People in Dhofar keep alive wedding rituals

Oman Saturday 27/August/2016 21:58 PM
By: Times News Service
People in Dhofar keep alive wedding rituals

Salalah: ‘Al Jameel’ or what is locally called ‘Al Musabaha’ or ‘Al Maghboor’ is one of the social customs that has been handed down through generations in Governorate of Dhofar, and is one of the wedding rituals followed in the region.
The ritual is aimed at encouraging the principle of solidarity and compassion, and is a way to facilitate the marriage costs through a cash amount paid by the invitees to the groom, depending on their means.
‘Al Jameel’ coincides with weddings in the Governorate of Dhofar, especially during the Khareef or “monsoon season,” whose moderate weather adds beauty and joy to the weddings that are held during the season, which could also be called the wedding season, due to its special weather.
The wedding tents are usually erected in public squares or next to mosques and are intended to celebrate weddings and receive well-wishers for blessings and congratulations.
‘Al Jameel’ is very important in terms of the compensation for what the groom spends on the requirements and equipment for the wedding, including the dowry, dinner, rental tents, wedding halls, traditional folklore bands and many other things.
The amount that is obtained from ‘Al Jameel’ increases depending on the relationship between the groom and his community and on the amount the groom or his family members have contributed before on similar occasions.
In many cases, it requires to ask more than one person to jot down names of the persons in the ‘Al Jameel’ records. Sometimes, well wishers line up in long queues to pay “Al Jameel”.
These records are kept by the groom or his father, as they have to pay back the amount to people at their weddings.
Although ‘Al Jameel’ still exists, there are financially sound persons, who have stopped taking ‘Al Jameel’, but are keen to contribute during all social occasions.
Dr. Salim bin Aqeel Moqaibel, supervisor at the Ministry of Education and a specialist in the modern history of Oman said ‘Al Jameel’ is a social phenomenon handed down through the generations since ancient times in Dhofar during wedding occasions.
He added that Dhofaris or “people from Dhofar” used ‘Al Jameel’ in the past for several reasons, including providing a cash amount or an old weapon or dagger of high value at the time of wedding and this would be carried out by a person with means, his relatives or friends, as well as an offering of cattle, or dinner to help the groom and share with him this special occasion.
‘Al Jameel’ is paid and registered by a person from the groom’s family inside the wedding tent in a special record, where the names and the amount are mentioned.
The amount could start from as low as OMR10 and go up to OMR20 or 50 and more, according to the means of the well-wisher and the degree of kinship.