery and applique, sequins, bead work and ribbon work, the sky is the limit) and the men a white kurta (top) pajama (bottoms) with topi (hat). While we, M and I, are strong in our beliefs we are moderate in our lives and hence do not wear them unless there is a religious event. Now since this journey was religious in nature we wore:


Because the Dawoodi Bohra's (more commonly known as bohri's) are such a small community, when we go to these pilgrimages there are places for us to stay. They may be as good as a hotel, motel or hostel depending on the location; and they typically provide transportation, food, laundry service etc. But you have to keep in mind that this in fact a pilgrimage which are not supposed to be easy.

While in Egypt, Cairo to be exact, our main focus was Imam Hussain (A.S.), the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H). Imam Hussain along with his family, close friends and followers were starved and kept thirsty for three days before being brutally martyred in Karbala (present day Iraq). I will stay clear of the gory details, in the end Imam Hussain was beheaded and while his body remains buried in Karbala, his head is now buried in Cairo. His sister Zainab (A.S.)'s shrine is also in Cairo along with several other members of the Prophet's family. During this trip we visited these shrines to pay our respects.



What many of you may not know is that Cairo, the capital of Egypt was founded by the Fatimid Dynasty in the 10th century. It is also know as the City of Minarets with more than a thousand mosques in the city. We were able to visit seven of them, each with such rich histories and beautiful architecture.

Masjid Anwar 

 Masjid Lulua

 Masjid Aqmar

 Masjid Azhar

Masjid Azhar 

 Masjid Tuloon

Mohammad Ali Mosque

We also cruised along the Nile 

saw the Pyramids and the Sphinx and before we even knew it, our Egyptian adventure came to an end and we were off to Iraq.. with apprehension and full of prayers..

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38 comments:

  1. What an interesting trip and I'm grateful for the explanation of your dress. The pictures are beautiful and the mosques look so beautiful and peaceful too. I love the last two pictures!

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    1. Thank you.. it feels great to be able to share.

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  2. Thank you for the virtual tour, I had no idea!
    Great photos, I love being an arm chair tourist

    Joyflower
    Joysilk.blogspot.com

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  3. Wonderful in so many levels. You guys look so radiant in your faith's garments, and D looks regal, how cute! It's amazing how much we don't' know about this faith, and I'm happy to learn more. I have always loved this type of architecture, the Arabian culture and other Mediterranean cultures are so rich and the beautiful intricate design of homes and mosques, and living quarters, and personal garments is breathtaking and enduring. I come from a culture (Spanish) that benefited tremendously from the Muslim culture, we actually have words in our vocabulary and other idiosyncracies that have sipped permanently into our culture given it a distinct flair. More pictures please!

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    1. glad you enjoyed the post.. it is always interesting to see how religious and cultures influence others and create something new and beautiful

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  4. You pictures are beautiful. And your post was extremely interesting. You have a lovely family.

    Tracy @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

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  5. Thank you for sharing. I visited the beautiful Muhammad Ali Mosque when I was in Cairo year ago. Although mine was a tourist trip, I consider my trip to Egypt one of the most fascinating I have ever taken.

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    1. It is quite a sight isn't it.

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  6. Thank you for sharing! I consider my visit to Egypt one of the most fascinating I've ever taken, even though it was as a tourist years ago (I did visit Muhammed Ali Mosque, however.) Looking forward to seeing pics of of Karbala as well.

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  7. Beautiful post and words. It's fascinating to read what you've shared.

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    1. Thank you.. I am glad you found in interesting.

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  8. What an amazing trip. Thank you for sharing!

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  9. Gorgeous pictures, love it

    Thank you for visiting Blush and your lovely comment!

    Xoxo
    Paula
    Blush-paula.blogspot.com

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  10. You have a lovely family and the architecture in Cairo is stunning. Have a great weekend!

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  11. What a moving and inspirational journey. Thanks for sharing this Hena!

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    1. You are very welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  12. Hello! I love your blog! Check out my latest post where I nominated you for the Liebster award

    Grace
    http://gracep-photos.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for the nomination.

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  13. What an amazing experience!!

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  14. What an incredible trip for your family! I am so glad you were able to go and share these experiences. And that you took your camera so we can see a little of the magic!

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    1. It really was.. and I still have so many more to edit and share.

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  15. Incredible! All these shots are amazing. So awe inspiring.

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  16. Replies
    1. Glad you found it interesting.

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  17. What an amazing experience! You have such a sweet little family/

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    1. Thank you.. it really was a great experience.

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  18. I've wanted to see Egypt for some time now, your post is so wonderful, thanks for sharing all this information.

    SDMxx
    www.daringcoco.com

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    1. It was my pleasure. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  19. Beautiful pictures!
    Thanks for passing by my blog :)

    Have a lovely week.

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  20. I have always wanted to travel to Egypt! What an amazing experience :)

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  21. It's very pretty there. I hope to some day travel to see the pyramids.

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  22. So beautiful, what a magical place with gorgeous architecture.
    xo TJ

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  23. Thank you for posting this! There are a few families of your sect in my town (near Boston, MA, USA) and I've been fascinated by the rida. It's very similar to some of the Medieval European hoods worn by both men and women, and it's different from most hijab, which are draped.
    http://www.virtue.to/articles/hoodlum.html

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I love love love all the comments, every single one brings a smile to my face. Make sure you're not a no-reply blogger so I can write back!

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