An Evening of Coexistence & Culture

Having Omani and Kenyan genes, it is a deep rooted part of my culture with so much history and heritage through culture and religion. On February 20th, 2016 my family and I were invited to an exclusive exhibition event sponsored by The Government of Oman titled Tolerance, Understanding, Coexistence:  Oman’s Message of Islam at the Aga Khan Centre of Toronto in connection with the University of Toronto. This event brought to you by UNESCO (United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization)  “promotes religious tolerance, intercultural understanding and interfaith dialogue while depicting how Islam is practiced in daily life in Oman, a modern Arabian society;” allowed me to learn more about the role Oman plays with my Kenyan background and how the two are associated. The night included a VIP preview of the upcoming exhibition to be placed with the centers neighbour, Aga Khan Museum from February 22nd to March 31st, 2016.  It also encompassed a discussion panel which  focused on the culture, heritage, and religion of Oman.

Scholars and researchers included :

Dr.Mohammed Al-Mamari, Advisor to the Minister of Awqaf & Religion Affairs     Sultanate of Oman

Professor Walid Saleh, Director, Institute of Islamic Studies – University of Toronto

Amal Ghazal, Associate Professor – Dalhousie University

Dr.Ruba Kana’an, Head of Education & Scholarly Programs –  Aga Khan Museum

Zulfikar Hirji, Associate Professor & Graduate Program Director – York University

These intellectuals presented a well conducted discussion, they were open to engagement and genuinely down to earth individuals. Each shared their studies and research that they conducted circulating Oman’s heritage. Essentially what has made Oman stand out from other Middle Eastern countries. By doing so they examined the leading sects of Islam including, Sunni, Shia and Ibadi along with how they coexist with one another. Followed by the architecture of religious structures like mosques, what their significant differences are and the meanings between the sects. How enriched its culture is, with how it spans from Tanzania to Kenya .

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The manuscripts are of various topics including religion, medicine, science, literature and more produced by Omani scholars. Through skilled calligraphy they are apart of the rich heritage. This includes manuscripts of the Qur’an.

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Traditional Omani male attire include loosely fitting long-sleeved, and full length garment (dishdashah) with a cotton wrap (wazar), two types of headress, an embroaidered cap(kummah) or colourful turban (mussar) with sandals(na’l). Additionally, during ceremonial events such as weddings men also wear a black robe with gold detailed embroidery (bisht), waist shawl (shal), and a short, curved dagger (khanjar).

 

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With a long history of pottery production from 400 BCE you can find a variety of items from water jars, burners, or terracotta camel figures to name a few. In Dhofar, southern Oman you can find some of the country’s most distinctive and uniquely designed styles of pottery.

 

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Hand made Omani traditional jewellery is designed for both male and females from high quality silver to gold-wash/gold-leaf styles, with a huge selection. You can find many styles including coins, similar to Portuguese Maria Theresa silver dollar and Indian silver rupees, glass, coral, carnelian beads, and semi-precious stones. These elements were historically obtained from Oman’s trade in the Red Sea, the Arabic Gulf and the Western Indian Ocean.

Peace and Love,

 

Widaad

“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

“Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.”

-Paulo Coelho

All information used was obtain from the exhibition contributed in collaboration with the Aga Khan council for Canada, The Aga Khan Museum and the Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Toronto.

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